09.24.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 24/9/2021: 30 Years of Europe’s First Root Name Server, Repairability of Laptops Discussed

Posted in News Roundup at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • A different take on the NUMA OOM killer story

        I was digging through some notes on old outages tonight and found something potentially useful for other people. It’s something I have mentioned before, but it seems like maybe that post didn’t have enough specifics to make it really “land” when someone else does a web search.

        So, in the hopes of spreading some knowledge, here is a little story about a crashy service.

      • Installing a Commercial SSL Server Certificate (nginx)

        Since CACert still isn’t “Browser Trusted”, and I still don’t want to use letsencrypt, I decided to give this a try. The company resides inside the European Union and is the cheapest I could find.

      • Installing a Commercial SSL Server Certificate (nginx) | dt.iki.fi

        Since CACert still isn’t “Browser Trusted”, and I still don’t want to use letsencrypt, I decided to give this a try. The company resides inside the European Union and is the cheapest I could find.

    • Games

      • Metal Raspberry Pi Arcade Controller is as Cool as it is Shiny

        This setup is designed to connect to an external display and has female RCA jacks accessible on the back for video output. There are 8 metal buttons on the right-hand side of the controller with a custom joystick made from 16mm aluminum bar stock on the left. Illuminating the edges and matching the controller with his previous creations is a glowing display of orange LED strips.

      • Linux Gamers Can Finally Play Games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Thanks to Easy Anti-Cheat Support – It’s FOSS News

        Epic Games adds complete Linux support for its Easy-Anti Cheat service, along with official SteamPlay (or Proton) and Wine compatibility.

        Even though we expected this to happen sometime in the future, the introduction of Steam Deck changed the scene for gaming on Linux.

      • Online co-op still planned for Children of Morta shown in new video plus free update | GamingOnLinux

        The awesome looking Children of Morta from Dead Mage and 11 bit studios has been out for some time now and the developer is still hacking away at getting online co-op working.

        It’s a feature that has been promised for some time but years after release we’re still waiting. In a fresh update the developer mentioned how they’re working “diligently” on it and they’re aware of ” how disappointing and difficult such a long wait has been”. Turns out they’ve found it more difficult and time-consuming than expected but to keep us going they’ve released a new video showing off an Alpha video to show it off:

      • Stone Story continues being the absolute coolest ASCII-art adventure with the Quest Update | GamingOnLinux

        Stone Story RPG is an absolutely brilliant auto-RPG adventure game that has animated ASCII artwork and a big update just dropped to expand the experience. It continues to be my favourite ASCII styled game. You’ve played clickers and idle games before but nothing quite like this I’m sure.

        The game is set in a “dark and ominous world” where you go off on a quest to find 9 magical Soul Stones. You do this by repeatedly exploring areas to gather resources, fight, build things and unlock new areas. For a game with retro ASCII styling, it’s incredibly atmospheric. A big part of it is that you have no direct character control.

        A big Quest Update has rolled out with four all-new adventures and the developer promises that the content included “is only the beginning” with something new planned to be added each week.

      • Urtuk: The Desolation gets a big free content boost | GamingOnLinux

        Urtuk: The Desolation is a low-fantasy, open world, tactical turn-based RPG that released back in February and it’s back with a big free upgrade for all players.

        Continuing to find lots of fans it’s still sat happily with a Very Positive rating from well over a thousand user reviews on Steam, so it’s not surprising to see the developer continuing to upgrade it. The developer says it’s a “DLC” but really it’s just a standard update. The new version includes a whole new faction, a new biome, 30 minutes of new music, new events, new items, new objectives, boss maps, new game mechanics and a whole lot of improvements across the game. Sounds like an awesome time to jump back in for another run.

      • Futex2 Linux Kernel patches get another go after feedback to help Linux gaming | GamingOnLinux

        Another day, another try and getting the long-awaited futex2 patches into the Linux Kernel with another version submitted.

        For a quick reminder: this work from Collabora is designed to help Linux gaming for both native games and Windows games run through Wine and the Steam Play Proton compatibility layers. This work was cut-down to size in the hopes of getting the simpler work actually upstreamed into the Linux Kernel.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Solus Team Plans to Exit GTK and Adopt Enlightenment Desktop (EFL)

          The unique Solus Linux project plans not to invest time and effort to GNOME desktop, instead looking ahead with Enlightenment Desktop.

        • Komikku – manga reader for GNOME

          A comic book is a magazine which consists of narrative artwork in the form of sequential images with text that represent individual scenes.

          Panels are often accompanied by brief descriptive prose and written narrative, usually dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Comics are used to tell a story, and are published in a number of different formats including comic strips, comic books, webcomics, Manga, and graphic novels. Some comics have been published in a tabloid form. The largest comic book market is Japan.

          Komikku is a GTK-based manga reader for GNOME. The application is is written in Python.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • It’s probably not the hardware, a sysadmin lesson

          Once we noticed this, we flailed around looking at various things and wound up reforming the machine’s NTP setup to be more standard (it was different for historical reasons). But nothing cured the problem, and last night its clock wound up seriously off again. After all of this we started suspecting that there was something wrong with the machine’s hardware, or perhaps with its BIOS settings (I theorized wildly that the BIOS was setting it to go into a low power mode that OpenBSD’s timekeeping didn’t cope with).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.10 Beta Released

          Canonical has released the final beta of next month’s Ubuntu 21.10 “Impish Indri” release.

          Ubuntu 21.10 Beta is out ahead of the planned stable release on 14 October. There are 21.10 beta releases out for the Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, UbuntuKylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Xubuntu.

          Ubuntu 21.10 is powered by the Linux 5.13 kernel (sadly not 5.14), upgrades to the GCC 11 compiler along with other toolchain updates, and has a wealth of other improvements. On the desktop side, Ubuntu 21.10 features GNOME 40.

        • Ubuntu 21.10 ‘Impish Indri’ Beta Released! Here’s What’s New

          Canonical has released a beta version of the upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 ‘Impish Indri.’ A stable release is scheduled for October 14 this year. In this article, let’s look at the new features and changes in Impish Indri.

          Before we begin, here’s the link to the official Beta ISO of Ubuntu 21.10. Make sure to put it on download while we take you on a tour of what’s new in the build.

        • Help make the next Ubuntu version awesome with the final Ubuntu 21.10 Beta released

          Ubuntu 21.10 Beta is one of the final steps before the next release of this very popular Linux distribution. It’s time to get testing and reporting issues to ensure it’s a good one.

          One of the big highlight changes is the upgrade to GNOME 40, with all the design changes there like the new Activities Overview, workspaces are arranged horizontally and the overview and app grid are accessed vertically. With a little Ubuntu flavour of course thanks to Canonical continuing to include a dock on the left side of the screen.

          They’ve also enabled Wayland support with NVIDIA drivers, PulseAudio upgrades with support for bluetooth LDAC and AptX bluetooth and HFP profiles, upgrades to lots of the main applications like Firefox 92, LibreOffice 7.2.1 and Thunderbird 91.1.1.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • An open source alternative to Microsoft Exchange

        Microsoft Exchange has for many years been nearly unavoidable as a platform for groupware environments. Late in 2020, however, an Austrian open source software developer introduced grommunio, a groupware server and client with a look and feel familiar to Exchange and Outlook users.

        The grommunio project functions well as a drop-in replacement for Exchange. The developers connect components to the platform the same way Microsoft does, and they support RPC (Remote Procedure Call) with the HTTP protocol. According to the developers, grommunio also includes numerous interfaces of common groupware such as IMAP, POP3, SMTP, EAS (Exchange ActiveSync), EWS (Exchange Web Services), CalDAV, and CardDAV. With such broad support, grommunio integrates smoothly into existing infrastructures.

      • Programming/Development

        • On bad advice

          Like many programmers, I’m largely self-taught. I’ve rarely worked with anyone more experienced than myself, especially early in my career where I spent a lot of time working with other 20-something-year-olds who also had only a few years of experience. So we all learned about how to program from advice we found on the [Internet], especially posts that were shared via sites like reddit and hacker news.

          Much of my progress since then has been unlearning all those things. In hindsight, most of the writing and discussion I read online about how to program was actively harmful to my ability to successfully produce working code.

          That’s not to say that most programmers are bad programmers. Just that it’s not automatically the case that good programmers will produce good advice, or that good advice will be more widely shared than bad advice.

        • Reflections on a decade of coding

          It’s hard to write these examples without sounding like I’m bragging, but to be very clear – I don’t think that these projects are particularly impressive in context. They are the kind of projects that someone with a decade of experience in a specialized area should be capable of.

          But they are also projects that I’m fairly confident I would have failed at even 5 years ago.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Fun with Redirection

            When you’re hacking in the shell or in a script, sometimes you want to change how the output of a command is routed. Today I’m gonna cover common shell redirection tips and tricks that I use every day at work and how it all works under the hood.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Celebrating 30 Years of Europe’s First Root Name Server

        The root name servers sit at the top of the DNS hierarchy. Today, there are 13 root name server identifiers in the world. As the first step in a DNS lookup, they are responsible for referring DNS resolvers to the appropriate Top-Level Domain (TLD) name servers. The I-root service operated by Netnod handles several hundred million DNS queries a day using anycast nodes deployed in more than 70 locations across the world. But how did we get here, and what challenges did we face in regards to the root servers in the early days of the Internet?

      • Europe proposes USB-C as common port for digital devices

        In a statement, the EC, the executive arm of the European Union, said these proposals had been advanced to cut down on electronic waste and also to avoid inconvenience to customers.

        The EC said USB-C would become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and hand-held game consoles.

        Another step would be unbundle the sale of chargers from devices, as the first two changes would ensure that a single charger could be used across devices.

      • EU proposes mandatory USB-C on all devices, including iPhones

        In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras. Manufacturers will also be forced to make their fast-charging standards interoperable, and to provide information to customers about what charging standards their device supports. Under the proposal, customers will be able to buy new devices without an included charger.

      • EU Proposes New Legislation That Would Force Apple to Bring USB-C to iPhones, iPads, and AirPods

        The proposed legislation would force all consumer electronics, not just Apple, which sell devices in Europe, to incorporate USB-C ports in a variety of products, ranging from smartphones, tablets, headphones, cameras, portable speakers, handheld consoles, and others. Calling it the ‘common port,’ the European Union claims that switching all products to USB-C would not just have benefits to the environment, but annual monetary savings for consumers that mount to $293 million.

  • Leftovers

    • The Battle for Thacker Pass

      To the west of the northern Nevada town of Orovada (population 155), State Route 293 cuts onto public lands near Thacker Pass, a section of high desert in the caldera of an extinct super-volcano. Around mile marker 20, an unassuming dirt road detours into the hills, where protesters have been camped out at the site of a proposed lithium mine for the past eight months. When I visited the camp in August, the air was thick with California wildfire smoke.

      Within 10 minutes of my arrival, a group of Indigenous activists from the West Coast showed up with donated supplies. This was just one stop on their way up to Minnesota, where more than 700 demonstrators had recently been arrested for blocking traffic, chaining themselves to equipment, and other acts of civil disobedience aimed at stopping Enbridge Energy from replacing the Line 3 crude oil pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada, to Wisconsin. After a round of pleasantries, campers and their visitors shuffled into a human chain to move food, medical supplies, and water into a storage tent.

    • Billy Mitchell Lets His Site Lapse, With A Critic Of His High Score Claims Swooping In To Take It Over

      It’s been a minute since we last discussed Billy Mitchell, the man with the self-propelled reputation as an immense gamer with many high scores on record. He has also demonstrated a willingness to be quite litigious towards anyone who disagrees with this assessment of his gaming prowess. A couple of years back, he threatened to sue the Guinness Book of World Records for — checks notes — , huh, defamation. This defamation appeared to amount to the GBoWR rescinding his “record” for a high and perfect Pacman score, noting that there were evidenced claims that Mitchell had not earned the videotaped score on an official arcade cabinet, but rather using an emulator. These records were later reinstated, with GBoWR indicating it didn’t have enough evidence to refuse the record. Mitchell also sued Twin Galaxies, an organization that acts as something of an arbiter for gaming records like this. That case failed to get dismissed on anti-SLAPP grounds and appears to still be active.

    • Dog Years

      Our beloved dog Echo died last week. She was almost 15 years-old, or about 87 in human years. In addition to grief and fond remembrance, her death prompts thoughts about the many historical changes that happened in her lifetime.  So many in fact, that it seems like she really was born Lincoln’s “four score and seven years ago.”  Has historical change become so accelerated it must be counted in dog years? Is the average length of dog’s life now the best yardstick to measure the unfolding crisis of capitalism?

    • December 3, 1975

      Na golden shovel My mother wakes early to go to church. Dawn redux. Her áo dài is Virgin Mary blue. Her hair is still long, reflecting light. A border control officer filters through her documents, preparing to send her through to their new home destination. The casting call goes out in the meantime: Paid extras needed for jungle defoliation scene. Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness play across the screen of my mother’s face. I glimpse a flicker, a flare, then the sudden foul odor of napalm & oil in the swamp.

    • The Fate of Cassandra: Dire Predictions Go Unheeded

      The fate of Cassandra seems particularly relevant today, for there has been ample warning about three developments that threaten continued human existence—preparations for nuclear war, climate change, and disease pandemics—without, however, adequate measures being taken to safeguard human survival.

      Ever since the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, prophetic voices have warned of doom if the world does not ban nuclear weapons. And yet, the nine nuclear powers are currently engaged in a new nuclear arms race to build ever faster, more devastating weapons that, if used, will annihilate nearly all life on earth.

    • Dear Death
    • The Apple Tower

      I realize that I overthink everything, but it is beyond me how we put university administrators with little classroom experience in charge of educational reform when they have made careers of avoiding teaching. By running away from teaching, some even repeat that stupid saying: “those who can’t do, teach.” My retort: “those who can’t teach, go for the money.” At CSUN, impaction was advanced by an administrator, Dr. Elizabeth Adams, who has gone up the ranks. As thousands of first-generation students of color are being rejected, the sale of a campus building is a common practice—going to the highest bidder, where the name of the building has no historic or significant meaning.

      Many of the changes taking place at the California State University (CSU) are included in the 2021-2022 state budget. This includes the conversion of Humboldt State University into a polytechnic with a $25 million special allocation by the state. I don’t know how administrators work with public budgets, but it is costly to build a new program where there are a lot of special interests who have their hands out. Apple Inc. also appears to be investing in the CSU. I wonder if they’re getting a deal reminiscent of the Trump’s obsession to put his name on everything. Hopefully the outcome will not be the same as the failed Trump casinos in Atlantic City.

    • Don’t Count On Heroes!

      We forget the history that places very real heroes in harm’s way where they either save the day or go down to heartbreaking defeat. Oskar Schindler was one such hero who saved 1,200 Jews in the former Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust.

      But attention to hero worship often misses the larger story when the sometimes awful consequences of human behavior condemn masses of innocent people to war, famine, disease, grinding poverty, and ignorance. As long as heroes exist, then the consequences of sometimes vicious human behavior are often hidden.

    • Science

    • Education

      • File not found

        Gradually, Garland came to the same realization that many of her fellow educators have reached in the past four years: the concept of file folders and directories, essential to previous generations’ understanding of computers, is gibberish to many modern students.

        Professors have varied recollections of when they first saw the disconnect. But their estimates (even the most tentative ones) are surprisingly similar. It’s been an issue for four years or so, starting — for many educators — around the fall of 2017.

    • Hardware

      • Repairability of laptops

        I’ve (begrudgingly) come to accept a future of soldered CPUs and RAM in my laptops, but I agree with Michael Dexter of Call for Testing and the BSDFund that storage is a bridge too far. Unlike the former two, storage has the potential to contain things that are irreplaceable to their owner. Robust tooling like OpenZFS also exposes just how flaky and unreliable storage can be relative to other system components. It’s also something you can run out of.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pandemic Aid Was Supposed to Go to Small Businesses, But Big Companies Cashed In
      • FL Republican Wants to Review All Mandatory Vaccinations, Which Includes Polio
      • Peru’s Leftist President Calls for Global Agreement to End Vaccine Apartheid

        Peruvian President Pedro Castillo—the leader of the country with the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in the world—is calling for an international agreement between nations and pharmaceutical companies to ensure equal, universal access to the coronavirus vaccine in an effort to combat massive inequities in distribution.

        In his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, Castillo argued that the fight against Covid-19 has “demonstrated the inability of the international system to cooperate under the principles of efficiency and solidarity.”

      • Evil Doers: The Pharmaceutical Industry and the Pandemic

        Some may find this description of the pharmaceutical industry abhorrent, after all they develop life-saving drugs and vaccines, most recently the vaccines against the coronavirus which have saved millions of lives. But the industry’s storyline gives us a very incomplete picture of what it does and how.

        Probably the best way to think about the pharmaceutical industry is to imagine an incredibly corrupt fire department. Most of the money that the fire department gets to buy new trucks and other equipment goes right into the pockets of the department’s commissioner and his closest friends. The department may still do its job in the sense that they rush to fires and rescue people trapped by flames, but it costs way more than it should.

      • Pfizer CEO—Biden’s ‘Good Friend’—Is Privately Working to Tank Drug Price Reforms

        Hours after President Joe Biden called Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla a “good friend,” Politico revealed that the pharmaceutical executive has been urging his employees to fight Democrats’ plan to let Medicare directly negotiate prescription drug prices—a popular proposal that Biden has endorsed.

        Politico obtained a copy of a three-minute video message in which Bourla echoes common—and misleading—pharmaceutical industry talking points against the Medicare negotiation plan, which top Democrats are working to include in a budget reconciliation package despite the objections of several Big Pharma-backed lawmakers.

      • In ‘Landmark’ Decision, EPA Finalizes Rule Cutting Use of Super-Pollutant HFCs

        “I applaud President Biden’s actions to cut down these super-pollutants while strengthening our ability to compete in a global clean energy market.”—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

      • UN Is Prioritizing Corporate Profiteers Over Global Hunger, Activists Say
      • How big corporations and Bill Gates took over the UN food Summit
      • The Globalized, Corporate-Led Food System Is Failing Us: Boycott Grows of U.N. Food Summit

        More than 500 civil society groups boycotted the United Nations Food Systems Summit in New York for giving corporations an outsized role in framing the agenda. We speak with leading food advocates in Ethiopia, India and the United States, who lay out their concerns: Million Belay, general coordinator of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa; Raj Patel, journalist and research professor at the University of Texas at Austin; and Shalmali Guttal, executive director of Focus on the Global South. “There is growing hunger in the world, and there is growing inequality and growing poverty and unemployment,” Guttal says. “This industrialized, globalized, corporate-led food system is failing us.”

      • You Can’t Lead With A Forced Jab: The Cost Of Coercion Over Conversation

        You might have already made your mind up on vaccinations, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still crucially important conversations we can all participate in, writes Fenelle McLaurin.

      • Contradictory Cries for Freedom: Vaccinations and Abortions

        How can it be that someone can be free to choose to be vaccinated or not but cannot choose to have an abortion? The freedom to not be vaccinated limits the government’s right to intervene; the Texas limitation on the freedom to abort shows the power of the government to limit the mother’s freedom.

        How can the same people hold differing views on freedom?

      • Has Big Pharma Bought Enough Democrats to Derail Biden’s Plan?

        A West Health/Gallup survey in June put the level of Democratic support for the proposal at 97 percent, and announced that “nearly all Democrats…support empowering the federal government to negotiate lower prices of brand-name prescription drugs covered by Medicare.”

        Since polls have margins of error, it’s reasonable to speculate about whether any grassroots Democrats oppose using the power of government to cut drug prices.

        Unfortunately, a handful of congressional Democrats do oppose acting on the issue. Because Democrats control the House and Senate by narrow margins, this opposition threatens necessary reforms. If that threat becomes a reality, it could doom Democratic prospects for retaining control of Congress in 2022.

      • Facebook to testify in Senate after report finds Instagram harms mental health

        A Facebook executive will testify in front of the Senate after reports from The Wall Street Journal showed the social media giant downplayed the toxic impact its Instagram platform has on teenage girls.

        Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis is scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection on Sept. 30, The Washington Post reported.

        The Wall Street Journal reported that research conducted by Facebook “repeatedly” showed that Instagram negatively impacted teenage girls’ mental health while executives continued to downplay this impacts, including in remarks before Congress.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Will Not Reinstate Epic’s Fortnite Developer Account, but Epic’s Other Developer Accounts Remain Active

          Sweeney posted a letter from Apple’s attorneys to Epic’s. It reads: [...]

        • FBI Sat On Ransomware Decryption Key For Weeks As Victims Lost Millions Of Dollars

          The vulnerability equities process meets the FBI’s natural tendency to find and hoard illegal things until it’s done using them. And no one walks away from it unscathed. Welcome to the cyberwar, collateral damage!

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • 65% of users still re-use passwords across accounts: Report

            New Delhi, While 92 per cent of people know that using the same password or a variation is a risk, 65 per cent still re-use passwords across accounts, drastically increasing the risks to their sensitive information, a report said.

            According to a report by LogMeIn, consumers have a solid understanding of proper password security and the actions necessary to minimise risk, but they still pick and choose re-used information.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Massachusetts Supreme Court Being Asked To Decide Whether Cops Can Engage In Warrantless Surveillance Of Social Media Users

              The top court in Massachusetts is asking itself (and legal counsel representing both sides) questions that — on the surface level — don’t really appear to be that difficult to answer. Here’s how Thomas Harrison sums it up for Courthouse News:

            • Appeals Court Says State Secrets Privilege Means NSA Can Avoid Wikimedia Foundation’s Unlawful Surveillance Allegations

              The Snowden leaks exposing NSA dragnet surveillance prompted a lot of litigation. Cast a wide enough net and you’re bound to snag it on some people’s rights. The Wikimedia Foundation was one of several parties who sued over the NSA’s seemingly unconstitutional collection efforts, targeting the agency’s “upstream” harvesting of all data and communications straight from internet backbones.

            • Colorado Supreme Court Rules Three Months of Warrantless Video Surveillance Violates the Constitution

              Last week, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled, in a case called People v. Tafoya, that three months of warrantless continuous video surveillance outside a home by the police violated the Fourth Amendment. We, along with the ACLU and the ACLU of Colorado, filed an amicus brief in the case.

              The police, after receiving a tip about possible drug activity, attached a camera to a utility pole across from Rafael Tafoya’s home that captured views of his front yard, driveway, and back yard. The back yard and part of the driveway were enclosed within a six-foot high privacy fence, which obscured their view from passersby. However, the fence did not block the view from the high vantage of the utility pole. The police could observe a live video feed of the area and could remotely pan, tilt, and zoom the camera. They also stored the footage indefinitely, making it available for later review at any time.

              At trial, Tafoya moved to suppress all evidence resulting from the warrantless pole camera surveillance, arguing that it violated the Fourth Amendment. The trial court denied the motion, and Tafoya was convicted on drug trafficking charges. A division of the court of appeals reversed, agreeing with Tafoya that the surveillance was unconstitutional.

            • The NSA and CIA Use Ad Blockers Because Online Advertising Is So Dangerous

              Lots of people who use ad blockers say they do it to block malicious ads that can sometimes hack their devices or harvest sensitive information on them. It turns out, the NSA, CIA, and other agencies in the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) are also blocking ads potentially for the same sorts of reasons.

              The IC, which also includes the parts of the FBI, DEA, and DHS, and various DoD elements, has deployed ad-blocking technology on a wide scale, according to a copy of a letter sent by Congress and shared with Motherboard.

            • ExpressVPN Employees Question Company About Exec Working for UAE Spy Unit

              In the wake of that news, ExpressVPN employees asked management a wave of questions about Gericke, what ExpressVPN knew about his employment, and how this will affect the company’s perception in the cybersecurity industry, according to a copy of the messages submitted through an online form and obtained by Motherboard.

            • WHONIX On OPENPOWER

              Developer Jeremy Rand wrote in to report his functioning port of Whonix 16 to OpenPOWER. (I should point out that all links in this article are “clearnet.”) Whonix is a second operating system based on Kicksecure (a Debian derivative formerly known as “Hardened Debian”) that runs within VMs on your existing OS (compare with Tails). All connections within it are forced through Tor, using different paths for different applications; additionally, it uses kloak for keystroke anonymization and secure network time synchronization instead of NTP, has higher quality RNGs, and enables AppArmor and hardened kernel profiles to prevent against other types of attacks.

            • Facebook algorithm boosts pro-Facebook news

              Thanks to a history of anticompetitive mergers – Whatsapp, Instagram, Onavo and more – based on fraudulent promises to antitrust regulators, Facebook has grown to nearly three billion users – except FB doesn’t have users, really – it has hostages.

            • Twitter Rolls Out Tipping Feature to All Adult Users, Adds Bitcoin as Payment Method

              The social media platform began testing its Tips feature earlier this year with a select group of users, and payments could be processed via Bandcamp, Cash App, Chipper, Patreon, Razorpay, Wealthsimple, Venmo or GoFundMe, depending on the user’s choice. With Thursday’s updates, U.S. users will also get to use Strike, a payment app built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that lets users send and receive Bitcoin.

            • De-anonymization is a threat to all of us. – Invidious
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Ocasio-Cortez Slams Congress for “Senselessly” Boosting Defense Budget Each Year
      • Washington Institute for Near East Policy Honors a UAE War Criminal

        Bin Zayed (popularly known as “MBZ”) has been the Emirates’ de facto ruler since his brother’s stroke in 2014.  In 2015, bin Zayed joined the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the head of a coalition of Arab states which intervened in Yemen, ostensibly at the request of Yemen’s government, after Iranian-backed Houthi rebels overthrew Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.  Bin Zayed’s crucial role in launching an unprovoked war is not mentioned in WINEP’s press release naming him as the latest recipient of their Scholar-Statesman Award.

        The United States abets the Saudi-UAE coalition with intelligence, targeting assistance, spare parts for coalition aircraft, arms sales, and (until November 2018) in-flight refueling of coalition warplanes.  Nobel Peace Prize laureate President Barack Obama took the US into the war in order to mollify the Gulf states who opposed Obama’s prospective Iran nuclear deal.  Yemenis speak of the “Saudi-American war.”

      • United States of War: How AUKUS Nuclear Submarine Deal Could Inflame Tension, Provoke War with China

        Criticism is growing of AUKUS, a new trilateral military partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States that the countries say is needed to counter China’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific region. As part of the agreement, the U.S. has agreed to help Australia build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, replacing a previous deal Australia had with France. China has denounced the deal, saying the countries are “severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear non-proliferation efforts.” Anthropologist David Vine, who tracks U.S. military bases overseas, says AUKUS will not only intensify regional tensions but also grow the U.S. military footprint in Australia. “There is no reason to be building new military bases in Australia or any part of the world,” he says.

      • Democrats File Bill to Abolish “Flagrantly” Wasteful Trump-Formed Space Force
      • As Bids to Slash Pentagon Budget Fail, US Military Spending Slammed as ‘Height of Absurdity’

        Anti-war groups on Thursday lamented the failure of two progressive-led amendments to the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that sought to slash the Pentagon’s funding by tens of billions of dollars, with one peace campaigner calling the $780 billion U.S. military budget a “national shame.”

        “Americans want to see our leaders invest in solutions to today’s most pressing issues—not line the pockets of wealthy arms-makers at the expense of working families.”—Erica Fein, Win Without War

      • Opinion | Women’s Rights: Afghanistan and Beyond

        Suddenly there’s major concern across the country—from the mainstream media to every last rock-ribbed Republican—for the rights of Afghan women and girls to be able to work, to go to school.

      • Opinion | Who Represents Afghanistan: Genuine Activists vs ‘Native Informants’

        Scenes of thousands of Afghans flooding the Kabul International Airport to flee the country as Taliban fighters were quickly consolidating their control over the capital, raised many questions, leading amongst them: who are these people and why are they running away?

      • Are the Motives of War Profiteers Driving Us to the Brink of a New Cold War?
      • School Shootings Are More Than Just an American Issue

        Scenes familiar to Americans filled the Russian media on the morning of September 20. The country watched as Perm State University students ran to safety. Inside, a shooter went on a murderous rampage, resulting in at least six dead and 20 injured. The shooting, the second one this year, was carried out by a freshman. Just a few months earlier, on May 11, 2021, there was a massacre at a school in the city of Kazan, which ended in the deaths of seven eighth grade students and two teachers.

      • Meet the Biden Advisor Who Wants a Cold War with China

        A similar betrayal took place recently when President Joe Biden calledPresident Xi Jinping of China on September 9, 2021, to work toward rapprochement as tensions in the western Pacific had reached a fever pitch. The very next day, Biden’s call was undermined by inflammatory information provided on September 10 to the Financial Times by anonymous officials from his own administration. It drew immediate ire from Beijing.

        By calling Xi, Biden’s goal had been to ratchet down the brinkmanship that has been accelerating tension in the region for years. His key offering to Xi was the reassurance that the U.S. would continue to respect the One China policy—the red line that Beijing has insisted must remain uncrossed.

      • Taliban Cops vs American Cops, Who’s Worse?

        Criticizing how a nation treats its prisoners or responds to internal dissent implies that the behavior being discussed falls outside international norms. If your own country does the same thing and you don’t mention it, your lie of omission strips your story of context.

        There have been many examples of such journalistic malfeasance in coverage of the Taliban since their takeover of Afghanistan.

      • Opinion | A Parable of (All-American) Violence

        As a religious studies professor, I know a parable when I see one. Consider the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the final events in this country’s war in Afghanistan as just such a parable taken directly from the history of our moment.

      • ‘This Is Big’: House Passes Amendment to Cut US Complicity in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

        Anti-war groups on Thursday welcomed the U.S. House’s passage of an amendment to the annual defense bill that would cut off the flow to Saudi Arabia of U.S. logistical support and weapons “that are bombing civilians” in Yemen.

        “This is BIG,” tweeted the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) following the afternoon 219-207 vote, which fell largely along party lines, with just 11 Democrats voting “no.”

      • Praised for ‘Braving the Smears,’ Tlaib Votes Against $1 Billion in Military Aid to Israel

        As the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to approve $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, Rep. Rashida Tlaib was lauded by human rights advocates—and lambasted by some of her pro-Israel colleagues—after explaining why she cast one of only nine votes against the measure.

        The House voted 420-9 in favor of the stand-alone Iron Dome funding bill (pdf) days after progressive Democrats including Tlaib (D-Mich.) blocked the military aid from a broader spending package. Eight Democrats and one Republican—Rep. Thomas Massie (Ky.)—voted against the measure on Thursday, while Reps. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) voted “present.”

      • WhatsApp, social posts helped lead Haitian migrants to Texas

        It also reflects the power of Facebook, YouTube and platforms like WhatsApp, which migrants use to share information that can get distorted as it speeds through immigrant communities, directing migration flows. That’s especially true for tight-knit groups like the Creole-and-French-speaking Haitians, many of whom left their homeland after its devastating 2010 earthquake and have been living in Latin America, drawn by Brazil and Chile’s once-booming economies.

      • Many Haitian migrants in Texas border town of Del Rio being released into U.S.: AP

        Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, said Tuesday he had spoken with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, about the Haitians’ situation. Ebrard said most of the Haitians already had refugee status in Chile or Brazil and weren’t seeking it in Mexico.

    • Environment

      • New Legal Campaign Aims to Protect People and Nature From Polluters’ ‘Irreparable Damage’

        Frontline communities in Latin America and advocacy groups on Thursday announced a new global campaign that targets major polluters and aims “make the right to a healthy environment an internationally recognized human right” through court action.

        Launched ahead of United Nations climate talks scheduled for next month, the campaign kicked off with a pair of lawsuits filed in Chile and Colombia by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and member organizations in each country.

      • Thunberg to join mass German climate strikes before vote

        As Germany’s top parties hold final rallies ahead of Sunday’s vote, the Fridays for Future youth marches will make the case that the political class has let down the younger generation.

        “The political parties haven’t taken the climate catastrophe seriously enough,” Luisa Neubauer, who runs the group’s German chapter, told AFP.

        Neubauer said “big change” would only be possible “if we create pressure from the streets” and tell the major parties “now there are no more excuses”.

      • Greta Thunberg Is ‘So Tired of Talking About the Climate’

        “I’m so tired of talking about the climate right now,” Thunberg told host Noah, in a wider conversation about the lack of governmental action on the climate crisis — including the need to treat it like a crisis.

        “I think people haven’t really understood [the crisis] until the pandemic, because I think in the light of the pandemic, we really see that we can actually treat a crisis like a crisis,” Thunberg observed, responding to complaints that climate solutions are too expensive, or to other excuses that defer taking action.

      • ‘A Choice Point for Humanity’: Women Demand Visionary Shift at UN Climate Talks

        “As the world prepares for one of the most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement, we know solutions exist to mitigate the worst impacts, and that women are leading the way.”—Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International

        “We can act now and we must act now, which is why WECAN is hosting the Global Women’s Assembly for Climate Justice to uplift women, gender-diverse and community-led solutions, strategies, policies, and frameworks to address the climate crisis,” said Lake. “It is code red and we are drawing a red line to say no more sacrifice people and no more sacrifice zones. This is the time to unite together to build the healthy and just future we know is possible for each other and the Earth.”

      • Congress’s Climate Bill Is a Major Story. Journalists Are Missing the Most Important Part.

        This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration cofounded by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

      • Raj Patel: Climate, Conflict and Capitalism Drive Global Hunger. COVID Made It Worse

        With hunger growing across the globe during the pandemic, the United Nations is holding its first Food Systems Summit, but the gathering is facing fierce criticism for giving corporations an outsized role framing the agenda. The United Nations’ own experts on food, human rights and the environment released a statement warning the summit could “serve the corporate sector” over the needs of workers, small producers, women and Indigenous peoples around the world. U.N. figures show the pandemic has increased the number of hungry people to 811 million, and nearly one in three people worldwide — almost 2.4 billion — lack access to adequate nutrition. “When you’ve got conflict, climate and capitalism compounded with COVID, you see a really apocalyptic situation,” says journalist and academic Raj Patel, author of “Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System.”

      • Energy

        • Rapid Shift to Clean Energy Could Save ‘Trillions.’ But Corporate-Backed Groups Are Fighting the Transition in US Budget Bill

          A slow transition away from fossil fuels would be “more expensive” than a rapid shift to renewable energy, according to a new study, a conclusion that stands in sharp contrast to fossil fuel industry talking points aimed at heading off aggressive climate policy currently being shaped in Congress.

          An accelerated clean energy transition would lead to “net savings of many trillions of dollars,” a calculation that does not even take into account the damages from unchecked climate chaos, the recently released study from Oxford University found. On economics alone, the logic of a rapid shift to renewable energy is obvious and necessary. 

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Is There a Better Way to Tell the Story of Non-Human Life?

          In 1856, English art critic John Ruskin published the third volume of Modern Painters, which in the course of its roving aesthetic inquiry takes to task a commonplace literary convention: the personification of the natural world. According to Ruskin, describing flowers and oceans as if they are people is by no means an innocuous meaning-making device. Rather, the impulse emerges from the “pathetic fallacy,” in which “violent feelings…produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things.”

        • An Unbelievably Awful Logging Project for Grizzly Bears

          The Ripley logging project calls for almost 17 square miles of commercial logging (10,854 acres) including 5 square miles of clearcuts (3,223 acres).  Plus the project is a huge money-loser —  by the Forest Service’s own estimate, it will cost taxpayers $643,000 to subsidize this further degradation of an already-degraded landscape,  Much of that cost will be to rebuild and maintain an astounding 93 miles of logging roads, 13 miles of new permanent logging roads, 6 miles of new so-called “temporary” logging roads, an additional 11 miles of illegal, user-created roads that will be officially added to the legal road system, and conversion of a four-mile illegal motorized trail into an authorized motorized trail, and construction of a one or two acre parking area.

          It’s astounding the Forest Service would even consider such a massive logging and road construction project in an area just two miles from the official Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Recovery Zone, and less than one mile from the Cabinet Face Bears Outside Recovery Zone.

    • Finance

      • Southwest’s Bizarrely Antagonistic Lawsuit To Stop Consumers From Finding Better Deals

        This lawsuit is a couple months old, but I’m clearing out some older stories, and thought it was worth writing up still. Southwest Airlines is regularly ranked as a favorite of consumers. While it’s generally relatively low cost as airlines go, it has kept up a reputation of stellar customer service — contrary to the reputations of some other low cost airlines. However, earlier this year, Southwest not only decided to be particularly anti-consumer, but to go legal about it. The company decided to sue the site Skiplagged.

      • Opinion | NDP Should Push Liberals for Public Hearings on Popular Wealth Tax

        In a recent article, a young freelance journalist expressed the familiar lament that she and other millennials won’t be able to own their own homes or have financial security.

      • ‘You Tell Me What We Should Cut’: Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

        In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont argued the United States needs “every penny” of the reconciliation package that is currently taking shape in Congress amid ongoing fights over its size and scope.

      • Be rlin Votes on Whether to Expropriate Corporate Landlords

        Berlin—When party campaign posters suddenly blanketed Germany last month, the standard half-smiles and safe slogans seemed to reflect the blandness of the upcoming federal election—described by many as a competition for who can carry on Merkel’s careful, centrist legacy. Here in Berlin, however, the unmistakable yellow-and-purple multilingual signs of a different grassroots initiative have been touting a more radical idea for months: expropriation. The campaign, Deutsche Wohnen & Co Enteignen (Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen and Co.), wants the Berlin Senate to seize the assets of the largest private real estate companies in the city, turning hundreds of thousands of apartments over to public ownership.

      • Indictment, Lawsuits Revive Trump-Alfa Bank Story

        In October 2016, media outlets reported that data collected by some of the world’s most renowned cybersecurity experts had identified frequent and unexplained communications between an email server used by the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s largest financial institutions. Those publications set off speculation about a possible secret back-channel of communications, as well as a series of lawsuits and investigations that culminated last week with the indictment of the same former federal cybercrime prosecutor who brought the data to the attention of the FBI five years ago.

      • Opinion | Simple, Effective, and Popular: Tax the Extremely Rich to Invest in America

        As lawmakers scramble to finalize a historic jobs and infrastructure package, huge fights are underway to figure out how to fund it.

      • Reminiscences of a Wall Street Occupier

        “Revolutions are not unplanned and leaderless events. Nor do they happen like ‘spontaneous combustion.’ The mass protests that have erupted in Cairo’s Midan Tahrir square, and are close to toppling Mubarak’s regime, were orchestrated by a handful of Internet savvy organizers known as the April 6 Youth Movement. For two years they planned, strategized, thought things through. Their first act surprised even themselves: in the wake of Tunisia, they called for a day of protest and 90,000 supporters showed up. It was this initial mass, backed by popular enthusiasm, that then propelled the uprising.”

        And indeed, there was some leadership and orchestration behind the creation of the Occupy Movement. Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn and senior editor, Micah White, sent an email to subscribers in June telling them, “America needs its own Tahir.” Lasn’s story is interesting. Born in Estonia in 1942, his family fled the Soviet Army during World War II and spent time in a German refugee camp before emigrating to Australia. There, Lasn earned a degree in applied mathematics, then relocated to Tokyo, where he spent five years running his own market-research firm. He made a lot of money, travelled the world and moved to Canada, where he devoted himself to experimental filmmaking and environmental protection. In 1989, when the Canadian Broadcasting Co. refused him airtime for a thirty-second “mind bomb” aimed at the forestry industry, Lasn realized that he would never get a fair shake from corporate mass media. So, with Bill Schmalz, an outdoorsman who had worked with him as a cameraman, he founded Adbusters. Among other things, Lasn used the magazine as a platform for strident criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, His most controversial moment came in 2004, when he wrote an essay on Jewish influence on U.S. foreign policy. Lasn included a list of powerful neoconservatives, with asterisks next to the names of those who were Jewish. Realizing that he was courting charges of anti-Semitism, Lasn wrote:

      • ‘Hold Strong’: Coalition Urges House to Reject Bipartisan Bill Until Reconciliation Package Passed

        Endorsing the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ ongoing efforts to secure passage of the Build Back Better Act, more than 90 social and environmental justice groups sent a letter Thursday urging House lawmakers to reject the bipartisan infrastructure bill until the more ambitious reconciliation package that includes anti-poverty measures and climate action is approved.

        “We strongly support the position of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that two bills must pass together, as a critical step on the journey toward tackling the climate crisis and furthering racial and economic justice.”—Coalition’s letter

      • The Government Gave Free PPP Money to Public Companies Despite Warning Them Not to Apply

        As Congress launched a historic bailout to keep businesses afloat at the outset of the pandemic, government officials stressed that the loans were for mom-and-pop operations that didn’t have another easily available lifeline.

        “This was a program designed for small businesses,” then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, as companies like Shake Shack and Potbelly made headlines for grabbing millions from the newly created Paycheck Protection Program. “It was not a program that was designed for public companies that had liquidity.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Opinion | Outlive Mitch McConnell and Save America
      • Boris Johnson’s Cabinet “Night of the Long Knives”

        A presidential cabinet in the US is usually dominated by big donors and loyalists (the major ambassadorships are awarded on the same basis), with not too much work expected since the position is largely titular.

        The slight exceptions in the US president’s cabinet tend to be the Treasury Secretary (always a former Wall Street banker, regardless of the party in power), Secretary of Defense (a Cheney- or Rumsfeld-like figure with ties to the military-industrial complex, or even a retired general), and Secretary of State/foreign minister (hopefully someone who speaks a language in addition to English— though John Kerry was regarded with suspicion because he is fluent in French).

      • Cuban and Mexican Presidents Strengthen Solidarity in Remarkable Display

        This year, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commemorating that important day, had a surprising guest. Cuba’s president Miguel Díaz-Canel was at his side and they both spoke. Shared goals and strong friendship were evident. The extraordinary encounter may portend new substance and heightened commitment for efforts to free Cuba, at long last, from aggressive U.S. interference with Cuba’s sovereignty.

        The Cuban president later joined president López Obrador in reviewing Mexican armed forces assembled in the Zocalo, Mexico City’s central plaza. No visiting foreign president had ever done so.

      • Germany’s Who With Whom Elections

        But those ballots can be very, very long – and making  the right choice for your crosses could raise problems. 47 parties are in the running for seats in the Bundestag; it might be wise to brush up on arithmetic, maybe even calculus. This year Berlin has its own state election as well, with 34 parties competing for its House of Representatives and for all sixteen borough councils too. A good pencil-sharpener might be useful (or a ball-point). Mostly they are small, even tiny, like the Animal Rights Party, the Liberal-Konservativ Reformer, or a party run by the German widow of Lyndon LaRouche, an American provocateur of past years. Or the little German Communist Party. Few reach 1%.

        Just six have been major rivals in recent years, three of them on the right. The Christian ”Union” (CDU-CSU), a double party with its special Bavarian twin sister, now lacks the motherly attraction of Angela Merkel. Its main candidate, conservative Armin Laschet, wants in general to “follow the same course,” but has close to zero charisma. Until recently it was in the lead but then, partly due to CDU confusion in the Corona crisis and the flood catastrophe, it drooped to a sickly 20%. Laschet being caught on TV with a private laugh while the president condoned with flood victims didn’t help him. His frantic efforts to reverse the trend consist mainly of red-baiting about “dangers from The Left”.

      • Opinion | By Crushing Its Own Members, Labour May Sign Its Own Death Warrant

        Imagine the scene.

      • An Experiment to Stop Online Abuse Falls Short in Germany

        Free-expression groups criticize the law on other grounds. They argue that the law should be abolished not only because it fails to protect victims of online abuse and harassment, but also because it sets a dangerous precedent for government censorship of the [Internet].

      • Misinformation/Disinformation

        • Opinion: Censorship will never be able to stop the spread of viral misinformation on social media – here’s an idea that might work

          As a computer scientist who studies the ways large numbers of people interact using technology, I understand the logic of using the wisdom of the crowds in these algorithms. I also see substantial pitfalls in how the social-media companies do so in practice.

        • Wikipedia’s next leader on preventing misinformation: ‘Neutrality requires understanding.’

          Last week, the Wikimedia Foundation, the group that oversees Wikipedia, announced that Maryana Iskander, a social entrepreneur in South Africa who has worked for years in nonprofits tackling youth unemployment and women’s rights, will become its chief executive in January.

          We spoke with her about her vision for the group and how the organization works to prevent false and misleading information on its sites and around the web.

        • Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book

          But it turns out this denial behavior is not only normal, it was totally foreseeable, according to Steven Taylor, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.

          Taylor would know because he predicted it. He wrote a remarkable little book back in 2019 called “The Psychology of Pandemics.” Its premise is that pandemics are “not simply events in which some harmful microbe ‘goes viral,’” but rather are mass psychological phenomena about the behaviors, attitudes and emotions of people.

          The book came out pre-COVID and yet predicts every trend and trope we’ve been living for 19 months now: the hoarding of supplies like toilet paper at the start; the rapid spread of “unfounded rumors and fake news”; the backlash against masks and vaccines; the rise and acceptance of conspiracy theories; and the division of society into people who “dutifully conform to the advice of health authorities” — sometimes compulsively so — and those who “engage in seemingly self-defeating behaviors such as refusing to get vaccinated.”

        • John Stossel Sues Facebook Alleging Defamation Over Fact-Check Label, Seeks at Least $2 Million

          In one video, “Government Fueled Fires,” about the 2020 wildfires in California, Facebook and its fact-checking partners “falsely attributed to Stossel a claim he never made, and on that basis flagged the content as ‘misleading’ and ‘missing context,’ so that would-be viewers would be routed to the false attribution statement.” The complaint says that Stossel’s video “explored a scientific hypothesis” that “while climate change undoubtedly contributes to forest fires, it was not the primary cause of the 2020 California fires.” Per the suit, Stossel says he never made the claim that “Forest fires are caused by poor management. Not by climate change,” which was in Facebook’s fact-check.

          On the second video, “Are We Doomed?”, Facebook added a “partly false”/“factual inaccuracies” label. That video questioned claims made by those Stossel refers to as “environmental alarmists,” including “claims that hurricanes are getting stronger, that sea level rise poses a catastrophic threat, and that humans will be unable to cope with the fallout.” Stossel claims the Facebook fact-check didn’t actually challenge any facts in the video, and he argues that the company’s fact-check process “is nothing more than a pretext… to defame users with impunity, particularly when Defendants disagree with the scientific opinions [sic] expressed in user content.”

          The lawsuit alleges that “Stossel was given no meaningful avenue to contest these unilateral decisions about the truth of his journalism. Meanwhile, his viewership plummeted due to both Facebook’s censorship and the reputational harm caused by the false labels.”

      • Censorship/Free Speech

        • Content Moderation Beyond Platforms: A Rubric

          For decades, EFF and others have been documenting the monumental failures of content moderation at the platform level—inconsistent policies, inconsistently applied, with dangerous consequences for online expression and access to information. Yet despite mounting evidence that those consequences are inevitable, service providers at other levels are increasingly choosing to follow suit.

        • The Little Nation That Could (Stand Up to China)

          Most vocal of late is Lithuania (population 2.8 million). The Baltic country this week told consumers to ditch Chinese smartphones, after alleging that a Xiaomi Corp. model can detect and filter terms including “Free Tibet,” “Democracy Movement,” and “Long live Taiwan’s independence.” That capability has been switched off for devices sold in the EU, but can be remotely enabled at any time, Lithuania’s National Cyber Security Centre found. Handsets from Huawei Technologies Co. were also flagged as having security vulnerabilities. Xiaomi “does not censor communications to or from its users,” it told Reuters. Huawei also rejected the criticism, Agence France-Presse cited a company spokesman as saying.

      • Civil Rights/Policing

        • Museum Workers Are Joining the Growing Labor Movement
        • Civil Rights Leaders Decry Senate’s Failure to Pass Police Reform Bill

          Civil rights campaigners on Thursday decried the collapse of bipartisan congressi onal negotiations on a sweeping police reform bill following last year’s murder of George Floyd as “a failure for our democracy,” while vowing to continue the fight to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct.

          “The failure of this legislation to move forward is a failure for our democracy.”—Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP LDF

        • As Other States Try to Copy Texas, SCOTUS Asked to Find Abortion Ban Unconstitutional

          While Republican lawmakers in several states are working to replicate an abortion ban recently enacted in Texas, healthcare providers and reproductive rights advocates on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider blocking the “patently unconstitutional” measure.

          “For 23 days, we’ve been forced to deny essential abortion care for the vast majority of patients who come to us,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, in a statement about the new request (pdf).

        • US Diplomat to Haiti Resigns, Citing “Inhumane” Deportations
        • Biden’s Envoy to Haiti Resigns in Protest Over ‘Inhumane’ Deportations

          In a blistering resignation letter submitted Wednesday, the United States Special Envoy to Haiti quit in protest over the federal government’s “deeply flawed” treatment of the impoverished Caribbean nation, including the Biden administration’s recent escalation of deportations and its continuation of a longstanding pattern of political intervention.

          “What our Haitian friends really want, and need, is the opportunity to chart their own course.”—Daniel Foote, former U.S. Special Envoy to Haiti

        • Florida Republican Proposes Texas-Style Anti-Abortion Law
        • Collins Says She’s Pro-Choice — But Won’t Back Bill to Protect Abortion Rights
        • Biden Wasn’t Elected to Scold Racist Border Agents—He Was Elected to Stop Them

          How many immigrants can the Joe Biden administration whip until the beatings are his fault and not the former guy’s? How many inhumane policies can he continue before he owns them? How many evil sociopaths devoid of human empathy can work for Homeland Security head Alejandro Mayorkas before refusal to fire them can be called approval of their actions?

        • Opinion | Abusing Migrants While on Horseback Fits With the Border Patrol’s Long History of Brutality

          Ghastly images and videos this week showed Border Patrol agents on horses, using their reins aggressively to intimidate Haitians, including small children, on the riverbank in Del Rio, Texas.

        • Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 33.6

          Make sure you never miss an issue by signing up by email to receive EFFector as soon as it’s posted! Since 1990 EFF has published EFFector to help keep readers on the bleeding edge of their digital rights. We know that the intersection of technology, civil liberties, human rights, and the law can be complicated, so EFFector is a great way to stay on top of things. The newsletter is chock full of links to updates, announcements, blog posts, and other stories to help keep readers—and now listeners—up to date on the movement to protect online privacy and free expression. 

        • Building a coalition for Digital Dignity

          In 2020 EDRi started to build the ‘Digital Dignity Coalition’, a group of organisations and activists active at the EU level dedicated to upholding rights in digital spaces and resisting harmful uses of technology. We’ve been organising to understand and resist how technological practices differentiate, target and experiment on communities at the margins – this article sets out what we’ve done so far.

        • Biden Set to Admit Even Fewer Refugees Than Trump’s Record Low

          In the face of record high global displacement, the U.S. is on track to admit a historic low number of refugees for the fiscal year 2021—a lower admission rate than his notoriously xenophobic predecessor, Donald Trump.

          As of the end of August, according to the latest figures released by the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center (RPC), the U.S. has admitted a total of 7,637 refugees.

      • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

        • Survey Suggests Eager Starlink Users Don’t Understand Service Will Have Limited Reach

          So we’ve noted more than a few times that while Elon Musk’s Starlink will be a good thing if you can actually get and afford the service, it’s going to have a decidedly small impact on the broadband industry as a whole. Between 20 and 42 million Americans lack access to broadband entirely, 83 million live under a monopoly, and tens of millions more are stuck under a duopoly (usually your local cable company and a regional, apathetic phone company). In turn, Starlink is going to reach somewhere between 300,000 to 800,000 subscribers in its first few years, a drop in the overall bucket.

        • AT&T Quickly Ditches Pledge Not To Fund Congressional Insurrectionists

          Much like the company’s dedication to women, AT&T’s dedication to not funding people eager to overthrow democracy appears to be somewhere between inconsistent and nonexistent. Shortly after January 6 a number of companies, including telecom giants like AT&T, publicly crowed about how they’d be ceasing all funding to politicians that supported the attack on the Capitol and the overturning of, you know, fucking democracy. Of course that promise was never worth all that much, given the the umbrella lobbying orgs companies like AT&T used never really stopped financing terrible people.

        • At the 2021 Asia-Pacific Community Networks Summit: Innovating Policymaking to Connect the Unconnected

          Connecting the hardest-to-connect remains a major challenge, particularly in areas where it is not commercially viable for network operators. In recent years, community networks (CNs) have emerged as a viable—and practical—way to connect under- and un-served communities, using a low-cost community driven approach. These initiatives support universal access goals and equip communities with the tools they need to benefit from digital opportunities, including online education and access to e-government services.

        • Cable Giant Altice USA Losing Broadband Subscribers in Third Quarter, CEO Says

          Supino added: “Operationally, over the last three quarters, Altice added just 8,000 organic broadband net adds. Operational trouble seems to run deeper — consensus earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization forecasts for Altice USA began declining in 2018, and in the second half of 2019 Altice struggled with key operational initiatives.”

        • Facebook will open its fiber networks to expand broadband access in rural Virginia

          The project began with fiber networks Facebook was already building to connect its data centers in Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina. With that fiber already laid, Facebook partnered with Appalachian Power and GigaBeam Networks to extend the networks to roughly 6,000 households in Grayson County, VA. The homes are projected to have high-speed broadband access by the end of this fall.

      • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

        • Universal Music is a hit

          Keeping the hits coming will therefore rely on conquering emerging markets, where revenues are lower (Spotify costs the equivalent of $4 per month in South Africa, less than half what Americans pay), and on licensing music to new forms of media. This year Universal has signed deals with TikTok and Snap, allowing the apps’ users to sample clips from Universal’s back catalogue in their videos. Future deals with gaming, streaming and other entertainment platforms are likely. “Fortnite”, an online game, and Roblox, which lets users make their own games, have already become popular virtual-concert venues. Next year ABBA, a troupe of septuagenarians on Universal’s books, will appear in a series of gigs in London as digital “ABBA-tars”. As the streaming boom slows, labels will need new ways of bringing in money, money, money.

      • Monopolies

        • Copyrights

          • Sony Pictures, Defenders Of The Creative Industry, Appears To Be Using Fan Art Without Giving Credit

            It will come as no surprise that we have done many, many posts at Techdirt that involve Sony. While not all of those posts are critical of the company, many of those posts deal with Sony wielding IP law about while claiming it is doing so to “protect creators” of content. We’ve also discussed instances where some of these IP-wielding companies, that are supposedly the vanguards of the creative community, also have managed to use the art created by their own fans without bothering to credit them. To be clear, that likely doesn’t run afoul of copyright law, given that the fan art typically uses IP owned by these companies. But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s both quite hypocritical to not bother even crediting the fan that created the art, as well as being just plain shitty.

          • Wow! Asks Court to Dismiss Filmmakers’ Piracy Liability Lawsuit

            Internet provider Wide Open West, better known as WOW!, has responded to a piracy liability lawsuit recently filed by several filmmakers. The Internet provider brands the movie companies as copyright trolls and asks the Colorado federal court to dismiss their complaint. According to Wow!, the rightsholders failed to back up their claims.

          • Prominent DDL Piracy Site Snahp.it Shuts Down Citing Security Concerns

            For the past five years, piracy release site Snahp.it has provided information and links to all kinds of pirated content including movies and TV shows. The site operated in the so-called DDL niche, relying on content hosted elsewhere to service its users. Citing safety and security concerns, the site has now shut down, despite healthy levels of traffic.

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  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

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  2. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



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    Links for the day



  4. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  5. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  7. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  8. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  9. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  11. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  13. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  15. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  16. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  17. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  18. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  19. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  21. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day



  22. How Oppressive Governments and Web Monopolists Might Try to Discourage Adoption of Internet Protocols Like Gemini

    Popular movements and even some courageous publications have long been subverted by demonisation tactics, splits along unrelated grounds (such as controversial politics) and — failing that — technical sabotage and censorship; one must familiarise oneself with commonly-recurring themes of social control by altercation



  23. [Meme] Strike Triangulations, Reception Issues

    Financial strangulations for Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations”? The EPO will come to regret 2013…



  24. [Meme] Is Saying “No!” to Unlawful Proposals Considered “Impolite”?

    A ‘toxic mix’ of enablers and cowards (who won’t vote negatively on EPO proposals which they know to be unlawful) can serve to show that the EPO isn’t a “social democracy” as Benoît Battistelli liked to call it; it’s just a dictatorship, currently run by the son of a person who actually fought dictatorship



  25. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 20, 2021



  26. [Meme] EPO Legal Sophistry and Double Dipping

    An imaginary EPO intercept of Administrative Council discussions in June 2013...



  27. Links 21/10/2021: PostgreSQL JDBC 42.3.0 and Maui Report

    Links for the day



  28. [Meme] [Teaser] “Judge a Person Both by His Friends and Enemies”

    Fervent supporters of Team Battistelli or Team Campinos (a dark EPO era) are showing their allegiances; WIPO and EPO have abused staff similarly over the past decade or so



  29. 'Cluster-Voting' in the European Patent Office/Organisation (When a Country With 1.9 Million Citizens Has the Same Voting Power as a Country With 83.1 Million Citizens)

    Today we examine who has been running the Finnish patent office and has moreover voted in the EPO during the ballot on unlawful "Strike Regulations"; they voted in favour of manifestly illegal rules and for 8.5 years after that (including last Wednesday) they continued to back a shady regime which undermines the EPO's mission statement



  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki's Accord

    The Finnish outpost has long been strategic to the EPO because it can help control the vote of four or more nations; evidence suggests this has not changed


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