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Links 12/4/2016: MythTV 0.28 Released, ZFS Jar of Worms Opened

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • 5 reasons to use Docker for productivity software installation
      When Docker brought new life to Linux containers at the beginning of 2013, the technology quickly gained popularity among software developers. Today Docker has millions of container downloads, thousands of community contributors, and countless third party projects who are using it. What explains this extraordinary popularity?

  • Kernel Space

    • The linux-stable security tree project
      Hi all,

      I'd like to announce the linux-stable security tree project. The purpose is to create a derivative tree from the regular stable tree that would contain only commits that fix security vulnerabilities.

    • Linux Foundation's Role, Combining Linux ZFS, Mint News
      Today in Linux news Richard Stallman posted a Free Software Foundation statement on ZFS in a GPL2 Linux and Software Freedom Conservancy is pleased with his conclusions. Elsewhere, Eben Moglen discussed the Linux Foundation's role in the Linux community. Sam Varghese today said that Ubuntu may be everywhere, but Canonical is still operating in the red and Clement Lefebvre introduced some of the changes coming in Mint 18. The Fedora 24 supplemental wallpaper selection is in the voting phase and a new Pisi video has Megatotoro scratching his head.

    • How Should the Free Software Movement View the Linux Foundation?
      The opinions offered here are my own. I am not expressing the views of any SFLC clients, the Free Software Foundation, or Richard M. Stallman.

      There has been much recent controversy concerning the relationship between the Linux Foundation and “community,” or non-commercial organizations in the world of free software. I’ve been somewhat confused by the dynamics of that conversation, which has spilled out from private mailing lists into the public eye occasionally, and I have found it useful in clarifying my own views to state my thoughts on the subject, which I’ve now decided to share.

    • The mind behind Linux
      A video uploaded on this month features a question-and-answer session with Linux creator Linus Torvalds recorded in February at TED 2016 in Vancouver.

      In the interview with TED curator Chris Anderson, Torvalds talked openly about the personality traits that prompted his unique philosophy of work, engineering and life.

      Some highlights from the chat, edited for brevity:

    • Linus Torvalds: The mind behind Linux
      Linus Torvalds transformed technology twice — first with the Linux kernel, which helps power the Internet, and again with Git, the source code management system used by developers worldwide. In a rare interview with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Torvalds discusses with remarkable openness the personality traits that prompted his unique philosophy of work, engineering and life. "I am not a visionary, I'm an engineer," Torvalds says. "I'm perfectly happy with all the people who are walking around and just staring at the clouds ... but I'm looking at the ground, and I want to fix the pothole that's right in front of me before I fall in."

    • Linus hasn't given up on the year of the Linux desktop
      Much has been written, over and over again, about the fabled (and some would say mythic) year of the Linux desktop. But Linux creator Linus Torvalds has not given up on the idea. Linus thinks that someday Linux could come to dominate desktop computing.

    • Linux 4.6-rc3

    • Live Kernel Patching Microconference Accepted into 2016 Linux Plumbers Conference
      Live kernel patching was accepted into the Linux kernel in v4.0 in February 2015, so we can declare the 2014 LPC Live Kernel Patching Microconference to have been a roaring success! However, as was noted at the time, this is just the beginning of the real work. In short, the v4.0 work makes live kernel patching possible, but more work is required to make it more reliable and more routine.

      Additional issues include stacktrace reliability, patch-safety criteria for kernel threads, thread consistency models, porting to non-x86 architectures, handling of loadable modules, compiler optimizations, userspace tooling, patching of data, automated regression testing, and patch-creation guidelines.

    • Linux-Stable-Security Kernel Tree Announced
      Sasha Levin of Oracle has announced the formation of the Linux-Stable Security Tree.

      This new tree will be based off the mainline Linux stable tree but focus on just carrying fixes for security vulnerabilities. Other changes normally found in stable Linux point releases wouldn't be integrated.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Has New DRM Linux Driver Code Ready For Testing: More Atomic Goodness
        Daniel Vetter of Intel OTC has sent out an announcement about another round of i915 DRM kernel driver code that's ready for testing by developers and the community.

        The latest drm-intel-testing work continues with more atomic-related driver work. One of the more prominent atomic changes in this latest Git branch is making the Intel color manager support fully atomic. Some race conditions were also fixed up in their driver, many small improvements to the GEM memory management code, GuC firmware loading fixes, PLL clean-ups for Cherryview and Valleyview, reworked DisplayPort detection, and various other improvements.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • A Pisi Video!
      This is an animated short video featuring some known characters from Pisi Linux.

    • Reviews

      • Isolating processes with Qubes OS 3.1
        There are several approaches to computer security. One method is to try to make every component work as correctly and error-free as possible. This is called security through correctness. Another approach is called security by obscurity and it involves hiding secrets or flaws. A third approach to security is isolation, which is sometimes called security by compartmentalization. This third method keeps important pieces separate so if one component is compromised, the other components can continue to work, unaffected.

        These different styles of security might make more sense if we look at an example from the non-digital world. Imagine we have some valuables we want to keep locked away and we decide to buy a safe to store our precious documents, jewels and money. If we buy a high quality safe that is hard to force open, that is security through correctness. If we hide our safe behind a picture or in a secret room, that is security through obscurity. Buying two safes and placing half of our valuables in each so if one is robbed then we still have half of our items is an example of security by compartmentalization.

    • New Releases

      • HandyLinux 2.4 Is Based on Debian GNU/Linux 8.4, Iceweasel Replaced with Firefox
        The developers of the Debian-based HandyLinux distribution have announced the immediate availability for download of HandyLinux 2.4, a maintenance release in the 2.x stable series of the OS.

        HandyLinux 2.4 comes only ten days after the release of the Debian GNU/Linux 8.4 "Jessie" operating system, on which the French distro is now based, offering users new installation mediums that include the latest security patches and software updates pushed upstream.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, QCT Partner On OpenStack Hardware System
        Quanta Cloud Technology is teaming with Red Hat to produce a ready-to-plug-in package of OpenStack, Linux, and Ceph storage loaded on Quanta servers, storage, and switches.

      • Red Hat Linux Developer Suite
        Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now available for free to developers who are members of the Red Hat Developers Program.

        The idea is to make it easier for developers to carry out serious Linux development for Enterprise Linux. The new non-production developer subscription is unsupported, but gives you a strong development environment for programming enterprise applications.

        When you register for the subscription, you get Red Hat Enterprise Linux (as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Suite) along with the entire Red Hat JBoss Middleware portfolio and the Red Hat Container Development Kit (CDK). You also get a number of open source compilers, dynamic languages, development tools, databases, web servers and other middleware. Available software is grouped into software repositories that are used to segregate packages by type, source, or support life cycle.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Moving Down the Hall
          I'm moving! Today is my first day on the Release Engineering Development team (RED team) of the PnT DevOps organization at Red Hat. After I get my bearings, I'll be working on "Factory 2.0" which, while still quite a nebulous and undefined thing, boils down to focusing on the next-generation build and release pipeline for RHEL and other Red Hat products. What's cool about this is that, since it's future-facing work, I get to focus on how to knit the effort with what's been going on in Fedora releng. We'll have lots to talk about and hack on, I'm sure.

        • Fedora 24 Wallpapers: Vote now!
          Nearly two months ago, the submission phase for the Fedora 24 Supplemental Wallpapers were opened. Now, the submission phase is closed and the voting phase is now open. If you have a FAS account and are CLA+1 status, you can cast your vote in Nuancier.

        • Fedora nightly image finder
          Finding nightly Fedora builds has always been a bit of a pain. For quite a while we had this page, which just linked to a couple of canned Koji searches. It kinda worked, but it was terribly slow and the results weren’t the nicest thing to look at; it also couldn’t find you installer images, as they don’t come out of Koji. It doesn’t work any more, as the Koji tasks it searches for are no longer correct; it could easily be ‘fixed’ but it’d still be a bad experience.

        • BrickHack 2016 and Fedora: Event Report
          As an event sponsor, the Fedora Ambassadors of North America had a table for the event. The Ambassadors offered mentorship and assistance to BrickHack 2016 programmers, gave away some free Fedora swag, and offered an introduction to Linux, open source, and the community. This report is a recollection of some highlights from the event and also focuses on the impact we made as an event sponsor.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Best Things in Life are Free
    On the other hand, software is still scarce — which is a problem because without software a computer is basically a paper weight. Yes, distributing software is nearly costless. However unlike hardware which involves costly manufacturing processes, the cost of making software consists almost completely of finding intelligent people to write it — and intelligent people are just as scarce as they’ve always been. Luckily, there’s a solution to this dilemma: open source. This idea isn’t new, but I think it’s really important so I wanted to write about it.

    Open source software is software that is distributed freely. Now, this may sound like a terrible idea. People are altruistic — but only to a certain point. Why would people contribute to software for no reward? The key is that open source software is not only free, the process behind making it is transparent. You can change it. Open source projects start when people share code they wrote for their individual needs. Many times making this software publicly available is more cost effective than selling it. Since the source code is publically available, people can adapt the code, and fix problems as they arise.

  • Chatty Puppets on Atlassian HipChat
    HipChat is a team communications platform that provides 'persistent' one-on-one chat, group chat, video chat, file sharing and integrations.

  • Open Source Audio Video Apps: 36 Top Apps
    In the media-saturated world we live in, having an array of top-notch audio-video tools really comes in handy. Trim a file, edit a video, maximize your audio – we all need to feed our social media streams, and companies always need audio-video content to best communicate with users.

    This list of audio video apps is potentially a major cost saver. The following open source apps replace expensive commercial AV apps, often with very similar functionality.

    If you have addition AV apps you’d like to recommend, please use the Comments section below. Happy downloading!

  • Using behavioral patterns to build awesome communities
    Human beings are complicated animals. We are packed with ambitions, fears, desires, anxieties, and other nuggets of the human condition. Of course, the extent and manifestation of these different elements varies from person to person, across cultures, and in different environments.

    This makes building human systems—such as communities or companies—complicated. To some (typically bureaucrats), it can be tempting to ignore what makes us human and instead create seemingly logical processes, despite the processes not matching our human attributes well, and then convince people to use them. If you want to build engaging communities, don't try to model people in spreadsheets; rarely does it work well.

  • Is your open team fully awesome, or too cool for school?

  • Events

    • 2016 EuroLLVM Videos Now Available

    • Community Leadership Summit 2016
      On 14th – 15th May 2016 in Austin, Texas the Community Leadership Summit 2016 will be taking place. For the 8th year now, community leaders and managers from a range of different industries, professions, and backgrounds will meet together to share ideas and best practice. See our incredible registered attendee list that is shaping up for this year’s event.

      This year we also have many incredible keynotes that will cover topics such as building developer communities, tackling imposter syndrome, gamification, governance, and more. Of course CLS will incorporate the popular unconference format where the audience determine the sessions in the schedule.

    • Chariot Solutions Partners with Open Source Hazelcast
      The software development specialist Chariot adds open source Hazelcast 3.6 to its enterprise portfolio as the two companies announce partnership at the Philly ETE 2016 conference.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 45.0.2 Released for Linux, Windows & Mac OS X with More Bugfixes
        Today, April 11, 2016, Mozilla has announced the general availability of the second point release of the Mozilla Firefox 45.0 web browser for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

      • Welcome Sean White, Vice President of Technology Strategy
        Dr. Sean White joins the Mozilla leadership team this week as a Vice President of Technology Strategy.

      • firefox vs rthreads
        Firefox is too slow. OpenBSD is too slow. The combination is too too slow. This situation was known for some time, but resolution was also slow for quite some reasons.

        Many Firefox on OpenBSD users, particularly developers, only use OpenBSD so the extent of the performance gap between platforms went unnoticed. Web browsing would grow ever slower, but the only page that matters would continue to load as quickly as ever, once the slumbering lizard had awoken. Clearly the reason it takes me thirty seconds to view a single tweet was idiot kids and their infernal javascript frameworks.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 16 Most Used Microsoft Office Alternatives for Linux
      Productivity on any operating system is without doubt one of the most important things that can make or break a platform however, execution is the key – if done right, enterprise adaptation would be shortly underway.

      Linux today is most certainly an ultimate viable alternative to Windows – both in the general consumer and business market.

  • BSD

    • FreeBsd Vs OpenBsd
      There are a number of Unix-like operating systems based on or descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) series of Unix variants. The three most notable descendants in current use are FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD, which are all derived from 386BSD and 4.4BSD-Lite, by various routes. Both NetBSD and FreeBSD started life in 1993, initially derived from 386BSD, but in 1994 migrating to a 4.4BSD-Lite code base. OpenBSD was forked in 1995 from NetBSD. Other notable derivatives include DragonFly BSD, which was forked from FreeBSD 4.8, and Apple Inc.’s iOS and OS X, with its Darwin base including a large amount of code derived from FreeBSD.

    • Linux Top 3: CoreOS 1010.1.0, FreeBSD and PC-BSD 10.3
      Yes of course, we *know* that FreeBSD isn't Linux, but aside from using a different kernel (a big aside of course), there are a lot of common areas between modern BSD and Linux.


  • Public Services/Government

    • White House misses big opportunity with open source push
      To me -- as a lawyer, a software developer, and a former government technologist -- the question of open source versus closed source when it comes to government software shouldn't even be a question. With a few obvious exceptions for things like national or operational security, if taxpayers fund the creation of software, they should have the right to access that software. This is increasingly true as government agencies automate the traditionally human-based process they use to regulate industry and deliver citizen services each day. When such processes begin to be shielded behind commercial copyright or self-induced bureaucratic necessity, our government quickly becomes a black box.

    • Storming the government castle
      Open source software seems like a perfect fit for government IT projects. Developers can take advantage of existing code bases and, it's hoped, mold that code to their needs quickly and at less cost than developing code from scratch. Over the last few years, governments in the U.S. and abroad have been more closely embracing open source. However, agencies at all levels of U.S. government are still wary of open source and can be reluctant to adopt it. It's still not easy for government projects to use open source or for developers employed in the public sector to contribute their work to open source project.

    • Urgent - Help until 10 April to influence how 750 millions will be spent
      We were notified of a very interesting consultation by the European Commission. The European Commission is about to allocate 750 million Euro over the next years on the "future internet", but the really important subjects (like: everything we learned from Edward Snowden) are not on their radar - yet.

      However, if we bundle our efforts that is something that is definitely within reach. At the moment we are told there are only a couple of dozens of submissions from mostly the usual suspects, so your response would (at least on paper) count for influencing a few million Euro of this budget. It really makes a difference if you submit something, even if it is really short.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • A French paperback edition of the book Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig is now available
      I'm happy to report that the French paperback edition of my project to translate the Free Culture book by Lawrence Lessig is now available for sale on Once I have formally verified my proof reading copy, which should be in the mail, the paperback edition should be available in book stores like Amazon and Barnes & Noble too.

      This French edition, Culture Libre, is the work of the dblatex developer Benoît Guillon, who created the PO file from the initial translation available from the Wikilivres wiki pages and completed and corrected the translation to match the original docbook edition my project is using, as well as coordinated the proof reading of the final result. I believe the end result look great, but I am biased and do not read French. In addition to the paperback edition, the book is available in PDF, EPUB and Mobi format from the github project page linked to above.

    • Open Data

      • Open Government integral part of Smart Cities
        Open Government initiatives should be an integral part of Smart Sustainable Cities. They ensure access to government data, stimulate citizen participation, and facilitate innovation. This is one of the recommendations made in the 'Smart Sustainable Cities — Reconnaissance Study' published last month by the Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance at United Nations University (UNU-EGOV).

      • Updated Austrian Manual for Data Managers available
        Last month, Austria published an updated 'Handbuch für Dateneinsteller' (Manual for Data Managers). It provides the country's public administration with all the information needed by agencies to get started using the national Open Government Data portal

        The manual explains the OGD Austria initiative, the open data principles, the why, how, and by whom of publishing open data, followed by all the legal, procedural, organisational and technical details.

        The 'Handbuch für Dateneinsteller' is written in German and is freely available from the OGD Austria website.

  • Programming/Development

    • Give your Git Repository an Open Source Web Interface
      Git is a very popular open source version control system. Many developers use Git on a desktop machine and push their updates to a central server running on a service like GitHub or GitLab. Although such services are great, this may lead some to think of Git as a client-server model with local checkout of code and updates that are always being pushed back to the single central server.

    • pypy: suprisingly good
      That's better than I expected for the JIT technology.


  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Obama: The Word 'Classified' Means Whatever We Need It To Mean
      How do we know whether information is classified? Well, because the government tells us it is. But what does that mean? It turns out it means whatever the government wants it to mean, subject to time, place, personnel involved, etc.

      Classified material handed over to movie producers by Leon Panetta? Probably not a big deal. Classified material handed over to journalists by whistleblowers? That's a prosecutin'.

      No one explains this slippery approach to classification better than President Obama, who was gamely trying to answer questions about an ongoing investigation (Hillary Clinton and her famous emails) during an interview with Fox News.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • From DC’s Deficit Panic to Flint’s Poisoned Water
      We know that the Washington Post editors really hate Bernie Sanders and rarely miss an opportunity to show it. Dana Milbank got in the act big time today as he once again denounced Sanders (along with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz) in his column.

    • Water Woes Divide California into Haves, Have Nots
      People have long predicted that California could eventually collapse into the ocean following a mega earthquake. Now, an eerily similar true-life scenario is playing out -- but it's thanks to the weather.

      The Gold Rush State has sunk more than 45 feet since 1935 – something the U.S. government calls the "largest human alteration of the earth's surface." But earthquakes aren't the cause. It's happening because of excessive groundwater mining brought on by drought, and geologists say all the rain in the world won't reverse cave-ins of dirt and rock in underground aquifers.

    • National Weather Service will stop using all caps in its forecasts
      New forecast software is allowing the agency to break out of the days when weather reports were sent by “the wire” over teleprinters, which were basically typewriters hooked up to telephone lines. Teleprinters only allowed the use of upper case letters, and while the hardware and software used for weather forecasting has advanced over the last century, this holdover was carried into modern times since some customers still used the old equipment.

  • Finance

    • Rothschild says Ukraine president's trust up to international standards
      The wealth management arm of Rothschild Group set up a trust it handles for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in line with international standards for the treatment of assets of politicians in office, the company said on Thursday.

      Poroshenko has had to defend himself repeatedly against accusations he tried to evade tax after the "Panama Papers" data leak on Sunday showed he had placed his Roshen confectionary business assets in an offshore account.

      Rothschild said Poroshenko had appointed it as a trustee of a blind trust to hold his shares in Roshen.

      "The trust has been modelled on international standards for politicians requiring trusts to hold their assets while they are in office," it said in emailed comments.

    • Dennis Skinner: Why I called the Prime Minister 'Dodgy Dave' - and would do it again
      I, like most people in the country, view tax havens as dodgy.

      Cameron looked after himself by maxing out the taxpayers’ credit card to pay a mortgage on expenses in Oxfordshire and even claimed to cut the wisteria off his chimney.

      So I, like most people in the country, think it dodgy he now earns a small fortune renting out a house in Notting Hill while living in Downing Street and Chequers.

    • All PFI Contracts Should Be Cancelled and the Assets Nationalised
      The Private Finance Initiative was always a scam. It was yet another way to divert money from ordinary tax-payers to the super rich. Instead of schools and hospitals being built and paid for by the taxpayer, they were built and paid for by the bankers, hedge fund managers and other “financial services” sharks, giving state guaranteed returns averaging 7% from the taxpayer, when we now have negative interest rates. It is such a massive scam that every man, woman and child in the UK owes €£3,000 to PFI financiers. Like so many far right Tory ideas, its most fervent practitioners were Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

    • Poor People Should Just Go Die
      Imagine that — in one of the world’s richest countries, people die simply because we can’t find a way to provide them good healthcare as does the rest of the civilized world.

    • Starvation in Australia: Utopia's dirty secret
      I had a call from Rosalie Kunoth-Monks the other day. Rosalie is an elder of the Arrernte-Alyawarra people, who lives in Utopia, a vast and remote region in the "red heart" of Australia. The nearest town is Alice Springs, more than 200 miles across an ancient landscape of spinifex and swirling skeins of red dust. The first Europeans who came here, perhaps demented by the heat, imagined a white utopia that was not theirs to imagine; for this is a sacred place, the homeland of the oldest, most continuous human presence on earth.

      Rosalie was distressed, defiant and eloquent. Her distinction as one unafraid to speak up in a society so often deaf to the cries and anguish of its first people, its singular uniqueness, is well earned. She appears in my 2013 film, Utopia, with a searing description of a discarded people: "We are not wanted in our own country." She has described the legacies of a genocide: a word political Australia loathes and fears.

    • Menace To Tax Dodgers David Cameron Has His Own Tax Dodging Exposed By The Panama Leaks
      One of the more darkly entertaining aspects of the massive Panama Leaks has been watching exposed politicians attempting to reconcile past promises to get tougher on financial wrongdoers with their own tax-dodging efforts.

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron has spent several years in crackdown mode, as the New York Times notes. Going all the way back to 2012, Cameron has made a habit of promising better regulation, stricter enforcement and harsher penalties for tax-dodging corporations while selling himself to voters and small businesses. He also singled out individuals, like comedian Jimmy Carr, for his use of "dodgy tax-avoiding schemes." He also promised to close a loophole that allowed wealthy UK residents to avoid paying taxes and suggested those that did should face prison time.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Empire Strikes Back
      Several people have argued with my reference to “corporate media”, as the consortium includes state organisations such as the BBC. My response to that is that the BBC has become in the last few years a mouthpiece for state propaganda with no effective independence of government, and that the politicians are very much in the pocket of the corporations who fund them. The BBC therefore promotes corporate interests just as much as those outlets directly owned by corporate interests. It is simply a question of direct or indirect control.

    • The GOP’s worst kept secret: More people voting hurts Republicans — so they’re openly trying to prevent it
      By now it should be more than obvious. Republicans continue to push for new voter ID laws, which, of course, they publicly insist are all about weeding out rampant voter fraud, even though the likelihood of significant voter is virtually nil.

      Over the last four years, however, one GOP operative after another has proved the adage that you can’t keep a secret among a large group of people. Indeed, they continue to blab about the true motive behind voter ID laws — that it’s all about disenfranchising Democratic voters and keeping turnout low. The fewer Democratic voters, and, yes, the lower the overall turnout, the better Republicans fare.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Aggies preform highly in NSA Codebreaker Challenge [Ed: puff piece/marketing]

      Cybersecurity is one of this century’s newest and most complex challenges. Data is becoming more and more difficult to protect, but an National Security Administration challenge aims to train the next generation of computer engineers to be able to handle the task.

      The NSA Codebreaker challenge gave students around the country a chance to put their coding skills to use in a difficult context with a variety of interesting applications.

    • US Gov't Wants to Use NSA Spy Data to Prosecute Citizens - Advocacy Group
      The US government is developing a policy that would allow the Justice Department to prosecute criminals based on evidence acquired secretly by the National Security Agency (NSA), Human Rights Watch said in a press release.

    • WATCH: Exclusive Interview by Glenn Greenwald with Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva
    • Is The Government Getting Stingier With Cyber Threat Data?

      In late February, the University of California, Berkeley, announced a hack into a school financial system that compromised the Social Security or bank account numbers of about 80,000 students, alumni and vendors.

      For more than two years, suspected Chinese and other nation-state hackers nestled inside computers at Penn State’s engineering school, which happens to develop sensitive technology for the Navy, Bloomberg reported in May 2015.

    • University Says Government's Pretty Terrible At Sharing Cyberthreat Information
      Multiple government agencies have gone all-in on cybersecurity. CISA was pushed through late last year -- dumped into the back pages of a "must pass" omnibus spending bill. Just like that, the government expanded its surveillance power and cleared its cyberthreat inboxes to make way for all the information non-governmental entities might want to share with it. It promised to share right back -- making this all equitable -- but no one really believed the government would give as much as it would take.

    • Congress's New Encryption Bill Just Leaked, And It's As Bad As Experts Imagined
      In the aftermath of Apple and the FBI's high-profile battle over an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooter suspects, observers on Capitol Hill have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of new Congressional bill that would force tech companies to provide assistance to police in accessing their customers' data, even if it means building software tools to circumvent their own security measures.

    • Burr And Feinstein Plan One Sided Briefing For Law Enforcement To Bitch About 'Going Dark'
      With the world mocking the sheer ignorance of their anti-encryption bill, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are doubling down by planning a staff "briefing" on the issue of "going dark" with a panel that is made up entirely of law enforcement folks. As far as we can tell, it hasn't been announced publicly, but an emailed announcement was forwarded to us, in which they announce the "briefing" (notably not a "hearing") on "barriers to law enforcement’s ability to lawfully access the electronic evidence they need to identify suspects, solve crimes, exonerate the innocent and protect communities from further crime." The idea here is to convince others in Congress to support their ridiculous bill by gathering a bunch of staffers and scaring them with bogeyman stories of "encryption caused a crime wave!" As such, it's no surprise that the panelists aren't just weighted heavily in one direction, they're practically flipping the boat. Everyone on the panel comes from the same perspective, and will lay out of the argument for "encryption bad!"

    • The right to delete your own data
      We have more protection for your credit card data than the information someone can use to set up a fake credit card in your name.

      If you do anything online, your data is at risk. Always. Every time you open an account somewhere, you provide a bunch of personal information. Some sites don't ask for much more than an email address and a password. Other sites require more data about you. And other sites don't require many details to get started, but you add more anyway.
    • MIT Tech Review Tries To Blame Apple Encryption For Wrongful Arrest

    • FBI, DEA Taking Two Different Approaches To Pending All Writs Orders Directed At Apple
      Some of the other iPhones the FBI tried to pretend weren't going to be the beneficiaries of a precedential All Writs order are apparently not even the beneficiaries of the agency's Break Into an iPhone Using This One Simple Trick! anticlimax in the San Bernardino case.

      Director James Comey noted there were still more windmills to tilt at after discovering the still-secret exploit only works on a smallish subset of Apple's offerings. In two other cases, the agency has explored its available options. In one case in Massachusetts, it appears to be on the verge of abandoning its quest to force Apple to break into a phone for it, as Motherboard reports.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sheriff And Deputy Somehow Manage To Screw Up Forfeiture Badly Enough To Be Indicted On Extortion Charges
      The situation is not unlike hundreds of others that have occurred over the years. Colbert and Gragg stopped a motorist, found cash and drug paraphernalia, seized the cash and then proceeded to not file criminal charges against the driver.

    • Grand jury indicts Wagoner County sheriff, calls for his removal
      Indicted Wagoner County Sheriff Bob Colbert will fight an accusation that he took a $10,000 bribe after a traffic stop, his attorneys said Thursday.

      “This money was earmarked for fighting drug trafficking to help protect the citizens,” his attorney, Michon Hughes, said. “The accusations remain politically motivated. We are so sad for the sheriff.”

      The state's multicounty grand jury on Thursday indicted Colbert, 60, and Capt. Jeff Gragg, 48, on three felony counts. The grand jury also called for Colbert's immediate suspension and eventual removal from public office on misconduct grounds.

    • Supreme Court Says Government Can't Take Your Money And Lock You Out Of Your Choice In Representation
      This decision was handed down by the Supreme Court more than a week ago, but it's worth reporting. Late last year, the Court decided to take a look at an issue related to asset forfeiture and the implications it has for the Sixth Amendment.

      In this case, the defendant, Sila Luis, argued that the government's seizure of her assets -- pre-conviction -- denied her the right to defend herself fully against its charges. She could still use an attorney, but it would have to be one appointed to her or one willing to work for deferred compensation (in the hopes that assets would eventually be returned).

      The problem here isn't a small one. The government has the power to seize assets pre-conviction using nothing more than a grand jury's indictment as the basis. This is done to provide some sort of assurance that the accused can compensate those wronged (as well as pay any fines, fees, etc. associated with the conviction) when the trial is concluded.

    • A Pirate's First Month in Government
      In the mean time, tomorrow I am due to give a talk at Bath University on all things Pirate Party UK and how our first "Pirate in Power" is doing.

      All in all, I'd say we Pirates have had a pretty successful month. We're already pushed back against the AMs bad call on the environment and immediately represented the constituents while making connections with the investing parties, unions and charites.

    • Some of Globe’s ‘Predictions’ for Trump’s America Have Already Come True
      On Sunday, the Boston Globe published a mock front page, filled with ominous headlines and half-joking prognostications, to “warn” the GOP against nominating Donald Trump. A accompanying editorial proclaimed that Trump’s “vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.”

      But what’s strange about this “satire” is how most of the things it’s warning about are already underway, or have long existed. Indeed, Trump’s vision isn’t un-American; it’s America on steroids.

    • Leaflets calling for Ahmadi Muslims to be killed if they do not convert found in south London mosque
      Leaflets calling for the killing of members of the Ahmadi sect of Islam have been found in a south London mosque.

      A pile of the flyers, which were found in Stockwell Green Mosque, seem to endorse the killing of Ahmadis if they do not convert to mainstream Islam.

      It has been speculated that they were printed by Khatme Naubwwat - a group which says on its official website that its “sole aim has been and is to unite all the Muslims of the world to safeguard the sanctity of Prophethood and the finality of Prophethood and to refute the repudiators of the belief in the finality of Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad”.

    • Cybersecurity Expert Caught in FBI Mass Hack Gets Two Days Jail Time
      The Department of Justice has charged at least 137 people in the US with child pornography related crimes, after the FBI used a hacking tool to identify visitors of a large site on the so-called dark web. Many of those people are facing years in prison.

      One person caught has avoided any serious jail time altogether though: Brian Haller, a former cybersecurity employee at Booz Allen Hamilton who himself has ties to the government. Haller was sentenced on Friday to time served—two days and one night, according to court documents and local media reports.

      Haller pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography, court documents state. Haller was also sentenced to 10 years of supervised release, in which his computer will undergo constant monitoring (except devices that are used as part of his employment), and he was ordered to pay a fine of $1,000.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast doesn't like its customers using their own routers, and it's fighting back
      It’s rare that you hear a positive story about the business practices of American mass media corporation Comcast, and the latest news item doing the rounds doesn’t break from that tradition. Customers are reporting that the company is injecting its own ads into their Web browsers.

      On the surface, this might seem like just another addition to the list of frustrations Comcast users are expected to endure on a daily basis. However, the product being advertised and the strategy underpinning this campaign are noxious enough to set this apart from the now-standard tales of the company’s disregard for its customers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Dov Seidman Now Suing His Agent Over The Use Of The Word 'How' By Third Party Ad Agency
        You may recall a story from a few years back involving self-proclaimed "corporate virtue advisor" Dov Seidman and his quest to sue Chobani for using the phrase "How food is made matters" and the social media hashtag #howmatters. Seidman's problem with all of this? He had a trademark registered for the word "how." Yeah, seriously. Seidman claimed that his super-awesome transformational use of "how" as a noun instead of a verb had been trademarked and that this somehow meant that a company that sells yogurt couldn't use the word in any way similar.

      • USPTO proposes first TTAB changes for nine years
        The USPTO has suggested 29 pages-worth of changes to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board practice, including to electronic filing, service and electronic communication, streamlining discovery and pre-trial procedures, and making trials more efficient.

    • Copyrights

      • MPA: We’ve Reached a Turning Point on Piracy

        The president of the MPAA's European operation says he believes a turning point has been reached on piracy, with service providers and search engines beginning to understand they all have a role to play. However, it's also clear that Hollywood is fearful of opening up content across Europe, which in itself could contribute to piracy.
      • U.S. ISPs Refuse to Disconnect Persistent Pirates

        The U.S. broadband association USTelecom, a trade association representing many ISPs, is taking a stand against abusive takedown notices and a recent push to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers. They argue that ISPs are not required to pass on takedown notices and stress that their subscribers shouldn't lose Internet access based solely on copyright holder complaints.
      • Appeals Court Says Google Must Take Further Abuse From AG Jim Hood Before It Can Challenge Hood's Abusive Behavior
        Towards the end of 2014, Google filed for an injunction against Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, whose close ties with the MPAA had led to a sustained campaign of harassment over Google's supposed lack of interest in policing the entire internet for infringing material.

        Early in 2015, the district court granted Google's requested injunction against Hood's 79-page subpoena, which the court noted was a "burdensome fishing expedition" that went beyond the bounds of what a state AG could actually demand. Not only that, but the court noted that many of Hood's actions were blocked by Section 230 of the CDA because the content in question had been uploaded by third parties.

        Unfortunately for Google, the Fifth Circuit Appeals Court has reversed the lower court's decision and vacated the injunction. It's being portrayed as a victory for the MPAA and its kept man, Jim Hood, but those actually reading the decision will find the reversal is just procedural. TL; DR: Google must face additional legal harassment from Jim Hood before it can challenge said legal harassment in a federal court.

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