Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 11/10/2015: Kate/KDevelop Sprint, Blender 2.76

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Report: Twitter prepping for “company-wide layoffs” next week
    Following the news that Twitter interim CEO Jack Dorsey was fully hired to the post on Monday, the company has been linked to a series of what Re/code has described as "company-wide layoffs" next week.

    A Friday report from Re/code cited "multiple sources" in saying that most of Twitter's departments will be hit with layoffs starting next week. Those sources did not specify numbers or percentages of staff, but they did point to Twitter's plans to "restructure" its engineering staff, which may affect how the alleged firings play out in all. When asked to comment on the report, a Twitter representative told Ars that "we’re not commenting on rumor and speculation."

  • Hardware

    • Smartmobe brain maker Qualcomm teases 64-bit ARM server chip secrets
      Qualcomm, the maker of processors for Nexus smartphones and other mobes and tablets, has revealed early specifications for its upcoming server chips.

      The California company is best known for designing the brains in handheld devices, networking kit, and other embedded gear.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto's Stock Is Tanking. Is the Company's Own Excitement About GMOs Backfiring?
      Pity Monsanto, the genetically modified seed and agrichemical giant. Its share price has plunged 25 percent since the spring. Market prices for corn and soybeans are in the dumps, meaning Monsanto's main customers—farmers who specialize in those crops—have less money to spend on its pricey seeds and flagship herbicide (which recently got named a "probable carcinogen" by the World Health organization, spurring lawsuits).

    • Study: Fracking Industry Wells Associated With Premature Birth
      Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

      The findings, published online last week in the journal Epidemiology, shed light on some of the possible adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry, which has been booming in the decade since the first wells were drilled. Health officials have been concerned about the effect of this type of drilling on air and water quality, as well as the stress of living near a well where just developing the site of the well can require 1,000 truck trips on once-quiet roads.

  • Security

    • Amazon, Google Boost Cloud Security Efforts
      Not to be outdone, Google introduced its Google Cloud Security Scanner the same day of the Amazon Inspector announcement. Unlike Inspector, Google's product is already generally available.

    • CryptoLocker Ransomware Springs on Scandinavians [Ed: Windows]
      The screenshot, as gained by Heimdal Security, shows the link within the email that, when clicked, will redirect unsuspecting users to a website that will download the file ‘’, containing the executable file, forsendelse.exe.

    • iOS 9 Lock-Screen Bug Grants Access to Contacts, Photos
      A clever iPhone user uncovered a new exploit in iOS 9 (and 9.0.1) that allows a person—presumably with a list of handwritten steps—to bypass the device's passcode and get into the Contacts and Photos apps.

      So unless you have a bunch of selfies you don't want anyone to see, or you use an alphanumeric instead of a four-digit passcode, you probably don't have much to worry about. You can also cripple the exploit by disabling Siri on your lock screen, though you'll lose convenience in the process.

    • Malware that hit Apple similar to that developed by CIA: report

      The techniques used by XcodeGhost, the infected version of Apple's Xcode compiler that has caused an eruption of malware on the Apple China app store, are similar to those developed and demonstrated by America's Central Intelligence Agency.

      A report in The Intercept, a website run by Glenn Greenwald who is well-known for having been the first to report on the NSA spying disclosures made by the former US defence contractor Edward Snowden, claims the CIA detailed the techniques at its annual top-secret Jamboree conference in 2012.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Media Reports ISIS Nuclear Plot That Never Actually Involved ISIS
      There was only one problem: At no point do the multiple iterations of the AP‘s reporting show that anyone involved in the FBI sting were members of or have any connection to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (aka ISIL or Daesh). While one of several smuggling attempts discussed in AP‘s reporting involved an actual potential buyer–an otherwise unknown Sudanese doctor who four years ago “suggested that he was interested” in obtaining uranium–the “terrorists” otherwise involved in the cases were FBI and other law enforcement agents posing as such.

    • Phyllis Bennis on US Bombing of Afghan Hospital
      This week on CounterSpin: The Pentagon has declared the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a “mistake.” But it will investigate itself to determine how US bombs came to destroy the Doctors Without Borders facility, killing at least 22 people. Doctors Without Borders is calling for an independent investigation—and you would think journalists would, too, since who knows better than they the administration’s history of changing its story?

    • Self-censorship
      It is well enough to condemn the US for bombing a hospital and killing Muslims in Kunduz but what about the Muslim members of a wedding party who were bombed into extinction in a formerly friendly country by the air force of an extremely friendly country?

    • Turkish police use tear gas to stop mourners laying carnations at the site of bombings in Ankara that killed 97 people as officials say 'initial signs point to ISIS responsibility'
      Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse mourners who were laying flowers at the site of Turkey's deadliest ever terror attack this morning.

      Two Turkish security sources said 'initial signs' suggest ISIS were behind the two explosions which killed at least 97 and wounded 247 more at a peace rally in Ankara yesterday.

      Protesters clashed with riot police in Istanbul last night as they took to the streets to denounce the attacks. And today, police clashed with demonstrators and pro-Kurdish officials at the scene of the disaster near Ankara's main train station.

      They held back the mourners, including the pro-Kurdish party's leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, insisting that investigators were still working at the site.

    • The day I met the other victims of extremism: boys brainwashed to kill
      In the mountains of Pakistan I met young men who would have killed me. They would have slit my throat, put a bullet in my brain, caved in my skull with a rock. After I was dead they would have severed my head from my body and displayed it as a warning to all.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Wikileaks Releases Final Intellectual Property Chapter Of TPP Before Official Release
      Last weekend, negotiators finally completed negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. However, as we noted, there was no timetable for the release of the text (though some are now saying it may come out next week). Once again, it was ridiculous that the negotiating positions of the various countries was secret all along, and that the whole thing had been done behind closed doors. And to have them not be ready to release the text after completion of the negotiations was even more of a travesty. Wikileaks, however, got hold of the Intellectual Property Chapter and has released it online.

    • The Final Leaked TPP Text is All That We Feared
      Today's release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn't survive to the end of the negotiations.

      Since we now have the agreed text, we'll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published by Wikileaks and others.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Elon Musk Says Climate Change Will Bring Even Worse Refugee Crisis
      Tech visionary warns that countries must do more to combat climate change

      Climate change could create a refugee crisis far worse than the one currently unfolding in Europe, Elon Musk warned Thursday.

      The Tesla CEO gave a speech in Berlin in which he said changes in Earth’s temperature could lead to depleted water and food supplies, thus forcing millions of people to leave their homes in search of resources, the Huffington Post reports.

    • ‘Polluter Interests Have Been Spending Millions on Disinformation Campaigns’
      Janine Jackson: “New Regulations on Smog Remain as Divisive as Ever.” That was the headline on a September 30 New York Times story which balanced what it called “concerns of lung doctors” that smog, or ozone, is a public health threat with industry claims that installing new equipment, in the reporter’s words, “could kneecap American manufacturing and threaten jobs across the country.” Three different industry sources were counterposed with a single representative of the American Lung Association.

      But if the topic is harmful pollution, is the public really served by coverage that centers the views of the polluters? What’s a different way to talk about it? David Baron is managing attorney in the DC office of the group Earthjustice. His article “Smog Kills” appeared recently in Politico. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC; welcome to CounterSpin, David Baron.

    • On Climate Change, Listen to Pope Francis, Not Jeb Bush
      The politician says we should disregard the pope because “he’s not a scientist.” But the pope’s background is in chemistry and his counselors are top scientists.

    • The collapse of Saudi Arabia is inevitable
      On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a “change” in leadership to fend off the kingdom’s collapse.

      In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy’s continued survival.

      “We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself,” warned the letter.

      Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner – and informed observers think such a prospect “fanciful” – the letter’s analysis of Saudi Arabia’s dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

      Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchy’s undoing well within the next decade.

    • Report: VW was warned about cheating emissions in 2007
      The Volkswagen scandal—selling 11 million diesel-engined cars designed to fool US emissions regulations—is moving into the "who knew what, and when" phase. Newspapers in Germany are reporting that Bosch (the company that supplies electronics to the auto industry) warned VW only to use the cheat mode internally back in 2007, and that a These findings both emerged from an internal audit at VW in response to the scandal.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Major Papers Reject the Opt-Out Option
      All three papers offered arguments that closely align with the rhetoric of corporate education reform, focusing on the plight of low-income students of color while ignoring the realities of how testing affects such populations.

    • New Yorker Calls Corbyn ‘Childlike’–but Who Are They Kidding?
      The landslide victory of left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Party leader in the United Kingdom has many establishment types bent out of shape. The Blair wing of the party was literally obliterated, with Corbyn drawing more than four times the votes of his nearest competitor. After giving the country the war in Iraq, and the housing bubble whose collapse led to the 2008-2009 recession and financial crisis, the discontent of the Labour Party’s rank and file is understandable.

    • CBS Analyst Pushes Paul Ryan For Speaker Without Disclosing Ryan Paid Him Over $100K
      CBS News analyst Frank Luntz pushed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for House Speaker, claiming "he's got a brain for policy, which is what we need in Washington right now," adding, "if Paul Ryan says no, God help us." CBS News and Luntz did not disclose that Ryan has paid Luntz's company over $100,000 in consulting fees in recent years.

    • CNN is basically begging Joe Biden to join its Democratic debate
      This is quite unlike the rules CNN set for its Republican presidential debate earlier this month. In addition to reaching a poll threshold, candidates had to officially file with the FEC and say they were running three weeks before the debate. They also had to have a paid campaign aide working in at least two of the four early voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada). And they had to have visited two of those states at least once.

      Those Republican rules were designed to keep many candidates in the large field offstage. But CNN's starkly different Democratic rules have seemingly been deliberately designed in hopes of coaxing one potential candidate in particular — Biden — onstage.

    • Noam Chomsky: Bernie Sanders can’t save America
      Throughout his illustrious career, one of Noam Chomsky’s chief preoccupations has been questioning — and urging us to question — the assumptions and norms that govern our society.

      Following a talk on power, ideology, and US foreign policy last weekend at the New School in New York City, freelance Italian journalist Tommaso Segantini sat down with the eighty-six-year-old to discuss some of the same themes, including how they relate to processes of social change.

      For radicals, progress requires puncturing the bubble of inevitability: austerity, for instance, “is a policy decision undertaken by the designers for their own purposes.” It is not implemented, Chomsky says, “because of any economic laws.” American capitalism also benefits from ideological obfuscation: despite its association with free markets, capitalism is shot through with subsidies for some of the most powerful private actors. This bubble needs popping too.

    • Fox News Doc Defends Ben Carson By Criticizing German Jews For Failing To Resist The Nazis
      Fox News contributor Dr. Keith Ablow is defending Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's controversial remarks that fewer people would have been killed in the Holocaust had they been armed by criticizing German Jews for not having "more actively resisted" the Nazis.

      Carson sparked an outcry after he claimed the outcome of the Holocaust "would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed." Carson has stood by his comments. The Anti-Defamation League called Carson's remarks "historically inaccurate."

      In an October 9 piece, Ablow defended Carson's comments by asserting, "If Jews in Germany had more actively resisted the Nazi party or the Nazi regime and had diagnosed it as a malignant and deadly cancer from the start, there would, indeed, have been a chance for the people of that country and the world to be moved to action by their bold refusal to be enslaved."

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Snooper Charter Strikes Back event success
      Earlier in the week we had the pleasure of entraining Jim Killock, ORG’s executive director, ahead of a workshop on talking you MP about intrusive surveillance.

      Jim bought us entertainingly up to date with the current thinking around the still-under-wraps government plans for wide-ranging updates to their subservience powers. Happy to take questions, Jim elaborated a number of points with us, including explaining a bit about what ORG’s plans are, which led neatly into the other half of the evening, but not before everyone had a well deserved tea break.

    • Everything You Need to Know About AOL’s Zombie Apocalypse
      America Online (AOL) will be resurrecting Verizon’s zombie cookies because they are fabulous data-trackers that cannot be “killed”.

    • Obama administration opts not to force firms to decrypt data — for now
      After months of deliberation, the Obama administration has made a long-awaited decision on the thorny issue of how to deal with encrypted communications: It will not — for now — call for legislation requiring companies to decode messages for law enforcement.

    • Turnbull: Don't assume government email is more secure than private email
      Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded to concerns over the use of his own private email server by saying politicians use insecure communication all the time.

    • Chinese Credit Scoring System Smacks Of Censorship
      Rogier Creemers, a China-specialist with Oxford University, told ComputerWorld, “With the help of the latest internet technologies the government wants to exercise individual surveillance. Government and big internet companies in China can exploit ‘Big Data’ together in a way that is unimaginable in the West.”
    • China's new credit reports are the government's latest censorship tool
      Chinese Internet users now have one more reason to look over their digital shoulders at the government’s nearly inescapable surveillance and censorship regime.

    • ACLU: Orwellian Citizen Score, China's credit score system, is a warning for Americans
      Gamer? Strike. Bad-mouthed the government in comments on social media? Strike. Even if you don’t buy video games and you don’t post political comments online “without prior permission,” but any of your online friends do….strike. The strikes are actually more like dings, dings to your falling credit score that is.

      Thanks to a new terrifying use of big data, a credit score can be adversely affected by your hobbies, shopping habits, lifestyles, what you read online, what you post online, your political opinions as well as what your social connections do, say, read, buy or post. While you might never imagine such a credit-rating system in America, it is happening in China and the ACLU said it serves as a warning for Americans.

    • White House Takes The Cowardly Option: Refuses To Say No To Encryption Backdoors, Will Quietly Ask Companies
      Last month, we wrote about a document leaked to the Washington Post that showed the three "options" that the White House was considering for responding to the debate about backdooring encryption. The document made it clear that the White House knew that there was zero chance that any legislation mandating encryption backdoors would pass. But the question then was what to do about it: take a strong stand on the importance of freedom and privacy, and make it clear that the US would not mandate backdoors... or take the sleazy way out and say "no new legislation for now." As we said at the time, option 1 was the only real option. You take a stand. You talk about the importance of encryption in protecting the public.

    • European Supreme Court: Because of NSA, U.S. Corporations Have No Self-Agency To Agree To Privacy Obligations
      This week, the European Court of Justice – the highest court in the European Union – declared that US companies may not transmit private sensitive personal data out of Europe to the United States for processing as they have up until now. It was a cancellation of the so-called Safe Harbor agreement, where U.S. companies self-declare that they meet certain European privacy standards. But the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) reason for declaring Safe Harbor null and void goes far beyond the cancellation as such – it says that U.S. companies don’t have agency to make any such promises of any kind in the first place, contractual or unilateral, not now, not ever, as long as the NSA operates.
    • Tech companies like Facebook not above the law, says Max Schrems
      The EU’s safe harbour ruling is a “puzzle piece in the fight against mass surveillance, and a huge blow to tech companies who think they can act in total ignorance of the law,” says Max Schrems, the man who brought the case.

      “US companies are realising that European laws are getting more and more enforced. But still, people don’t believe that a court would order Google or Facebook to do something – they wouldn’t dare. Well, yes, they fucking would,” he said, speaking in Vienna.

    • How much money do you make for Facebook?
      How much do you estimate you're worth to Facebook? If you live in America, it's a lot more than if you're a resident of the UK or other countries.

      US Facebook users generate the site on average four times more advertising revenue than users outside of the country, making around $48.76 per year per user as opposed to $7.71, according to market research firm eMarketer.

      The firm predicts revenue is set to rise to $61.06 in 2016 before reaching $73.29 the following year. Non-US users meanwhile, are expected to rise to $9.26 and $10.79 respectively.
    • The node pole: inside Facebook's Swedish hub near the Arctic Circle
      From the outside, it looks like an enormous grey warehouse. Inside, there is a hint of the movie Bladerunner: long cavernous corridors, spinning computer servers with flashing blue lights and the hum of giant fans. There is also a long perimeter fence. Is its job to thwart corporate spies? No – it keeps out the moose.

    • EU-US Safe Harbour For Personal Data Eliminated
      The European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision declaring EU-US safe harbour for personal data invalid this morning. It has far-reaching implications for cloud services in particular and may presage increased opportunity for open source solutions from non-US suppliers. Looks like a real gift to companies like Kolab.

    • Facebook: I want out
      Two weeks ago, on my birthday, I decided to check Facebook for birthday wishes because I was having a crappy birthday. It became much worse when Facebook did two things. First, it informed me it had removed an image posted to my timeline based on violating its nudity/obscenity policy — though I had not posted an image, only a link to a post in which I wrote about a new documentary on identity and the gender binary (my link was posted with an NSFW warning). No image. I’ve been around the internet a long time, and I’ve been censored — mostly under inaccurate circumstances — by everyone from the government of Libya to Flickr, feminists and Christian conservatives alike, and Facebook too, when a religious organization campaigned to (successfully) get one of my pages removed on false pretenses.
    • Marketers thought the Web would allow perfectly targeted ads. Hasn’t worked out that way.
      Fake traffic has become a commodity. There’s malware for generating it and brokers who sell it. Some companies pay for it intentionally, some accidentally, and some prefer not to ask where their traffic comes from. It’s given rise to an industry of countermeasures, which inspire counter-countermeasures. “It’s like a game of whack-a-mole,” says Fernando Arriola, vice president for media and integration at ConAgra Foods. Consumers, meanwhile, to the extent they pay attention to targeted ads at all, hate them: The top paid iPhone app on Apple’s App Store is an ad blocker.

    • Stealing fingerprints
      The news from the Office of Personnel Management hack keeps getting worse. In addition to the personal records of over 20 million US government employees, we’ve now learned that the hackers stole fingerprint files for 5.6 million of them.

    • GCHQ tried to track Web visits of “every visible user on Internet”

    • GCHQ's Karma Police: Tracking And Profiling Every Web User, Every Website
      As of 2012, GCHQ was storing about 50 billion metadata records about online communications and Web browsing activity every day, with plans in place to boost capacity to 100 billion daily by the end of that year. The agency, under cover of secrecy, was working to create what it said would soon be the biggest government surveillance system anywhere in the world.

      That's around 36 trillion metadata records gathered in 2012 alone -- and it's probably even higher now. As Techdirt has covered previously, intelligence agencies like to say this is "just" metadata -- skating over the fact that metadata is actually much more revealing than traditional content because it is much easier to combine and analyze. An important document released by The Intercept with this story tells us exactly what GCHQ considers to be metadata, and what it says is content. It's called the "Content-Metadata Matrix," and reveals that as far as GCHQ is concerned, "authentication data to a communcations service: login ID, userid, password" are all considered to be metadata, which means GCHQ believes it can legally swipe and store them. Of course, intercepting your login credentials is a good example of why GCHQ's line that it's "only metadata" is ridiculous: doing so gives them access to everything you have and do on that service.

    • Facebook Ads Are All-Knowing, Unblockable, and in Everyone’s Phone
      Sheryl Sandberg’s top concern as she prepares for New York’s largest annual gathering of advertising and media executives this week has nothing to do with ad-blocking software or click fraud. Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, can brag to Advertising Week attendees about how the world’s largest social network is largely immune to forces that have sent Internet and publishing companies into a panic. But Sandberg is losing her voice, so her pitch will need to be succinct.

      Between sips of strawberry water at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, Sandberg explains how Facebook has avoided controversies around online advertising with its emphasis on a single account tied to a user’s real-world identity and subtle ads that can be easily scrolled past if the user isn’t interested. What advertisers want, according to a raspy-voiced Sandberg, is “to reach people in a way that feels good, that’s not intrusive.” The argument ignores that Facebook trackers are just about everywhere on the Internet. But because most of Facebook’s 1.49 billion users routinely access the service through an app, the ads cannot be hidden using one of the many blocker tools now topping the download charts on Apple’s App Store.
    • CityNews investigation: Prison cellphone surveillance may have hit nearby homes
      A CityNews investigation reveals Correctional Services Canada (CSC) introduced super surveillance technology in at least one federal institution this winter; capturing calls and texts made from inside the jail, the visitor parking lot and, potentially, passing drivers and residents who live in close proximity to the institution.

      “We understand and believe there’s really been a breach of privacy. These were personal cell phones and personal calls. We’re looking at it from a legal aspect,” the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers’ Jason Godin told CityNews.

      A confidential Sept. 17, 2015 email sent by Warkworth Institution’s warden Scott Thompson to staff at the Campbellford-area prison, and obtained by CityNews, details how the technology captures these conversations.

    • How I hacked my IP camera, and found this backdoor account
      The time has come. I bought my second IoT device - in the form of a cheap IP camera. As it was the cheapest among all others, my expectations regarding security was low. But this camera was still able to surprise me.

      Maybe I will disclose the camera model used in my hack in this blog later, but first I will try to contact someone regarding these issues. Unfortunately, it seems a lot of different cameras have this problem, because they share being developed on the same SDK. Again, my expectations are low on this.

    • “Snowden Treaty” proposed to curtail mass surveillance and protect whistleblowers
      A "Snowden Treaty" designed to counter mass surveillance and protect whistleblowers around the world has been proposed by Edward Snowden, and three of the people most closely associated with his leaks: the documentary film-maker Laura Poitras; David Miranda, who was detained at Heathrow airport, and is the Brazilian coordinator of the campaign to give asylum to Snowden in Brazil; and his partner, the journalist Glenn Greenwald. The "International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers," to give it its full title, was launched yesterday in New York by Miranda, with Snowden and Greenwald speaking via video.

  • Civil Rights

    • NRA's Ted Nugent Calls Unarmed Victims Of Gun Violence "Losers"
      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent said "losers" who don't carry a gun "get cut down by murderous maniacs like blind sheep to slaughter" in a column for WND, becoming the latest public conservative figure to blame victims of gun violence who are unarmed.

    • Locked Out Of The Sixth Amendment By Proprietary Forensic Software
      Everything tied to securing convictions seems to suffer from pervasive flaws compounded by confirmation bias. For four decades, the DOJ presented hair analysis as an unique identifier on par with fingerprints or DNA when it wasn't. A 2014 Inspector General's report found the FBI still hadn't gotten around to correcting forensic lab issues it had pointed out nearly 20 years earlier. This contributed to two decades of "experts" providing testimony that greatly overstated the results of hair analysis. All of this happened in the FBI's closed system, a place outsiders aren't allowed to examine firsthand.

      That's the IRL version. The software version is just as suspect. Computers aren't infallible and the people running them definitely aren't. If the software cannot be inspected, the statements of expert witnesses should be considered highly dubious. After all, most expert witnesses representing the government have a vested interest in portraying forensic evidence as bulletproof. Without access to forensic software code, no one will ever be able to prove them wrong.
    • Saudi Arabia's troubling death sentence
      On September 14, local media reported that an appeals court and Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence of Ali al-Nimr for participating in protests four years ago. He was 16 at the time. Today, he awaits the execution of his sentence, which stipulates that al-Nimr should be beheaded and that his headless body should be strung up for public display.

    • Saudi employer chops off Indian woman’s hand, Delhi seeks action
      Kasturi, 50, is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Riyadh, her sister Vijayakumari told The Indian Express from their home in Vellore district.

    • India woman’s arm ‘cut off by employer’ in Saudi Arabia
      India's foreign ministry has complained to the Saudi Arabian authorities following an alleged "brutal" attack on a 58-year-old Indian woman in Riyadh.

      Kasturi Munirathinam's right arm was chopped off, allegedly by her employer, when she tried to escape from their house last week, reports say.

    • UK and Saudi Arabia 'in secret deal' over human rights council place
      Leaked documents suggest vote-trading deal was conducted to enable nations to secure a seat at UN’s influential body

    • 'UK did secret Saudi deal on human rights': Cables allege Britain approached Gulf State about vote trade to support each other's election to UN council
      Britain has been accused of backing Saudi Arabia's election to the United Nations top human right's body as part of a vote trading deal – despite the Gulf State's appalling abuse record.

      Secret cables reportedly show that Britain approached Saudi Arabia about the trade ahead of the 2013 election for membership of the Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

      The Saudi regime has shameful record on human rights and has executed 135 people since January on charges ranging from murder to witchcraft.

    • Matthew Keys’ Hacking Conviction May Not Survive an Appeal
      The conviction of former Reuters employee Matthew Keys on hacking charges this week has renewed focus on a controversial federal law that many say prosecutors are using incorrectly and too broadly to inflate cases and trump up charges.

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, is a federal law that was designed to target malicious hackers who obtain unauthorized access to protected computers. But judges have used it in a number of controversial cases to, for example, prosecute and convict a woman for violating MySpace’s user agreement, and to convict a former Korn/Ferry International employee for violating his employer’s computer use policy. It was also used to indict internet activist Aaron Swartz for downloading scholarly articles that he was authorized to access.

    • In The Post-Ferguson World, Cops Are Now Victims And It's The Public That's Going To Pay The Price
      There's a new narrative out there -- one that's being repeated by campaigning politicians and buttressed by fearful news reports. Apparently, the public has declared war on law enforcement. Each shooting of a police officer is presented as evidence that it's open season on cops. Officers aren't simply killed. They're "targeted." The problem is, the stats don't back this up.

    • 71% Of Americans Oppose Civil Asset Forfeiture. Too Bad Their Representatives Don't Care.
      Most Americans haven't even heard of civil asset forfeiture. This is why the programs have run unchallenged for so many years. An uninformed electorate isn't a vehicle for change. This issue is still a long way away from critical mass.

      Without critical mass, there's little chance those who profit from it will lose their power over state and federal legislatures. Forfeiture programs are under more scrutiny these days, but attempts to roll back these powers, or introduce conviction requirements, have been met with resistance from law enforcement agencies and police unions -- entities whose opinions are generally respected far more than the public's.

      California's attempt to institute a conviction requirement met with pushback from a unified front of law enforcement groups. Despite nearly unanimous support by legislators, the bill didn't survive the law enforcement lobby's last-minute blitz. They also had assistance from the Department of Justice, which pointed out how much money agencies would be giving up by effectively cutting off their connection with federal agencies if the bill was passed.
    • H&M features its first Muslim model in a hijab

      Twenty-three year old Mariah Idrissi is the first Muslim woman in a hijab to be featured by world's second largest fashion store

    • America’s most secretive court invites its first outsider
      A well-known Washington, DC lawyer has been appointed to be the first of a total of five amici curae—friends of the court—who will act as a sort of ombudsman or public advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

      The move was one of the provisions in the USA Freedom Act, which passed in June 2015 as a package of modest reforms to the national security system.

      The attorney, Preston Burton, was named to the post by the FISC earlier this month, which was not widely reported until The Intercept noticed it on Friday.

      Burton was likely selected because he has dealt with many security-related cases in the past, including former CIA intelligence agent Aldrich H. Ames, and former FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen. In addition, according to his own biography, he "has held a Top Secret/SCI level security clearance at numerous points in his career," which he will likely need again.

    • Facebook 'unfriending' can constitute workplace bullying, Australian tribunal finds
      Australia’s workplace tribunal ruled that a woman was bullied after she was unfriended on Facebook following work dispute
    • Absolutely Egregious: Man Jailed For Unpaid Traffic Ticket Gets Ignored Until He Dies In Custody
      This is so terrible. The guy -- from a Detroit area suburb -- is off his addiction-treatment meds and in withdrawal, and, at one point, lies under his bed, clawing up at it. What kind of person looks at a human being in this condition and just leaves them in their cage?

      During his 17 days in jail, in the final days the horror of his withdrawal, he laid there on the floor for 48 hours, waiting to die -- in a cell that was supposed to be specially monitored.

      This guy was not a violent criminal. He lost 50 pounds in 17 days while jailed for an unpaid ticket.

    • Selling Out and the Death of Hacker Culture
      We’ve sold each other for profit and lost what makes us happy.
    • The Jocks of Computer Code Do It for the Job Offers

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tennessee Voraciously Defends Its Right To Let AT&T Write Awful State Broadband Laws
      After fifteen years in an apparent coma, earlier this year the FCC woke up to the fact that ISPs were effectively paying states to pass laws focused entirely on protecting uncompetitive, regional broadband duopolies. More specifically, they've been pushing legislation that prohibits towns and cities from improving their own broadband infrastructure -- or in some cases partnering with utilities or private companies -- even in areas local incumbents refused to upgrade. It's pure protectionism, and roughly twenty states have passed such ISP-written laws nationwide.

    • Facebook Hopes Renaming App Will Shut Net Neutrality Critics Up
      Facebook is trying its best to defuse worries that the company is trying to impose a bizarre, walled-garden vision of the Internet upon the developing world. As we've been discussing, Facebook's initiative has been under fire of late in India, where the government has been trying to not only define net neutrality, but craft useful rules. Early policy guidelines have declared to be little more than glorified collusion, since while it does offer limited access to some free services, it involves Facebook determining which services users will be able to access (and encrypted content wasn't on the Facebook approval list).

    • Mark Zuckerberg tells the UN: 'the internet belongs to everyone'
      Zuck was presenting a document signed by himself as well as Bill and Melinda Gates, stating: "The internet belongs to everyone. It should be accessible by everyone."


      Google too has been involved in looking for ways to improve coverage in remote areas. The firm's Project Loon works to provide internet access using weather balloons. Bill Gates slammed this project stating that it won't uplift the poor. Something has clearly changed his mind.

    • Facebook founder calls for universal Internet to help cure global ills
      Signing on to the connectivity campaign were U2 star Bono, co-founder of One, a group that fights extreme poverty; actress Charlize Theron, founder of Africa Outreach Project; philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates; British entrepreneur Richard Branson; Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington; Colombian singer Shakira, actor and activist George Takei and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

    • Where the candidates stand on Net neutrality
      What is it about Net neutrality that invites such political posturing over a principal that enjoys huge bipartisan support among voters? While 85 percent of Republican voters oppose the creation of Internet fast lanes, presidential candidate Jeb Bush made headlines this week saying that if elected he would roll back Net neutrality rules passed under the Obama administration.

      The Open Internet regulations still face legal challenges, but the biggest threat could come in 2016. President Obama has been a firm supporter of Net neutrality rules enacted by the FCC and a sure vetoer of any attempts by Congress to undo them. But what happens with the next president -- and the next FCC? The agency is directed by five commissioners appointed to five-year terms by the president, but only three commissioners may be from the same political party. The FCC approved the current rules along party lines, with a 3-2 vote, but in 2017 the next president will be in a position to appoint a new commissioner who could reverse that vote.

  • DRM

    • Librarian of Congress who made phone unlocking illegal retires today
      The Librarian of Congress wields a surprising amount of power over the mobile devices we use every day. Once every three years, the head of the US Library of Congress is responsible for handing out exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

    • How the DMCA may have let carmakers cheat clean air standards
      It was by sheer chance that the software "defeat device" that allowed Volkswagen to thwart emission tests on its diesel vehicles was discovered last year. The discovery came after a few university researchers tested a group of European cars made for the U.S. market.

      The West Virginia University researchers drove the vehicles for thousands of miles, testing the emissions as they went along. They weren't expecting to discover what they did: Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions rates 20 times the baseline set by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

      The university researchers reported their findings to the California Air Resources Board, which then further investigated. That ultimately led to the charges by the EPA.

    • RIAA chief says DMCA is “largely useless” to combat music piracy
      Cary Sherman, the chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, has some choice words about the current state of US copyright law. He says that under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, rightsholders must play a game of whack-a-mole with Internet companies to get them to remove infringing content.

      But that "never-ending game" has allowed piracy to run amok and has cheapened the legal demand for music. Sure, many Internet companies remove links under the DMCA's "notice-and-takedown" regime. But the DMCA grants these companies, such as Google, a so-called "safe harbor"—meaning companies only have to remove infringing content upon notice from rightsholders.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Do you need permission to link? Here's my table attempting a summary of recent CJEU case law
      Earlier this week this blog reported on the latest reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on hyperlinking and copyright.

    • Copyrights

      • Norway’s Pirate Bay Block Rendered Useless by ‘Mistake’
        Copyright holders celebrated a landmark victory early September when a Norwegian court ordered local ISPs to block the Pirate Bay. A breakthrough verdict perhaps, but one with a major flaw as the rightsholder forgot to list one of the site's main domain names.

      • Pirate Party Runs Privacy Campaign Ads on YouPorn

        The Austrian Pirate Party is running a rather unusual advertising campaign on one of the largest Internet porn sites. Using an image of the Minister of the Interior the Pirates warn unsuspecting visitors that they might soon be being watched, a reference to a new mass surveillance proposal in Austria.

      • Piracy Isn’t Worth The Risk of Prison, Freed Cammer Says
        That urge to be first was what put Danks on the radars of FACT and then the police. After his arrest and subsequent conviction Danks was initially sent to HMP Hewell, a Category B prison in Worcestershire, later being transferred to the low-to-medium risk HMP Oakwood. But despite committing only white-collar crime, Danks was placed alongside those with a thirst for violence.

        “I was locked up with all sorts of people, including murderers, bank robbers etc. I remember one guy who I worked with in the kitchens who had been sentenced to 18 years for killing someone. He got out and within six hours was arrested again for killing his victim’s friend,” Danks explains.

      • Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg—aka Anakata—exits prison
        Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was released from a Swedish prison Saturday, three years after he began serving time for a Danish hacking conspiracy and for Swedish copyright offenses connected to the file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

        Warg hasn't made any public comments following his release from Skanninge Prison in Sweden.

        But his mother chimed in on Twitter. "Yes, #anakata is free now. No more need to call for #freeanakata. Thank you everyone for your important support during these three years!"

      • Aurous Dev Fires Back at “Fearmongering, Babbling” Rightscorp

        Aurous, the music equivalent of Popcorn Time, is just two weeks away from alpha release but anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp is already touting a 'solution' to deal with the software. Biting back, Aurous' developer Andrew Sampson says that Rightscorp has no idea how his technology works and accuses the company of fear mongering in an attempt to get more clients.

      • Rightscorp Retains Dallas Buyers Club Copyright Troll Lawyer

        Anti-piracy monetization firm Rightscorp says it has retained a lawyer known for his work with infamous copyright troll Dallas Buyers Club. Carl Crowell, who recently claimed that it's impossible to be anonymous using BitTorrent, will help "educate" people about the effects of piracy while suing "persistent and egregious infringers."

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Delayed Until 2016
        Megaupload has asked a federal court in Virginia to postpone its legal battles with the MPAA and RIAA while the criminal proceedings remain pending. The movie studios and recording labels haven't objected to the request which means that it will take at least six more months before the civil cases begin.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
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Over at Tux Machines...
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New Pension Scheme (NPS) at the European Patent Office Explained at the General Assembly
Investing in the future, or...
Donald Trump & FSFE Matthias Kirschner election denial
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
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They're Adding Warnings Now: The Site "It's FOSS" is Not FOSS
It's better that they at least explicitly state this
Links 27/02/2024: Nevada Versus End-To-End Encryption, Birmingham Bankrupt
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End of an Era
The Web isn't just filled with marketing spam but actual disinformation
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You read the patent application and grant within hours
The Legacy Prolific Writers Leave Behind Them
"Free Software Credibility Index" after more than 15 years
The Ongoing Evolutionary Process of News-Reading (or News-Finding) on the World Wide Web
it gets worse
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No wonder many yearn for the days of DMOZ and Web directories in general
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Over at Tux Machines...
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"It's Obvious There's No Future For Any of Us from Blizzard at Microsoft"
The rumours suggest that more Microsoft layoffs are on the way
[Meme] Who's the Boss?
"I thought EPC governed the Office"
Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) at the EPO and Why Workers' Salary is Actually Decreasing Each Year (Currency Loses Its Purchasing Power)
outline and update on a years-old blunder
Exposed: FSFE, Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), Legal Network & Modern Slavery
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock