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Links 11/3/2017: PiCluster 1.6, GXml 0.14, No More Fedora Alpha Releases

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Vs. Commercial BI Software [Ed: False dichotomy right from the get-go (headline). FOSS can definitely be - and often is - commercial]

  • GAPID: Google Has A New Graphics Debugger For Vulkan & OpenGL ES
    GAPID is short for the Graphics API Debugger and is a new open-source project out of Google.

    Adding to the list of available open-source debuggers is GAPID. GAPID allows inspecting, tweaking, and replaying calls to OpenGL ES and Vulkan. GAPID is primarily geared for debugging GLES/VLK Android applications but the user-interface runs on Windows, Linux, and macOS. The tracer is able to run on those host operating systems as well as Android.

  • Bouncing Back To Private Clouds With OpenStack
    There is an adage, not quite yet old, suggesting that compute is free but storage is not. Perhaps a more accurate and, as far as public clouds are concerned, apt adaptation of this saying might be that computing and storage are free, and so are inbound networking within a region, but moving data across regions in a public cloud is brutally expensive, and it is even more costly spanning regions.

  • Blockchain for Supply Chain: Enormous Potential Down the Road

  • Open source project management can be risky business[Ed: Correction to this article; Netflix not "openly developed." DRM and proprietary.]
    Our digital lives are powered by programming philosophers who choose to develop their code out in the open.

    All programs begin with lines of instruction. When ready for execution these lines of instruction are converted to a binary format that the computer can execute. Open source programs are programs where the human readable code is accessible to anyone. This philosophy of openness and freedom has allowed these projects to impact the lives of everyone.

    The Linux kernel is the core of all Android devices, and nearly a third of all Internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project, Netflix. (Read the excellent article in Time magazine about this.) How does the choice of using open source software as part of a project plan affect the amount and type of risk to a project within an organization?

  • Teradata open sources Kylo data lake management software

  • Teradata debuts open-source Kylo to Quickly Build, manage data pipelines

  • Teradata debuts IntelliCloud to blend data and analytic software as a service with expanded deployment choice

  • HTC Will Open Source Full-Body Tracking For Vive With Tracker
    Speaking to UploadVR at MWC, Alvin Graylin, President of Vive in China, said that HTC had been working on a “similar system” for full body tracking in its China research lab, and would be open sourcing it for all developers to implement into their experiences for free.

  • Social Commerce: Encouraging African Start-ups To Lean On Open Source
    The internet is evolving and there is a lot of excitement because no one is quite sure what it will look like in the next five years. However one thing that is sure about its evolution is that it will keep getting more social.

    Open Source software is currently being leveraged on by developers across the globe not just for blogging and publishing but also for designing feature rich and secure internal process systems and enterprise resource tools.

    Social commerce is a one of this new concepts which is relatively new especially in the Africa web space hence the need to train start-ups on how to tap into and fully explore this new innovation.

  • Klaxon, an open-source tool from The Marshall Project, helps journalists track newsworthy changes to websites
    The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organisation that covers the criminal justice system in the United States, has developed a free and open-source tool that allows reporters and editors to track websites of interest and receive notifications via Slack or email when newsworthy changes happen.

  • How open source has taken over our lives
    The next time you play Uncharted 4 on PlayStation 4, The Legend of Zelda on Nintendo Switch, or tell Alexa to turn the lights off, bear in mind it’s all running on open source.

  • Your freedoms are eroding as technology becomes more closed
    We’re not doing a good job of keeping the Internet and related technologies as open and egalitarian as they used to be, allowing a dangerous oligopoly to reemerge. How can we reverse the trend? And by we, I actually mean you.

  • Senlin for VMware Integrated OpenStack brings open source up to speed
    The Senlin clustering service delivers a one-two punch, enabling developer productivity while proving VMware's commitment to improving open source technology.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Open Source Couchbase Mobile Now Scales on Demand

      The open source Couchbase Mobile platform comprises: the Couchbase Lite NoSQL embedded database for mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices; the Couchbase Server that stores and manages data in the cloud; and the Couchbase Sync Gateway that synchronizes data between the two.

  • CMS

    • Making Drupal upgrades easy forever
      After a lot of discussion among the Drupal core committers and developers, and studying projects like Symfony, we believe that the advantages of Drupal's minor upgrade model (e.g. from Drupal 8.2 to Drupal 8.3) can be translated to major upgrades (e.g. from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9). We see a way to keep innovating while providing a smooth upgrade path and learning curve from Drupal 8 to Drupal 9.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Booting FreeBSD 11 with NVMe and ZFS on AMD Ryzen
      We recently took one of our test systems and tried an experiment: could we boot FreeBSD 11 from a NVMe SSD using ZFS root file system using AMD Ryzen. At STH we have many FreeBSD users and developers so when there is a new hardware class out, we tend to try it in FreeBSD and sometimes popular FreeBSD appliance OSes such as pfSense and FreeNAS. You can see an example with our Knights Landing Xeon Phi x200 system booting FreeBSD OSes. In our recent testing with AMD Ryzen we found major installers with the latest CentOS 7.3 and also had issues with Ubuntu crashing using current LTS image kernels. We wanted to see how FreeBSD would fare given it normally lags in terms of hardware support.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • VMware becomes gold member of Linux Foundation: And what about the GPL?

      As we can read in recent news, VMware has become a gold member of the Linux foundation. That causes - to say the least - very mixed feelings to me.

      One thing to keep in mind: The Linux Foundation is an industry association, it exists to act in the joint interest of it's paying members. It is not a charity, and it does not act for the public good. I know and respect that, while some people sometimes appear to be confused about its function.

      However, allowing an entity like VMware to join, despite their many years long disrespect for the most basic principles of the FOSS Community (such as: Following the GPL and its copyleft principle), really is hard to understand and accept.

      I wouldn't have any issue if VMware would (prior to joining LF) have said: Ok, we had some bad policies in the past, but now we fully comply with the license of the Linux kernel, and we release all derivative/collective works in source code. This would be a positive spin: Acknowledge past issues, resolve the issues, become clean and then publicly underlining your support of Linux by (among other things) joining the Linux Foundation. I'm not one to hold grudges against people who accept their past mistakes, fix the presence and then move on. But no, they haven't fixed any issues.

      They are having one of the worst track records in terms of intentional GPL compliance issues for many years, showing outright disrespect for Linux, the GPL and ultimately the rights of the Linux developers, not resolving those issues and at the same time joining the Linux Foundation? What kind of message sends that?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Inertia Slows Evolution For Open Scientists
        It is still a long way to a new generation of “open scientists”, German open data researcher Christian Heise found out in his just-published PhD thesis. Heise not only investigated drivers and barriers for what he expects to be an evolution from open access to open science by theory and a survey of over 1100 scientists. He tried the concept open science the hard way, opening up the writing of his thesis paper on the net.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source textbooks could save students a bundle
        As the cost of college has skyrocketed, students and parents could soon get relief on expensive textbooks under the Textbook Cost Savings Act of 2017 that would provide funding to develop free open source learning materials.

        “The state is moving rapidly towards free textbooks online,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Jim Rosapepe, D-Prince George’s, in an interview. “If the bill passes it will be state policy that we want to move in that direction as much as possible.”

      • Mathematics for Computer Science: a free, CC-licensed MIT textbook

        This is indeed an up-to-the-minute text [PDF], dated Mar 7, 2017. It's written by Googler/MIT prof Eric Lehman, MIT/Akamai scientist F Thomson Leighton and MIT AI researcher Albert R Meyer, as a companion to their Mathematics for Computer Science open course.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Open Source Toolkit – meet the Channel Editors
        The Open Source Toolkit features articles and online projects describing hardware and software that can be used in a research and/or science education setting across different fields, from basic to applied research. The Channel Editors aim to showcase how Open Source tools can lead to innovation, democratisation and increased reproducibility.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Vulkan 1.0.43 Adds Two New Extensions
      The Khronos Group has done a Friday evening update to the Vulkan 1.0 API specification.

      Vulkan 1.0.43 includes a number of GitHub and internal-Khronos issues around document clarifications and other minor behavior differences.


  • An obituary: The National Endowment for the Arts, 52, of unnatural causes

    But the NEA will also be remembered as the agency that created arts councils in every state and most cities; that spread the professionalization of arts organizations throughout America; and that generated important new fields, such as art therapy for war victims; creative place making and the rebirth of cities; research into economics, mental health, inequality and aging, among many; and whose leaders persuaded private funders of the value of artists and the arts.

  • Microsoft: Users Locked Out of Accounts Tuesday

    Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) was hit with an outage early Tuesday morning that prevented users from accessing a host of applications and services including Xbox, Skype and Outlook. Many Microsoft customers in Western Europe and the Eastern U.S. were greeted with a message that their account wasn’t active when they tried to log on.

    Users complaining at website about reached in the thousands, reported Reuters. Meanwhile the hashtag #hotmail was trending on Twitter in the U.K. Microsoft confirmed the problem, saying in an Xbox Live message it was working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Microsoft Account Services, which also includes Office 365, the Windows Store and a host of other apps came back up around 9:30 a.m. EST Tuesday at which time Microsoft alerted users.

  • Microsoft is putting OneDrive ads in Windows 10’s File Explorer
    Microsoft has made a bad habit of introducing ads here and there throughout Windows, and now people are starting to notice them showing up in another spot: inside File Explorer.

    People have reported seeing notifications to sign up for OneDrive — Microsoft’s cloud storage service — at the top of the Quick Access screen that comes up when you open a new File Explorer window.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Budget 2017: Philip Hammond accused of back-door NHS privatisation by funding 'shady' reform plans

      Philip Hammond has promised the NHS will receive £425m in government investment over the next three years – but the way these funds are allocated could in fact lead to further NHS privatisation, campaigners have warned.

    • The Truth About the GOP Health-Care Plan

    • Biosimilars and generics as "rip-offs": when the facts may not matter
      The interviewee pointed out that while “biosimilar” and “generic” products differ, they are close enough in their underlying characteristics. Other than that, he did not challenge her characterization of them as a “rip-off”. For a listener who paid close attention to the interview, the take-away was clear-- biosimilar and generic products are undesirable. It seems to this Kat that the IP community should be concerned about the level of understanding of IP embodied in this brief interview exchange. Remember that Bloomberg is a large, business-oriented media empire. As such, one might expect an appreciation of the complexity of the subject, especially from the perspective of the various stakeholders involved.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday

    • Reproducible Builds: week 97 in Stretch cycle

    • Linux says open source more secure than closed, responds to Wikileaks’ claims
      Apple has already released a statement that said the vulnerabilities have already been fixed. Google too has responded to the issue. Linux just released a statement assuring the users that its being open source is safer for most people. The idea is that open source software communities continue to work on securing systems.

    • MAC randomization: A massive failure that leaves iPhones, Android mobes open to tracking
      To protect mobile devices from being tracked as they move through Wi-Fi-rich environments, there's a technique known as MAC address randomization. This replaces the number that uniquely identifies a device's wireless hardware with randomly generated values.

      In theory, this prevents scumbags from tracking devices from network to network, and by extension the individuals using them, because the devices in question call out to these nearby networks using different hardware identifiers.

    • Open source security and ‘hacking robots before skynet’ [Ed: Let's pretend proprietary software is secure and robust, and has zero back doors (we cannot see)]
      In this case, the devices were used to form a botnet and attack other systems, conducting a denial of service attack that made Twitter, Etsy, and other popular sites unavailable to users. This was inconvenient to users, and likely cost revenue for Dyn customers. It was almost certainly costly for Dyn.

    • Payments Giant Verifone Investigating Breach

      Verifone circled back post-publication with the following update to their statement: “According to the forensic information to-date, the cyber attempt was limited to controllers at approximately two dozen gas stations, and occurred over a short time frame. We believe that no other merchants were targeted and the integrity of our networks and merchants’ payment terminals remain secure and fully operational.”

    • Terabytes of Government Data Copied [iophk: "they need to publish via bittorrent more often to take out the single point of failure; they need to learn to use torrents from day one of their research"]

    • Millions of websites still using vulnerable SHA-1 certificate

      At least 21 percent of all public websites are using insecure SHA-1 certificates – past the migration deadline and after Google researchers demonstrated a real-world collision attack. And this is without taking into account private or closed networks that also might be using the hash.

    • Widespread Bug Bounty Program Could Help Harden Open Source Security
      One company is adding to its bug bounty program efforts by offering its professional services to the open source community for free. HackerOne’s platform, known as HackerOne Community Edition, will help open source software teams create a comprehensive approach to vulnerability management, including a bug bounty program.
    • Consumer Reports Proposes Open Source Security Standard To Keep The Internet Of Things From Sucking
      Thanks to a laundry list of lazy companies, everything from your Barbie doll to your tea kettle is now hackable. Worse, these devices are now being quickly incorporated into some of the largest botnets ever built, resulting in some of the most devastating DDoS attacks the internet has ever seen. In short: thanks to "internet of things" companies that prioritized profits over consumer privacy and the safety of the internet, we're now facing a security and privacy dumpster fire that many experts believe will, sooner or later, result in mass human fatalities.

      Hoping to, you know, help prevent that, the folks at Consumer Reports this week unveiled a new open source digital consumer-protection standard that safeguards consumers’ security and privacy in the internet-of-broken things era. According to the non-profit's explanation of the new standard, it's working with privacy software firm Disconnect, non-profit privacy research firm Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), and nonprofit software security-testing organization Cyber Independent Testing Lab (CITL) on the new effort, which it acknowledges is early and requires public and expert assistance.

    • Researchers warn augmented mobile and open source = malware opportunity [Ed: Well, and proprietary is never a malware ramp (sarcasm)]
      ESET researchers warn that augments mobile applications plus open source platforms like Google's open could be a recipe for clever malware to come, in a recent security post.

      Currently, Google only requires developers to make a onetime payment of $25 and within 24 hours they can have an application in the Google Play Store compared to Apple which requires a yearly license which costs more than $100 and a vetting period of up to two weeks.

    • Operation Rosehub patches Java vulnerabilities in open source projects
      Google employees recently completed Operation Rosehub, a grass roots effort that patches a set of serious Java vulnerabilities in thousands of open source projects.

    • [Video] CPU Backdoors Could Allow Government Spying

    • Moving Git past SHA-1 [Ed: no longer behind LWN paywall]
      The SHA-1 hash algorithm has been known for at least a decade to be weak; while no generated hash collisions had been reported, it was assumed that this would happen before too long. On February 23, Google announced that it had succeeded at this task. While the technique used is computationally expensive, this event has clarified what most developers have known for some time: it is time to move away from SHA-1. While the migration has essentially been completed in some areas (SSL certificates, for example), there are still important places where it is heavily used, including at the core of the Git source-code management system. Unsurprisingly, the long-simmering discussion in the Git community on moving away from SHA-1 is now at a full boil.

    • Linux kernel: CVE-2017-2636: local privilege escalation flaw in n_hdlc

    • Spammergate: The Fall of an Empire

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • NSA Tries To Stonewall Jason Leopold's Requests Because He's A 'FOIA Terrorist' Who's Paid To 'Deluge Agencies' With Requests
      Journalist Jason Leopold (currently in residence at Buzzfeed) has been given the nickname "FOIA terrorist" for his numerous requests and almost as numerous FOIA lawsuits. The government has taken notice of Leopold's activity. The Pentagon once offered Leopold a stack of documents in exchange for him leaving it alone. (He declined.) The FBI played keepaway with James Comey talking points, telling Leopold they were all exempt from disclosure. This obviously wasn't true, as these same talking points had been handed over to Mike Masnick by the agency months prior to the bogus denial it gave Leopold.

      Now, it's the NSA using Leopold's "FOIA terrorist" nickname against him. (This is weird because eederal employees gave Leopold the "terrorist" nickname. He didn't come up with it himself.) In Leopold's ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the agency, the NSA has asked for an "Open America" stay. What this would do is push Leopold's request back in line with the others the NSA has received. The agency argues that Leopold's decision to file a lawsuit over the agency's lack of a timely response shouldn't give his request precedence over FOIA requests that arrived before his did.

      The agency points out its FOIA workload has increased significantly since "a former NSA contractor began a series of unprecedented, unauthorized, and unlawful disclosures" in 2013. The agency still processes thousands of FOIA requests a year, but it's unable to keep up with the increase in FOIA traffic.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • 5 Reasons Why The Middle Class Doesn't Understand Poverty

    • Uber will stop ‘greyballing’ government regulators

      The post did not acknowledge any wrongdoing or improper behavior on the part of the Uber or its employees for developing and using the Greyball program.

    • Why women in tech aren’t surprised by the Uber saga

      But, again, simply boosting your numbers is one thing. Promoting women to the next level is another. Treating women like equal humans, including them in important meetings and events, and letting them establish new rules is another. Not talking down to them is another. Appropriately responding to complaints — while understanding that a complaint is not “complaining” — is another. Not assuming they’re “less technical” is another. Not assuming they’re doing less work because they also have a family, is another.

    • Exclusive: Carl Icahn responds to 'witch hunt' complaint [iophk: "Microsoft lobbyist and Microsoft activist"]

    • Uber driver charged with raping passenger in Virginia Beach

      An Uber driver appeared in court on Tuesday after he was charged with raping a female passenger in one of the city’s Oceanfront neighborhoods over the weekend.

    • What Happens if You’re Too Poor to Pay Bail?

      Bail is a $14 billion-a-year business with its own trade association—the American Bail Coalition or ABC—made up of national bail-insurance companies who underwrite the bonds and take a cut. This group lobbies hard for the policies that make it money and it shows. Before ABC began lobbying, in 1990, commercial, for-profit bail accounted for just 23 percent of pretrial releases, while release on recognizance accounted for 40 percent. Today, only 23 percent of those let go before trial are released on recognizance, while 49 percent must purchase commercial bail.

    • Chocolate price hike if Brexit deal fails, warns Mars
      Chocolate prices could rise if the UK does not secure a trade deal post-Brexit, according to Mars' top boss.

      Fiona Dawson, global president for Mars, said the absence of a deal with EU member states would see tariffs of up to 30% for the industry.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A Dangerous California Bill Would Leave Students and Teachers Vulnerable to Intrusive Government Searches
      A dangerous bill in California would make it easy for the government to search the cell phones and online accounts of students and teachers. A.B. 165 rips away crucial protections for the more than 6-million Californians who work at and attend our public schools. Under the proposed law, anyone acting “for or on the behalf of” a public school—whether that’s the police or school officials—could search through student, teacher, and possibly even parent digital data without a court issuing a warrant or any other outside oversight.
    • The Internet of Microphones
      So the CIA has tools to snoop on you via your TV and your Echo is testifying in a murder case and yet people are still buying connected devices with microphones in and why are they doing that the world is on fire surely this is terrible?

      You're right that the world is terrible, but this isn't really a contributing factor to it. There's a few reasons why. The first is that there's really not any indication that the CIA and MI5 ever turned this into an actual deployable exploit. The development reports[1] describe a project that still didn't know what would happen to their exploit over firmware updates and a "fake off" mode that left a lit LED which wouldn't be there if the TV were actually off, so there's a potential for failed updates and people noticing that there's something wrong. It's certainly possible that development continued and it was turned into a polished and usable exploit, but it really just comes across as a bunch of nerds wanting to show off a neat demo.

    • Civil Liberties Groups Point Out More Reasons Why The 'Privacy Shield' Framework For Transatlantic Data Flows Is At Risk
      Earlier this year, we wrote about growing concerns that President Trump's executive order stripping those who are not US citizens of certain rights under the Privacy Act could have major consequences for transatlantic data flows. Now two leading civil liberties groups -- the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) -- have sent a joint letter to the EU's Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, and other leading members of the European Commission and Parliament, urging the EU to re-examine the Privacy Shield agreement, which regulates transatlantic data flows, as well as the US-EU umbrella agreement, a data protection framework for EU-US law enforcement cooperation. The joint letter calls on European politicians to take into account what the ACLU and HRW delicately term "changed circumstances" -- essentially, the arrival of Donald Trump and his new agenda.

    • Edward Snowden: Three families who helped shelter former NSA agent seek asylum in Canada
    • Families Who Sheltered Snowden Seek Asylum In Canada
    • Refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden seek Canada asylum

    • World Day Against Cyber-Censorship
      The Internet has been key to providing a voice for those who have been ignored by the traditional media streams. While those groups have been able to enjoy free expression and an exchange of ideas. Yet around the world, governments are trying to limit individuals access to the web.
    • RSF protests over ‘unscrupulous’ censorship, surveillance of journos
      On World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a report denouncing the readiness with which leading internet companies submit to the demands of authoritarian regimes in order to profit.

      RSF is also concerned about the many cases of online surveillance of journalists and calls for the creation of binding international regulatory mechanisms.

      The trade, plied by companies with expertise in cyber-surveillance, is lucrative but dubious.

    • Court Tells Cops They Can't Use GPS Data Gathered After Suspect They Were Tracking Sold The Vehicle
      This might be laziness. Or ineptness. Or just another indicator of how much citizens' rights mean to their public servants. Whatever it is, it's definitely not good policing. A drug bust that fortuitously rolled into the lap of the Colorado Springs Police Department has now rolled back out of it, thanks to a Colorado federal court. (via Brad Heath)

      Here's the story. The PD suspected someone known as "S.B." to be engaged in drug trafficking. S.B. owned a white BMW that was apparently used during drug deals. Detectives obtained a warrant to place a GPS locator on the car and track its location for 60 days.

      Three weeks after the tracking device was placed on the vehicle, detectives noticed the car's rims had been removed and a "For Sale" sign placed in its window. A couple of weeks after that, the car's location data shifted dramatically. It was no longer spending a great deal of time parked in S.B.'s driveway. It was spending a majority of its time at a new address -- one with no association to S.B. and the location data previously obtained.
    • Ex-aides: Trump has long been worried about recorded calls

      As a real estate mogul and reality TV star — well before he alleged on Twitter that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones during the campaign — Trump expressed regular concern that his phone lines were not secure, according to three former Trump Organization executives.

      At times he talked about possible listening devices and worried that he was being monitored, two executives said. In other times, he was doing the monitoring. One of the executives said Trump occasionally taped his own phone conversations using an old-school tape recorder, although Trump once denied this.

    • Former NSA Senior Analyst Blasts Obama and Bush for Enabling Deep State Crisis
      Former NSA senior analyst J. Kirk Wiebe, a 32-year veteran of the agency who received the NSA’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award, criticized the deep state enabled by the Bush and Obama administrations. “Over a decade and a half ago, the NSA Four (Bill Binney, Ed Loomis, Tom Drake, and myself), together with House Intelligence Committee Senior Staffer Diane Roark pleaded for a surveillance system that protected the innocent, in order to prevent the destruction of individual privacy guaranteed us all by the U.S. Constitution. Nobody listened. No one cared. No one took corrective action,” he wrote. “Today, we see unfolding before our very eyes a constitutional crisis of monumental proportions, one that threatens the very foundations of our nation’s system of governance. People hidden in the bowels of the United States Intelligence Community are leaking classified information taken from the private phone calls of innocent people—people who have not been accused of committing any crime—to the press for purely political reasons, reasons that include an attempt to take down our duly elected administration.” Had the concerns of whistleblowers from high ranking positions and Edward Snowden been addressed, the U.S. wouldn’t be faced with an impending crisis because the intelligence community lacks appropriate oversight.

    • Congressman Introduces Bill That Would Allow People And Companies To 'Hack Back' After Attacks
      Probably not the best idea, but it's something some legislators and private companies have been looking to do for years: hack back. Now there's very, very, very nascent federal legislation in the works that would give hacking victims a chance to jab a stick in the hornet's nest or work on their attribution theories or whatever.

    • Republicans Starting to Think the NSA Has Too Much Surveillance Power
      Republicans have long supported the sweeping surveillance capabilities of the NSA and have insisted they’re vitally important to national security. But with their man Trump caught up in multiple scandals that may involve intelligence services targeting his communications, privacy is suddenly a top priority.
    • US spies still won’t tell Congress the number of Americans caught in dragnet
      In 2013, a National Security Agency contractor named Edward Snowden revealed US surveillance programs that involved the massive and warrantless gathering of Americans' electronic communications. Two of the programs, called Upstream and Prism, are allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That section expires at year's end, and President Donald Trump's administration, like his predecessor's administration, wants the law renewed so those snooping programs can continue.

      That said, even as the administration seeks renewal of the programs, Congress and the public have been left in the dark regarding questions surrounding how many Americans' electronic communications have been ensnared under the programs. Congress won't be told in a classified setting either, despite repeated requests.

    • Congress again pushing NSA to reveal number of Americans under surveillance
      With the legislation that effectively legalizes the National Security Agency mass surveillance programs Prism and Upstream set to expire at the end of 2017, Congress is once again asking for numbers on how many Americans have been surveilled. Just as it has for the past six years, though, the NSA isn’t playing ball.

    • After NSA hacking exposé, CIA staffers asked where Equation Group went wrong
      Two days after researchers exposed a National Security Agency-tied hacking group that operated in secret for more than a decade, CIA hackers convened an online discussion aimed at preventing the same kind of unwelcome attention. The thread, according to a document WikiLeaks published Tuesday, was titled "What did Equation do wrong, and how can we avoid doing the same?"

    • The CIA Document Dump Isn't Exactly Snowden 2.0. Here's Why [Ed: NPR is trying to belittle Wikileaks' Vault 7 without even knowing 99% of the material yet to be released]
    • EFF to Court: Forcing Someone to Unlock and Decrypt Their Phone Violates the Constitution

      The police cannot force you to tell them the passcode for your phone. Forcing you to turn over or type in your passcode violates the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination—the privilege that allows people to “plead the Fifth” to avoid handing the government evidence it could use against them. And if you have a phone that’s encrypted by default (which we hope you do), forcing you to type in your passcode to unlock the device means forcing you to decrypt your phone, too. That forced translation—of unintelligible information to intelligible—also violates the Fifth Amendment.

    • Wikileaks Vault 7: CIA’s Operations Security Apocalypse
      Unlike most of the public, my initial reaction to Wikileaks release of documents detailing CIA’s cyber-spying was not one of shock at CIA’s vast hacking capabilities. As a former intelligence officer, I was not surprised by the breadth of CIA’s capabilities, what shocked me, was the depth of CIA’s counterespionage incompetence. I was aware of existing gaps in CIA’s Operations Security (OPSEC), but I had never dreamt CIA security was so broken we would witness a counterespionage failure of this scope, one that places Edward Snowden in the Junior Varsity league of intelligence leaks, and renders Bradley Manning almost inconsequential by comparison. But on March 7, 2017, the unimaginable happened as Wikileaks began publishing details of CIA’s cyber-spying capabilities, a stunning acquisition by Julian Assange.


      It would be misleading to say I did not see the potential for a counterespionage disaster of biblical proportions brewing at CIA, in part because as a CIA Whistleblower, I have unintentionally become part of CIA’s OPSEC failure narrative. I have witnessed CIA treat OPSEC with a disdain that is remarkable for an agency considered paranoid about OPSEC by many in the Intelligence Community, who are on the outside looking in. I was once one of those people looking in at CIA from the outside, as an analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), from 2006 until I transferred to CIA in the summer of 2009. DIA taught me OPSEC. From my initial training in DIA’s “Tomorrow’s Intelligence Professionals” to my deployment to Iraq with The Joint Special Operations Command, I learned good OPSEC could mean the difference between life and death. I also witnessed what I perceived to be the paranoia of CIA analysts, who refused to share intelligence with DIA and others in military intelligence. I mistakenly thought the behavior of CIA analysts was indicative of CIA’s strong OPSEC culture. I naively assumed CIA’s OPSEC posture was much stronger than what we had at DIA and in the military community. At the time, I had no idea CIA took a laxer approach to OPSEC than DIA. I did not understand that the pushback I had experienced during my deployment to Iraq was simply bureaucratic game playing by CIA analysts who cared more about preserving their diminishing position in the intelligence community than seriously countering terrorism.

    • WikiLeaks' 'Vault 7': How did the CIA manage to get into our smartphones?
      Should we be worried about the CIA's cyber hacks? How did the spy agency manage to get into our cellphones? On Tech 24 this week, we tell you everything you need to know about "Vault 7", the code name for the 9,000 secret documents WikiLeaks has just made public. Plus, we test the K'able Key by the innovative French startup PKparis. It's a flash drive that will boost your iPhone and iPad.
    • Assange accuses CIA of “historic act of devastating incompetence”

      Assange said he had been contacted by a malware researcher who believed that his Apple Macintosh computer was infected by the QuarkMatter malware described in the CIA documents (it's an implant that infects the EFI partition of a Mac's storage device). Based on the documents leaked by Assange and WikiLeaks, that implant was still largely a work in progress. "It lools like not only is [the CIA arsenal] being spread around contractors and former American computer hackers for hire, but now maybe around the black market or being used by these American hackers who sometimes, you know cross both sides of the fence—they're called grey hats—for attacking others," Assange said.

      Assange also noted that while WikiLeaks was not yet publishing the tools themselves, he and WikiLeaks would share the exploits with the targeted companies in order to help them protect against attacks. Assange then accused the CIA of covering up the leak and causing damage to those companies with what he claimed was "what appears to be the largest arsenal of Trojans and viruses in the world, that attacks most of the systems that journalists, people in government, politicians, CEOs, and average people use."

    • John F. Kennedy And Bernie Sanders Both Called For Abolishing The CIA
      On Tuesday, Wikileaks published a batch of internal CIA documents to its site that exposed the breadth and scope of the Central Intelligence Agency’s spying and hacking operations. The documents suggest that the CIA has at its disposal a sophisticated set of tools for spying on people using their smartphones, computers, and even their smart TVs manufactured by companies like Samsung. The documents are still being combed through by researchers, but the result of the leak is already leading to a growing chorus of Americans who believe the CIA serves no useful purpose and deserves to be dismantled immediately.

    • C.I.A. Scrambles to Contain Damage From WikiLeaks Documents
    • WikiLeaks Releases Trove of Alleged C.I.A. Hacking Documents

      In one revelation that may especially trouble the tech world if confirmed, WikiLeaks said that the C.I.A. and allied intelligence services have managed to compromise both Apple and Android smartphones, allowing their officers to bypass the encryption on popular services such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram. According to WikiLeaks, government hackers can penetrate smartphones and collect “audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.”

    • Governments should be protecting our online privacy, not destroying it

      Governments should be safeguarding the digital privacy and security of their citizens, but these alleged actions by the CIA do just the opposite. Weaponising everyday products such as TVs and smartphones – and failing to disclose vulnerabilities to manufacturers – is dangerous and short-sighted. It puts people around the world at risk of attack from hackers and repressive regimes, and this leak itself shows just how likely such tools are to spread beyond the organisation that developed them.

    • Five Questions About the Latest WikiLeaks Release

      How much have private companies compromised themselves and their customers? Based on the files, some service providers and equipment manufacturers seem to know a certain amount about what is going on.

    • London cops use an insecure mail-server that lets third parties intercept mail in transit

      If you were to send me an email at it looks as it if would be sent in with no level of encryption, which is surprising as most organisations these days use TLS, and send email over HTTPS by default,

    • These 24 Senators introduced a bill to let telecoms sell your private internet history

      A new bill coming before Senate aims to completely dismantle the FCC’s ability to enact data security or online privacy protections for consumers under the powers of the Congressional Review Act. Senate Joint Resolution (S.J.Res 34) was introduced by Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and cosponsored by 23 other Senators. Its goal is to remove all the hard-earned net neutrality regulations gained to protect your internet history from advertisers and and worse. Specifically, the FCC had been able to prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from spying on your internet history, and selling what they gathered, without express permission.

    • Once again, the tinfoil hats were wrong: reality is way worse than they claimed

      The CIA has deliberately “inserted”, whatever that means in detail, its own coders into all major US tech manufacturers. (This is not unlike the US accuses China of doing – with Huawei routers being a prime example.)

      More to the point, the CIA is alleged to have turned every Windows PC into a potential remote spy tool, with the ability to activate backdoors on demand, including via Windows Update. (This has – or should have – diplomatic implications: any government that doesn’t like a foreign power having remote switches into its administration should have migrated from Windows when this ability was even suspected.)

    • The Feds Would Rather Drop a Child Porn Case Than Give Up a Tor Exploit

      The Department of Justice filed a motion in Washington State federal court on Friday to dismiss its indictment against a child porn site. It wasn’t for lack of evidence; it was because the FBI didn’t want to disclose details of a hacking tool to the defense as part of discovery. Evidence in United States v. Jay Michaud hinged at least in part on information federal investigators had gathered by exploiting a vulnerability in the Tor anonymity network.

    • Nest reportedly planning a cheaper smart thermostat for “under $200”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Mr. Erdogan’s Jaw-Dropping Hypocrisy

      He has jailed tens of thousands of people, shuttered more than 150 media companies and called a referendum in April to enlarge his powers. Yet when local authorities in Germany, for security reasons, barred two Turkish ministers from campaigning on his behalf among Turks living in Germany, Mr. Erdogan exploded, accusing Germany of Nazi practices and knowing nothing about democracy.

    • Rep. John Bennett has lengthy response to backlash over ‘hateful’ questionnaire

      It should be noted that the above information only represents a SMALL fraction of the evidence demonstrating CAIR is a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood entity.

    • [Old] Chapter 1: Beliefs About Sharia

    • Kerala Muslim fanatic wants acid poured on woman's face if 'she barks against Islam'

    • Girls in Senegal's Islamic schools prey to abuse while boys beg on streets - activists

      ... children, known as talibe, are forced to beg by teachers, called marabouts, who beat them if they fail to bring in some 2,000 CFA francs ($3) per day, according to rights groups such as Human Rights Watch (HRW)

    • Uber's 'hustle-oriented' culture becomes a black mark on employees' résumés

      If you did well in that environment upholding those values, I probably don’t want to work with you.

    • [Older] Slavoj Zizek: We Must Rise from the Ashes of Liberal Democracy

      An old anti-Communist leftist once told me the only good thing about Stalin was that he really scared the big Western powers, and one could say the same about Trump: The good thing about him is that he really scares liberals.

      After World War II, Western powers responded to the Soviet threat by focusing on their own shortcomings, which led them to develop the welfare state. Will today’s left-liberals be able to do something similar?

    • My husband, in prison for supporting human rights in Saudi Arabia

      He taught me that a person is born free and that it is up to him or her to live in freedom or die trying to achieve it. Slavery has no place in his life except when it comes to serving God, the one and only. Now, he lives in freedom even though he is behind bars with his colleagues Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad al-Qahtani and many other activists imprisoned purely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    • British girls are being sold as child brides like I was, says women's rights campaigner

      When Gabriella Gillespie was six her father killed her mother; when she was 13 he took her and her sisters to his native Yemen and sold them as child brides.

      Her 17-year-old sister Issy killed herself on her wedding night rather than marry the man in his 60s to whom she had been promised.

    • NHS figures show how female genital mutilation is affecting Luton

      Across the whole of England, 2,332 attendances for female genital mutilation were recorded during the last quarter of 2016. These attendances included 1,268 women or girls whose cases were newly recorded.

    • Met Police still don't know where FGM is happening after 32 years without a conviction

      Inspector Allen Davis’s comments came as the NHS revealed there were nearly 5,500 new FGM cases reported to hospitals, clinics and GPs in 2016.

      No one has ever been convicted of carrying out female genital mutilation in the UK despite it being illegal in the country since 1985.

    • Over 7,000 FGM cases recorded in the UK in 2016 – but no convictions since 1985

      Since 1985, when FGM became illegal in the UK, there has only been one attempt at a prosecution and not a single person has been convicted.


      Davis added that the recorded number of cases were just the "tip of the iceberg".

    • Supreme Court Won't Hear Case, But Justice Thomas Questions Constitutionality Of Asset Forfeiture
      We've been writing about the sheer insanity of asset forfeiture for many, many years. If you happen to have missed it, civil asset forfeiture is the process by which the government can just take your stuff by arguing that it must have been the proceeds of criminal activity. They literally file a lawsuit against your stuff, not you. And, here's the real kicker: in most places, they never have to file any lawsuits about the actual crime, let alone get a conviction. They just get to take your stuff, say that it must have been the proceeds of a crime, and unless you go through the insanely expensive and burdensome process of demanding it back, they effectively get to walk off with your stuff. Law enforcement has literally referred to the process as going shopping. Most people who understand what's going on recognize that it's just state-sponsored theft.

    • This Is What It’s Like To Be Wrongly Accused Of Being A Paedophile Because Of A Typo By Police
      On a Saturday morning in July 2011, Nigel Lang, then aged 44, was at home in Sheffield with his partner and their 2-year-old son when there was a knock at the door.

      He opened it to find a man and two women standing there, one of whom asked if he lived at the address. When he said he did, the three strangers pushed past him and one of the women, who identified herself as a police officer, told Lang and his partner he was going to be arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

      He knew he was innocent but was powerless to prevent what happened next, as over the coming days, weeks, months, and years, through absolutely no fault of his own, events took place that would cost him his health and his career, and put serious strain on his relationships with those he loved the most.

      Lang described the arrest, and what followed, as “the most horrendous and horrific time of my life.”

      What makes Lang’s ordeal all the more shocking, BuzzFeed News can now reveal, is that his wrongful arrest, and all the consequences of it, stemmed from what police called a “typing error”.


      But it would take years, and drawn-out legal processes, to get answers about why this had happened to him, to force police to admit their mistake, and even longer to begin to get his and his family’s lives back on track.

      Police paid Lang £60,000 in compensation last autumn after settling out of court, two years after they finally said sorry and removed the wrongful arrest from his record.

    • Teen blogger seeking US asylum fears return to Singapore
      A teenage blogger awaiting a Chicago immigration judge's ruling on his asylum request to stay in the United States said Friday that he's afraid of returning home to Singapore, where he was jailed after posting scathing blog posts about the government.

    • Blogger Yee fears persecution if returned by US to Singapore
      A teenage blogger awaiting a Chicago immigration judge’s ruling on his asylum request to stay in the United States said Friday that he’s afraid of returning home to Singapore, where he was jailed after posting scathing blog posts about the government.

    • Teen blogger seeking US asylum fears return to Singapore

    • New Accountability Add-On Triggers Cameras When Police Officers Unholster Their Guns
      Taser, the company, gets a lot of cop love because of its titular product, which is deployed (too) frequently to subdue arrestees. It probably doesn't get as much love for its body cameras, especially since it's already wired one line to sync footage with Taser deployment.


      What it won't do is prevent cops from "fixing it in post." As long as officers have access to uploaded/stored footage, there's always a chance the recording will be deleted, altered, or made useless. True accountability can't be achieved with a holster add-on. It has to start at the bottom and be enforced by the top.

    • 'Blue Lives Matter' Laws Continue To Be Introduced Around The Nation
      How much do "Blue Lives" matter? More than non-Blue Lives, apparently, given the national legislative enthusiasm for generating stupid, easily-abused, redundant legislation.

      Louisiana -- one of the few states where legislators have agreed to extend greater protections to an incredibly-protected group -- has already seen its newly-minted "Blue Lives Matter" law abused by law enforcement. It's been abused so badly that even law enforcement's best friend -- local prosecutors -- has refused to pursue charges under the statute.

      But most state legislatures have yet to entertain this ridiculous idea to its illogical conclusion. As Julia Craven reports for Huffington Post, fourteen states have floated "Blue Lives Matter" laws -- a total of 32 legislative trial balloons.

      The good news is most of these have gone nowhere. The data compiled by Craven shows a majority of these have died shortly after introduction -- most likely due to them being both (a) bad laws and (b) redundant. All 50 states already have some sort of sentencing enhancement on the books for perpetrators of violent acts against law enforcement officers. Trying to twist legislation meant to protect underprivileged groups to include some of the most privileged members of our society hasn't found much support beyond police unions and others similarly self-interested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senators push FCC to keep its net neutrality rules

      The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should reverse course and keep the net neutrality rules it passed just two years ago, several Democratic senators said Wednesday.

    • Trump’s FCC chairman says he won’t just do what Trump tells him to

    • NY State AG’s Lawsuit Against ISP Shows Why We Need Net Neutrality Protections
      Back in 2013, a couple of Internet pranksters who were fed up with Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) dismal customer service released a parody video and website that asked, “What Can We [TWC] do Worse?” In response, the company launched an aggressive takedown campaign against the parodists. But thanks to the New York Attorney General (AG) Eric Schneiderman, we now know exactly what Time Warner Cable did “do worse.”

    • In Dodging FCC Review, AT&T's Time Warner Mega-Merger Just Got Much Easier Under Trump
      There are about 100 AT&T lobbyists currently making the rounds in Washington, trying to convince regulators and the press that the deal will provide an incredible boon to consumers. The folks who actually try to protect consumers aren't so sure, arguing that a larger combined company could make it harder than ever for streaming competitors to license the content they need to compete with AT&T (and its own streaming service, DirecTV Now). And that's before you even get to the fact that AT&T's using usage caps to give its own services an unfair leg up in the market (aka zero rating).

    • The Googler known as the 'father of the internet' defends an institution that's at risk under the Trump administration
      President Donald Trump's new Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, has wasted no time in setting an agenda that could wind down the open internet as we know it.

      In a presentation at the Google Cloud Next conference today, Google Chief Internet Evangelist and "father of the internet" Vint Cerf didn't mention Trump or Pai by name — but he clearly addressed what he sees as the dangers of such an agenda, and defended the institution of the open internet.

      "The guys who started Google didn't have to get permission to start the service, they just put it up," says Cerf. "It's permissionless innovation."

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • China Busily Approving 'Trump' Trademarks With Stunning Speed
        Last month, we discussed the stark reversal by the Chinese government in the matter of many trademarks for President Trump's businesses. In that post, we tried to tackle the question of whether China's sudden approval for a "Trump" trademark on construction services was a violation of the emoluments clause. How you answer this question tends to fall along political fault lines, which is unfortunate. Notably, those that did not find a violation by the trademark approval often suggested that this was one trademark that had been in dispute for years, long before Trump began his campaign for the presidency. Is one single trademark being granted to a sitting President that claims to no longer control his business directly really going to amount to a constitutional violation? Many didn't think so.

    • Copyrights

      • FOIA Uncovers Part of U.K. Shadow Regulation on Search Engines and Copyright
        Last month we wrote about the adoption of a new secret agreement between copyright holders and the major search engines, brokered by the U.K. Intellectual Property Office, aimed at making websites associated with copyright infringement less visible in search results. Since the agreement wasn't publicly available, we simultaneously issued a request under the U.K.'s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), asking for a copy of the text. Today we received it.

      • EU Parliament Dumps Link Tax, Invites News Publishers To Sue If They Think Google's Making Them Broke
        Last summer, Mike reported the EU Commission was about to institute a "link tax" on news snippets. In essence, the tax would have punished search engines for sending traffic TO news sites. Not only is that part of it a stupid, backwards idea, but previous attempts by European countries to institute link/Google taxes were abject failures, resulting in Google refusing to list taxed news articles in its search results.

        Readers were invited to comment on the proposed tax. It's not clear whether those comments were heard above the overly-confident dull roar of industry lobbyists, but whatever the turning point was, the link tax idea is dead. What's being offered to publishers is something completely different: an opportunity to sue Google, et al for supposed infringement.

      • Important Ruling On Perennially-Problematic Creative Commons Non-Commercial License
        Techdirt has been warning about the problems with the Creative Commons Non-Commercial License (CC NC) for many, many years. Last September, Mike wrote about an important case involving the CC NC license, brought by Great Minds, an educational non-profit organization, against FedEx, the shipping giant. Copy shops owned by FedEx photocopied some of Great Minds' works on behalf of school districts. The material had been released by Great Minds under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license -- that is, the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

      • Aussie Film Distributor That Pledged To End Movie Release Delays To Combat Piracy Delays Movies Anyway
        Back in 2014, much was made about piracy in Australia, specifically whether Aussies using VPN services to get the American flavor of Netflix should be more heavily combatted and how release windows for movies in Australia were pushing the public to pirate the film instead of waiting for it. While much of the conversation about Netflix was unfortunate, we did see some positive signs about release windows coming from distributors in Australia. One distributor, Village Roadshow, even had its CEO admit how badly a delayed-release window had boned them when it came to the wildly popular The Lego Movie.

      • Ed Sheeran: Piracy Is What Made Me
        We all know by now the music industry's mantra that piracy kills artists. Well, not kills kills, but kills their musical careers before they could even really begin, so destructive is the dissemination of free music amongst the public. After all, if the public doesn't pay for every last instance of every last bit of music, how in the world could musical artists ever make a living? This mantra is one that tends to be applied universally to the concept of free music by the industry, with zero in the way of nuanced discussions about potential business models that might work for some, or many, artists.

      • European Parliament poised to reject EU copyright expansion plans

        Politico Europe published a draft report [paywalled] by Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP), the Member of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee responsible for the Parliament’s reaction to the Commission’s copyright reform proposal.

      • Silicon Valley bites back via Europe’s copyright reform
        Silicon Valley has pushed back hard against Europe’s copyright reforms in the forthcoming response from the European Parliament’s rapporteur, a full draft of which has been seen by The Register.

        Politico published a partial draft of the European Parliament’s response to the Commission’s proposals - only the odd pages - earlier this week, but the version we’ve seen is complete and up to date. The report by MEP Therese Comodini Cachia will form the basis of the Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee's reform of the rules on copyright in Europe in the digital age.

        Comodini guts many of the proposals that would oblige major platforms to be more market- and content-friendly in Europe, and the response attempts to allow technology companies greater scope over using Europeans’ content and data. One Brussels expert described Comodini's 73 proposed amendments as a "coup for Google".

      • It’s official: Prenda copyright trolls made their own porn, seeded on Pirate Bay

        One of the more incredible allegations about Prenda Law—the porn copyright-trolling operation that sued people for downloading movies online—was that the lawyers behind it might have created and uploaded some of the porn in question simply as a way to catch more offenders.

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