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Links 14/3/2017: Pidgin 2.12, MariaDB 10.1.22

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Mirantis shifts again, will offer managed solutions based on open-source technologies
    Mirantis is (or, as we will see, was) known as the pure play OpenStack vendor. The company focused on offering large organizations products and services that helped them leverage the open-source, OpenStack cloud computing platform to build their own clouds for internal or external use.

    Over time, however, there has been some doubt cast upon how much of a market opportunity there is for these sort of OpenStack service providers. The OpenStack ecosystem has been the source of much angst as consolidation, rationalization and unrealized hopes and dreams too their toll.

  • Defense Digital Service open sources first project after revising strategy

  • Web Titans Have Big Influence on Data Center Networking Efforts
    Next-generation data center networking is being driven by open source hardware and software initiatives that are often led by web titans like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, according to a new report from SDxCentral.

    These web companies are crucial because they can handle the processing, networking, and storage capacity required to serve millions to billions of users, according to SDxCentral’s Next Gen Data Center Networking Report. As a result, these companies and others have moved from proprietary networking devices, to open and streamlined hardware based on merchant silicon, the report says.

  • Open Source Linkerd Project Celebrates First Anniversary in Quest to Become TCP/IP of Microservices

  • Businesses that snub open source 'will fail'
    Companies who do not use open source software will eventually go tits-up according to a top open saucy type.

    Speaking to the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, who claimed that organisations that "don't harvest the shared innovation" of open source "will fail".

  • 10 open source software tools for developing IoT applications
    Initially one of the main driving forces behind this IoT revolution was the open source community whose constant experimentation, combined with accelerating technological possibilities, created many new and interesting applications. These applications range from Wi-Fi kettles to smart data analysing machines and everything in between.

    CBR lists some of the best open source software tools for IoT development.

  • Open Source and Cloud Computing: Friends or Foes?
    Are open source software and the cloud good for each other?

    At first glance, the question seems a little silly. After all, cloud computing and open source have both experienced surges in use to the point where nearly every company on the planet uses both. And many analysts suggest that neither one would have experienced their current level of growth without the other.

  • Open source in death and beyond
    Benjamin Franklin was known to say, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." There are open source solutions for completing your taxes, such as Open Tax Solver, but what about the other side of that quote? What does open source have to do with death? It's quite a lively subject, it seems. I know you are just dying to know, so let's dig in.

    We all experience death and it becomes a long drawn out process of paperwork and burial rituals that we hope doesn't weigh too much on the loved ones we've left behind. The open source community has given this process some thought, not surprisingly. They've lent their mindshare towards rethinking how to deal with that final episode of life. It turns out, not only is open source great in life, but it comes in handy in death, too.

  • INL releases Civet open-source software for developers
    The Idaho National Laboratory has released a new open-source tool for software developers. The Continuous Integration, Verification, Enhancement and Testing tool, or Civet for short, is the latest INL software to be released free to the public on the lab’s GitHub website.

  • Idaho National Laboratory releases Civet open-source software for developers
    Idaho National Laboratory recently released a new open-source tool for software developers. The Continuous Integration, Verification, Enhancement and Testing tool, or Civet for short, is the latest INL software to be released free to the public on the lab’s GitHub website. INL hopes to collaborate with the public to refine this high-quality tool and to improve the productivity of software developers who use it.

  • Leti releases open-source IoT integration framework
    Under development and trials since 2010, SensiNact is a unified framework for integrating, and managing IoT devices via generic application programming interfaces (APIs).

    It enables the collection, aggregation and secure scripting of data from a wide range of communicating objects, regardless of the network communication protocol: LoRa, Sigfox, EnOcean, CoAP, HTTP, MQTT, XMPP, etc.

  • Why Releasing Open Source Software is Good For Your Company
    If you’re reading this article, it’s almost a certainty your business uses open source software. The web hosting industry is one of the foremost beneficiaries of the open source movement. Linux, GNU, MySQL, Apache, PHP, Python, and WordPress — all fruits of open source development that have been embraced by web hosting companies to build products and services. The benefits of using open source software are obvious, but what’s often not so obvious is why web hosts and solution providers should start their own open source projects.

    I’m not talking about giants like Red Hat, Google, and even Microsoft. Their motivations for creating open source projects are clear. Nor am I talking about making the occasional contribution to existing projects — most developers in the industry will make a pull request from time-to-time.

  • GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath on Open Source
    At the Computer History museum, GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath explains how GitHub has grown far beyond its original scope of being a tool just for nerds.

  • How Open-Source IoT Technology Leads to New Business: Webinar Recap

  • Timesys Expands Embedded, Open Source Service Portfolio to Address Mobile and IoT Applications on Linux or Androidâ„¢

  • Events

    • Opening Up Virtual Reality Development with WebVR
      “Virtual reality (VR) is nothing new — people have been experimenting with it for decades. But only recently, we have come to terms with having commercial hardware like Oculus or HTC Vive to experience and enjoy VR content within our home,” says Rabimba Karanjai, a full-time graduate researcher and Mozilla contributor, who will be speaking about virtual reality development at the upcoming Open Networking Summit.

    • Helping PTG attendees and other developers get to the OpenStack Summit

    • Submitting a Talk To OpenStack Summit
      I haven’t written a post for some time now, been busy creating something very special which i hope to share about really soon. I usually write in this blog about technical things, and i will continue to do this after this post :) but i wanted to share some of the insights i gained both from being a returning speaker and track chair in the recent OpenStack summits.

    • Call for Proposals Now Open for Xen Project Developer and Design Summit 2017
      Do you have an interesting use case around Xen Project technology or best practices around the community? There’s a wide variety of topics we are looking for, including security, embedded environments, network function virtualization (NFV), and more. You can find all the suggested topics for presentations and panels here (make sure you select the Topics tab).

    • Akademy 2017 - Almería, Spain - 22-27 July
      This year's Akademy will be held at the Universidad de Almería (UAL) in Almería, Spain, from July 22nd to 27th.

      The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

      This year Akademy is being organized together with UNIA and HackLab Almería. Together they have organized various free software events including the successful PyConEs 2016

    • Boundless to Sponsor, Exhibit and Moderate Open Source Education Panel at the Upcoming AAG Annual Meeting

    • Nullcon 2017
      Jörg’s Audit +++ was placed on Wednesday and Thursday including the option to do the OPSE certification. So we spend most of Monday and Tuesday preparing the session and the infrastructure. I built the test environment in the past years. For this issue of the training I switched to OpenStack because the deployment process is faster than the old way with Ansible. In the end I was running a mixture of a classic libvirt setup and OpenStack side by side. The problem was that running Debian 3.x, CentOS 4, and an old release of pfSense doesn’t really work with a tool like OpenStack. To show old vulnerabilities and the difference to a brand-new distribution I still like to use the ancient distributions.

    • SXSW: Compassionate Disruption: Innovation and The Vatican

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Public-Private Partnership for Gigabit Innovation and Internet Health
        At Mozilla, we believe in a networked approach — leveraging the power of diverse people, pooled expertise and shared values.

        This was the approach we took nearly 15 years ago when we first launched Firefox. Our open-source browser was — and is — built by a global network of engineers, designers and open web advocates.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Relational vs. Non-Relational Databases: The Tide Is Shifting
      In an ever-changing world, the data surrounding relational and non-relational databases is no different. While there are proponents for both, it seems to be a case by case basis for which is best for a particular environment. And, with the pace of innovation, the answer can be swayed on a frequent basis. With all that being said, the numbers don't lie, and there is evidence of a shift that is occurring.

      While most of the stalwart SQL related databases (MSSQL, Oracle RDBMS, DB2, etc.) remain stagnant, there has been a decline in interest for MySQL. Might seem surprising given the fact that one of the core components of the original LAMP stack is losing ground. How could that be the case? In essence, a lot has changed since it came into prominence. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that it was purchased by Oracle. No longer an independent entity, you have one company controlling two prominent database choices. Is it possible for Oracle to be unbiased and treat each on its own merits? Perhaps. Only the folks inside the company know the true answer to that. Whatever the answer may be, it goes without question that the momentum that MySQL once had has been subdued.

    • ScyllaDB Takes on Cassandra to Boost Efficiency, Reduce Latency
      Henrik Johansson, senior developer at Eniro, gives a glowing review of the ScyllaDB database system for its part of a microservice-based pipeline used at the Swedish search and directory assistance company where he works.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM 4.0.0 Release
      It is my pleasure to announce that LLVM 4 is now available.

    • LLVM 4.0 Released
      Hans Wennborg has announced the release of LLVM 4.0 and connected sub-projects like Clang 4.0. LLVM/Clang 4.0 is a big update to this open-source compiler infrastructure stack and also marks the change to their new versioning scheme.

      For release highlights of LLVM/Clang 4.0, see our feature overview for the advancements made to this compiler stack over the past half-year. LLVM 4.0 was supposed to ship back in February but bugs had dragged out the release until today.

    • LLVM 5.0 Should Offer Better AMD Ryzen Performance
      Since January there's been Zen tuning in LLVM Clang with the "znver1" flag, similar to the znver1 tuning in GCC that's been in place since 2015. While LLVM Clang 4.0 has the initial znver1 support, it's incomplete.

      In LLVM/Clang 4.0 and currently in SVN/Git master, znver1 is relying upon the btver1 scheduler model. Btver1 is for AMD's Bobcat.
    • OpenBSD vmm/vmd Update (PDF)

      Mike Larkin, bhyvecon 2017, 09 Mar 2017 – Tokyo, Japan

    • pfSense 2.3.3-p1 RELEASE Now Available!
      pfSense software version 2.3.3-p1 is now available! This is a maintenance/errata patch available by running an update from an existing installation and it does not have a standalone installer to download.

    • pfSense 2.3.3-p1 Is Updated to FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE-p17, Includes Security Fixes
      Rubicon Communications' Jim Pingle is announcing the availability of the pfSense 2.3.3-p1 maintenance update to the world's most trusted open source firewall based on BSD technologies.

      pfSense 2.3.3-p1 appears to be a small point release that includes an up-to-date base system updated to the FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE-p17 build, fixing the CVE-2016-7055, CVE-2017-3731, and CVE-2017-3732 vulnerabilities. It also includes a total of nineteen security/bug fixes, especially for cURL, which was updated to version 7.53.0 to fix CVE-2017-2629, and OpenSSL.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Pressures up and down the stack drive innovation in open-source hardware
        Technology is complex, and becoming even more so. It used to be that a company could get by with just a few smart people in their tech department. Now, creating and managing tech solutions on an enterprise scale is beyond the power of even the most talented people. As such, industry giants and smaller players alike are converging their compute, networking and storage technologies with common hardware and open standards.

      • Open-Source Prototype Turns Any Room Into a 3D Printer
        Swedish inventor Torbjørn Ludvigsen has spent the last three years developing a new kind of large-format 3D printer that can build furniture-sized objects in any room — surprisingly easily and relatively cheaply. Ludvigsen's invention, the Hangprinter, employs a system of wires and computer-controlled pulleys anchored to the walls, floor, and ceiling. Once installed, the Hangprinter essentially uses the room itself as a casing.


  • An open leader's guide to facilitating creativity
    Facilitating an event where people are looking to have a productive conversation or experience isn't possible without preparation. You need to plan—with the understanding that nothing will happen unless you create a safe space for people to participate.

  • Does Erdogan have a right to hold rallies in Europe?

  • Turkey says all deals with EU in jeopardy if no visa liberalization

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Parsing the GOP’s Health Insurance Statistics
      There has been a lot of noise lately about the GOP health care plan (AHCA) and the differences to the current plan (ACA or Obamacare). A lot of statistics are being misinterpreted.

      The New York Times has an excellent analysis of some of this. But to pick it apart, I want to highlight a few things:

      Many Republicans are touting the CBO’s estimate that, some years out, premiums will be 10% lower under their plan than under the ACA. However, this carries with it a lot of misleading information.


      So, to sum up: the reason that insurance premiums under the GOP plan will rise at a slightly slower rate long-term is that the higher-risk people will be unable to afford insurance in the first place, leaving only the cheaper people to buy in.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday

    • How Android and iOS devices really get hacked

    • Security Expert Bruce Schneier on Regulating IoT
      With the Internet of Things already flexing its muscle and showing its potential to be a security nightmare, has the time come for governments to step into the fray and begin regulating the Internet? Security guru Bruce Schneier thinks that may be an inevitability, and says the development community might want to go ahead and start leading the way to assure that regulations aren't put in place by people who don't understand tech.

      "As everything turns into a computer, computer security becomes 'everything security,'" he explained, "and there are two very important ramifications of that. The first is that everything we know about computer security becomes applicable to everything. The second is the restrictions and regulations that the real world puts on itself are going to come into our world, and I think that has profound implications for us in software and especially in open source."

    • Ioquake3 Pushes Out Important Security Update
      All of those running ioquake3-powered games are encouraged to update their engine installation as soon as possible.

      The developers behind this popular fork of the open-source id Tech 3 engine code have pushed a "large security fix" and all users are encouraged to upgrade prior to connecting to any online servers. Unfortunately, ioquake3 currently doesn't have any auto-update system to make it easy to roll out game engine updates.

    • Security updates for Tuesday

    • Reproducible Builds: week 98 in Stretch cycle

    • Audit your systems for security compliance with OpenSCAP
      SCAP stands for Security Content Automation Protocol. It is an open standard which defines methods for security policy compliance, vulnerability management and measurement etc. This article focuses on the operating system compliance part of SCAP.

      It comes originally from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide a way for US government agencies to audit its systems for regulatory compliance.

    • [Older] Dahua, Hikvision IoT Devices Under Siege

      “This is like a damn Hollywood hack {sic}, click on one button and you are in…”

    • NCC Group launches bounty for open source security flaw fixes

      Information assurance firm NCC Group has introduced an in-house security fix bounty scheme that rewards its consultants for fixing vulnerabilities in open source software.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • State Department: Is America’s Oldest Cabinet Agency Trumped?
      What if it’s not incompetence? What if it is by design? What if President Donald Trump has decided American doesn’t really need a Department of State and if he can’t get away with closing it down, he can disable and defund it?

      The only problem is Trump will quickly find out he’ll have to reluctantly keep a few lights on at Foggy Bottom.

      Things do not look good for State. There were no press briefings between Trump taking office on January 20 and some irregular gatherings beginning in early March. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t seen at several White House meetings where foreign leaders were present, and has taken only two very short trips abroad. Of the 13 sets of official remarks he has given, 10 have been perfunctory messages to countries on their national days, with one speech to his own employees. Sources inside State say he is nowhere to be seen around the building, either in person or bureaucratically via tasking orders and demands for briefings.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil society urges EU institutions to stop the “censorship machine” in the copyright proposal

      EDRi has signed a joint open letter together with 27 other civil society organisations expressing concerns about European Commission’s copyright proposal. The proposal requires internet platforms to use automated upload filtering technologies. This obligation would impact negatively on free speech and democracy by building a system where citizens will face internet platforms blocking the upload of their content, even if it is a perfectly legal use of copyrighted content.

    • Telegram was the app where Iranians talked politics. Then the government caught on

      Over the years, Telegram has helped quench Iranians’ thirst for online political expression in a country where Twitter and Facebook are banned. But leading up to Iran’s presidential election in May, Telegram is now seen by some as a force that’s stifling political speech.

      That’s because in recent months Iranian security and intelligence agencies have begun arresting Telegram users and now require those who run popular Telegram channels to apply for permits — disclosing their identities.

    • Bad Libel Law Strikes Again: Silly UK Twitter Spat Results In Six Figure Payout
      For years we've pointed out that UK libel law, in particular, was horrible and easily abused to chill speech. Things appear to have gotten somewhat better -- as some really bad cases at least made people realize that some of the more extreme issues needed to be fixed, but on the whole, UK libel law is still incredibly broad, and can and does stifle speech (and, yes, I know, the UK doesn't have the same free speech protections as the US does -- but it should). This latest case is just a good example of why the UK's standards for libel are so problematic.

      The story involves two columnist/writers in the UK who got into a bit of a Twitter spat. Part of the problem, here, is that a lot of people have very strong emotional opinions about at least one of the parties in the lawsuit. Katie Hopkins has made a name for herself saying outrageous things and has been referred to, multiple times, as a professional troll. There are lots of people who dislike her, and certainly are quite happy to see that she's come out the big loser in this libel dispute. But before you celebrate, the details here are important, and quite worrisome, if you support freedom of expression.

    • Russian Literature…from Censorship to Market Demand
      Literature was the first field to be affected by Russia’s political changes in the beginning of the nineties after the authorities granted liberty of expression and restricted the roles of government and factional censorship.

      These changes came in line with the Russian community’s need to read banned works of Soviet writers. Some of those writers published their books while in asylum in the West after being accused of national betrayal. At that time, Soviet citizens were banned from traveling abroad unless in special cases, which made them also crave western literature banned under the propaganda of the communist authority.

    • Enough with the ‘snowflake’ slur
      Anyone with the slightest understanding of rhetoric will know that insults are rarely persuasive. Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comment was hardly likely to endear her to wavering voters. Likewise, when decent people with genuine misgivings about the European Union were smeared as racist in the run-up to the referendum, a victory for the Leave campaign was secured.


      It is difficult to feel anything but contempt for this kind of behaviour, coming as it does from some of the most privileged members of society. The same can be said for the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University, where a group of students declared that the statue of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College made them feel ‘unsafe’, and called for the Grade II* listed building to be irrevocably changed.

    • Social Media Providers Could Face Stiff Punishment For Hate Speech, Fake News In Germany
      German Justice Minister Heiko Maas today presented draft legislation to whack social media providers for what the minister described as reluctance to take down hate speech and fake news.

      Social media providers, according to the draft, would have to take down clearly illegal content within 24 hours and illegal content in 7 days along with with any potential copies of the respective contents. All taken down content would have to be stored as evidence and users would have to be informed about the action.

    • First live blocking order granted in the UK
      Can an injunction be sought against an access provider that would require this to block access not to a website [as per the standard scenario] but rather streaming servers giving unauthorised access to copyright content? Can such an injunction consist of a 'live' blocking, ie a block limited to when the relevant content is being streamed?

      An application of this kind was recently and successfully made - for the first time as far as the UK is concerned - by the Football Association Premier League (FAPL, supported by other rightholders) against 6 main retail internet service providers (ISPs).

    • Temporary censorship a precaution by Wando principal
      On Thursday, March 9, a Wando High School student called the Moultrie News desperate for answers as to why a student video production had been tabled.

      Valeria Hughen, one of the anchors for Wando's school news show, Tribe Talk, said that last week's Tribe Talk episode had been pulled by Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer.

    • Utah Legislators Want To Outlaw Posting Of People's Pictures And Names With The 'Intent To Harass'
      Like many bad laws, I'm sure this bill lying on the Utah governor's desk has its heart in the right place. But, like many bad laws, its head is completely up its ass. Eugene Volokh reports there's Yet Another Cyberbullying Bill on the threshold of passage. Like many that have come before it, it's full of constitutional issues and easily-abusable language.

    • Driver Sues State After Receiving Ticket For 'Obscene' Stick Figure Vehicle Decal
      The problem with bad laws (well, ONE problem) is they'll need to be enforced at some point. Legislators pass laws out of fear, boredom, or a desire to look busy. They'll pass laws to push personal agendas and closely-held beliefs. They'll pass laws in response to bizarre tragedies so unique they can't be found in expanded actuarial tables or at the behest of favored industry leaders. Every so often, they'll even pass laws citizens are demanding. But far too often, they'll just pass laws because they're legislators and it's right there in the job description.

    • Call for Narrower Internet Control Echoes, Despite Censorship

      The Two Sessions in Beijing offer an annual chance for delegates to China’s top legislative and advisory political assemblies to present their own policy suggestions. On March 1, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference vice-chairman Luo Fuhe issued a proposal, translated in full at CDT, for speeding up access to foreign websites. “While we agree that the monitoring and blocking of foreign websites cannot be neglected as part of government efforts to protect the nation’s peace and stability,” Luo wrote, “we must also note that many foreign sites are not political.” He complained of the scientific and economic cost of current internet controls, citing long load times for some valuable sites and the unreliable VPNs or even foreign travel to which many researchers resort. His suggested remedies included a general unblocking of academic and scientific resources, and greater clarity around remaining controls with the compilation of an authoritative list of “negative foreign sites.” Even in the case of news, he added, information should not be blocked simply because it is “contested.”

    • Will China Use Google Scholar to Rewrite History?

    • Google in talks with China to stage a comeback, says a report

    • Google Reportedly in Talks to Stage a Comeback in China

    • Nazri blasts censorship of movies, says ‘enough is enough’

    • ‘Beauty and the Beast’ face censorship in Malaysia

      The cuts come after the movie ran into trouble in Russia, which slapped an adults-only rating on the film last week following pressure by an ultra-conservative lawmaker who was pushing for a ban.

      The film’s director Bill Condon has revealed that it contains Disney’s “first exclusively gay moment”, although some critics have said the reference is extremely mild and fleeting.

    • Malaysia censors 'gay moment' in Beauty and the Beast

    • No Beauty and the Beast for Malaysia, even after ‘gay moment’ cut – report

    • Twitter's censorship may be unconstitutional

      Most Americans know they can speak their mind in the public square, thanks to the First Amendment. Speech on social media, however, can be censored because private companies own those cyber spaces.

      But a recent Supreme Court oral argument suggests Twitter's practice of banning controversial right-wing pundits could be deemed illegal.

      During a Feb. 27 hearing involving the constitutionality of a state social media law, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that Twitter and Facebook had become, and even surpassed, the public square as a place for discussion and debate.

    • Facebook and Twitter should do more to combat fake news, says GCHQ [Ed: calls for censorship though it already induces self-censorship by spying on every single person]

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Can your smart home be used against you in court?
      While Amazon’s fight has been rendered moot, this case lays groundwork for some tough and important conversations to come, raising a slew of fascinating questions around the technologies. What do devices like the Echo or Google Home actually record and save? Have we, as consumers, effectively surrendered a reasonable right to privacy from corporations and the government by bringing such devices into our home?

    • Big Brothers little helpers

    • WikiLeaks dump brings CIA spying powers into the spotlight

    • Facebook cracks down on devs using data for 'surveillance', sort of

      Back in October ACLU, for example, revealed that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had been passing on users personals to Geofeedia, a shady outfit that provides law enforcement with details on potential activists, or more precisely, according to ACLU, "activists of colour".

      While Facebook has made steps to stop developers using data for such things, it's unlikely going to get a thumbs up from the coalition, which has called on Facebook to proactively enforce the policy, rather than relying on automatic detection and reports from users when it messes up.

    • Hands-on with the jacket with Google woven in
      Once paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the jacket allows the wearer to control key functions with just a brush or tap of the cuff. A double tap with two fingers, for example, starts or stops music.

    • Trump’s Pick For White House Cyber Post Faces Growing Industry Distrust
      President Donald Trump picked a National Security Agency official to lead White House cybersecurity policy issues during a time when NSA surveillance powers are up for discussion and bad blood exists between the NSA and industry.

    • NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden's Interview With The Intercept (VIDEO)
    • Snowden at SXSW: Don't Believe Their Word Games; The NSA Collects Data on Us All
    • Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance
    • Snowden: If Trump So Concerned About Government Spying, He Should Fix It

    • The NSA's foreign surveillance: 5 things to know
      A contentious piece of U.S. law giving the National Security Agency broad authority to spy on people overseas expires at the end of the year. Expect heated debate about the scope of U.S. surveillance law leading up to Dec. 31.

      One major issue to watch involves the way the surveillance treats communications from U.S. residents. Critics say U.S. emails, texts, and chat logs -- potentially millions of them -- are caught up in surveillance authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
    • Phone Searches Now Default Mode At The Border; More Searches Last Month Than In *All* Of 2015
      The Constitution -- which has always been malleable when national security interests are in play -- simply no longer applies at our nation's borders. Despite the Supreme Court's finding that cell phone searches require warrants, the DHS and CBP have interpreted this to mean it doesn't apply to searches of devices entering/leaving the country.

      For the past 15 years, the government has won 9/10 constitutional-violation edge cases if they occurred within 100 miles of our borders -- a no man's land colloquially referred to as the "Constitution-free zone." But the pace of device searches has increased exponentially over the last couple of years. The "border exception" is no longer viewed as an "exception" -- something to be deployed only when customs officers had strong suspicions about a person or their devices. Now, it's the rule, as NBC News reports.

    • What the CIA WikiLeaks dump tells us: Encryption works

      Documents purportedly outlining a massive CIA surveillance program suggest that CIA agents must go to great lengths to circumvent encryption they can't break. In many cases, physical presence is required to carry off these targeted attacks.

    • Rand Paul Is Right: NSA Routinely Monitors Americans’ Communications Without Warrants
      On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Sen. Rand Paul was asked about President Trump’s accusation that President Obama ordered the NSA to wiretap his calls. The Kentucky senator expressed skepticism about the mechanics of Trump’s specific charge, saying: “I doubt that Trump was a target directly of any kind of eavesdropping.” But he then made a broader and more crucial point about how the U.S. government spies on Americans’ communications — a point that is deliberately obscured and concealed by U.S. government defenders.

    • We didn’t lose control – it was stolen

      Let me state it plainly: Google and Facebook are not allies in our fight for an equitable future – they are the enemy.

      These platform monopolies are factory farms for human beings; farming us for every gram of insight they can extract.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Feminist porn, printed for her pleasure: Meet the woman behind the all-inclusive Math magazine

    • Locals allegedly refused to perform funeral prayer for recently deceased elderly woman because she voted for Ahok

    • [Old]
      Arkansas Cops Arrest 79-Year Old Legislator who Championed Right to Record Police for Recording Police

      The two Arkansas cops who were so offended by a 79-year old legislator named John Walker who championed people’s Constitutional right to record police that they arrested him for recording a traffic stop.

    • Officers Cite Nonexistent Law In Attempt To Prevent Citizen From Filming Them During A Traffic Stop
      Fortunately for law enforcement officers (but not so much for lowly citizens), courts have routinely affirmed that officers don't need to know the laws they're enforcing to stay in the law enforcement business. No one expects cops to be legal scholars, but the least they could do is get a second opinion when they're faced with a situation where applicable laws may -- or just as frequently, may not -- exist.

      We've seen nonexistent laws abused before. Most of the time, a perceived moving violation acts as the groundwork for a fishing expedition. This is fine, sayeth the courts. Other times, nonexistent laws are cited to shut down photographers or harass people otherwise minding their own business.

    • Extra Digit Accidentally Typed By Officer Turns UK Man Into A Pedophile
      What's a few typos between you and a friend a few cops? Nothing, really. The lives they ruin will not be their own.

      UK resident Nigel Lang lost more than two years of his life to a typo. He was never jailed, but the life he lived was bereft of freedom. Thanks to the addition of a single wrong digit, Lang's house was raided, his electronics seized, and his life's goals rerouted.


      It took more than a year before anyone would even entertain the idea that some error might have been made. At first, Lang, who is black, suspected this wrongful arrest might have been racially-motivated. But the IP address mistakenly entered by law enforcement was registered to his partner, who is white. He then tried to get to the bottom of why police had targeted him in the first place. If anyone wonders why so few complaints against law enforcement result in punishment, here's part of the answer: the complaint process is unofficially discouraged by officers and staff.

    • Amos Yee said he is scared of returning to S’pore if US asylum bid fails
      With his United States asylum bid tentatively hanging in the balance post-court hearing, Singaporean not-a-boy-not-yet-a-man Amos Yee said he is afraid of being deported back to Singapore.

      The 18-year-old made this comment in a March 10 interview with The Associated Press via phone from “a Wisconsin detention center” where he is currently held.

    • [Older] Howard Root: I'm 'not guilty,' yes, but outraged by unjust prosecution

      You think prosecutors search for the truth? The Department of Justice rewards its prosecutors for convictions, not exonerations. The government agent who conducted our investigation said “it’s not my job to make the defense’s argument” when interviewing witnesses. A senior government lawyer publicly boasted that our case was “hand-picked” by prosecutors who “went on the offensive” because they had such a strong case. Search for the truth be damned.

    • Chatbot That Helped Beat $4 Million In Bogus Parking Tickets Now Handling Asylum Applications
      Last year, 19-year-old UK student Josh Browder released a chatbot called "DoNotPay" that assisted drivers in challenging parking tickets. It was a small program with a huge upside. The bot's legal guidance -- in the form of yes/no questions -- resulted in more than $4 million in tickets being dismissed.

      Chatbots are no replacement for lawyers, but almost no one seeks legal help when dealing with parking tickets. That's probably why law/traffic enforcement agencies feel comfortable issuing so many bogus ones. DoNotPay not only saved UK residents millions of dollars, it also proved the ticketing system was fundamentally broken. More than 64% of the 250,000 tickets challenged were overturned.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Move Over, Series Of Tubes, The Internet Is Now A Bridge Over A Creek For A Dozen People?

      Net neutrality is about how massive, giant internet access providing monopolists and duopolists want to double dip and double charge for the value provided at the endpoints, rather than being satisfied with getting paid for the value they provide in connecting the end points. The issue has nothing to do with millions of people rushing through a "pipeline" that was built for "maybe a dozen people" and somehow "ruining lawns" (?!?) while doing so. Nothing in net neutrality has anything to do with over-clogging local pipes. In fact, it allows for standard network management. And again, going back years and years and years, internet backbone experts have pointed out that there's capacity to spare. There are no ruined lawns. There are no distraught home owners wishing to "talk a lot" to their 11 closest neighbors, dismayed that a million people are trampling their lawns.

    • Senate Democrats question FCC chair’s independence from Trump

      Pai also said he would "absolutely" operate independently of the White House, but Democrats questioned whether he will really do so in their letter Friday.

      "While you have long claimed to be an advocate for the freedom of the press and the First Amendment, your silence on the matter and refusal to take a stand against threats levied at the media is troubling given your regulatory and oversight role over the industry," the Democrats wrote. "Moreover, such a lack of response could call into question the ongoing independence of the FCC under your watch."

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MacroSolve: Donald Trump Jr.’s favorite patent enforcer

      MacroSolve's actions soon made it part of a longstanding debate in the tech industry over "patent trolls," companies that do little or no business other than filing patent lawsuits. But MacroSolve management never accepted the idea that the company was a "troll," and it said so in interviews.

      "If you enforce your rights, you're a troll," MacroSolve CEO Jim McGill said in a 2014 interview with Ars Technica. "If you don't, big companies will walk all over you."

    • [Older] Canadian Government on U.S. Special 301: We Don’t Recognize Validity of Flawed Report

      The Government of Canada does not recognize the validity of the process as the findings tend to rely predominantly on allegations from U.S. industry stakeholders rather than on objective analysis.

    • Trademarks

      • 'Thru Dropbox' Trademark Registrant's 'Bad Faith' Litigation Results In $2 Million Fee Award To Dropbox
        Thru, Inc. made a mess of its registered trademark by allowing it to lie dormant. It registered "Thru Dropbox" but made no attempt to challenge Dropbox's application for the term "DROPBOX" in 2009. Instead, it sat back and watched as Dropbox grabbed market share. Five years after it filed its application, the trademark was awarded to Dropbox. Only then did Thru, Inc. act, so to speak. It acted like the horrified victim of Dropbox's motion for declaratory judgment, one that would uncontestably award the "Dropbox" registration solely to the cloud storage service. Thru countersued, claiming infringement. Bad move.

    • Copyrights

      • Australia Copyright Safe Harbour Provision Backed By Prime Minister

        In Australia, however, the situation is less certain. Due to what some believe amounts to a drafting error in Australia’s implementation of the Australia – US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), so-called safe harbor provisions only apply to commercial Internet service providers.

        This means that while local ISPs such as Telstra receive protection from copyright infringement complaints, places like schools, universities, museums, libraries and archives do not.

      • Photocopying Textbooks Is Fair Use In India: Western Publishers Withdraw Copyright Suit Against Delhi University
        Back in September last year, Mike wrote about the remarkable court ruling in India that copyright is not inevitable, divine or a natural right. As we have been reporting since 2013, the case in question was brought by three big Western publishers against Delhi University and a photocopy shop over "course packs" -- bound collections of photocopied extracts from books and journals that are sold more cheaply than the sources. Although the High Court of Delhi ruled that photocopying textbooks in this way is fair use, that was not necessarily the end of the story: the publishers might have appealed to India's Supreme Court.

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] One Person, Singular Pronoun
Abusing people into abusing the English language is very poor diplomacy
New Article From Richard Stallman Explains Why He Says He and She for Unknown Person (Not 'They')
"Nowadays I use gender-neutral singular pronouns for a person whose gender I don't know"
Links 30/11/2023: Belated End of Henry Kissinger and 'Popular Science' Shuts Online Magazine
Links for the day
Site Priorities and Upcoming Improvements
pages are served very fast
Ending Software Patents in Recent Years (Software Freedom Fighters MIA)
not a resolved issue
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
IRC logs for Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news
Links 30/11/2023: Rushing Patent Cases With Shorter Trial Scheme (STS), Sanctions Not Working
Links for the day
Links 30/11/2023: Google Purging Many Accounts and Content (to Save Money), Finland Fully Seals Border With Russia
Links for the day
Lookout, It's Outlook
Outlook is all about the sharing!
Updated A Month Ago: Richard Stallman on Software Patents as Obstacles to Software Development
very recent update
The 'Smart' Attack on Power Grid Neutrality (or the Wet Dream of Tiered Pricing for Power, Essentially Punishing Poorer Households for Exercising Freedom Like Richer Households)
The dishonest marketing people tell us the age of disservice and discrimination is all about "smart" and "Hey Hi" (AI) as in algorithms akin to traffic-shaping in the context of network neutrality
Links 29/11/2023: VMware Layoffs and Too Many Microsofters Going Inside Google
Links for the day
Is BlueMail a Client of ZDNet Now?
Let's examine what BlueMail does to promote itself
Just What LINUX.COM Needed After Over a Month of Inactivity: SPAM SPAM SPAM (Linux Brand as a Spamfarm)
It's not even about Linux
Microsoft “Discriminated Based on Sexuality”
Relevant, as they love lecturing us on "diversity" and "inclusion"...
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 28, 2023
IRC logs for Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Media Cannot Tell the Difference Between Microsoft and Iran
a platform with back doors
Links 28/11/2023: New Zealand's Big Tobacco Pivot and Google Mass-Deleting Accounts
Links for the day
Justice is Still the Main Goal
The skulduggery seems to implicate not only Microsoft
OpenBSD Says That Even on Linux, Wayland Still Has a Number of Rough Edges (But IBM Wants to Make X Extinct)
IBM tries to impose unready software on users
[Teaser] Next Week's Part in the Series About Anti-Free Software Militants
an effort to 'cancel' us and spy on us
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Professor Eben Moglen on How Social Control Media Metabolises Humans and Constraints Freedom of Thought
Nothing of value would be lost if all these data-harvesting giants (profiling people) vanished overnight
IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 27, 2023
IRC logs for Monday, November 27, 2023
When Microsoft Blocks Your Access to Free Software
"Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." [Chicago Sun-Times]
Techrights Statement on 'Cancel Culture' Going Out of Control
relates to a discussion we had in IRC last night
Stuff People Write About Linux
revisionist pieces
Links 28/11/2023: Rosy Crow 1.4.3 and Google Drive Data Loss
Links for the day