03.18.21

Links 18/3/2021: WireGuard in FreeBSD and Flow Browser

Posted in News Roundup at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Weekly News #202

        Canonical Chooses Flutter

        Linux Mint to Make System Updates a Priority

        https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=4037

        Steam Link Now Available on Linux

        https://steamcommunity.com/app/353380/discussions/10/3106892760562833187/

        ElementaryOS 6 Changing Some of the Look and Feel

        https://blog.elementary.io/look-and-feel-changes-elementary-os-6/

        Root Access and Denial of Service Flaws Found and Fixed in Kernel 5.11

        https://www.zdnet.com/article/linux-network-security-holes-found-fixed/

        Kernel 5.12 Testing Off to a Rough Start

        https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/CAHk-=whH-stL2zLCf02HZaOeQgS4oGa7eEiHeYZGj-orK-PX0g@mail.gmail.com/T/#u

        https://lore.kernel.org/lkml/CAHk-=wjnzdLSP3oDxhf9eMTYo7GF-QjaNLBUH1Zk3c4A7X75YA@mail.gmail.com/

        ONLYOFFICE Docs 6.2 Out

        https://www.onlyoffice.com/blog/2021/03/onlyoffice-docs-v6-2-with-data-validation-and-table-of-figures-released/

      • Method Not Allowed | Coder Radio 405

        Mike goes straight for the attack and hits Chris where it hurts, then it’s problem-solving time.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 898

        office chairs, github actions, automation

    • Applications

      • Audacity 3.0.0 major update released and it was worth the wait

        Audacity is free and open-source software, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, and GNU/Linux operating systems. It is absolutely one of the most known, used, and appreciated utility of modern computing and if you are a musician for sure you will know it well, but even if you are not you will have surely heard about it.

        For a few days, the new major release of Audacity has been released and, we must say, the wait has been worth it. Audacity 3.0.0 remains the same super-powerful open-source and cross-platform multi-track audio editor but, as a major update, introduces a new save file format, as well as numerous improvements and bug fixes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Remote X has been a life saver over this past year

        It’s now been a bit over a year since I was last regularly in the office (due to still ongoing events). One of the things that has turned out to be really important to working productively from home has been the X Window System’s remote support (and SSH’s support for X forwarding too, let’s not forget that side). Especially, what has been important for me isn’t just being able to run GUI programs in some way from a remote host, but being able to have them as regular windows on my desktop instead of corralled off into their own seperate ‘remote desktop’ world.

      • How to get started with Vagrant on Linux

        Virtualization allows DevOps teams to easily and quickly replicate necessary OS environments to build, test and deploy their development system on. Vagrant is an open-source, command-line based tool that allows generating reproducible and sharable virtualized environments in an automated fashion. This tutorial will help you understand the power of Vagrant and to guide you to quickly develop hands-on skills with Vagrant.

      • How to use journalctl to analyze logs in Linux

        systemd is the default system manager in most of the major Linux distributions, which comes with a new logging daemon called ‘journald’.

        For many years, system and kernel logs in traditional SysVinit system were handled by syslogd that stores logs in plain text files whereas journald stores logs in binary format.

        systemd collects logs from several sources such as system, kernel and various services or daemon’s and provides a centralized management solution through journald.

        This is a highly streamlined process and logs can be viewed based on requirements, whereas syslogd logs are manually analyzed using various commands such as find, grep, cut, etc.

        In this article, we will demonstrate how to view and analyze Linux system logs using the journalctl command.

      • How to install Flashprint 4.6.0 on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Flashprint 4.6.0 on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to Remote Desktop From Windows To Linux Desktop Using XRDP

        Do you use Windows and Linux? Can you remotely manage Windows from Linux (Ubuntu or another distribution) or Linux from Windows? Sure you can. Similar to how Remote Desktop Connection is used between Microsoft platforms (or remote control between Linux machines), it is also possible to control the desktop from different platforms. You can click on the desktop and launch applications, just as if you were sitting right in front of your computer.

      • Oracle Java 16 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04, 20.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        Oracle Java 16 was announced as a short release with 6-month support. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 20.10 via PPA.

      • How to Display a Calendar in Your Linux Terminal with Cal

        Using the Linux terminal can be so fun that you might lose track of what day it is. Fortunately, there’s a Linux command for displaying a calendar in your terminal. Cal is a standard Linux command that prints an ASCII calendar for the specified month and year.

        In this article, we will talk in brief about Cal, the various options associated with the utility, and how you can use Cal to display calendars on your Linux machine.

      • How To Install XAMPP Plugins In Ubuntu Linux (Installing WordPress Plugin)

        What is XAMPP In Linux?

        XAMPP is the most popular PHP development environment. XAMPP is a completely free, easy to install Apache distribution containing MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. The XAMPP open source package has been set up to be incredibly easy to install and to use.

        What is WordPress?

        WordPress is the world’s most popular website builder. 40% of the web is built on WordPress. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined.

      • How To Install Asterisk on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Asterisk on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, Asterisk is a popular open-source PBX platform for developing communications applications such as conference servers and VoIP gateways. It offers a set of features including, conference call, voice mail, IVR, and automatic call distribution. It is used by individuals, small businesses, large enterprises, and governments worldwide.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the Asterisk on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

    • Games

      • PC Game ‘Devotion’ Is Back, Now Being Sold Directly By The Developer

        Late last year, we discussed a disappointing move by GOG to delist well-reviewed horror PC game Devotion from its platform. Making it all very odd were the facts that GOG had just announced that morning that the game would be available that day, as well as Devotion’s previous delisting from Steam. The reason for the multiple delistings was never perfectly spelled out in either case, but the game includes a reference to China’s President Xi and the never ending joke that he resembles Winnie the Pooh. GOG, instead of being open about that being the obvious reason to delist the game, instead said it made the move after receiving “messages from gamers.” Groan.

      • The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark confirmed for release on April 15

        Ready for more weird and wonderful cases to solve? The Darkside Detective: A Fumble in the Dark (season 2) confirmed for release on April 15. Originally called The Darkside Detective: Season 2, they renamed it to get away from any sequel issues even though all cases are standalone and the first game is not needed.

      • You can get Bomber Crew, Space Crew and For The King in the latest Humble Bundle | GamingOnLinux

        Need a bunch of games for the upcoming weekend? Humble Bundle have you covered with the Curve Digital Supply-Drop Game Bundle. As usual it’s a mix of games that support Linux and don’t, although those that don’t may work in Steam Play Proton. We highlight in bold text those that offer Linux builds.

      • Albion Online gets another massive free upgrade with Call to Arms out now | GamingOnLinux

        The fantasy sandbox MMO Albion Online has just expanded with the free Call to Arms update that pulls in some absolutely huge changes to the game.

        A whole new faction is in the game with Caerleon, there’s animated vegetation in the world now so it looks more alive than ever, Faction Warfare got a massive rework to give a more in-depth experience and there’s much more to do, the Hellgate system that mixes together PvP and PvE was also expanded with new map layouts and new enemies to fight along with support for 10v10 battles, you can now save equipment load-outs to switch easily and absolutely lots more. This might be the biggest update yet.

      • FMV adventure Dark Nights with Poe and Munro gets a Linux Beta | GamingOnLinux

        From the creators of The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker and The Shapeshifting Detective, D’Avekki Studios have put up a Linux Beta version of Dark Nights with Poe and Munro.

        “Adventure in the strange town of August with local radio hosts and secret lovers Poe and Munro, as they encounter six unique mysteries on and off the air. Direct the banter and the action as they fend off a nightmare stalker who just won’t let go, a vengeful ghost looking for everlasting closure, a demonic painting that grants wishes – and more – but can you keep Poe and Munro together, and alive…?”

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD kernel-mode WireGuard moves forward out-of-tree

          Earlier this week, we covered progress integrating an implementation of the WireGuard VPN protocol into the FreeBSD kernel. Two days later, there’s an update—kernel-mode WireGuard has been moved out of FreeBSD 13 development entirely for the time being.
          The change only affects kernel-mode WireGuard. User-mode WireGuard has been available in FreeBSD since 2019 and remains, unaffected. If you pkg install wireguard, you get user-mode WireGuard, better known as wireguard-go. Wireguard-go is potentially less performant than kernel-mode, but it’s stable and more than fast enough to keep up with most use cases.

          The removal is actually good news for FreeBSD users and WireGuard users. Although the new kernel work done by WireGuard founder Jason Donenfeld, FreeBSD developer Kyle Evans, and OpenBSD developer Matt Dunwoodie represented a clear step forward, it was deemed too rushed to go out in a production kernel. This is a decision heartily endorsed by Donenfeld himself, who prefers a steadier development process with more code reviews and consensus.

          Donenfeld announced the migration of development from FreeBSD 13-CURRENT to his own git repository earlier today. The new snapshot no longer relies on ifconfig extensions to build tunnels; it uses wg and wg-quick commands similarly to Linux, Windows, and Android builds instead. Although the code works, Donenfeld warns that it shouldn’t be considered production-ready yet…

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • What’s in Fedora 34? GNOME 40, accelerated Wayland, PipeWire Audio, improved Flatpak support, and more

          Ahead of its release next month, the Fedora community has posted details of what is coming in Fedora 34, Red Hat’s bleeding-edge Linux distro.

          Fedora is where Red Hat tries new features that may make their way into Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in future. While sponsored by Red Hat, it is also a community project in its own right.

          Although the focus is on innovation, Fedora Workstation describes itself as “a reliable, user-friendly and powerful operating system for your laptop or desktop computer”. The server edition presents itself as “a short-lifecycle, community-supported server operating system” which is enough to deter most production use, other than for those who particularly need some new feature which it supports.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Get started with an open source customer data platform

        RudderStack is an open source, warehouse-first customer data pipeline. It collects and routes event stream (or clickstream) data and automatically builds your customer data lake on your data warehouse.

        RudderStack is commonly known as the open source alternative to the customer data platform (CDP), Segment. It provides a more secure, flexible, and cost-effective solution in comparison. You get all the CDP functionality with added security and full ownership of your customer data.

        Warehouse-first tools like RudderStack are architected to build functional data lakes in the user’s data warehouse. The benefits are improved data control, increased flexibility in tool use, and (frequently) lower costs. Since it’s open source, you can see how complicated processes—like building your identity graph—are done without relying on a vendor’s black box.

      • Decentralized Networks Under Attack? Google Removes Open-Source Mastodon Client “Tusky” from the Play Store

        Out of the blue, Google removed the ‘Tusky’ app which was a Mastodon client for Android for violating some ambiguous policies.

      • Web Browsers

        • For the first time in years, someone is building a web browser from scratch

          The Cambridge, U.K.-based company is developing a browser called Flow, and unlike the vast majority of browsers that have arrived in recent years, it’s not based on Google’s Chromium or Apple’s WebKit open-source code. Instead, Flow is starting with a blank slate and building its own rendering engine. Its goal is to make web-based apps run smoothly even on cheap microcomputers such as the Raspberry Pi.

          There’s a reason companies don’t do this anymore: Experts say building new browsers isn’t worth the trouble when anyone can just modify the work that Apple and Google are doing. But if Flow succeeds, it could rethink the way we browse the web and open the door to cheaper gadgets. That at least seems like a goal worth pursuing.

        • [Old] Spyglass, a Pioneer, Learns Hard Lessons About Microsoft

          But in December 1995, when Mr. Gates announced that Microsoft was shifting its product development to ”embrace and extend” the Internet, he also said Microsoft would be giving its browser away. A byproduct was that the Spyglass browser licensing revenue quickly disappeared, as smaller Internet software companies went out of business and many big customers shifted to Microsoft’s free browser.

        • [Old] Shining Time For Spyglass

          Mosaic is especially suited for the World Wide Web, a part of the Internet loaded with complex graphics, color pictures and sound, says Jay Batson, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. The WWW or “Web,” as it is called, is seen by industry analysts as the most powerful commercial component of the Internet because of the potential to sell and deliver products like music, video and software directly to computer users.

          “Spyglass is really well-positioned to take advantage of the explosion of the Internet and the World Wide Web,” said Batson, “This World Wide Web stuff is growing so fast, it’s unbelievable.”

        • The first version of Internet Explorer borrowed from the source code of what other web browser?

          In 1994, Microsoft licensed Spyglass Mosaic for a quarterly fee plus a percentage of Microsoft’s non-Windows revenues. However, the OS developer attempted to avoid those royalties by including Internet Explorer 1.5 for free in Windows NT, concluding in a lawsuit and an $8 million payout in January 1997.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • California universities and Elsevier make up, ink big open-access deal

            For UC, the 4-year deal, which takes effect 1 April, advances its goal of redirecting money it would have paid for subscriptions to read paywalled Elsevier journals to instead paying for publishing open-access articles. Elsevier will discount author fees by 15% for most of its journals, and by 10% for its Cell Press and Lancet titles. Those fees range from $150 to $9900—for publishing open access in the prestigious Cell—with an average of about $2000 per article across all Elsevier journals (before discounts).

      • Programming/Development

        • SQLite is great for R and Shiny. The dbmisc package may help a bit.

          Over the years I have written several Shiny apps that rely on SQLite databases. One example is my shiny app to find reproducible economic articles with data supplement: https://ejd.econ.mathematik.uni-ulm.de. The underlying data is stored in a SQLite database and I regularly run some scrapping code that inserts new content. SQLite is also super helpful for applications where multiple users can enter data. An example of mine is a Shiny app where each semester lecturers enter their seminars and then students enter their preferences over seminars in order to perform a centralized matching. For such applications, a database is much more convenient than trying to manage separate files. Given that not too many users enter their data at the same time, in my experience, SQLite performs very well. So far I had no need for a more complicated set-up with a separate database server.

          The heavy-lifting for using SQLite in R is done by the great packages DBI and RSQLite. However, I also strongly rely on a bunch of convenience functions from my package dbmisc. For example, they facilitate seamless conversion of data types between R and SQLite. For a detailed description look at the README. Here is just a shorter overview what can be done.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Patterns in application-layer protocol design

        Note on layering. The fact that all these patterns are listed together does not imply that they can not be decomposed into layered subprotocols, and in fact an analysis deducing such layering should be made. For example, an application-layer protocol which provides framing can consider this to be the lowest layer of itself, with other subprotocols of the application-layer protocol layered on top of it. Some functionality discussed herein, such as publish/subscribe, transactions or reliable queueing, is particularly high level and can be viewed as sitting above, for example, a general request/response/notification messaging layer, itself sitting on a framing layer. The full analysis of an application-layer protocol’s subprotocols is inevitably specific to the protocol, so it is not discussed further here.

      • Why interoperability is key to the success of healthcare startups

        Startups are behind some of the most innovative software applications and solutions being developed for the healthcare industry today. However, if they are to ensure success, there is one vital component they can’t afford to miss from their solutions: interoperability. Interoperability – the ability to properly understand information sent from or to another system – has been a necessity for healthcare since the advent of specialist departmental systems.

        The unambiguous exchange of data is critical for patient care and evidence-based medicine. With data such a vital asset within the industry, it’s perhaps unsurprising then that interoperability is the highest priority for NHS IT leadership. Therefore, as healthcare startups develop new applications, they must do so in accordance with interoperability standards.

  • Leftovers

    • How Russians see ‘freedom’ differently Philosopher Nikolai Plotnikov reviews the intellectual history of ‘volya’ and ‘svoboda’

      Russian culture by its very nature fosters a heightened sensitivity to limits on freedom, particularly the certain type of freedom it calls “volya.” The freedom of Western culture is structured on rights and clearly defined boundaries — a far cry from the “laws of the jungle” in the untamed wilderness. If Russia indeed values freedom, then that freedom is more of an internal expression and the freedom of spirit that can be preserved even in prison. We’ve heard about this sense of freedom from all who have endured political persecution in Russia, from young people like Egor Zhukov and to opposition politicians like Alexey Navalny. Philosopher Nikolai Plotnikov has compiled an anthology of the primary texts on freedom in Russian culture. In this special contribution to Meduza’s “Ideas” section, Plotnikov explains why most European cultures know this sense of freedom very well, despite having abandoned it long ago. He also argues why political freedom isn’t yet a key pillar in Russian political discourse.

    • Too Personal a Tale

      With a graduate degree in counseling and aware of how therapeutic interventions had been distorted by ludicrous theories of human behavior, I was hesitant to seek out help for this battle with anxiety that seemed to be happening all around me in what appeared to be a common happening. I was also hesitant because airing private laundry and admitting weakness is not part of the false “American” myth of rugged individualism and making it alone.

      I never went in for a narrative of Dylan’s “too personal a tale,” in a somewhat different context. But, the constant drumbeat of death and the closing down of the society and its resulting demand for isolation of a kind finally took its toll. From New York City, where I had travelled weekly to take care of family business as the pandemic took especially lethal hold, came tales of endless sirens screaming through the night.

    • After 40 Years Of Being Wrong, Texas Rangers Finally Decide Hypnosis Isn’t A Viable Investigative Technique

      Never let it be said that cops are not open-minded.

    • 2021-03-16 can I get your number domain

      For a little while I’ve been off my core topic of computers and the problems with them, mostly because I started talking about telephones and once that happens I am unstoppable. But I will fight through the withdrawal symptoms to talk about something other than telephone numbers, which is DNS.

      And also telephones.

    • Painful Lessons Learned in Security and Community

      Why did this blow up? It blew up because the attackers broke the process and procedure for progressing an open source project. Not just any project, but a well-established, solid operating system project. A project that should not be ruled by the “move fast and break things” process. It blew up because it surprised people who expected stability and gravitas. It blew up because of a disrespect for our developers, our testers, and our users. We at Netgate, and I personally, tried to engage their effort, only to be rebuked by them.

      By following the normal, well understood security disclosure process this entire incident could have been handled quickly and efficiently through normal channels. We have yet to see a full description of the problems claimed; their choice to do a complete rewrite obscures the evidence of what they believe they were fixing, and they have yet to submit their work through the normal FreeBSD Phabricator process for review. That said, we do look forward to the bug reports and subsequent evaluation of the code through this review process. Code development is an iterative process, and one that we continue to strive to be better at. In the end, we will all benefit.

      So what have I learned from this? I’ve learned to be a little less trusting. I’ve learned to be more proactive in defending against people who have ulterior motives. I’ve learned that people who emphatically say that they’re here to help often aren’t. This was definitely not the positive collaborative experience that I alluded to at the beginning of this blog. Does that mean that I don’t believe in community collaboration anymore? I hope not. Enduring an attack this insidious needs the strength that comes from the community. We need everyone’s help to continue to improve both FreeBSD and the pfSense software and build a strong security community. We need to work together, be transparent, be respectful, and leave our egos at the door. We continue to be committed to quality, community, transparency, and security. Please join us in this effort.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • One Year Into Pandemic, 109 Democrats Get Behind Renewed Medicare for All Effort
      • Opinion | Rise and Shine: Medicare for All Saves Us All

        Stand tall and with the power of our shared commitment and let’s teach more people to be active constituents who push their own Congressional members to co-sponsor the Medicare for All Act of 2021. 

      • ‘Everyone In, Nobody Out’: Jayapal, Dingell Introduce Medicare for All Act With 112 Co-Sponsors

        “A system that prioritizes profits over patients and ties coverage to employment was no match for a global pandemic and will never meet the needs of our people.”

      • Opinion | Can We Protect the Very Thing That Sustains Life?

        Americans will have to fight hard to protect their water from corporate greed. They can learn a lot from El Salvador.

      • Opinion | The American Rescue Plan Does Not Fix Our Fundamentally Flawed Healthcare System. We Need Medicare for All.

        Despite its life-saving importance, the American Rescue Plan continues to protect bloated corporations with our public dollars and does nothing to make healthcare more affordable for the nation. 

      • Lawmakers Urge Biden to Block Massive Petrochemical Complex in Cancer Alley

        “This disastrous project is an affront to environmental justice and contrary to your goals to reduce pollution in frontline communities.”

      • The EU’s Vaccination Lag

        The EU’s figure seems surprising. For example, Chile (32.92), Morocco (15.6), and Turkey (13.07) have done better.

        The EU’s poor performance has been most visible on 2 fronts: (production and acquisition); and (2) distribution and roll-out.

      • America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison

        On Feb. 16, less than two weeks after a mysterious attacker made headlines around the world by hacking a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida, and nearly generating a mass poisoning, the city’s mayor declared victory.

        “This is a success story,” Mayor Eric Seidel told the City Council in Oldsmar, a Tampa suburb of 15,000, after acknowledging “some deficiencies.” As he put it, “our protocols, monitoring protocols, worked. Our staff executed them to perfection. And as the city manager said, there were other backups. … We were breached, there’s no question. And we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again. But it’s a success story.” Two council members congratulated the mayor, noting his turn at the press conference where the hack was disclosed. “Even on TV, you were fantastic,” said one.

      • Magic Mushrooms Are Decriminalized in DC as of Today

        DC Initiative 81, which passed with overwhelming support last fall, goes into effect Monday, March 15. Under the Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, natural psychedelics including magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline are decriminalized, making arrests for their possession or use the lowest priority for DC police.

        The law survived a 30-day Congressional review period and a threat by US Representative Andy Harris, who prevented the District from fully legalizing cannabis following a 2014 ballot initiative that passed with support from 70 percent of DC voters, to derail it. Harris, who set off a metal detector near the House floor while carrying a concealed gun this January, had framed the matter as a public-safety issue.

      • Geert Vanden Bossche is to COVID-19 vaccines as Andrew Wakefield is to MMR

        I’ve frequently discussed how in the age of the pandemic, at least in terms of antivaccine misinformation and pseudoscience, everything old is new again. Over the last several months, I’ve listed a number of examples of this phenomenon of antivaxxers recycling hoary tropes to apply them to COVID-19 vaccines; for example, claims that vaccines kill, cause infertility, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease, and are loaded with “toxins,” among several others, such as the claim that they “alter your DNA.” One such claim that I hadn’t yet seen is a another favorite antivax claim, although admittedly it’s a rather niche claim in that you don’t hear it too often. Specifically, I’m referring to the abuse of evolutionary theory by antivaxxers to claim that vaccines select for more deadly variants of pathogenic viruses and bacteria, making mass vaccination programs dangerous or even potentially catastrophic. Such claims are generally an offshoot of another favorite antivaccine claim, namely that the diseases being vaccinated against are so innocuous that vaccinating against them is overkill and allowing infection and “natural herd immunity” to occur is better, a trope that has also been resurrected about COVID-19, a disease that’s killed well north of 500K people in just the US in a little over a year. This brings us to our topic, a misinformation-filled “open letter” by a scientist named Geert Vanden Bossche that went viral over the weekend. It’s been accompanied by a video interview posted to—where else?—antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website. Reading the letter, what it reminded me, more than anything else, is an article that Andrew Wakefield wrote about the MMR vaccine and measles, published a few months before the pandemic hit. (Truly, those were simpler times.)

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Fintech Giant Fiserv Used Unclaimed Domain

            If you sell Web-based software for a living and ship code that references an unregistered domain name, you are asking for trouble. But when the same mistake is made by a Fortune 500 company, the results can range from costly to disastrous. Here’s the story of one such goof committed by Fiserv [NASDAQ:FISV], a $15 billion firm that provides online banking software and other technology solutions to thousands of financial institutions.

          • Massive SMS Flaw Gives An Attacker Full Access To Your Accounts For $16

            So last year, when everybody was freaking out over TikTok, we noted that TikTok was likely the least of the internet’s security and privacy issues. In part because TikTok wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t being done by thousands of other companies in a country that can’t be bothered to pass even a basic privacy law for the internet. Also, any real security and privacy solutions need to take a much broader view.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Teens, Fight for the Future Sell ‘Invisiclip’ to Counter ‘Menace of Facial Recognition’

              “The more that we learned about the dangers of facial recognition software, the more we desired to find a solution to the problem.”

            • Florida Prisons Are Buying Up Location Data From Data Brokers

              Everyone loves buying location data. Sure, the Supreme Court may have said a thing or two about obtaining this data from cell service providers but it failed to say anything specific about buying it from third-party data brokers. Oh well! Any port in an unsettled Constitutional storm, I guess.

            • Sign now: European initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance
            • Additional Regulations Approved for the California Consumer Privacy Act

              “Dark Patterns” are defined by the user experience (UX) researcher who coined the term, Harry Brignull, as “tricks used in websites and apps that make you buy or sign up for things that you didn’t mean to.” In this context, dark patterns can be used to undermine the CCPA’s right to opt-out. With this new regulation, it prohibits companies from burdening consumers with confusing language or unnecessary steps. EFF provided comments to encourage adoption of this proposed regulation.

              The CCPA does not currently mandate the right to opt-in, that is, a more proactive legal rule that a business cannot sell a consumer’s personal information unless the consumer gives permission. Having to retroactively go through multiple screens of opting out burdens the consumer. The current CCPA rule is opt-out. With that comes the need to prohibit businesses from stopping consumers from exercising that right, by banning dark patterns.

              The new CCPA regulations also encourage widespread adoption of a standardized privacy icon to convey the opt-out process. This icon was designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Cylab and the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Even though providing a universal icon could potentially help users see their options to exercise their CCPA rights, we hope that this ongoing conversation is informed by web accessibility. Confusing language, entangled and layered user interfaces, tiny lettering, and other dark pattern tactics are tied to the conversation of making information accessible and clear for the user. We also believe readability should be considered as well, where language is crafted for everyone’s understanding. For example, EFF explicitly advocated for the ban of double negatives, a common writing tactic deployed in dark patterns.

            • Australia: Sex consent app proposal sparks backlash

              On Thursday, Mick Fuller championed the idea of an app where people could digitally record their mutual agreement to have sex.

              He said the technology could be used to establish “positive consent”.

              But many people have criticised the proposal as short-sighted and potentially open to abuse.

            • Why Facebook is getting in the newsletter game

              Before I go any further, let me acknowledge my conflicts here. As noted in my ethics statement, I receive a health care subsidy and legal support from Substack, the company with which Facebook is most prominently competing here. At the same time, it’s in my interest to see lots of newsletter services thriving. As in most things, the more big companies that are competing for writers, the better off most writers will be.

              That said, I still find Facebook’s move into newsletters a bit surreal, if only because I started a newsletter in 2017 as an end run around Facebook. Or rather, as an end run around the idea of algorithmic feeds in general. After the better part of a decade chasing audiences from platform to platform, I set out to build a strong, direct connection to an audience that wants to hear from me, and that I can reliably reach no matter how many likes, upvotes, or retweets any individual post happens to get.

            • Facebook Has Found a New Way to Ruin Media

              For a company that says it’s not a publisher, Facebook just can’t stay away from the news industry. According to Axios, Facebook is testing a tool for journalists to build websites and newsletters that can host text, video, status updates, and other content. The company plans to pay some writers while eventually opening the program more widely. The social media giant, says Axios, is “trying to help find ways individual journalists can thrive as creators.” LinkedIn and Twitter, which earlier this year purchased a newsletter platform called Revue, have similar plans in development to pay writers or allow them to monetize their work.

            • Scoop: Facebook explores paid deals for new publishing platform

              The big picture: The pandemic has prompted many high-profile journalists to leaving newsrooms to launch their own newsletters or websites. Now, tech companies are getting in on the trend.

            • TikTok will no longer let people opt out of personalized ads

              TikTok will soon make personalized ads mandatory, meaning you’ll start getting ads in the app based on the kind of content you engage with, whether you want them or not.

              The app currently has a setting that allows users to choose whether they’ll be served ads based on their activity within the app. “Starting April 15,” reads a notice shown when opening the app, “your settings will change and the ads you’ll see may start to be based on what you do on TikTok.”

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • It’s Time to Investigate the FBI—for Its Deep-Fake Kavanaugh Investigation

        Late last week, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic senator from Rhode Island and, apparently, one of the only senators willing to remember what Republicans did while they were in power, wrote a letter calling on newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland to look into the FBI’s handling of the attempted-rape allegations against Kavanaugh. Specifically, he asked Garland to determine whether the FBI conducted a “fake investigation rather than a sincere, thorough and professional one.” As evidence for the failures of the investigation, Whitehouse points out holes in the FBI’s process that are well known to those of us who have refused to let Kavanaugh get away with it: people and law firms who tried in vain to bring information about Kavanaugh to the bureau but couldn’t find an agent willing to listen; a “tips line” that the FBI never seemed to respond to or follow up on; and repeated “stonewalling” by FBI Director Chris Wray in front of congressional oversight committees about the investigation. Also, the agency failed to follow up on other allegations against Kavanaugh that, in Whitehouse’s words, “required their own investigation.”

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • There Are More Socialists Than Democrats or Republicans

        Or will leftists continue to tolerate and support a corporate Democratic Party that exploits them for their votes, financial contributions and labor while it contemptuously promotes everything they deplore?

        Two out of five voters is a plurality. If the other three out of five split their votes between the Democrats and the Republicans, the Left wins. But those big numbers cannot win if they remain scattered. Tragically for workers and the environment, the Left has no organization. No party. No media. No voice inside the establishment.

      • Sanders Pitches Bill to Close Wide Pay Gap Between CEOs and the Average Worker
      • Sanders Bill Would Hike Taxes on Big Corporations That Pay CEOs Over 50 Times More Than Median Worker

        “Walmart, which pays its CEO nearly 1,000 times more than its average worker, would pay up to $855 million more in taxes.”

      • How to File Your State and Federal Taxes for Free in 2021

        Most Americans are eligible for free tax-preparation services, but the truly free options can be hard to find. If you’re not careful, you could end up using a service that says it’s free but demands payment after you’ve spent time entering your information.

        Now that the IRS has pushed the deadline for 2020 taxes to May 17, you have even more time to make sure you’re using the service that’s right for you.

      • Opinion | Robots Are Coming for Millions of Blue-Collar Jobs

        CEOs urgently need euphemisms to soften the image of their constant hunt for ways to kill jobs and funnel more money to themselves and top investors.

      • “Just” Transitions Are Possible, But They Require State Investment
      • Spain Plans to Begin Experimenting With a Four-Day Workweek
      • WATCH: Sanders-Led Budget Committee Holds Hearing on ‘Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis’

        “We will never eliminate poverty as long as so much of our nation’s resources are flowing to the top.”

      • Warnock Says Filibuster Must Not Hinder Fight Against ‘Jim Crow in New Clothes’

        “This issue is bigger than the filibuster,” says Georgia Democrat in first-ever Senate floor speech.

      • Time to Call Mitch McConnell’s Bluff on the Filibuster
      • After Introduction of For the People Act, Senate Dems Told to ‘End the Filibuster and Pass’ It

        “Too much is at stake to delay a vote on this critical legislation or to allow archaic Senate rules to kill the bill.”

      • Infrastructure Should Be the Great Economic Equalizer

        Despite the focus in recent years on President Trump’s failure to do anything for the country’s crumbling infrastructure, here’s a sad reality: considered over a longer period of time, Washington’s political failure to fund the repairing, modernizing, or in some cases simply the building of that national infrastructure has proven a remarkably bipartisan “effort.” After all, the same grand unfulfilled ambitions for infrastructure were part and parcel of the Obama White House from 2009 on and could well typify the Biden years, if Congress doesn’t get its act together (or the filibuster doesn’t go down in flames). The disastrous electric grid power outages that occurred during the recent deep freeze in Texas are but the latest example of the pressing need for infrastructure upgrades and investments of every sort. If nothing is done, more people will suffer, more jobs will be lost, and the economy will face drastic consequences.

        Since the mid-twentieth century, when most of this country’s modern infrastructure systems were first established, the population has doubled. Not only are American roads, airports, electric grids, waterways, railways and more distinctly outdated, but today’s crucial telecommunications sector hasn’t ever been subjected to a comprehensive broadband strategy.

      • An 18th Reason to be Optimistic About the Economy

        More than 20 percent of workers now report that they are working from home at least part-time as a result of the pandemic. While many of these workers may end up returning to their offices when the pandemic is under control, or at least going in more frequently, there is little doubt that we will be seeing substantially more telecommuting even when the pandemic is fully under control. This implies a large gain in well-being that is not picked up in GDP.

        As I have pointed out before, there are two issues involved here. First there are substantial work-related expenses that these workers will no longer be making. The most obvious are the costs associated directly with the commute to work. This means paying for the wear and tear on a car, the gas for the trip, parking, or money spent on trains and busses. These are counted as consumption in GDP, but they provide little benefit to the commuter, apart from getting them to work.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Wisconsin GOP Rejects Black History Month Resolution But Honors Rush Limbaugh
      • GOP Wraps Itself Around the Axle

        But euphemistically, it refers to any situation that has reached a point where forward progress comes to an abrupt halt until you deal with serious problems. And right now, it’s a perfect description of the GOP, the party’s relationship with their former president, and the befuddling actions of Republican members of Congress.

        It boggles the mind to think that not one Republican in either the U.S. Senate or House voted for the massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill signed into law by President Biden last week. How, one might ask, is it possible to justify these cult-like unified votes against measures that significantly help their constituents? What, there’s not a single Republican out of the nation’s 331 million citizens suffering from the year-long trials and tribulations of the coronavirus pandemic?

      • Activists Demand Georgia-Based Corporations Like Coca-Cola End Complicity in GOP Assault on Voting

        “It is a dangerous thing for the business community to be silent.”

      • Opinion | The Burning Urgency of Passing the “For the People Act”

        Our chance to preempt voter suppression could expire at any moment.

      • Biden Wants the Filibuster to Remain in Place, But Says He Supports Reforming It
      • Financial Press Fears Brazilians Will Be Allowed to Elect President of Their Choice

        The Brazilian Supreme Court this month dismissed all charges against former President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva. A towering figure in national politics, Lula was the country’s president for eight years between 2003 and 2011. He was later convicted on highly dubious corruption charges and spent 18 months in prison, where his plight drew worldwide attention, making him, in the estimation of Noam Chomsky, the “world’s most prominent political prisoner.”

      • Review – “The War at Home – Rebellion” – Censored Notebook, Uncategorized

        Scott Noble’s latest documentary series, The War at Home, takes a deep dive into the history of labor movements and state repression in the United States. Soon to be a multi-part series, the first entry is titled ‘Rebellion’ and can be viewed online for free. As with all of Noble’s films, The War at Home is meticulously researched and weaves a rich tapestry of primary and secondary sources and documents, including amazing period footage of momentous yet often little-remembered (or effectively censored) events. Punctuated by classic American folk and blues music, it is as much a celebration of America’s rebels as a condemnation of its injustices.

      • Biden administration convenes government, private sector groups to respond to Microsoft vulnerabilities

        Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in a statement that the National Security Council (NSC) has established a “unified coordination group” (UCG) to respond to Microsoft Exchange Server vulnerabilities, first announced by the company earlier this month, and which have potentially victimized thousands of organizations.

        Psaki said the group includes the FBI, the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and had met earlier this week with private sector companies to respond to the ongoing incident.

      • Cult deprogrammers inundated with requests to help people lost in Trump election, QAnon conspiracy theories

        Diane Benscoter, an exit counselor who was involved in the Unification Church cult for years before breaking free, said he has “probably got almost a hundred requests in my inbox,” she claimed.

        According to the cult experts, social media plays a significant role in exposing vulnerable people to conspiracy theories.

        Joan Donovan, a leading research of online disinformation at the Shorenstein Centre on Media, Politics and Public Policy called today’s social media environment a “free for all” inundated with “unfathomable” amounts of disinformation.

      • [Old] I was a member of a cult. Here’s how to bring QAnon believers back to reality

        For hardcore Trump supporters, including QAnon believers, these are especially troubling times. Many were convinced that Trump would win the election by a landslide. But Trump did not win and no mass arrests of QAnon “enemies” occurred, as QAnon believers had thought. Biden was confirmed as having won the election and lawsuits alleging the election had been stolen were dismissed, even by judges who were appointed by Trump.

        Some people are becoming disillusioned and distancing themselves from QAnon and Trump. Ex-QAnon believer, Jitarth Jadeja, for example, has been willing to share how extreme he became during his two years in the movement, even recruiting his father into the cult. Now he is speaking out about the delusionary cult and wishing to help others to realize it was a lie.

        What can family and friends of QAnon believers (or of any other destructive cult) do?

        These troubling times provide an opportunity to intervene and loosen the hold on those who were manipulated into a cult. But strategic interactions can start in simple ways: [...]

      • Experts In Cult Deprogramming Step In To Help Believers In Conspiracy Theories

        ANDRA GILLESPIE: What does it mean when you see legislators responding with legislative and policy proposals that would be aimed to address a problem that, in fact, didn’t exist in the first place?

        SHAPIRO: The point here is that increasingly, disinformation is leaking from the far corners of the Internet into mainstream politics. As part of a special series on disinformation, we are going to spend the next few minutes talking about why it’s spreading, and we’ll go inside the practice of deprogramming people who believe it.

        SHAPIRO: Disinformation is not new. What’s changing now is how fast and how far it can spread.

        JOAN DONOVAN: Social media tends to drive the fringe to the mainstream.

      • Facebook to crack down on groups that break its rules

        Under the new rules, which will apply to its tens of millions of active groups, Facebook will show rule-breaking groups lower in the recommendations bar, making them less discoverable to other users. The more rules a group breaks, the more it will increase restrictions until it is removed completely.

        Facebook also plans to inform would-be members of rule-violating groups with a pop-up that warns the group “allowed posts that violate our Community Standards,” and suggests a user review the group before joining. For existing group members, it will reduce the reach of rule-breaking groups by giving it lower priority in a user’s general news feed.

      • Moscow gives Twitter 30 days to remove ‘banned’ content

        Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor on Tuesday gave Twitter a one-month ultimatum to remove “banned” content, threatening to consider blocking the social media platform within the country if it does not comply.

      • Illegal Content and the Blockchain

        Security researchers have recently discovered a botnet with a novel defense against takedowns. Normally, authorities can disable a botnet by taking over its command-and-control server. With nowhere to go for instructions, the botnet is rendered useless. But over the years, botnet designers have come up with ways to make this counterattack harder. Now the content-delivery network Akamai has reported on a new method: a botnet that uses the Bitcoin blockchain ledger. Since the blockchain is globally accessible and hard to take down, the botnet’s operators appear to be safe.

        It’s best to avoid explaining the mathematics of Bitcoin’s blockchain, but to understand the colossal implications here, you need to understand one concept. Blockchains are a type of “distributed ledger”: a record of all transactions since the beginning, and everyone using the blockchain needs to have access to — and reference — a copy of it. What if someone puts illegal material in the blockchain? Either everyone has a copy of it, or the blockchain’s security fails.

      • The Paris Commune and Grassroots Democracy

        150 years ago on this day, March 18, 1871, the Paris Commune declared itself the governing power in the city of two million and proceeded to build what the Communards called a “Democratic and Social Republic.” The Commune’s confederation of directly-democratic neighborhood assemblies coordinated by a mandated and recallable Communal Council still provides today the institutional model for realizing the Green Party’s principle of Grassroots Democracy.

        The Paris Commune was last of a series of uprisings by the sans-culottes, which literally means without fashionable silk knee-breeches worn by the nobility and bourgeoisie. The common working people wore trousers. The sans-culottes were the artisanal working class and the lower-middle class of small-scale shopkeepers, producers, and merchants. Their uprisings began with the Great French Revolution of 1789-1794 and kept re-occurring, notably in 1830 and 1848, and finally in 1871. The people wanted democratic self-government as opposed to the militaristic republics that quickly devolved back into the monarchies that the original French Revolution had sought to overthrow. The Paris Commune ended two months after it began during the Bloody Week of May 22-28, a week of unspeakable mass murder by a counterrevolution that literally exterminated the revolutionary class of sans-culottes in Paris.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The University Deception: Rankings and Academic Freedom

        Writing in 2019, Ellen Hazelkorn, who has had an eye on the rankings system for some years, observed that 18,000 university-level institutions could be found across the globe. “Those ranked within the top 500 would be within the top 3% worldwide. Yet, by a perverse logic, rankings have generated a perception amongst the public, policymakers and stakeholders that only those within the top 20, 50 or 100 are worthy of being called excellent.”

        Rankings are complicated by a range of factors: methodological problems in arriving at the figure, what institutions themselves submit, their wealth (endowments, well moneyed donors, grants received) and age (old ties, networks), and, fundamentally, what is being asked of that institution.  Such grading systems have been found, as Nancy Adler and Anne-Wil Harzing describe it, to be “dysfunctional and potentially cause more harm than good”.

      • PACT Act Is Back: Bipartisan Section 230 ‘Reform’ Bill Remains Mistargeted And Destructive

        Last summer we wrote about the PACT Act from Senators Brian Schatz and John Thune — one of the rare bipartisan attempts to reform Section 230. As I noted then, unlike most other 230 reform bills, this one seemed to at least come with good intentions, though it was horribly confused about almost everything in actual execution. If you want to read a truly comprehensive takedown of the many, many problems with the PACT Act, Prof. Eric Goldman’s analysis is pretty devastating and basically explains how the drafters of the bill tried to cram in a bunch of totally unrelated things, and did so in an incredibly sloppy fashion. As Goldman concludes:

      • Russian lawmakers adopt final reading of legislation making ‘insulting WWII veterans’ a felony

        The Russian State Duma has adopted the third and final reading of a package of amendments to the criminal code making it a felony to publicly slander World War II veterans. 

      • Russia’s federal censor orders Twitter to block independent media account

        For the past two weeks, since it started throttling Twitter traffic for noncompliance with local media laws, Russia’s federal censor has accused the U.S. social network of refusing to remove dangerous and illegal content like child pornography and information about drugs. On Wednesday, journalists and watchdog groups learned that Roskomnadzor (RKN) is also demanding that Twitter suspend Russians’ access to content supposedly affiliated with so-called “undesirable organizations” (entities that “threaten Russia’s basic constitutional order or state security”).

      • Content Moderation Case Studies: Can Baby Yoda GIFs Defeat The DMCA Force? (2019)

        Summary: In the fall of 2019, Disney launched its Disney+ streaming service to instant acclaim. While it offered up access to the extensive Disney catalog (including all of its Marvel, Star Wars, and 21st Century Fox archives), the first big new hit for the service was a TV series set in the Star Wars universe called The Mandalorian, which featured a character regularly referred to as “Baby Yoda.”

      • Twitter Deletes QAnon to Protect US from Upheaval; Russia Considers Deleting Twitter for the Same Reason

        Twitter has taken action against the QAnon movement, deleting more than 150,000 accounts that promoted the conspiracy theory. This follows a similar crackdown by YouTube. The impetus for the decision was the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6, led by many adherents who believe Donald Trump was leading a fightback against a satanic cult of cannibalistic pedophiles in the Democratic Party and the national security state.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Amazon Is Hiring Aggressive Firms to Bust Union Efforts
      • Only Two NYPD Officers Face Serious Discipline From a Watchdog’s Investigations Into Abuse of Black Lives Matter Protesters

        Nine months after racial justice protests swept across New York City and videos showed police punching, kicking and trapping demonstrators, the city agency responsible for investigating abuses has revealed the number of officers who have so far faced serious disciplinary charges.

        Two.

      • Diversity and False Dichotomies at Smith College

        But was it? The details of the event are now well known. A Black student chose to eat her lunch in a deserted dorm lounge. Someone saw her there and called security on her. The student became angry and posted about the experience on Facebook, accusing not merely the college of racism, but specific individuals within the institution that appear not to have been involved in the incident.

        By the time the incident was investigated, though, the damage had been done. One janitor, whom the student had accused of being racist, left Smith. A cafeteria worker, whom the student also accused of racism, was furloughed, along with other workers, as a result of declining enrollments, but had difficulty getting another job because she had become infamous as a result of the student’s FaceBook posts.

      • John Locke and the Roots of White Supremacy in the US

        Recent events have confirmed the unfortunate fact that there is now in the United States a state of undeclared civil war. Joe Biden’s assumption of the presidency has not changed the uncomfortable reality that the elections of 2020 may well be the equivalent of those of 1860, which triggered the secession of the South. Of course, that’s not to say that a civil conflict today would take the form of a sectional secession as in 1860. But whatever form it takes, it could involve widespread if not systemic violence.

        The economist John Maynard Keynes observed that the “ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually slaves of some defunct economist.”

      • WSJ Rage at ‘Woke’ China Foreshadows New Redbaiting of Social Justice Activists

        The Wall Street Journal editorial board (3/7/21) has accused a major Chinese newspaper, and by extension the People’s Republic of China, of exploiting progressive rhetoric around racial justice to create division in the United States.

      • ‘Democracy Is Having a Hard Time Functioning’: Biden Endorses Return to Talking Filibuster

        “That’s what it was supposed to be.”

      • State investigators requalify criminal charges against Navalny’s associates

        The Russian Investigative Committee has requalified the charges in the “sanitary case” that was launched against ten of Alexey Navalny’s associates following the protest in support of the jailed opposition politician in Moscow on January 23. This was reported by lawyer Vladimir Voronin, who’s representing the interests of opposition figure Lyubov Sobol. 

      • Hollywood stars sign open letter urging Russia to drop (new) charges against Pussy Riot activists

        Dozens of actors, musicians, and directors from the United States and Europe have signed an open letter calling on the Russian authorities to drop the charges against Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina and Lyusya Shtein, Pussy Riot told Meduza on Wednesday, March 17. 

      • Maryland Legislators Pass Bill That Would Keep Most Teens From Being Prosecuted For Sexting

        It’s been a delayed reaction, but legislators are finally trying to do something about the horrific outcomes that result from advances in technology colliding with laws that have been on the books for decades. Smartphones are omnipresent and teens are using them just like adults use them. Sexting — the sending of explicit images to willing recipients — shouldn’t be illegal. And yet it is because some of those participating in this consensual distribution of explicit images are minors.

      • Digital Trails: How the FBI Identifies, Tracks and Rounds Up Dissidents

        Databit by databit, we are building our own electronic concentration camps. With every new smart piece of smart technology we acquire, every new app we download, every new photo or post we share online, we are making it that much easier for the government and its corporate partners to identify, track and eventually round us up.

      • Jackson Mayor Demands Help After Month-Long Water Crisis Amid Pandemic, Racism, Broken Infrastructure

        Residents in Jackson, Mississippi, have been facing a water crisis over the last five weeks, with many people lacking reliable access to clean drinking water after deadly February winter storms caused pipes and water mains to burst. While water delivery has largely been restored, “boil water” orders remain in effect for most people. The city estimates it could cost $2 billion to fix the city’s water system. The crisis in Jackson, which is 82% Black, highlights how climate catastrophe threatens much of the nation’s aging infrastructure. Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says while the city “contributes millions of dollars” in tax revenue to Mississippi each year, state leaders have refused to help and left the city to deal with the crisis by itself.

      • Following Supreme Court ruling, UK Uber drivers will be classified as workers

        The change comes a month after Uber lost a court battle in Britain over the status of its drivers there. The lawsuit started in 2016 when only a handful of drivers took Uber to court over working conditions and their labor rights. Uber fought the decision, but the Supreme Court upheld the ruling that the drivers should be classified as workers, not as independent contractors.

      • “Suave”: New Podcast Follows One Man’s Journey to Freedom After a Life Sentence Without Parole at 17

        A new Futuro Media podcast, “Suave,” tells the story of one person’s journey to freedom after receiving a life sentence without parole at the age of 17. David Luis “Suave” Gonzalez met journalist Maria Hinojosa in 1993 during a talk at the prison in Pennsylvania where he was serving a sentence for first-degree homicide. For years, Gonzalez and Hinojosa stayed in touch through letters, visits and phone calls that Hinojosa recorded. The seven-part podcast series chronicles Gonzalez’s experience as he is eventually given the opportunity to experience life on the outside for the first time, after the 2016 Supreme Court ruling that mandatory sentences of life without parole on juveniles are unconstitutional. “It was an experience that left me traumatized to this day,” Gonzalez says of his time in prison. We also speak with Maria Hinojosa, who credits the success of the podcast to their open and honest relationship. “Suave and I were just very real with each other, over decades,” she says.

    • Monopolies

      • Google in damage control after 2012 anti-trust probe details leak

        The details were contained in 312 pages of confidential memorandums which were obtained by the US site Politico and printed at length.

        Google’s director of Competition Legal, Rosie Lipscomb, poked scorn at Politico’s exposé, dismissing it as part of a “[Washington] DC parlour game has been to second-guess the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 decision to close its antitrust investigation into Google.”

        Lipscomb also attempted to deflect attention to Google’s rivals, saying: “It’s also clear from the papers how actively Microsoft and other rivals were encouraging these complaints.

      • Meet the new music boss, same as the old music boss

        Companies are allowed to merge with competitors and create vertical silos, so long as no one can prove that doing so has raised prices. The only acceptable proof are the mathematical models invented by pro-monopoly economists, who are the foremost builders of these models.

        Strangely enough, these models always prove that the monopoly is good, actually: not harming “consumer welfare.” All potential mergers will provably not result in increased prices. All post-merger price-increases are provably not due to the merger.

        Anyone who challenges these interpretations is derided for their ignorance of how these models work. Modern antitrust is a priesthood, and whenever a monopoly question arises, they slaughter an ox and read the future in its guts, which only they can interpret.

        And strangely enough, the ox guts always favor monopoly.

      • An Antitrust Exemption for News Media Won’t Take Us Back to the Time Before Big Tech

        Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee held a hearing called “Reviving Competition, Part 2: Saving the Free and Diverse Press.” There was a lot going on during the hearing, a lot of it irrelevant to the very real problems faced by the increasingly concentrated media ecosystem, or the death of small, local, and independent news.

        Leaving aside the detours, the real subject of the hearing was the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would give an exemption to publishers and broadcasters from antitrust laws, allowing them to form a unified bloc for negotiations with tech companies. The idea is that news media is struggling—present tense. The problem is that news media has struggled, past tense. Allowing this exemption will not bring back the papers that have been shut down, the journalists who have been laid off, or unwind the media mergers that have occurred in the meantime.

        During the hearing, the argument was made that this was a lifeline to keep news media afloat while more substantive changes to the law were made—changes that would decrease the power of Big Tech. The other argument made was that such an exemption would revitalize local press by giving a path to profitability. It was also stated that the exemption would be time-limited and could apply only to certain smaller publishers.

      • Patents

        • No UPC in 2021 – try again next year?
          [Ed: This is illusional/delusional. There's no "try again" and the complaints to FCC will take years to process.]

          The drama of the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent project is one of many global dramas gripping our attention lately.

          As readers will be aware, about a year ago, the German Federal Constitutional Court declared that Germany’s first ratification of the UPC project was invalid. See Lens post here as to the background to the constitutional complaint and the Court reasoning for its partial success. The drama returned in late 2020 when the re-ratification instruments were back before both German Houses of Parliament. Again the documents passed the Bundesrat (Upper House) and Bundestag (Lower Hous

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • Piracy Devices Are Part Of The Botnet Problem, Broadcaster Tells Canada’s Telecoms Regulator

          In January, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) launched a consultation on a framework to address the harms caused by botnets – malware-infected computers under the control of malicious actors – and whether these should be blocked by telecoms providers. Super Channel owner Allarco Entertainment believes that piracy devices are part of the threat.

        • US Senators Urge Attorney General to Prosecute Pirate Streaming Services

          US Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis urge recently appointed Attorney General Merrick Garland to put the new piracy streaming bill to use. In a letter, they ask if streaming piracy prosecutions are a priority while stressing that enforcement actions shouldn’t target individuals and legitimate companies.

        • Blocking is Back: Why Internet Blocking is the Next Big Canadian Policy Battle

          Allarco’s botnet bait and switch to copyright demonstrates the slippery slope that arises in the context of content blocking. So too does the forthcoming online harms legislation, where the prospect of mandated blocking of hate content is a real possibility. Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has already downplayed the risks of constitutional challenges of the legislation, despite the fact that the provisions on misinformation in Canada’s election law has been struck down by a court as unconstitutional. The government has thus far shown little regard for the speech implications of its Internet regulation plans, suggesting that blocking could be part of the policy equation. If so, a constitutional challenge would be inevitable. When combined with policy developments in the copyright and CRTC fronts, there is a major effort underway to reshape the Canadian Internet with concerns around net neutrality and freedom of expression seemingly giving way to government and regulator-backed blocking schemes.

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  10. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 6: The Habermasian Who Warned About “Legal Anarchy”

    The political orientation of a Benoît Battistelli-appointed EPO judge who has the audacity to talk about legal anarchy and bemoan abuse of the law; the António Campinos administration extended his term until (at least) 2027



  11. Paid-for Plugs and Coordinated Marketing Fluff (PR Campaigns) Are Ruining 'Linux' Sites

    Junk 'articles' (just marketing disguised as 'news') spoil the World Wide Web; companies repeat the same sales pitch over and over again, sometimes leveraging what they perceive to be avenues read by geeks



  12. Links 15/5/2021: GCC 8.5, Fedora Community Revamp

    Links for the day



  13. Links 14/5/2021: FreeBSD on the Pine H6, Red Hat Hiring

    Links for the day



  14. Protecting Freenode is Protecting the Free Software Movement

    Freenode may seem like a negligible corner of the Internet, which media never bothers mentioning at all; but Freenode, which many have come to take for granted, is core infrastructure for many Free software projects and protecting the network is essential for the Free Software Movement



  15. EPO Justice

    Justice in Europe's second-largest institution, where the law itself is a second-class citizen



  16. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 13, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 13, 2021



  17. Understanding How Freenode (IRC) Works -- or Doesn't Work -- in 2021

    There is a conflict going on behind the scenes at Freenode, but there are also sincere and well-meaning attempts to undo the damage and get back to normal



  18. [Meme] Judges the Office Cannot Control Are Just Nazis With Weapons in Their Office...

    The EPO hasn’t been run by grown-ups for over ten years; Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos and their confidants cannot grasp the concept of law, just blind loyalty



  19. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 5: Battistelli's “Swedish Chef”

    The EPO's 'courts' are controlled by the people whom they're supposed to judge on; this has been the case for at least half a decade



  20. Links 14/5/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22 Beta and GNOME 40 in Gentoo

    Links for the day



  21. Audio: “Unjust Computing Clamps Down” by Richard Stallman

    The FSF has finally uploaded the LibrePlanet talk of Richard Stallman



  22. Links 13/5/2021: KDE Gear 21.04.1 and LibreOffice 7.0.6

    Links for the day



  23. The EPO's War on Justice and Assault on the Law -- Part 4: The President of the Boards of Appeal

    A deeper look into the ‘sausage factory’ that is EPO tribunals certainly helps us understand the inherent bias of many decisions, including a recent decision on European software patents like a controversial simulation patent



  24. Judging the Judges

    Today we shall take a closer look at Carl Josefsson, a person who shall become a figure of interest if he sends EPO courts to the United States in clear violation of the EPC (looking to rubber-stamp an unlawful decision already made before this case even started)



  25. When EU Authorities Tell You to Complain to the EPO Itself About EPO Privacy Violations...

    “Kafkaesque” at the EPO; Kafka could do a whole novel about the flirtations with or affairs of ‘justice’ at the EPO



  26. The Need for Reliable Governance at Freenode

    Why the current and high-profile (albeit somewhat covert) owner of the network, who seems to care about Free software (it has made him very wealthy), should put the whole thing in reliable hands and not attempt to 'monetise' it in any way



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 12, 2021



  28. Andrew Lee of Private Internet Access/London Trust Media Increasingly Owns and Controls Freenode (Updatedx2)

    The details about Freenode ownership and control are explained in a resignation letter urging users to move to another network



  29. [Meme] eBPF is Not Microsoft's, But It's Certainly Googlebombed by Microsoft

    eBPF isn't Microsoft's. But sites that work closely with Microsoft keep mentioning that term as if Microsoft created it and champions it (typical tactics).



  30. Links 13/5/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 on Finer Hardware, AMI Dabbling in Free Firmware

    Links for the day


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