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Links 11/10/2017: Krita 3.3.1, KDE Plasma 5.12 Plans

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Streamlio and Industry Leaders Launch OpenMessaging
    Streamlio today announced that it has joined with industry leaders Alibaba, Di Di, and Yahoo! to launch OpenMessaging, a standards initiative for messaging software, within the Linux Foundation. As a founding contributor, Streamlio will help drive the creation and adoption of vendor-neutral, open standards and tools for distributed messaging and ensure that these standards are fully supported within the Streamlio real-time solution, empowering the robust ecosystem of developers and users developing modern data applications.

  • Open Source Sony PlayStation 3 Emulator Now Supports Up To 10K Rendering
    Emulator fans who want to play PlayStation 3 games on their computer may be familiar with the RPCS3 emulator that has been around for quite some time. The emulator has been updated and now supports high resolution rendering. The emulator can allow you to play favorite PS3 games at much higher resolutions than the PS3 could handle, all the way up to 10K resolution.

  • How to Choose Your IoT Platform – Should You Go Open-Source?

  • AT&T ECOMP Helps Lay Foundation for MEF-Linux Foundation Agreement Targeting Service Orchestration
    AT&T’s open source ECOMP initiative, which aims to bring a higher level of standardization to the automation of communications service creation and turn-up, is having a broad industry impact, as news today of a MEF-Linux Foundation agreement illustrates. The Linux Foundation and the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) announced a memorandum of understanding aimed at coordinating their efforts on service orchestration – and according to Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration for the Linux Foundation, ECOMP plays a big role on the Linux Foundation’s side of the agreement.

  • Hyperledger and Linux to Offer a Massive Open Online Blockchain Course
    Hyperledger, the international blockchain collaboration of corporate giants and young startups in partnership with the Linux Foundation, is launching a new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to meet the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for blockchain education.

  • Linux Foundation and Hyperledger launch blockchain training course

  • MEF, ONAP develop pact for open network-based orchestrated services
    MEF and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), a Linux Foundation project, have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish service orchestration for service providers interconnecting diverse networks and technologies.

  • How the Federal Reserve Bank of New York navigates the 'supply chain' of open source software
    Large companies have divisions and subsidiaries that make efficient organizational management a challenge. Perhaps no one recognizes that more than Colin Wynd, vice president and head of the Common Service Organization at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Wynd is charged with ensuring that software development practices and strategy are forward-thinking and secure, and adhere to compliance regulations.

    Several years ago, Wynd and his team started to think more holistically about how their developer teams worked, he explained in a presentation at the recent Jenkins World conference in San Francisco. They needed to transition decades of legacy applications to more modern, flexible alternatives.

  • Building an Open Standard for Distributed Messaging: Introducing OpenMessaging

    Through a collaborative effort from enterprises and communities invested in cloud, big data, and standard APIs, I’m excited to welcome the OpenMessaging project to The Linux Foundation. The OpenMessaging community’s goal is to create a globally adopted, vendor-neutral, and open standard for distributed messaging that can be deployed in cloud, on-premise, and hybrid use cases.

    Alibaba, Yahoo!, Didi, and Streamlio are the founding project contributors. The Linux Foundation has worked with the initial project community to establish a governance model and structure for the long-term benefit of the ecosystem working on a messaging API standard.

  • Cloud Foundry adds native Kubernetes support for running containers

    Cloud Foundry, the open-source platform as a service (PaaS) offering, has become somewhat of a de facto standard in the enterprise for building and managing applications in the cloud or in their own data centers. The project, which is supported by the Linux Foundation, is announcing a number of updates at its annual European user conference this week. Among these are support for container workloads and a new marketplace that highlights the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

    Cloud Foundry made an early bet on Docker containers, but with Kubo, which Pivotal and Google donated to the project last year, the project gained a new tool for allowing its users to quickly deploy and manage a Kubernetes cluster (Kubernetes being the Google-backed open-source container orchestration tool that itself is becoming the de facto standard for managing containers).

  • “We’re just on the edge of blockchain’s potential”

    No one could have seen blockchain coming. Now that it’s here, blockchain has the potential to completely reinvent the world of financial transactions, as well as other industries. In this interview, we talked to JAX London speaker Brian Behlendorf about the past, present, and future of this emerging technology.

  • Measure Your Open Source Program’s Success
    Open source programs are proliferating within organizations of all types, and if yours is up and running, you may have arrived at the point where you want to measure the program’s success. Many open source program managers are required to demonstrate the ROI of their programs, but even if there is no such requirement, understanding the metrics that apply to your program can help optimize it. That is where the free Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success guide comes in. It can help any organization measure program success and can help program managers articulate exactly how their programs are driving business value.

  • Bitcoin-Ethereum Atomic Swap Code Now Open Source
    A team of cryptocurrency startup developers is open-sourcing technology that enables trustless trading between the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains.

    Now available on GitHub, the code has already been used to execute what startup Altcoin Exchange claims is the first so-called "atomic swap" between the largest cryptocurrencies by market value. As a result of the release, a now larger community of developers can play around with and build on top of the code.

  • How Open Source boosts the Big Data-Driven Business
    Open Source offered fertile ground for digital transformation. Though Open Source revolutionized software, it now has an impact in larger business fields. But this phenomenon is way older than the Big Data revolution we are currently living, as Philippe Very, Lead Data Scientist at Sidetrade explains.


    Open Source licenses, because of the freedom and the simplicity they offer, represent a true opportunity for Data Scientists. Statistics and machine learning open libraries, available in programming languages like R, Python or Java, became richer and easier to use than proprietary software. Open Source is not even really a choice anymore for Data Scientists.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla pilots Cliqz engine in Firefox to slurp user browsing data
        Mozilla has launched a pilot program using Cliqz technology to pull user browsing data in Firefox.

        Last week, Mountain View, CA-based Mozilla said the inclusion of the Cliqz plugin, bolt-on software which recommends links to news, weather, sport and other websites directly in the search bar based on a user's history and activities, will now be included in "less than one percent" of Firefox browser downloads taking place in Germany.

        The inclusion of the add-on is part of a "small experiment" designed to improve the Firefox experience, privacy, and ease of use, according to the company.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Open-Xchange, Open Source Email Provider, Wins Funding
      Open-Xchange, the German-based provider of an open-source email platform and security software, has won €21 million in funding, translating into U.S. $25 million, according to Venture Beat. The round is headed by Iris Capital and existing shareholders such as eCAPITAL.

  • BSD

    • Trying Out The BSDs & OpenIndiana On AMD EPYC + Tyan 2U Server
      We have begun in delivering many Linux benchmarks of AMD EPYC, but for those of you interested in the BSD operating systems or even the "open-source Solaris" Illumos/OpenIndiana, I have run some basic tests the past few days using the high-end EPYC 7601 64-thread processor on the TYAN Transport SX TN70A-B8026.


    • More AMD Zen Tuning Patches Posted For GCC
      A few days back I initially wrote about a SUSE developer working on Zen tuning patches for GCC. That work has continued with more compiler patches coming for optimizing the GNU's compiler for Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC processors.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Update on Artifex v. Hancom GNU GPL compliance case
      A new ruling was issued on September 25th in the ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) compliance case of Artifex v. Hancom. The case involves a piece of software licensed under the GPL version 3 or later, called Ghostscript. It is a project from Artifex for handling PostScript, PDFs, and printers (GNU Ghostscript is a separate version of the project, and is not involved or implicated in the case).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • IBM Introduces Open Liberty, an Open Source Runtime for Java Microservices
      IBM demonstrated their continued dedication to open source recently with the introduction of Open Liberty, an open source implementation of their WebSphere Liberty application server. This new release supports the latest versions of both Eclipse MicroProfile and Java EE APIs for building microservices and cloud-native applications.

    • Perl turns 30 and its community continues to thrive
      Larry Wall released Perl 1.0 to the comp.sources.misc Usenet newsgroup on December 18, 1987. In the nearly 30 years since then, both the language and the community of enthusiasts that sprung up around it have grown and thrived—and they continue to do so, despite suggestions to the contrary!

      Wall's fundamental assertion—there is more than one way to do it—continues to resonate with developers. Perl allows programmers to embody the three chief virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris. Perl was originally designed for utility, not beauty. Perl is a programming language for fixing things, for quick hacks, and for making complicated things possible partly through the power of community. This was a conscious decision on Larry Wall's part: In an interview in 1999, he posed the question, "When's the last time you used duct tape on a duct?"

    • Kotlin could overtake Java on Android next year
      Realm performed an anonymized assessment of 100,000 developers using its database and which languages they were using, determined by developers’ selection of SDKs. Realm found that 20 percent of apps built with Java before Google’s May endorsement of Kotlin are now being built in Kotlin.

    • NVIDIA-Donated Qt 3D Studio Now Available In Pre-Release Form
      Towards the beginning of this year NVIDIA donated their "DRIVE Design Studio" software to Qt to serve as the basis of Qt 3D Studio, a new editor for Qt 3D content. The code to this new Qt 3D Studio is now available in pre-release form.

    • Qt 3D Studio Source Code and Pre-Release Snapshots Available
      As you may remember we announced in February that we are working on a new 3D design tool called Qt 3D Studio, which is based on a major contribution from NVDIA. Now we are happy to announce that the code has been pushed into the Qt Project repositories and binary snapshots are available through the Qt online installer.
    • What is DevOps? An executive guide to agile development and IT operations
      Adopting DevOps isn't just a good idea, it's a business necessity.

      To get the most from today's technologies -- from servers to virtual machines (VM)s and containers on to the clouds they empower -- you must get your system administrators working together with your developers. Hence, DevOps, the portmanteau of development and operations.

    • New projects on Hosted Weblate


  • Why cheating has become the norm [iophk: "just kick them out"]

    As usual, Johnson and other policymakers are focusing their energy on the most trivial dimension of the problem of cheating in universities. In this case, the professional essay mills. Essay-mill websites, which market ‘original’, professionally produced essays, allow students to circumvent their university’s plagiarism-detection system. In effect, these businesses help well-off students to purchase a degree. However, they play a minor role in the culture of cheating in higher education.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Establishes High-Level Commission On Noncommunicable Diseases
      The UN World Health Organization today announced it has established a new high-level global commission on noncommunicable diseases, to be chaired by former WHO director general candidate Sania Nishtar of Pakistan.


      The WHO said Nishtar is “a prominent global advocate for action against NCDs, former Federal Minister of the government of Pakistan and civil society leader.” She also previously served as co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

      Later this month, the release said, “ministers and other health leaders from around the world will review progress in Montevideo, Uruguay at the WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases, co-hosted by WHO and the President of Uruguay. Governments and other stakeholders will meet again at the third UN High-level meeting on NCDs in 2018.”

      In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals,” it said, adding, “Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target.”

  • Security

    • Accenture's crown jewels found exposed in unsecured AWS buckets

      Global corporate consulting and management firm Accenture left at least four cloud-based storage servers unsecured and open to the public, the security company UpGuard has found.

      Exposed to the world were secret API data, authentication credentials, certificates, decryption keys, customer information and other data that could have been used to attack both the company and its clients.

    • Cyber terror? Ain't seen it yet, says Australian Cyber Security Centre

      Despite all the hyper-ventilation by politicians who paint grim scenarios of cyber Armageddon always being around the corner, Australia is yet to face malicious activity that would constitute a cyber attack, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

    • The Race to Secure Voting Tech Gets an Urgent Jumpstart

      On Tuesday, representatives from the hacking conference DefCon and partners at the Atlantic Council think tank shared findings from a report about DefCon's Voting Village, where hundreds of hackers got to physically interact with—and compromise—actual US voting machines for the first time ever at the conference in July. Work over three days at the Village underscored the fundamental vulnerability of the devices, and raised questions about important issues, like the trustworthiness of hardware parts manufactured in other countries, including China. But most importantly, the report highlights the dire urgency of securing US voting systems before the 2018 midterm elections.

    • North Korean Hack [sic] of U.S. War Plans Shows Off Cyber Skills

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers
      Technology and cloud giant Accenture has confirmed it inadvertently left a massive store of private data across four unsecured cloud servers, exposing highly sensitive passwords and secret decryption keys that could have inflicted considerable damage on the company and its customers.

    • Crypto Anchors: Exfiltration Resistant Infrastructure
      The obvious way to implement a tokenization service is to generate a random token and store a mapping of that token and a one-way hash of the sensitive piece of data.

      Unfortunately, the maximum number of possible SSNs is just under 1 billion, making it trivial for an attacker that downloads the database to brute-force them offline.

    • Detecting DDE in MS Office documents
      Dynamic Data Exchange is an old Microsoft technology that can be (ab)used to execute code from within MS Office documents. Etienne Stalmans and Saif El-Sherei from Sensepost published a blog post in which they describe how to weaponize MS Office documents.

    • Stack Overflow Considered Harmful?
      What proportion of Android apps in the Play store include security-related code snippets copied directly from Stack Overflow? Does the copied code increase or decrease application security?

    • ‘UK teen almost hacking US officials a serious concern for American security’
      It should be very concerning for the US security services that a teenager almost got to access to private information of top officials, including that of the CIA chief, as other hackers might actually do some real harm, Mark Chapman of the UK Pirate Party believes.

      British teenager Kane Gamble pleaded guilty to trying to hack top US officials’ personal computers.

      Gamble is autistic and was only 15 years old when he attempted to hack the computers of former CIA chief John Brennan and the head of security of the Obama administration. He was released on bail and is due to be sentenced by a British regional court in December.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • American Made: A Largely True Story With Some Not-So-Fun Lies
      Director Doug Liman (Writing Studio, 9/1/17) describes American Made, his film about real-life drug dealer Barry Seal, as “a fun lie based on a true story.” So it’s not like he’s holding himself to a high standard of historical accuracy.

      For one thing, Seal (portrayed by Tom Cruise) did not meet Colombian druglords Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar, whose psychopathic hijinks provide much of the incident in the movie, until 1984, when the narrative is almost over. And Seal never landed a plane on a suburban street and pedaled away on a child’s bike to evade the DEA, as Cruise does, I’m sorry to say. (American Made largely exists because the Oscar-winning Argo showed that CIA exploits could be turned into a commercial and critical success—if, as Argo did, you make up all the most exciting and cinematic parts.)

    • China grabbed American as spy wars flare
      The Chinese officials drove their captive — whom they believed to be a CIA officer — to a security facility where he was interrogated for hours, and, according to one U.S. official, filmed confessing to unspecified acts of treachery on behalf of the U.S. government.

      It wasn’t until the early morning hours of the following day that other U.S. officials — who were not immediately informed by their Chinese counterparts of the consular official’s capture — arrived to rescue him. He was eventually released back to their custody and soon evacuated from the country.

      Both Chinese and U.S. officials kept quiet about the previously unreported incident, described to POLITICO and confirmed by multiple U.S. officials. But it threatened to spill into an international incident in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. U.S. officials strongly protested the abduction to their Chinese counterparts and, according to one official, issued a veiled threat to kick out suspected Chinese agents within the U.S.

    • Trump Threatens Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea
      Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19. That threat violates the UN Charter, and indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate international law.

      By threatening to attack North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of war.

    • Our Culture of Violence is a Result of Americans (So Far) Not Having to Face Reality
      How are we to explain how a flood of immigrants, most fleeing from oppression of one kind or another in Europe and later Asia and South America and some dragged here in chains from Africa, ended up producing a nation so steeped in violence and the implements of destruction needed to produce that violence, that we as a people no longer even recoil at the horrors the US routinely commits, encourages, funds, ignores and covers up? How are we to explain the collective lack of will to put a stop to the domestic gun slaughter, by citizens and by police, that makes Americans 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than in any other country in the world (save for those that are currently at war)?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico’s Health Care Is in Dire Condition, Three Weeks After Maria

    • Deadly California Wildfires Flare Up and Swallow More Homes
      Wildfires tearing through California’s wine country flared up Wednesday, destroying hundreds more homes and other buildings and leading to new evacuation orders as authorities raised the death toll to 17 and warned that the number was expected to rise.

      At least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed since the wildfires started Sunday, making them the third-most deadly and destructive blazes in state history.

      Nearly three days after the flames ignited in Northern California, firefighters were still unable to gain control the blazes, which were growing in number. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said 22 wildfires were burning, up from 17 on Tuesday.

    • Maria’s ‘Other’ Victims: Puerto Rican Bondholders
      With crushing debt threatening to annihilate its economy (CounterSpin, 7/31/15, 5/12/17), the island of Puerto Rico was already desperate. Then came Hurricane Maria, the September storm that tore through the US colony, leaving most of the island’s residents without power and many without water. The official death toll on the island from the Category 4 storm that packed winds of up to 155 miles per hour is at 43—and hospitals and funeral homes have said that the toll is significantly underreported.

      President Donald Trump, in what appeared to be an uncharacteristic display of empathy, said on October 3 that the island’s $72 billion debt would have to be forgiven. Though the president’s statement was quickly walked back by administration officials, the idea of forgiving Puerto Rico’s debt is gaining political strength. In response to that push for debt forgiveness, corporate media are trying a new tactic: telling the American people that they own the debt — and that they will be on the hook.

    • [Older] Despite Trump’s Posturing, Americans Are Embracing Climate Change Realities
      Robert Jay Lifton was born 91 years ago. Living through the catastrophes of the 20th century — world war, tyrannical regimes, genocide, the nuclear bomb, terrorism — he grappled with their terrible impact on human beings. His work as a psychiatrist, historian and public intellectual forged his reputation as one of the world’s foremost thinkers. Among his 20 books are such seminal award winners as Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1967); The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (1986); and Witness to an Extreme Century: A Memoir (2014).

    • Three Energy Bills Look To Increase Fourth Amendment Protections For Americans

      Senator Ron Wyden has introduced a trio of energy bills for the Senate's consideration. The three bills each have their own area of focus.

      One bill [PDF] would direct the Department of Energy -- along with state entities -- to upgrade the flexibility and reliability of energy grids, thus limiting disruption during natural disasters. The second bill [PDF] creates grant programs for consumer-level renewable energy, providing incentives for purchase and deployment of solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient appliances. The third [PDF] tasks the DOE with leading the way for renewable energy storage R&D in hopes of driving costs down and providing more affordable alternatives to non-renewable energy sources.

      Beyond their renewable energy focus, these three bills all have one thing in common: law enforcement agencies aren't going to like them. Each bill contains language erecting warrant requirements for law enforcement access of consumer energy usage data.

    • In killing the Clean Power Plan, EPA wants a narrow Clean Air Act
      As expected, the Trump administration has launched the process of eliminating its predecessor's Clean Power Plan, which was designed to limit carbon emissions from the electric grid. But what was less expected is the reason the EPA is giving for doing so. It's declaring the Obama administration's approach inconsistent with the text of the Clean Air Act. Rather than regulating a pollutant as a whole, the Trump EPA would like to limit any regulation to the pollution produced by individual sources.

  • Finance

    • Dow Jones posts fake story claiming Google was buying Apple
      The Dow Jones newswire rattled markets on Tuesday by publishing a clearly fake story claiming that Google was buying Apple. The story claimed that Apple founder Steve Jobs put the purchase price—an absurdly small $9 billion—in his will.

      Dow Jones blamed a "technical error" and quickly retracted the story.

    • Google buys Apple: fake news, courtesy of Dow Jones

      A "technical error" has been blamed by Dow Jones for a story that was issued on its news wires overnight, saying that Google was buying Apple – and for a relatively paltry sum of US$9 billion.

    • ’80 Percent of the Benefit Is Going to the Richest 1 Percent’
      And just to be clear, they added, “This should be the focus of the tax reform debate, not the endless old argument about benefits for the rich.” A separate report noted that administration officials are abandoning their oft-voiced deficit concerns, because of the amazing “growth” the plan will generate.

      What’s a lay person to think? Here to help us understand is economist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He joins us now by phone from DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Dean Baker.

    • 300 NGOs Demand No New E-Commerce Agenda At WTO Ministerial
      Some 300 global nongovernmental organisations have signed a letter voicing concerns about the agenda of the upcoming World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in December. In particular, they target the alleged push by some countries for a new agenda on digital trade, which they describe as “wrong.”

      The 11th WTO Ministerial meeting will take place in Buenos Aires on 10-13 December.

      The letter [pdf] addressed to WTO members describes a push for “a dangerous and inappropriate new agenda under the disguising rubric of ‘e-commerce’, while there is no consensus to introduce this new issue during or since the last WTO Ministerial conference.”

    • This may be Trump’s most insulting scam yet

    • You won't believe the bizarre tax policy on Counter-Earth

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • With Facebook, Twitter in the Crosshairs of Investigators Probing Russian Interference, Let’s Consider The Risks of Applying Election Ad Rules to the Online World
      Social media platforms are avenues for typical Americans—those without enough money to purchase expensive television or radio ads—to make their voices part of the national political dialogue. But with news that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin maintained hundreds of Twitter accounts and purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads aimed at influencing American voters—and specifically targeting voters in swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan—these same social media companies are now at the center of a widening government investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      This controversy has also sparked renewed calls for more government regulation of political ads on social media and other online platforms—including creating news rules for Internet ads that would mirror those the FEC and FCC currently apply to political ads on TV, cable, and radio. In the past, policymakers proposed essentially extending the broadcast rules to the Internet without adequately and thoughtfully considering the differences between the broadcast and online worlds. As a result, we argued for limiting the burden on online speakers from campaign finance regulations in both 2006 and 2014.

      We can’t emphasize enough what’s at stake here. Social media and digital communications have an enormous role in elections. On the whole, this is a good thing, because it creates many new avenues for Americans to communicate, share, participate, debate, and organize. Online speech rules must maintain our ability to speak out—anonymously if we choose—about candidates, elections, and issues. At the same time, American elections should be decided by Americans and not subject to foreign influence. The rules that surround our elections should be carefully created to protect American voters and not just at the moment of voting. Our right to participate and voice our opinions must not be compromised on the way to preventing foreign intervention in our elections.

    • The SNP's political stardust is starting to fade
      Since the 2014 independence referendum, there has always been a section in Nicola Sturgeon's autumn conference speech which uses the "I" word – independence.

      Usually, delegates cannot contain themselves, applauding, hollering and, more often than not, rewarding a mere mention of the word with a sustained standing ovation. There was a bit of that when the SNP leader reached that paragraph this time, but nothing like there's been in previous years.

      "To all of you here in this hall and across our country who are impatient for change," said Sturgeon, "let me say this. We may not yet know exactly when the choice will be made. But we can, we must, and we will always make the case for independence." And that was that, a rather flat line in a pretty flat speech at, it has to be said, a generally flat conference.

    • Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy
      Before his speech on Independence to the Catalan parliament, Carles Puigdemont seemed to be in an impossible position. Declare Independence and he would be immediately arrested and direct rule imposed from Madrid. Rajoy appeared to have all the angles covered; the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament. The intergovernmental side of the EU, the Council, had through its President Donald Tusk called on Puigdemont not not to declare Independence but rather to enter dialogue, in terms that accepted the Spanish insistence that the very notion of Independence was inadmissible.

    • Eminem sears ‘racist’ Donald Trump
      Eminem savaged Donald Trump as a racist and warned fans not to support the US president as the rap superstar appeared at the BET Hip Hop Awards broadcast Tuesday.

      Eminem, the top-selling rapper of all time, made a rare and unexpected appearance in a recorded video aired during hip-hop’s premier awards show.

      With a hoodie over his head and visceral anger in his voice, Eminem rapped freestyle from inside a parking ramp as an entourage stood guard behind him.

    • Theresa May vows to spend money on Brexit 'no deal' immediately only minutes after Chancellor rules it out
      Theresa May has vowed to spend taxpayers’ cash immediately on preparing for a no deal Brexit – just minutes after her Chancellor ruled it out.

      The Prime Minister opened up a fresh split with her most important Cabinet colleague by telling MPs there would be no delay in funding the emergency plans.

      Earlier, Philip Hammond admitted diverting funds would mean less money for the NHS and social care – insisting it would not happen until the “very last moment”, if the need became clear.

    • The Brexiteers’ trade fantasies are crashing down around their ears
      Nowhere did the slogan “take back control” resound more enthusiastically than in the ears of Tory free marketeers, who imagined themselves as modernist privateers, latter-day descendants of the proud tradition of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. During the referendum campaign you could almost hear them slapping their leather-clad thighs and looking eagerly ahead to a world where bluster and bravado replace the musty domain of the rule book and the bureaucrat.

      Sadly, for these modern-day pirates of the high seas, trade in the 21st century is hedged by rules and restrictions, tariffs and quotas. Ruling the waves is going to require at least as much negotiation as finding our way out of the EU labyrinth. The events of the past few weeks have started to burst the Ripping Yarns bubble and brought the discussion down to Earth.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Brazilian politician: “Freedom of expression is guaranteed, but it cannot be anonymous”

      One doesn’t need to look far to see the potential chilling effects this will have on free speech. Another question is whether or not social media platforms will even comply with Brazilian orders. Facebook’s WhatsApp is a famous example in Brazil, having been banned multiple times for refusing to give up metadata on Brazilian users.

    • Brazil Congress passes law restricting online criticism of candidates

      The Brazilian Congress approved on Thursday legislation allowing parties and candidates to force social media outlets to immediately withdraw offensive or defamatory content by anonymous authors.

    • Call for contributions: study on detection and take-down of illegal content

      The European Commission invites you to contribute to the study launched to monitor how effectively illegal content is taken down online and to inform the need for further intervention.

    • A college professor criticized Trump. Now the White House wants an investigation

    • How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé
      Freelance NBC News correspondent Ronan Farrow, whose months-long investigation into reports of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct was spiked by the network but morphed into a journalistic blockbuster at The New Yorker, initiated a scuffle with the Peacock Network on Tuesday night.

      Appearing on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show—which, like NBC, is a property of NBC Universal and its parent company Comcast—Farrow disputed what sources said was NBC News President Noah Oppenheim’s judgment this past summer that Farrow’s reporting on the movie mogul and the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted wasn’t ready for prime-time.

      Addressing a controversy that has been percolating for the past several days in the media ecosystem since The New York Times published its own Weinstein exposé—including questions about whether NBC executives caved to the well-connected Weinstein and his formidable lawyers, Charles Harder, Lisa Bloom, and David Boies—Maddow brought it to a boiling point by telling Farrow: “NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

    • Courtroom “Feud” Leaves Accurate Speech About Celebrities Unprotected

      The first season of FX’s drama Feud told the story of the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Set in Hollywood during the early sixties, the drama portrays numerous real-life figures from the era. Catherine Zeta-Jones appeared as Olivia de Havilland. Unfortunately, de Havilland did not enjoy the show. She sued FX asserting a number of torts including defamation, false light, and the right of publicity.

      The right of publicity is a cause of action for commercial use of a person’s identity. It makes good sense when applied to prevent companies from, say, falsely claiming that a celebrity endorsed their product. But when it is asserted against creative expression, such as a TV show, it can burden First Amendment rights. Celebrities have brought right of publicity cases against a wide range of creative work ranging from movies, rap lyrics, and magazine features, to computer games.

    • World-Renowned Artist Ai Weiwei on His Childhood in a Labor Camp, Art, Activism, Prison & Freedom

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Recordings Capture Brutal FBI Tactics to Recruit a Potential Informant
      ABAILIFF PUSHED Jabar Ali Refaie’s wheelchair into a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida, on September 20. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and looking weak from not having had the drugs he takes to treat his multiple sclerosis, the 37-year-old Refaie was here for a bond hearing after being indicted on felony charges that allege he sold counterfeit BMW logos and diagnostic software on eBay.

      Refaie’s case seemed by appearances to be about a lot more than selling shady car parts on the internet. That much was obvious from Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton C. Gammons’s stiff bond requests — $25,000, a GPS monitoring device, the surrender of his passport, and the removal of all firearms from his residence — as well as the six U.S. Homeland Security agents who packed into the courtroom for Refaie’s hearing.

      Refaie’s 30-year-old girlfriend, Felicity, was present in the courtroom. She and Refaie had been married before; after their divorce, when Refaie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they rekindled their relationship and live together again but never remarried. Felicity told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun III that Refaie wasn’t a flight risk. They have 4-month-old daughter together, she said. The government knows all about their lives. “The government has been monitoring us for the better part of two years,” she told the judge matter-of-factly. McCoun agreed with the suggested conditions from the U.S. attorney’s office, and Refaie was released from jail that evening after posting bond. Prior to this charge, Refaie had no criminal history.

    • WIPO Faces Resistance To Ensuring Equal Treatment For LGBT Staff
      The World Intellectual Property Organization is an international organisation based in Geneva, focused mainly on technical and legal issues of patents, trademarks and the like. But it is also a specialised agency of the United Nations, with over 1,000 employees. At its annual General Assemblies this week, an issue has arisen at WIPO that serves as a reminder of the complexities of UN membership.

    • WIPO Members Wrestle With Proposed Delay In Increasing Retirement Age
      Among the hot issues at this year’s annual World Intellectual Property Organization Assemblies is a proposal by WIPO to delay compliance with a United Nations-wide mandate to raise retirement age from 62 to 65 for those who started employment before 2014, supposed to go into effect on 1 January. WIPO’s proposal to wait 3 years to raise the age for those who joined the organisation is intended to open up dozens of posts that can then be filled with workers holding other skills deemed more needed as the global IP system has changed.

    • DOJ Says No One Has Any Right To Question The Adminstration's Handling Of Records, Not Even The Courts
      Frequent FOIA requesters CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) and NSA (National Security Archive) are trying to obtain a court ruling forcing the Trump administration to stop standing in the way of transparency and accountability.

      Their complaint [PDF], filed earlier this year, accuses the Trump administration of not just serious impropriety, but of actually taking proactive steps to ensure there's no documentation of its questionable deeds.

    • Supreme Court: Hacking conviction stands for man who didn’t hack computer
      According to court documents, Nosal used to work at an executive search firm called Korn/Ferry. After quitting Korn/Ferry, Nosal urged a former colleague to give up her credentials to two other Korn/Ferry employees who were cooperating with Nosal. At Nosal's urging, they downloaded proprietary Korn/Ferry information to help the trio start a competing firm. As his punishment for the conspiracy, Nosal was sentenced to a year in prison. He appealed and said the hacking statute did not apply to him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple faces down Qualcomm, Ericsson over EU patent fees [iophk: "FRAND == misnomer"]

      Qualcomm’s patent fee model is based on the widely used so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing model. The European Commission, however, has yet to make a final decision on which technology patent fee model it favours.

    • Copyrights

      • Sweden Supreme Court: Don’t Presume Prison Sentences For Pirates

        Furthermore, the Supreme Court found that there are no legislative indications that copyright infringement should be penalized via a term of imprisonment. In reaching this decision the Court referenced a previous trademark case, noting that trademark infringement and copyright infringement are similar offenses.

      • Cloudflare CEO Has to Explain Lack of Pirate Site Terminations

        Adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan will be allowed to depose Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, a request that was triggered by the Daily Stormer saga. According to the court, there are grounds to ask the CEO why he has not used his authority to terminate pirate sites. The questioning should be narrowly tailored towards this issue and limited to two hours.

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