Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 14/4/2017: Wine 2.6, Ubuntu's April Releases

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Un-Masking – the Open Source Project that Processes Packets
    The Fast Data Project ( is a networking open source project whose scope includes software-based packet processing, fast Input/Output (IO), and universal data plane management across bare metal, hypervisor, and container environments., which was open-sourced by the Linux Foundation in February 2016, was garnering quite a lot of attention at the recent Open Networking Summit (ONS) 2017 in Santa Clara, California.

  • Like Twitter but Hate the Trolls? Try Mastodon

    Users choose for themselves which instance they want to join and select from a host of privacy and anti-harassment settings. Oh, and the character limit is 500, not 140. In essence, Mastodon is an experiment in whether individually moderated communities can make a social network like Twitter more civil.

  • Encouraging New Contributors in Lima, Peru
    A worldwide enthusiastic representative FLOSS as Stormy is, have public encouraged contributors to share experiences about their communities around the world. So I decided to post about it since I usually have the support of two great communities such as GNOME and Fedora to do Linux events in my local community. Following the suggested structure, here are some experiences that I can make you know. Hope you do not mind to check every single link I pointed out to the words throughout this post because it has more posts of the job we do in Lima, Peru.

  • 8 new blog posts on how to encourage new contributors

  • New open source router aims to compete with Cisco and Juniper
    Drew Conry-Murray, writing in Packet Pushers, looked into the Free Range Router (FRR), a new open source router offering that is looking to challenge Cisco and Juniper. FRR isn't new; it came about as a result of a split within the Quagga open source community. Contributors such as Cumulus Networks, Big Switch and 6WIND, frustrated by the slow pace of Quagga's development, decided to form their own community, offering FRR as an alternative. The open source router, currently in version 2.0, is designed to run on Linux and Unix operating systems and offers support for a variety of routing protocol daemons, including intermediate system to system, Border Gateway Protocol and Open Shortest Path First.

  • Events

    • APIStrat Becomes a Linux Foundation and Open API Initiative Event
      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today announces that the API Strategy & Practice Conference has become a Linux Foundation event and will be jointly produced with the Open API Initiative (OAI), a Linux Foundation project. Linux Foundation events are where the world’s leading technologists meet, collaborate and innovate. APIStrat 2017 will take place October 31 – November 2 in Portland, OR.

    • APIStrat Conference Now Organized By The Linux Foundation and Open API Initiative

    • A guide to packing and preparing for a tech conference

    • Going to ApacheCon? Check out TomcatCon, a Mini-Conference Featuring Apache Tomcat
      ApacheCon North America is only a few weeks away and will be happening May 16-18, 2017, in Miami. It’s particularly exciting this year because ApacheCon is going to be a little different. For one thing, there is a series of mini-conferences running in and around ApacheCon that you will not want to miss.

      We spoke with Mark Thomas, Apache Tomcat committer and Senior Principal Software Engineer at Pivotal, about one of these mini-conferences, TomcatCon, to get a feel for what participants can expect from this event. TomcatCon offers a range of presentations to help users expand their Tomcat knowledge in areas such as networking, security, performance, and deployment, and it provides users and developers with the opportunity to discuss the current Tomcat roadmap and help inform future development. Here’s what Mark said about the conference.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB CEO on the open source enterprise – and why good databases are NOT a commodity

      MariaDB’s first annual user conference in New York City found MariaDB CEO Michael Howard in a confident mood. I decided to push issues, like whether “the revenge of relational databases” favors the incumbents, and see if I could find any cracks. I didn’t get those, but I got some spicy/illuminating responses. I also learned why MariaDB thinks its “open source mandate” will carry the day.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • TDF Team’s Interviews: Christian “Cloph” Lohmaier
      Christian “Cloph” Lohmaier has been LibreOffice’s release manager for quite a long time. We asked him some questions, to not only get better knowledge about his daily activities, but find out his opinions about The Document Foundation and LibreOffice.

  • CMS

    • Drupal Confessions - An Open Letter [iophk: "CoCs are about controlling tech not producing tech"]

      Larry Garfield, a long-time, veteran contributor to Drupal was ejected from the community, allegedly not for breaking the Code of Conduct, but, to quote your own post on the matter, because “he holds views that are in opposition with the values of the Drupal project."


      Our concerns do not make us pro-Larry — we do not endorse his beliefs or his personal life — but we are passionately committed to openness, transparency, due process, fairness, inclusivity, diversity, having personal lives that are none of Drupal’s business, and professionalism in tech; and we are vehemently opposed to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying, doxxing, secret trials, and digging up information on member’s personal lives.


  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Investigative journalists: "Government lock-in by Microsoft is alarming"
      IT infrastructures at government administrations all over Europe are largely based on proprietary, closed software from Microsoft. With digital systems constantly growing in size as well as importance, countries are becoming increasingly dependent on this single American corporation. Investigate Europe, an international group of journalists, has investigated the current situation and the consequences of this vendor lock-in. The results, they say, are alarming.

    • Helsinki Metropolitan Transportation Authority's New Journey Planner Showcases Open-Source Software Development
      The Helsinki metropolitan transportation authority, Helsinki Region Transport HSL, has released a new version of its Journey Planner. The service is exceptional among similar trip planners worldwide in that it is based on open-source code. Thus the ongoing development of the Journey Planner can be a collaborative activity joined by developers, the general public, and other cities' transportation authorities. Among others, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority MTA is testing the source code.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Rancher Labs releases RancherOS, VMware’s intent to acquire Wavefront, and OpenBSD 6.1 — SD Times news digest: April 12, 2017

    • Open Access/Content

      • Initiative for Open Citations Takes Alternative Approach To Freeing Up Knowledge
        We've just written about widespread frustration at the slow pace of the shift to open access publishing of academic papers, and about how some major funding organizations are trying to address that. Open access aims to make entire publications publicly available, and that is meeting considerable resistance from traditional publishers who derive their healthy profits from charging for subscriptions. Rather than continue to tackle publishers head-on, an interesting new project seeks instead to liberate only a particular part of each article, albeit an important one. The new Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) seeks to promote the unrestricted availability of the list of citations that form a key part of most academic articles...

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Ultimaker unveils next generation of open-source 3D printing
        When Ultimaker, a manufacturer of open-source 3D printers headquartered in Amsterdam with an office in Boston, announced recently the global availability of the next generation of its 3D-printing product line, it promised professionals unprecedented freedom of design. Open-source 3D printing has become popular, particularly in the desktop printing market, according to John Kawola, U.S. President of Ultimaker.

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.19 Brings CLI Server Mode, Retranslate-All, Performance Boosts
      Facebook developers have put out their latest release of HHVM to empower this PHP interpreter as well as what powers their Hack programming language.

      HHVM 3.19 is the new release this week and it ships with some interesting experimental features. First up, there is a "Retranslate All" feature to re-translate all profiled code into optimized translations after it hits a specified number of requests. This re-translate all can be used for getting better performance, quicker warmups, and more. This experimental feature will likely go on by default in HHVM 3.20.

    • Intel's Beignet Lands LLVM 4.0 Backend Support
      While Intel's Beignet is a terrific project especially when it comes to being a leading open-source OpenCL implementation that works with OpenCL 2.0 on GPUs (something that can't be said for Radeon with its open-source OpenCL stack consistently lacking and Nouveau not really being usable either), the sad part of it is that Beignet is consistently slow in supporting new versions of LLVM.

    • Salaries for storage, networking pros continue to rise
      Though salaries overall remained flat, most tech pros (61 percent) reported receiving a salary increase in 2016 and 9 percent reported a decrease, according to the survey. Increased compensation is the most common motivator employers provided to tech pros in 2016 (18 percent), followed by flexible work location and ability to telecommute (14 percent) and more interesting and challenging assignments (12 percent), according to the survey.

    • QA in Production
      Gathering operational data about a system is common practice, particularly metrics that indicate system load and performance such as CPU and memory usage. This data has been used for years to help teams who support a system learn when an outage is happening or imminent. When things become slow, a code profiler might be enabled in order to determine which part of the system is causing a bottleneck, for example a slow-running database query.

      I’ve observed a recent trend that combines the meticulousness of this traditional operational monitoring with a much broader view of the quality of a system. While operational data is an essential part of supporting a system, it is also valuable to gather data that helps provide a picture of whether the system as a whole is behaving as expected. I define “QA in production” as an approach where teams pay closer attention to the behaviour of their production systems in order to improve the overall quality of the function these systems serve.

    • For programmers, the ultimate office perk is avoiding the office entirely

      For many programmers, the attractions of working from home are obvious. I’m one of them—I wrote the code for this analysis—and I know all too well the intense concentration required to engineer good solutions to complex problems, as well as the productivity-wrecking frustration of being interrupted mid-flow. Working from home, assuming one can maintain a certain discipline, offers a tranquility seldom found in an office.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.7.800.2.0

    • loadable library and perl binaries are mismatched

    • Spam from postmaster [of Fedora]

    • PHP version 7.0.18 and 7.1.4 [of Fedora]

    • LLVM Is On The Path To Getting Faster
      LLVM contributor Mikhail Zolotukhin has issued a report about the continued evolution of LLVM and its impact on the compiler's performance.

      He's found that in the past few months LLVM is getting faster, which is a good sign as the months prior to that LLVM was getting slower.


  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Strategy of “inconvenience” may be the best way to boost vaccination rates

      By adding an extra, in-person step to the process of obtaining a vaccination waiver (which allowed a child to forego the necessary vaccinations), Michigan quickly and significantly boosted its vaccination rate, as Kaiser Health News reports.

    • FGM: Detroit doctor Jumana Nagarwala faces life in jail

    • US lakes soaking up road salt, some heading toward toxic levels [iophk: "probably driven in part by the auto industry to rust out old cars and drive sales"]

      Although no ancient civilization probably ever pulled off the logistical feat of intentionally salting a conquered people’s lands, our modern ones may be doing it unintentionally. Those friendly snowplows (and your sidewalk-shoveling neighbors) are spreading an astounding volume of salt, and it has to go somewhere once it melts.

    • 6 WTF Things You Had No Idea Tobacco Companies Got Away With

      Tobacco companies, and people complicit in their business, are responsible for the deaths of six million people a year, equivalent to the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust. Per year. You'd think that they'd be on the decline, what with everyone knowing how dangerous their products are. You'd be wrong. Tobacco companies have developed insidious tactics to stay relevant.

    • Nestle’s bid for more water withdrawal riles residents [iophk: "draining the watershed, privatizing water"]

      “If Flint could pay that rate, their annual household cost would be less than 75 cents per year,” said Peggy Case, president of the Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, which opposes Nestle’s bid.

    • Germany Brings Health Issues To G20; First Health Ministers Meeting In May
      Global health matters are entering into the Group of Twenty (G20) agenda under the German presidency of the group, which started in December 2016. The first-ever G20 Health Ministers’ meeting is scheduled to take place in May, before the regular G20 meeting in July. This week, a professor from the Graduate Institute of Geneva explained how health has become part of the G20 agenda.


      Answering a question about the best outcome for health of the G20, Kickbusch said on a declaration level it would be a strong commitment for the SDGs and universal coverage. On a practical level, she added, it would be desirable that the action plan that might emerge actually commits to financing the establishment of IHR capacities in developing countries.

    • Mary Jane Goes Crazy
      There are so many issues related to legalization of marijuana in Canada, I scarcely know where to start. I’ve never used the stuff and I especially hate smoking anything. It’s just stupid and unhealthy to take into lungs random chemical products subjected to high temperatures.

      Nevertheless Canadians like most other humans to some extent enjoy or value marijuana either for “recreation” or medical benefits. Perhaps the best place to look for reason in all this is to consider why marijuana was made illegal in the first place. After all, alcohol and tobacco are almost certainly more harmful but legal.


      Eventually, farmers could benefit from marijuana as they used to. As a child I used a rope made of hemp in a swing in the maple trees in my yard. Hemp is a valuable fibre from the plant. I’m sure farmers could produce marijuana in quantity if not quality compared to the greenhouse operations I’ve seen on the news. I’d sure prefer Canadian farmers grew and profited from marijuana rather than tobacco especially if non-smoked products were manufactured. I see nothing wrong with people having some pleasure from their meals rather than sucking tar into their lungs.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday

    • Microsoft kills off security bulletins after several stays

    • Thirteen must-watch TED Talks on cyber security

    • DNS record will help prevent unauthorized SSL certificates
      In a few months, publicly trusted certificate authorities will have to start honoring a special Domain Name System (DNS) record that allows domain owners to specify who is allowed to issue SSL certificates for their domains.

      The Certification Authority Authorization (CAA) DNS record became a standard in 2013 but didn't have much of a real-world impact because certificate authorities (CAs) were under no obligation to conform to them.

      The record allows a domain owner to list the CAs that are allowed to issue SSL/TLS certificates for that domain. The reason for this is to limit cases of unauthorized certificate issuance, which can be accidental or intentional, if a CA is compromised or has a rogue employee.

    • Linux remote root bug menace: Make sure your servers, PCs, gizmos, Android kit are patched
      The programming blunder – CVE-2016-10229 – exposes machines and gizmos to attacks via UDP network traffic: any software receiving data using the system call recv() with the MSG_PEEK flag set on a vulnerable kernel opens up the box to potential hijacking. The hacker would have to craft packets to trigger a second checksum operation on the incoming information, which can lead to the execution of malicious code within the kernel, effectively as root, we're warned.

    • Unpatched vulnerability exposes Magento online shops to hacking
      An unpatched vulnerability in the Magento e-commerce platform could allow hackers to upload and execute malicious code on web servers that host online shops.

      The flaw was discovered by researchers from security consultancy DefenseCode and is located in a feature that retrieves preview images for videos hosted on Vimeo. Such videos can be added to product listings in Magento.

      The DefenseCode researchers determined that if the image URL points to a different file, for example a PHP script, Magento will download the file in order to validate it. If the file is not an image, the platform will return a "Disallowed file type" error, but won't actually remove it from the server.

    • NSA's arsenal of Windows hacking tools have leaked
      A new trove of alleged surveillance tools and exploits from the National Security Agency's elite hacking team have been released by the Shadow Brokers' hacking group.

      The group Friday appeared to release tools designed to target Windows PCs and servers, along with presentations and files purporting to detail the agency's methods of carrying out clandestine surveillance.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK goes beyond UN to say South Sudan violence 'is now genocide'

      More than 1.5 million people have fled the East African nation, creating Africa's largest refugee crisis.

      Australia is sleep-walking into a confrontation with China. Wars can happen suddenly in an atmosphere of mistrust and provocation, especially if a minor power, like Australia, abandons its independence for an "alliance" with an unstable superpower.

      The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force. When Donald Trump launched his missile attack on Syria - following his bombing of a mosque and a school - he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping.

    • Out of 46 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Only One Opposed

    • The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending and No DoD Audit
      For backstory, Congress passed The Government Accountability Act of 1996 that required annual audit on government department budgets. This bill was passed to resolve the previous accounting mistakes made in 1991. Surprisingly, the DoD is still unable to implement the measures over 20 years later. Looking at the Federal Discretionary Spending of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the DOD was allocated $600 billion of the $1.1 trillion budget. The rest of the budget was split between $70 billion for education, $63 billion for housing and community development, $66 billion for Medicare and Health care, $65 billion for Veterans, $39 million for energy, $26 billion for transportation, and finally $41 billion for International affairs. With the exception of DoD, all the other departments have reported their budgets since the bill was passed.

    • ‘The Only Sensible Path at This Point is Dialogue’
      The Washington Post suggests that people in Seattle and San Francisco “should be worried” about being hit by a ballistic missile from North Korea, citing an analyst who described such an event, a bit cryptically, as “a looming threat but not a current threat.”

      If the concern is that the saber-rattling between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump could indeed have dire consequences, it’s hard to see how such stories help, or maps that show ranges for North Korea’s missiles far greater than any actually tested missiles have gone, or the conflation of nuclear and non-nuclear weaponry. But we’re equally ill-served by a failure to interrogate US policy on the Korean peninsula, and corporate media’s reduction of North Korea to caricature in the time-honored method reserved for official enemies.

    • “Mother of All Bombs” Never Used Before Due to Civilian Casualty Concerns
      Fulfilling Donald Trump’s campaign promise to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS, the Pentagon dropped the “mother of all bombs” — one of its largest non-nuclear munitions — for the first time on Thursday, in Afghanistan. The 21,600 pound weapon was developed over a decade ago, but was never used due to concerns of possible massive civilian casualties.

      The Pentagon said it used the weapon on an ISIS-affiliated group hiding in a tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province. The group, according to the Pentagon, is made up of former members of the Taliban.

      The Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” has a mile-long blast radius.


      “We were going after a target, I would say, in a similar manner,” said Garlasco. “But the concern there was that once the weapon was put forward as an option, we reviewed it, did a collateral damage estimate, and well let’s just say the collateral damage was impressive. It was decided that the civilian harm greatly outweighed the military gain.”

      Garlasco said the strike would have been in a “high-collateral region.” And he said that to his knowledge that was the only time the use of the MOAB was ever suggested.
    • Thomas Friedman’s Perverse Love Affair With ISIS

      The word “encouraged” is doing a lot of work here. The CIA, along with Saudi Arabia, assisted and funded the mujahideen and other foreign fighters to fight the Soviets and Soviet-aligned Afghans throughout the 1980s, resulting in a prolonged, brutal war, and spawning thousands of radical jihadists for years to come. That Friedman would use this as an example of how the US should wage war in Syria—and presumably drag the war on and spawn similar extremism—would be considered absurd on its face if it weren’t coming from a Very Serious Person at the New York Times.


      “Everyone”? Everyone is bad, Friedman’s pseudo–tough guy argument goes, so let’s be just as bad by explicitly using ISIS in a weapon against Iran, Russia and Hezbollah.


      In a political climate where Americans are being arrested for merely sending out pro-ISIS tweets, and dozens are swept up in dubious FBI entrapment plots, it’s notable that one of the most influential columnists in the United States can call for arming the designated terrorist organization so long as he frames it as “just asking questions” and does so to the end of killing Evil Iranians. (Friedman is not the only establishment figure to suggest that the US goal in Syria should be to prolong the bloodbath indefinitely—but usually this ghoulish argument isn’t offered so blatantly.)


      Perhaps, one can imagine, they would be less so if Western columnists weren’t casually cheerleading for using the extremist group as a bludgeon against America’s enemies.

    • Tillerson’s Bad Hand in Kremlin Showdown
      President Trump’s hasty decision to attack Syria may have lightened political pressure at home but Russia’s retaliation – suspending a key “deconfliction agreement” – left Secretary of State Tillerson as supplicant at the Kremlin, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

    • To Russia with More Russia-Bashing
      Now that President Trump is bashing Russia, not resetting relations, the mainstream U.S. media has gone from pushing “Russia-gate” conspiracies to decrying doubts about U.S. government anti-Russia claims, notes Nat Parry.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks 'hostile intel,' Assange & his followers 'demons': CIA chief goes rogue
      CIA Director Mike Pompeo called Julian Assange and his associates “demons” and accused WikiLeaks of siding with the world’s dictators and endangering the security of the “free world” with the help of states like Russia.

      Speaking at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC on Thursday, the former Kansas congressman went on the warpath against the whistleblower website, accusing its editor Julian Assange of being on the “wrong side of history” and seeking to harm America, freedom and democracy.

      “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo told the audience.

    • Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms
      In February, after Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. media were the “enemy of the people,” the targets of his insult exploded with indignation, devoting wall-to-wall media coverage to what they depicted as a grave assault on press freedoms more befitting of a tyranny. By stark and disturbing contrast, the media reaction yesterday was far more muted, even welcoming, when Trump’s CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, actually and explicitly vowed to target freedoms of speech and press in a blistering, threatening speech he delivered to the D.C. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies.

      What made Pompeo’s overt threats of repression so palatable to many was that they were not directed at CNN, the New York Times or other beloved-in-D.C. outlets, but rather at WikiLeaks, more marginalized publishers of information, and various leakers and whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • That time passengers were told to give up their seats for United's CEO and his family

      I’ve received many, many recollections of indignities large and small suffered by United passengers. The unifying thread to all of them is a seeming disregard on the airline’s part to how its customers are treated and whether the passengers would ever use the carrier again.

    • United is Heavy-Handed Again: Boarded, Seated Passenger Threatened With Cuffs to Disembark

    • United's passenger-beatings are a feature of its business, not a bug

      In a world where the airlines record-smashing profits comes from a small number of increasingly luxurious first-class seats, the entire focus of the industry is on figuring out how to convince just a few marginal customers to spend more for one of those profit-centers instead of deadheading in coach.


      The airlines can't control how badly you want to get somewhere, but they have total control over how awful getting there can be.

    • Meet the millennials making big money riding China's bitcoin wave

    • An Entire Generation is Likely to See Its Standard of Living Regress
      It is modern feudalism, happening in a slow motion crash as we watch, aware of what is coming down, but at first unwilling and likely now unable to stop it.

      Welcome to the Third World

    • When WaPo Calls for ‘Honest’ Debate, Check for Your Wallet
      The Washington Post editorial page is, of course, famous for absurdly claiming, in an editorial defending NAFTA, that Mexico’s GDP had quadrupled between 1987 and 2007. (According to the IMF, Mexico’s GDP increased by 83 percent over this period.) Incredibly, the paper still has not corrected this egregious error in its online version.

      This is why it is difficult to share the concern of Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor, that we will see increasingly dishonest public debates (Washington Post, 4/9/17). Hiatt and his team at the editorial page have no qualms at all about making up nonsense when pushing their positions. While I’m a big fan of facts and data in public debate, the Post‘s editorial page editor is about the last person in the world who should be complaining about dishonest arguments.


      Okay, so yesterday we had too few workers and today we have too many because of automation. These arguments are complete opposites. The one unifying theme is that the Post is worried that we are being too generous to the poor and middle class.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Burger King didn’t hack Google Home, it hacked the media

      It appears that its aim was to create a commercial that would tap into the target demographic’s concerns for intrusive advertising and invasion of their privacy. In turn, this would grab the attention of digital and traditional media who would write about those issues at length and generate tens of millions of dollars of free media and bucket loads of engagement. In that vein, Burger King’s campaign is a stunning success. It even managed to get around Google’s hasty block from letting the ad trigger Google Homes by releasing an alternate version during the prime-time slot it bought.

    • Fake news is being cited by pupils as fact in their studies, warn teachers [iophk: "seen that for a long time now"

      More than a third of teachers say their students have cited false information found online, according to a poll by the NASUWT teaching union.


      Others expressed frustration over students refusing to believe news they had seen on Facebook and other social sites was not true, even when the problem was explained to them.

    • The White House Easter Egg Roll, Alongside the Republic, is in Peril!!!!!!
      That seems to be what’s happening with our media, especially outlets like the New York Times, who are stuck in a loop of denial some six months after the election. Each day it seems they find fellow party members something Trump to direct their hate at.

    • Bernie Sanders, the Company Man
      As I pointed out back in July of 2015, U.S. Senator Bernie Senator (“I”-VT) is not the independent left politician many progressives claim he is. He’s a Democratic Party company man.

      That was been clear from his long Congressional record of voting with the neoliberal, dollar-drenched Democrats and accepting their seniority-based committee assignments. It was clear when he came out to Iowa City in December of 2014 to give a speech so focused on the terrible Republicans that a professor had to remind him that corporate and imperial Democrats are a problem too. It was clear when he decided to the run for the U.S. presidency as a Democrat and promised to back the Democrats’ eventual nominee (Hillary Clinton).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Cloudflare Doesn’t Want to Become the ‘Piracy Police’

    • The dangers of equating words with actions
      The email encourages faculty members to make no distinction between words and physical violence. The professors discuss a ‘disturbing… pattern of harm’ in the speakers thus far invited. They describe how students have been left ‘in distress’ at having to listen to such ‘painful’ ideas. These talks have caused ‘damage’, and any who have had the courage to rebut the speakers’ arguments have experienced ‘injury’ as a result. If students really are as delicate as this assessment implies, it’s a good job the US government hasn’t reinstated conscription.

    • China’s WeChat Is a Censorship Juggernaut

    • China Censors Posts About Crackdown on Lawyers From Social Media Sites
      China's internet censors have consistently blocked content related to a nationwide police operation targeting rights lawyers since it was launched in on July 9, 2015 (709), a Canada-based investigation has revealed.

      Researchers at CitizenLab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto found "detailed evidence" that tweets and photos posted to to the popular smartphone chat app WeChat and the Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo were censored with "forbidden" keywords.

    • In China, the art of media censorship is becoming more sophisticated
      Technology and social media advances empower the public in China, but they also empower the censors.

      “The art of censorship is becoming more and more sophisticated,” explained Fang Wang, senior duty editor and head of video content at, speaking at the International Journalism Festival in Italy last week (5 April).

      “The mouse and cat game is still ongoing and social media plays a key role in it.”

      Wang joined the FT Chinese team about seven years ago. At the festival, she gave insights into how the advancement of technology since then has been used by the Chinese government to control the information accessible in the country.

    • Thai Government Forbids Any Online Contact With Three Overseas Critics Of The Monarchy
      The three people concerned are only able to voice their criticisms of the monarchy and government because they live outside the country -- it would obviously be far too risky to do the same inside it. So this latest move is effectively an attempt to forbid Thai citizens from accessing "forbidden" material that lies beyond the Thai government's direct control, and which has proved impossible to block using technical means. It will doubtless be just as futile.

    • Do we need a film censor?
      The state considers every citizen rational enough to make serious, life-affecting decisions like who to vote for (at 18), who to marry (at 21), what career to choose, investments to make etc. but, cross the threshold and enter a cinema theatre and the citizen turns into a bumbling idiot, unable to discern what to watch or not, to be lent a helping hand by the Pahlaj Nihalani-fied Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

    • Netizen Report: Censorship Spikes After Venezuela’s ‘Self-Inflicted Coup’
      Global Voices Advocacy's Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.

      Protesters in Venezuela have been mobilizing almost daily and in large numbers since the Supreme Court of Justice temporarily nullified the National Assembly on March 30, a move that many described as a “self-inflicted” coup. The change sparked international outrage.

    • Netizen Report: Censorship Spikes in Wake of Venezuela’s “Self-Inflicted Coup”

      Although the court reversed course days later and reinstated the National Assembly, public unrest has continued, forcing public officials to confront the economic and political crisis that has been ongoing since 2014. Alongside political turmoil and rising rates of violent crime, the global drop in the price of oil, the country’s main export, has left Venezuela with staggering inflation rates for more than three years. Inflation has not fallen below 50 percent since 2014. It exceeded 100 percent in 2015, and reached 800 percent at the end of 2016. President Nicolas Maduro has repeatedly blamed the United States for the downturn in the oil market.

    • Moderation Over Censorship
      This spring, the Open Campus Initiative was formed to explore the limits of free speech on Harvard's campus by inviting controversial speakers across the ideological spectrum, starting with Jordan B. Peterson. In response to Peterson’s statements on gender nonconformity and reports of harassment from his previous lectures, many students took issue with his invitation, echoing the backlash to Harvard Financial Analyst Club's invitation of Martin Shkreli this February. Although we have qualms with the mission statement of OCI and disagree with Peterson’s statements, we nonetheless recognize OCI’s potential value and the difference in the two groups’ purposes and processes.

    • Dissent: Harvard: Where Hate Speech is Welcome
      The sign is meant to present Harvard as a welcoming place: a home to students from all different identities. The inspiring message pulls on the heartstrings of students passing through Harvard Yard as they walk to class. You almost believe it. You almost believe that a school which promotes such a message would never allow anything to make a student here feel otherwise.

      The creation of the Open Campus Initiative has shown us where Harvard students’ values lie. It recently formed with the intention of bringing controversial speakers to Harvard as a way to promote free speech. By inviting these speakers, students are meant to engage in dialogue with people who have opposing viewpoints as a way to understand their opinions and bridge the partisan gaps between polarized groups in order to foster greater community. However, by allowing odious speakers on campus, Harvard is not promoting freedom of speech; it’s promoting hate speech.

    • Open Campus Initiative Shakes Up College Life
      The new organization brought controversial professor Jordan Peterson to campus Monday, despite backlash from other student groups.

      On Monday evening, new student organization the Harvard College Open Campus Initiative hosted its first event on campus. They hosted Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who has recently come under fire for a video series decrying political correctness, in an event titled “Mask of Compassion: Postmodernism & Neomarxism in Modern Times.”

      The group, which consists of a small number of students who have come together to promote free speech on campus by bringing controversial speakers, is itself nonpartisan but has scheduled more conservative speakers so far, as it believes that these are the perspectives which are not adequately represented on campus.

    • Censorship Undressed: Iranian State TV Cuts Broadcast Mid-Sentence
      In an unusual broadcasting flub this week, Iran's official state media network cut off the live video feed of a reporter in mid-sentence when she mentioned the name of presidential hopeful Hamid Baghaei, one of the more controversial politicians who has filed to run for president next month.

      Baghaei served as vice president to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both represent a frequently contested hardline political position, and both men now have registered to run for president in Iran's May 2017 elections.

    • Singapore diplomat hits back at The Economist again

    • How Amos Yee won political asylum in the US: Part 2

    • S’pore’s High Commissioner to UK rebuts The Economist again

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF Urges Court to Roll Back Ruling Allowing Remote-Control Spying
      Recent Decision Would Allow Foreign Governments to Wiretap Americans on U.S. Soil

      Washington, D.C. – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged an appeals court today to review a dangerous decision by a three-judge panel that would allow foreign governments to spy on Americans on U.S. soil—just as long as they use technology instead of human agents.

      In Kidane v. Ethiopia, an American living in Maryland had his family computer infiltrated by the Ethiopian government. Agents sent an infected email that made its way to Mr. Kidane, and the attached Microsoft Word document carried a malicious computer program called FinSpy that’s sold only to governments. The spyware took control of the machine, making copies of every keystroke and Skype call, and sending them back to Ethiopia as part of its crackdown on critics.

    • New leak suggests NSA penetrated Mideast banking networks
      A new set of documents purportedly lifted from the U.S. National Security Agency suggests that American spies have burrowed deep into the Middle East's financial network, apparently compromising the Dubai office of the anti-money laundering and financial services firm EastNets. The company said Friday that the documents were dated and denied that any customer data had been affected.

      TheShadowBrokers, which startled the security experts last year by releasing some of the NSA's hacking tools, has recently resumed pouring secrets into the public domain. In a first for TheShadowBrokers, the data includes PowerPoint slides and purported target lists, suggesting that the group has access to a broader range of data than previously known.
    • On Private Internet Access

      I’m soon going to be moving to Charter Communications territory, but I don’t trust Charter and don’t want it to keep records of all the websites that I visit. The natural solution is to use a VPN, and the natural first choice is Private Internet Access, since it’s a huge financial supporter of GNOME, and I haven’t heard anybody complain about problems with using it. This will be a short review of my experience.

    • [tor-talk] Fwd: Russian FOSS activist arrested for extremist materials/Tor exit-node

    • YouTube TV Will Force You to Watch Ads on Many DVR’d Shows

      Instead, viewers will be forced to watch the on-demand episode and all of the ads, even though consumers thought they saved the show on their DVR.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Saudi Woman Abducted at the Airport
      The story of Dina Ali Lasloom is the story of a struggle that feels as insurmountable as it does desperately urgent. This is a story of religious theocracy meeting royal patriarchy. It is the story of Saudi womanhood, denied.

      Twenty-four-year-old Dina left Saudi Arabia full of hope. Most 24-year-old women the world over dream of the usual things young women do at that age: how to live the full, independent, and exciting life that lies ahead of them. But Dina just wanted to be. Have you ever felt utter, total, and overwhelming helplessness? For Saudi women, such a feeling is a matter of law. They feel it every day. In Saudi Arabia, they are the permanent legal wards of the men in their lives. Powerlessness is a state of being for Saudi women, who lack the lawful agency to study, marry, divorce, work, or travel without formal permission from their father, brother, husband, or son. It is enforced by the system. And the system is a total and absolute religious monarchy.

    • Anti-Pakistan protest in Washington DC against death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav

      The AFB also called upon the Trump administration to cut off US military help to Pakistan. "How long will USA continue to serve these jackals, who don't care two hoots about the lives of freedom loving American and Baloch people? Or for that matter Afghan and Indian lives--, but only care about the greenbacks."

    • Arrested for a Kiss

      Two young Algerians, a girl and a boy, recently lived through a nightmare. Following a simple kiss and a hand on the shoulder, the couple found themselves under arrest.

    • Government is 'institutionally biased' against Christian refugees from Syria, claims former Archbishop of Canterbury

      Last year the House of Commons passed a resolution stating that "Christians, Yazidis and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering genocide", though this stance has not been adopted by the British Government.

    • The Push to Ban Arabic Sermons in Europe's Mosques

      In several Western European countries, some politicians want to force imams to deliver sermons only in the official language: In Germany, imams should preach in German; it Italy, in Italian; in Britain, in English; in France, in French.

      To justify this requirement, two rationales are cited. Some say it will function as a counterterrorism strategy. Others say it will promote the social integration of Muslims. A few appeal to both lines of reasoning.

    • Facebook can’t escape mounting evidence that it’s making people miserable
      Social media has irrevocably changed the nature of friendship, in that we now split our time between virtual relationships and real ones. Now a big new study adds to the growing body of research on the fallout of our socializing online: The more we use Facebook, the less happy we feel.

      From the moment we awake, the first thing we’re tempted to do is “tap on that little blue icon,” Holly B. Shakya, who studies public health at the University of San Diego and led the new study, told the Harvard Business Review. “What impact does it have on you?”

    • Memo shows Kissinger and Rumsfeld in damage control mode following revelation of CIA domestic activities
      To this end, Kissinger suggested to Rumsfeld that the White House not issue a statement at all. In Kissinger’s view, a formal statement would have lent credence to the article’s accusations and create the impression that the Ford Administration faced “a scandal of major proportions.” Kissinger wanted to make it clear that any abuses “anti-dated the current Administration” and wouldn’t be continuing under President Ford. The problems which were coming to light were categorically the fault of someone no longer in power, and thus the current Administration should be blameless. This strategy would be brought up again in the ensuing fallout.

    • UK denies residency to London-born children of Dutch-Spanish couple
      A Dutch and Spanish couple who have lived in Britain all their adult lives have told of their “devastation” after the Home Office refused their post-referendum application to have their two London-born children recognised as permanent residents of the country.

      Jan-Dinant Schreuder and Monica Obiols, both 49, found themselves in a “bureaucratic nightmare” when they were told their 15-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter had to provide more evidence that they lived permanently with their parents.

      “What evidence are they supposed to have? They don’t have council tax bills or proof of where they live. They are children,” said Obiols. “They have gone to school here all their lives, English is their mother tongue. I was just so shocked when we got the refusal letters.”

    • Taser Seeking To Lock Down Body Camera Market With 'Free' Camera Offer To Law Enforcement Agencies
      Taser -- manufacturer of law enforcement's favorite electronic battle weapon and the "I'm not a doctor but I play one in courtroom proceedings" creator of arrestee-specific medical condition "excited delirium" -- is branching out and (sort of) rebranding.

      It's not like Taser doesn't have the less-lethal market sewn up. Its titular device is in the latter stages of genericide -- a catch-all term for any sort of stun gun. It's been busy building a new market: law enforcement body cameras. Under the name Axon, Taser has introduced a number of body-worn cameras, some of them with more advanced feature sets that tie their activation to weapon deployment by officers.

      Now, Axon is hoping to increase its dominance of the body camera market. Its latest move is to offer free cameras and footage storage to any law enforcement agency that requests it. The pay-nothing-now offer lasts for a year. Once the offer expires, agencies are free to look elsewhere for cameras.

    • How I faced misogyny in Hinduism—and found peace with my faith
      Unlike most of my peers, my favorite time of day as a child was bedtime. Well, at least it was when my maternal grandmother — who visited my family every other year from the time I was born to the time I left for college — was in town. >From the minute she arrived at the airport, I would latch onto her like a tiny barnacle, pestering her with questions from sunup until she finally fell asleep at night, no doubt exhausted by a five-year-old girl with a seemingly unquenchable curiosity about everything.

      There was one question to which, however, she never said no. “Ajji?” I’d ask her, my voice high and ever so slightly petulant as she brushed my hair and got me in my pajamas, “Can you tell me a story?”

      And she always did. Her repository of stories was seemingly endless, and she had a natural talent for making these tales accessible to a kindergartener without glossing over any moral nuances or situational complexities addressed therein. She drew upon her knowledge of Hindu epics to feed me bite-sized excerpts; exciting tales of kings at battle or goddesses who harnessed their rage to destroy evil.

    • Trump’s Deepening Embrace of Bahrain’s Repressive Monarchy May Lead to More Instability
      On the morning of March 14th, 2011, military forces from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crossed the 16-mile causeway from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain to crush a popular uprising that had arisen there against the Bahraini monarchy. The military intervention was the first salvo in a series of counterrevolutions launched against the Arab Spring uprisings, pitting largely unarmed democracy activists against the repressive force of local security forces and militaries. Six years later, many of the Bahraini civil society leaders whose protests briefly captured the world’s imagination languish in prison, their brief democratic moment snuffed out with the help of regional powers.

      Under Barack Obama, the United States stood by quietly while its GCC allies suppressed the Bahraini revolution. Since taking office, the Trump administration has signaled it will strengthen U.S.-Bahrain ties, recently lifting human rights restrictions on arms sales to its government to clear the path for a multi-billion dollar sale of F-16s. Such measures are likely to be taken by the regime as a green-light to escalate repression, while dimming hopes for the release of the estimated 4,000 political prisoners still held in Bahraini prisons, some analysts say.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tennessee Gives AT&T, Comcast Millions In New Taxpayer Subsidies, Yet Banned A City-Owned ISP From Expanding Broadband Without Taxpayer Aid
      If you want to understand what's wrong with the American broadband industry, you need look no further than Tennessee. The state is consistently ranked as one of the least connected, least competitive broadband markets in the country, thanks in large part to Comcast and AT&T's stranglehold over politicians like Marsha Blackburn. Lawmakers like Blackburn have let Comcast and AT&T lobbyists quite literally write protectionist state laws for the better part of a decade with an unwavering, singular focus: protecting incumbent revenues from competition and market evolution.

      The negative impact of this pay-to-play legislature is non-negotiable. One state-run study last year ranked Tennessee 40th in terms of overall broadband investment and availability (pdf), and found that 13% of households (or 834,545 Tennesseans) lack access to any high-speed broadband internet service whatsoever. The study found that the vast majority of Tennessee residents still get internet access through slower services like DSL, wireless or dial-up connections, either because that's all that's available, or because they couldn't afford faster options.

      Like twenty other states, Tennessee long ago passed a state law hamstringing towns and cities looking to improve regional broadband networks. As a result, popular municipal broadband providers like Chattanooga's utility-run ISP, EPB, have been banned from expanding its up to 10 Gbps offerings into any more markets. Attempts to repeal the law earlier this year went nowhere after mammoth pressure from incumbent ISP lobbyists. When that didn't work, one lawmaker tried to pass a compromise bill that would have allowed EPB to expand into just one neighboring county.

    • FTC Commissioner: If The FCC Kills Net Neutrality, Don't Expect Our Help
      So we've been talking a lot about new FCC boss Ajit Pai and his plan to not only kill net neutrality, but eliminate FCC oversight of broadband providers almost entirely. Reports recently surfaced indicating Pai has been busy meeting with large ISPs behind closed doors to discuss his plan to kill hard net neutrality rules and replace them with "voluntary commitments" from ISPs. This won't cause any problems, Pai and ISP lobbyists have argued in perfect unison, because the FTC will rush in to protect broadband consumers -- and net neutrality -- in the wake of the FCC's dismantling.

    • Don't Wait For Google, Netflix Or Facebook's Help If You Want To Save Net Neutrality

      So if you've not been paying attention, broadband ISPs (with help from new FCC boss Ajit Pai) are slowly but surely working to eliminate oversight of one of the least-competitive sectors in American industry. It began with Pai killing off a number of FCC efforts piecemeal, including plans to beef up cable box competition, investigate zero rating, and FCC attempts to stop prison telco monopolies from ripping off inmate families. From there, Congress used the Congressional Review Act to kill FCC privacy protections for broadband consumers. Next up: reversing the FCC's 2015 Title II reclassification and gutting net neutrality.

      Between this, cable's growing monopoly over broadband (including the rise in usage caps), the sunsetting of Comcast NBC merger conditions and a looming wave of new megamergers and sector consolidation, you should begin to notice there's a bit of a perfect storm brewing on the horizon when it comes to broadband and media competition, anti-competitive behavior, and oversight -- one that's not going to be particularly enjoyable for broadband consumers, or the numerous companies that compete and/or do business with the likes of AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.

  • DRM

    • Obedience Award granted to Tim Berners-Lee for deference to pro-DRM corporations
      Today Defective by Design granted Tim Berners-Lee the first ever Obedience Award, recognizing his work to help wealthy corporations add DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) to official Web standards. Inspired by the MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award, the Obedience Award highlights activity upholding the status quo despite an overwhelming ethical case against it. Today is the first opportunity for the addition of DRM to become final as per the formal process for setting Web standards.

      As the director of the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Berners-Lee previously fought to advance Web users' rights, supporting net neutrality, privacy and universal access. Born in the UK, he was knighted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth in 2004 and awarded the Order of Merit in 2007. Most recently, he received the Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Prize.

      Though he was previously critical of DRM, Berners-Lee decided not to take a stand against Netflix, Microsoft, Google, and Apple when they began developing a Web standard for streaming video DRM, instead encouraging them to do so within the W3C. These wealthy companies supply copious membership dues to the W3C.

    • The Web Is At A Crossroads – New Standard Enables Copyright Enforcement Violating Users’ Rights
      The World Wide Web today stands at a crossroads, as its standards body, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), considers the demand of big content providers to provide them with the facility to be able to control user devices for ensuring that their content is not copied. This facility is called the Encrypted Media Extension (EME), which enables these companies to put digital rights management (DRM) into the user’s browser, whether the user wants it or not, and whether such restrictions are as per the user’s local national laws or not.

    • Open Letter to the European Commission on Encrypted Media Extensions

      The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is considering to standardize a highly controversial proposal on Encrypted Media Extensions for the use of DRM technology (copyright restrictions) in modern web browsers.

      Together with my colleague Lucy Anderson, I wrote the following letter to Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioners Elżbieta BieÅ„kowska and Margrethe Vestager with a set of questions concerning the European Commission’s position and involvement into this work...

    • MEP to Commission: World Wide Web Consortium's DRM is a danger to Europeans

      German Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda (previously) has published an open-letter signed by UK MEP Lucy Anderson, raising alarm at the fact that the W3C is on the brink of finalising a DRM standard for web video, which -- thanks to crazy laws protecting DRM -- will leave users at risk of unreported security vulnerabilities, and also prevent third parties from adapting browsers for the needs of disabled people, archivists, and the wider public.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Victoria Beckham trademarks her daughter Harper's name in Britain and Europe

      The fashion designer has registered "Harper Beckham" with intellectual property {sic} authorities in Britain and Europe.

    • Trademarks

      • Court Tosses Company's Bid To Slap Down Olympics Social Media Restrictions Over Jurisdictional Issues
        By now everyone should know that the IOC and USOC have completely perverted the concept of trademark law surrounding any mentioning of the Olympic Games. It's gotten so bad that the USOC has taken to threatening businesses that tweet out congratulatory messages to athletes, even when those businesses supported those athletes getting to the Olympics in the first place. The USOC seems to be under the impression that tweeting about the Olympics as a business is trademark infringement. It's not. It never was.

      • Trademark Bullying Works: Mooselick Brewing Co. Becomes Granite Roots Brewing Out Of Fear Of Moosehead Breweries
        I will occasionally get a common question when discussing stories about trademark bullies: why do these bullies actually do this? The easy answer is, of course, because it works. And it works on many levels. For example, the primary targets in actual lawsuits can be bullied out of using names and terms for their businesses or brands, so it works on that level. But that's really just the tip of the iceberg. Where being a trademark bully really works is when it makes lawsuits unnecessary, because other businesses and people are so fearful of the bully tactic.

        To see that in practice, one need only look at the brewery formerly named Mooselick Brewing Co., which is now rebranding itself as Granite Roots Brewing without putting up a fight against, you guessed it, Moosehead Breweries.


        The warning shot by Moosehead Breweries was all it needed to fire -- so entrenched is its reputation for trademark bullying and its willingness to engage in costly lawsuits.

    • Copyrights

      • Legal Threat From Creator Of Wall St. Bull Statue Even More Full Of Bull Than Expected
        Yesterday, we wrote about reports that Arturo Di Modica, the artist behind the famous "Charging Bull" statue near Wall St., was claiming that the new "Fearless Girl" statue that was put up in front of the bull infringed on his copyrights. As we noted in our piece, the only possible claim we could see was a weak moral rights claim, under VARA -- the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. However, as we noted in an update to the post (with a helping hand from law professor James Grimmelmann) VARA shouldn't apply. If you read the actual law, it applies to works created after VARA went into effect or to works created before the law went into effect if the title to the artwork has not been transferred from the artist.

        But, of course, the history here is that Di Modica dumped the statue in front of the NY Stock Exchange as a surprise in 1989, only to have it moved by the city and given a "temporary permit" in a nearby park that is continually renewed. 1989 is, obviously, prior to the enactment of VARA in 1990. And, Grimmelmann argues, Di Modica "transferred the title by accession when he installed it."

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