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Links 1/3/2018: X.Org Server 1.20 RC1, Qt 5.11 Beta

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenStack 'Queens' Release Expands Support for GPUs and Containers to Meet Edge, NFV and Machine Learning Workload Demands

  • OpenStack gets support for virtual GPUs and new container features

  • OpenStack’s Latest Release: All Hail to Queens

  • OpenStack Queens Accelerates Open-Source Cloud With New Capabilities
    The OpenStack Queens platform was officially released on Feb. 28, marking the 17th release of the open-source cloud platform, originally started by NASA and Rackspace in 2010. OpenStack today is widely used by large organizations, including Walmart, as well as serving as the underlying infrastructure for multiple cloud providers, including platforms from IBM and Oracle, among others.

    Multiple new and enhanced capabilities have landed in the OpenStack Queens release, including virtual GPU (vGPU) support and improved container integration. Several new projects also have made an appearance in the OpenStack Queens milestone, including Cyborg, which provides a framework for managing hardware and software acceleration resources.

  • Openstack community releases Queens with support for vGPUs
    The latest – and 17th – version of open source infrastructure software Openstack, named Queens, is now available.

    Six months on from the previous release, among the new features in Queens is full support for virtual graphic processing units (vGPUs) in the Nova provisioning component, so if a user is running Nova cloud or has physical servers with GPUs in them, those can now be tracked or provisioned out.

  • Coding Freedom
    Subtitled The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, Coding Freedom is a rare beast in my personal reading: an academic anthropological study of a fairly new virtual community. It's possible that many books of this type are being written, but they're not within my normal reading focus. It's also a bit of an awkward review, since the community discussed here is (one of) mine. I'm going to have an insider's nitpicks and "well, but" reactions to the anthropology, which is a valid reaction but not necessarily the intended audience.

    I'm also coming to this book about four years after everyone finished talking about it, and even longer after Coleman's field work in support of the book. I think Coding Freedom suffers from that lack of currency. If this book were written today, I suspect its focus would change, at least in part. More on that in a moment.

  • Sprint’s Open Source Strategy Is an Evolution
    Sprint is gradually incorporating open source into its network. Like most service providers, the company sees the value of moving to a more open source model, but it also has a limited amount of resources — both people and money — that it can devote to open source projects.

    “We don’t have all the resources as some of our competitors so we have to approach it in a targeted manner,” said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint, in an interview with SDxCentral here at the Mobile World Congress 2018 conference. “We don’t just want to contribute for the sake of it. We want to contribute to things that will be a differentiator for us or something that we want to influence.”

  • Elastic to Release Source Code for X-Pack
    Elastic customers who pay for high-end enterprise features like machine learning in the X-Pack extension will no longer be relegated to a “second-class citizen” experience when working with the vendor to track down bugs or other issues. That’s because the source code for commercial software that Elastic developed to extend the stack will soon be opened, CEO Shay Banon announced yesterday.

    “This is a big change for us,” Banon said during his keynote address before an announced crowd of 2,500 attendees at the company’s ElasticON conference in San Francisco. “I’m super excited about it. I can’t begin to explain how simple this will make things for us.”

  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 18.02

    After being developed for over a decade, Genode remained a mystery for many people who looked at the project from a distance as it does not seem to fit any established category of software. In 2018 - declared as the Year of Sculpt on our roadmap - this will hopefully change. Genode 18.02 features the first revision of Sculpt, which is a Genode-based operating system for general-purpose computing. After being used as day-to-day OS by the entire team of Genode Labs for several months, we feel that the time is right to share the system with a broader audience (Section Sculpt for Early Adopters).

    One fundamental feature of Sculpt is the ability to install and deploy software from within the running operating system, which is universally expected from any modern general-purpose OS. Section On-target package installation and deployment presents Genode's unique take on the topic of software installation and deployment.

    Besides Sculpt, the current release has no shortage of other improvements. Genode's growing arsenal of 3rd-party software received profound updates and additions, including VirtualBox, Muen, seL4, several GNU packages, and libraries. Also the user-level networking stack - including the Linux-based LxIP stack and our custom NIC-router component - received a lot of attention. Thanks to the added network driver for i.MX-based hardware, this networking infrastructure becomes usable on embedded platforms based on this SoC. Furthermore, the current release continues the cultivation of the Nim programming language for Genode components.

  • Sculpt Aims To Be A General-Purpose OS Built Atop Genode
    The Sculpt operating system that aims for day-to-day / general purpose use-cases and built atop the Genode OS Framework is now available.

    Sculpt is a Genode-powered operating system for general purpose computing. At this stage it's quite rudimentary but they are working towards making it resemble a traditional operating system, ready-to-use ISO images will come in the future, they are still to develop their interactive GUI, and further down the road -- possibly by the end of 2018 -- they hope it will be ready for a community experience.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Analysis of the Alexa Top 1M Sites
        Prior to the release of the Mozilla Observatory in June of 2016, I ran a scan of the Alexa Top 1M websites. Despite being available for years, the usage rates of modern defensive security technologies was frustratingly low. A lack of tooling combined with poor and scattered documentation had led to minimal awareness around countermeasures such as Content Security Policy (CSP), HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and Subresource Integrity (SRI).

      • Things Gateway, Part 4

      • Discontinuing support for beta versions (AMO) has supported a way for developers to upload beta versions of their add-ons. This allowed power users to test upcoming features and fixes before they are published to all users. It has been a useful feature to have for some developers.

      • Dear Mick Mulvaney: Don’t Let Equifax Off Easy
        Today, Mozilla is visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington, D.C. with 27,052 signatures and a loud message: “Mick Mulvaney, don’t let Equifax off easy.”

        Last year’s Equifax data breach was a seismic event: Tens of millions of Americans had their personal information — from Social Security numbers to home addresses — pilfered by hackers, exposing them to fraud and identity theft. Equifax customers in other countries, like the UK and Canada, were also affected.

        Then, earlier this month, we learned the breach may have been worse than expected, with Americans’ tax IDs and driver’s license numbers swept up in the hack, too.

        This bad news broke just days after an astonishing development: The CFPB is not pursuing an investigation into the 2017 breach.

      • The 5 Stages of Experiment Analysis
        I've been thinking about experimentation a lot recently. Our team is spending a lot of effort trying to make Firefox experimentation feel easy. But what happens after the experiment's been run? There's not a clear process for taking experimental data and turning it into a decision.

        I noted the importance of Decision Reports in Desirable features for experimentation tools. This post outlines the process needed to get to a solid decision report. I'm hoping that outlining this process will help us disambiguate what our tools are meant to do and identify gaps in our tooling.

      • How to Try Firefox CSD on Linux, Right Now
        Firefox support for client-side decorations (better known as CSD) is coming to its Linux app — but if you can’t live without it, we’re gonna show you how to enable it.

        As we’ve mentioned before, a CSD toggle is present in nightly builds of the browser. When enabled on GTK3 desktop it merges the title bar and tab bar into one unified bar.

        This gives the browser a neat, compact look, and is in keeping with other GTK3 apps that use header bars (like, basically, all of them).

      • Firefox Media Playback Team Review Policy
        Reviews form a central part of how we at Mozilla ensure engineering diligence. Prompt, yet thorough, reviews are also a critical component in maintaining team velocity and productivity. Reviews are also one of the primary ways that a distributed organization like Mozilla does its mentoring and development of team members.

        So given how important reviews are, it pays to be deliberate about what you're aiming for.

        The senior members of the Firefox Media Playback team met in Auckland in August 2016 to codify the roadmap, vision, and policy for the team, and and one of the things we agreed upon was our review policy.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 - Goodness, Gracious, Great Fonts of Fire!

      LibreOffice 6.0 is a phenomenal release. Pro-am if you will. The very first version that can proudly wear its laurels. It's almost a completely different product. More elegant, more efficient, with better and smarter layout and work logic, improved functionality with pretty much everything. Most importantly, Microsoft Office supports is very good. It was also stable and fast.

      Technically, LibreOffice is playing catchup with Microsoft Office. We probably may never achieve parity, as office suites take millions of dollars to develop and maintain. But still, in this game of hare and armadillo, the open-source beastling is making great strides forward. LibreOffice 6.0 has an expensive, elegant, refreshing feel to it. An office suite reborn. Official release notes are often three quarters hyperbole and one quarter nonsense, but in this case, it's all awesome stuff. I am extremely happy, and I urge you to install and test LibreOffice 6.0. There are few free products that warrant this much joy. 10/10. Font away.

    • Oracle Adds Support for Linux Kernel 4.15 to Its Latest VirtualBox Release
      VirtualBox 5.2.8 is now available to download, finally bringing support for the latest Linux 4.15 kernel series for Linux-based guest operating systems you might want to run on your virtual machines. Also, this means that various of VirtualBox's modules can now be compiled against Linux kernel 4.15.

      Also, VirtualBox 5.2.8 finally addresses that annoying black screen issue that occurred when 3D was enabled in some Linux guests, and adds support for suppressing setuid and setgid in shared folders. For Windows guests, the update fixes an incorrect function error that occurred when using shared folders with certain apps.

    • VirtualBox 5.2.8 Released With Linux 4.15 Kernel Support, PCID For Guests
      For those of you making use of Oracle VM VirtualBox, the 5.2.8 point release is now available as a rather large point release.

      While this is just another VirtualBox point release, VirtualBox 5.2.8 is larger than their usual point releases from Oracle. Besides adding support for the latest stable kernel (Linux 4.15) and other fixes, there are some more prominent changes too.

    • VirtualBox 5.2.8 Released with Support for Linux 4.15
      A new version of VirtualBox is available to now download. VirtualBox 5.2.8 supports the latest Linux kernel 4.15 in Linux guest machines, making it perfect for those looking to try the latest Bionic Beaver daily builds.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • Free Software Foundation releases FY2016 Annual Report

      The Annual Report reviews the Foundation's activities, accomplishments, and financial picture from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. It is the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused study of program results. It examines the impact of the FSF's programs, and FY2016's major events, including LibrePlanet, the creation of ethical criteria for code-hosting repositories, and the expansion of the Respects Your Freedom computer hardware product certification program.

      "More people and businesses are using free software than ever before," said FSF executive director John Sullivan in his introduction to the FY2016 report. "That's big news, but our most important measure of success is the support for the ideals. In that area, we have momentum on our side."

      As with all of the Foundation's activities, the Annual Report was made using free software, including Inkscape, GIMP, and PDFsam, along with freely licensed fonts and images.

    • Fun with gcc plugins

  • Public Services/Government

    • Disruptive by Design: Invigorating Government Open Source Contributions
      The U.S. government is likely the largest combined producer and consumer of software in the world. The code to build that software is volatile, expensive and oftentimes completely hidden from view. Most people only see the end result: the compiled and packaged application or website. However, a massive worldwide community, the Open Source Initiative, centers on the exact opposite.

      Open source enables a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. Although open source technology is not new, its effects can still be disruptive in many ways. The government has only recently been serious about contributing to this initiative, a nonprofit formed in 1998 as an educational, advocacy and stewardship organization. The Department of Defense has traditionally treated the majority of source code as sensitive, nonexportable information. This attitude has placed most open projects behind heavy use restrictions and government-access-only barriers.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Keyboardio Hits a High Point in Open Hardware
        My expectations for Keyboardio’s Model 01 were high. I pre-ordered the keyboard during its 2015 crowdfunding campaign, and waited for over two years with increasing frustration as one delay in manufacturing followed another. Then, in 2017, the first Model 01s shipped — but not mine. By the time mine arrived in February 2018, my expectations were so high that I was sure that the reality could not possibly match my expectations.

        I was dead right.

        Reality exceeded my expectations, and by more than I could possibly imagine. The Model 01 is not the first programmable keyboard. Nor is it the first open source keyboard, the first keyboard with mechanical switches, or the first ergonomic keyboard. However, so far as I’m aware, no other keyboard has combined all these features at once. Combining aesthetics, ergonomics, hardware customization, and software customization, Keyboardio’s Model 01 is a keyboard in a class of its own.

      • Trinamic Licenses Codasip’s Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Next Generation Motion Control Applications
        Brno, Czech Republic and Hamburg, Germany, 28th February 2018. - Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V€® embedded processor IP, announced today that Trinamic, the global leader in embedded motor and motion control ICs and microsystems, has selected Codasip's Bk3 processor for its next-generation family of products.

      • GreenWaves Puts Another Spin on IoT Chips

        Rather than using the ubiquitous Arm Cortex-A or -M cores, GreenWaves relies on the potentially ubiquitous RISC-V design. The benefits here are twofold: RISC-V is free (as in free beer), and RISC-V permits user-defined extensions. GreenWaves took advantage of both characteristics to build itself a complex multicore MCU that’s tweaked for image, audio, and sensor processing. The idea is to make the edge-node processor smart enough that it doesn’t have to upload raw data to a smarter device upstream. Do your data-capture, analysis, filtering, and massaging right at the point of collection and you’ll save yourself time, money, and power.

        GAP8 has nine identical RISC-V cores: one for overall housekeeping and eight for massaging incoming data. The housekeeping side looks like a very traditional MCU, with a UART, SPI and I2C interfaces,

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Python devs should use Pipenv

    • #17: Dependencies.
      As R users, we are spoiled. Early in the history of R, Kurt Hornik and Friedrich Leisch built support for packages right into R, and started the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). And R and CRAN had a fantastic run with. Roughly twenty years later, we are looking at over 12,000 packages which can (generally) be installed with absolute ease and no suprises. No other (relevant) open source language has anything of comparable rigour and quality. This is a big deal.

    • On the unoptimalities of language specific build systems
      A fairly big recent trend has been the emergence of new programming languages that are meant to be compiled into machine code. The silent (and sometimes not so silent) goal of these languages has been to replace C and C++ as the dominant systems programming language.

      All of these languages come with their own build system and dependency management optimised for that particular language. This makes sense as having a good developer experience is important and not having 20-30 years of legacy to carry with you means you can design and develop slick systems relatively easily. But, as always, there is a downside. Perhaps the main issue comes up pretty quickly when trying to combine said code with projects in other languages.

      A common approach is for the programming language in question to bundle up all its dependencies as source in a big clump. Then the advocates will say that "it's simple, just call our build system from yours and it gets built". This seems simple but it uses the weasieliest of all weasel words: just. Whenever someone tells you to "just" do something, what they almost always do is trying to trivialise away the hardest part of the entire operation. So it is here as well.

    • How to hire the right DevOps talent
      DevOps culture is quickly gaining ground, and demand for top-notch DevOps talent is greater than ever at companies all over the world. With the annual base salary for a junior DevOps engineer now topping $100,000, IT professionals are hurrying to make the transition into DevOps.

    • Eclipse Open J9 – an Open Source Java Virtual Machine Based on the Eclipse OMR Project
      IBM has been working hard on their own flavor of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) -- J9 JVM -- since 1997. J9 was built as a closed source (proprietary) independent implementation of the JVM whose class libraries were based on the licensed Sun (now OpenJDK) implementation. J9 has many enhancements and flag-bearing optimizations including: tiered compilation; shared classes; escape analysis; hardware specific optimizations, such as selecting the correct large page size; soft real-time garbage collector; API optimizations via Apache Harmony, dynamic ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation; several object locking specific optimizations; and more.

    • J2EE and JavaEE are Gone. Enterprise Java is Now Called Jakarta EE
      The popular enterprise application framework now has a new name - and a new direction.

      In the world of enterprise applications, few (if any) frameworks have ever been as widely adopted and deployed as Java and specifically enterprise flavors of Java.

      The first big incarnation of enterprise Java was known as J2EE. In 2006, Sun rebranded J2EE as JavaEE. Now in 2018, enterprise Java is being re-branded again, though this time it's losing the Java name.

    • On well executed releases and remote teams

      After some blood, sweat and tears, we finally brought Stacksmith into the world, yay!

      It’s been a lengthy and intense process that started with putting together a team to be able to build the product in the first place, and taking Bitnami’s experience and some existing tooling to make the cloud more accessible to everyone. It’s been a good week.

      However, I learnt something I didn’t quite grasp before: if you find really good people, focus on the right things, scope projects to an achievable goal and execute well, releases lack a certain explosion of emotions that are associated with big milestones. Compounded with the fact that the team that built the product are all working remotely, launch day was pretty much uneventful.


  • Norbert Preining: Ten Mincho – Great font and ugly Adobe
    I recently stumbled upon a very interesting article by Ken Lunde (well known from CJKV Information Processing book) on a new typeface for Japanese called Ten Mincho, designed by Ryoko Nishizuka and Robert Slimbach. Reading that the Kanji and Roman part is well balanced, and the later one designed by Robert Slimbach, I was very tempted to get these fonts for my own publications and reports.

  • Science

    • Evidence of quantum state in spin cluster chain predicted by Nobel Prize recipient found in magnetic mineral
      Nuclear techniques at ANSTO have helped to confirm a quantum spin phenomena, a Haldane phase, in a magnetic material, that has potential to be used as a measurement model for quantum computation.

      Although there has been experimental evidence of the Haldane phase in other types of one dimensional antiferromagnetic materials, it is believed to be the first evidence in a cluster-based material.

    • Scientists discover how to distinguish beams of entangled photons
      A team from the Faculty of Physics, MSU, has developed a method for creating two beams of entangled photons to measure the delay between them. In the future the results of the study may be used in high-precision measurements, material studies, and informational technologies. The article was published in Optics Letters journal.


      Thus, the scientists managed to experimentally register the smallest possible shift between twin beams of entangled photons that may be observed by measurement devices. According to the team, it is possible to further reduce this value, but to do so, the scheme of the experiment would be more complex. "Right now, 90 femtoseconds is a record-setting value, but it can be reduced, and we know how," explained Prudkovskii. He says that the wave period of laser emission is only several femtoseconds, so it is possible to reduce the length of such a delay down to a dozen or so.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • AI Beats Dermatologists in Diagnosing Nail Fungus
      It’s still relatively rare for artificial intelligence to deliver a crushing victory over human physicians in a head-to-head test of medical expertise. But a deep neural network approach managed to beat 42 dermatology experts in diagnosing a common nail fungus that affects about 35 million Americans each year.

      The latest successful demonstration of AI’s capabilities in the medical field relied heavily upon a team of South Korean researchers putting together a huge dataset of almost 50,000 images of toenails and fingernails. That large amount of data used to train the deep neural networks on recognizing cases of onychomycosis—a common fungal infection that can make nails discolored and brittle—provided the crucial edge that enabled deep learning to outperform medical experts.

  • Security

    • “Medjacked”: Could Hackers Take Control of Pacemakers and Defibrillators—or Their Data?
      Are high-tech medical devices vulnerable to hacks? Hackers have targeted them for years, according to a new article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. But Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, senior author of the paper, says hackers have harmed no one so far.

    • Exploding e-Cigarettes Are a Growing Danger to Public Health
      Whatever their physiological effects, the most immediate threat of these nicotine-delivery devices comes from a battery problem called thermal runaway


      Exploding cigarettes sound like a party joke, but today’s version isn’t funny at all. In fact, they are a growing danger to public health. Aside from mobile phones, no other electrical device is so commonly carried close to the body. And, like cellphones, e-cigarettes pack substantial battery power. So far, most of the safety concerns regarding this device have centered on the physiological effects of nicotine and of the other heated, aerosolized constituents of the vapor that carries nicotine into the lungs. That focus now needs to be widened to include the threat of thermal runaway in the batteries, especially the lithium-ion variety.

    • Uh, oh! Linux confuses Bleeping Computer again

      The tech website Bleeping Computer, which carries news about security and malware, has once again demonstrated that when it comes to Linux, its understanding of security is somewhat lacking.

      What makes the current case surprising is the fact that the so-called security issue which the website chose to write about had already been ripped to pieces by senior tech writer Stephen Vaughan-Nicholls four days earlier.

      Called Chaos, the vulnerability was touted by a firm known as GoSecure as one that would allow a backdoor into Linux servers through SSH.

    • Are Mac and Linux users safe from ransomware?
      Ransomware is currently not much of a problem for Linux systems. A pest discovered by security researchers is a Linux variant of the Windows malware ‘KillDisk’. However, this malware has been noted as being very specific; attacking high profile financial institutions and also critical infrastructure in Ukraine. Another problem here is that the decryption key that is generated by the program to unlock the data is not stored anywhere, which means that any encrypted data cannot be unlocked, whether the ransom is paid or not. Data can still sometimes be recovered by experts like Ontrack, however timescales, difficulty and success rates depend on the exact situation and strain of ransomware.
    • Security updates for Wednesday

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 85 - NPM ate my files

    • Protecting Code Integrity with PGP — Part 3: Generating PGP Subkeys

    • From DevOps to DevSecOps: Structuring Communication for Better Security [Ed: From one buzzword to another buzzword]
      Security has long been considered an afterthought in the software development process, with ad hoc measures typically tacked on just before release. This approach is no longer adequate in sustaining today's expectations for rapid and reliable service.

    • How to build a business case for DevOps transformation [Ed: How to build a business case for buzzwords]

    • "Nobody cared about security"

      In the long run, however, the more significant reason why the ARPAnet and early Internet lacked security was not that it wasn't needed, nor that it would have made development of the network harder, it was that implementing security either at the network or the application level would have required implementing cryptography. At the time, cryptography was classified as a munition. Software containing cryptography, or even just the hooks allowing cryptography to be added, could only be exported from the US with a specific license. Obtaining a license involved case-by-case negotiation with the State Department. In effect, had security been a feature of the ARPAnet or the early Internet, the network would have to have been US-only. Note that the first international ARPAnet nodes came up in 1973, in Norway and the UK.

    • ​The 10 best ways to secure your Android phone
      The most secure smartphones are Android smartphones. Don't buy that? Apple's latest version of iOS 11 was cracked a day -- a day! -- after it was released.

      So Android is perfect? Heck no!

      Android is under constant attack and older versions are far more vulnerable than new ones. Way too many smartphone vendors still don't issue Google's monthly Android security patches in a timely fashion, or at all. And, zero-day attacks still pop up.

    • Not Getting Android OS Updates? Here’s How Google Is Updating Your Device Anyway
      Android updates are a still a point of contention among die-hard fans, because most manufacturers don’t keep updated with the latest offerings from Google. But just because your phone isn’t getting full OS updates doesn’t mean it’s totally out of date.

      While some major features still require full version updates, Google has a system in place that keeps many handsets at least somewhat relevant with Google Play Services. The company can squash certain bugs and even introduce new features just by updating Play Services.

    • Intel Finally Releases Spectre Patches for Broadwell and Haswell Processors
    • How to Defend Servers Against Cryptojacking
      Cryptojacking has become one of the most active and pervasive threats in recent years. In a cryptojacking attack, a cryptocurrency mining script is injected into a server or a webpage to take advantage of the victim system's CPU power.

    • 8 Startups Raise Money to Secure Everything From ICS to Home Networks

    • Sonatype Makes Nexus Firewall Available to 10 Million Developers

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Guns and Liberty
      The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.

      “Second Amendment cultists truly believe that guns are political power,” writes Mark Ames, the author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.” “[They believe that] guns in fact are the only source of political power. That’s why, despite loving guns, and despite being so right-wing, they betray such a paranoid fear and hatred of armed agents of the government (minus Border Guards, they all tend to love our Border Guards). If you think guns, rather than concentrated wealth, equals political power, then you’d resent government power far more than you’d resent billionaires’ power or corporations’ hyper-concentrated wealth/power, because government will always have more and bigger guns. In fact you’d see pro-gun, anti-government billionaires like the Kochs as your natural political allies in your gun-centric notion of political struggle against the concentrated gun power of government.”

    • Resisting Calls to ‘Do Something’ About Syria
      A common refrain is that the West must “do something” to help Syria, but this is like arguing that the gasoline that was used to start a fire can also be used to extinguish it, explains Caitlin Johnstone.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Report: Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign [Ed: No, Wikileaks told Stone to STOP claiming that he had communicated]
      Conservative provocateur and on-again-off-again Trump adviser Roger Stone was reportedly in communication with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

    • Report: Roger Stone communicated directly with Wikileaks, despite denials

    • Assange continues attack on UK judiciary, citing report where Judges bemoan ‘inappropriate pressure’
      Julian Assange has questioned the impartiality of the UK’s judicial system. The Wikileaks founder cited an EU study wherein 43% of UK judges state that the government has not respected their independence in the last two years.

      The 2016-2017 European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) report, entitled Independence, Accountability and Quality of the Judiciary, details that some 43% of judges in the UK felt the government failed to respect their judicial independence. 29% said they felt their independence was disrespected by parliament.

      Assange pointed out that the study further reports that 5% of UK judges say that, over the past two years, they have been under “inappropriate pressure” to decide a particular case in a specific way.

    • Wikileaks cable reveals U. N. looked into Georgia prison torture allegations
      Cries of brutal torture in Georgia prisons have prompted one man to file more than 40 lawsuits against Georgia Department of Corrections Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

      The claims not only piqued the attention of local advocates, but compelled the United Nations to get involved.

      Georgia attorney McNeill Stokes said he believes he put a stop to torture in Georgia prisons or at least curbed it substantially.

      Stokes filed lawsuits about incidents that inmates said occurred between 2003 and 2008. Similar cases were still navigating the Georgia court system as recently as three years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arctic temperatures are so high they’re shocking scientists
      The Arctic winter lasts from October to March and leaves much of the region in almost permanent darkness. During that time, the average temperature hovers around minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. But so far in 2018, the Cape Morris Jesup meteorological site, at the northern tip of Greenland, has seen a record-breaking 61 hours of temperatures above freezing.

  • Finance

    • Tencent Is Said to Lead $115 Million Deal in India's Gaana

      The investment in Gamma Gaana Ltd. totals $115 million, and Times Internet Ltd., the Indian media and technology company that started the business, will also participate, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the information publicly and asked not to be identified. Tencent and Gaana confirmed the deal was taking place in an emailed statement Wednesday.

    • India-based music streaming service Gaana raises $115M led by Tencent

      Chinese internet giant Tencent is continuing to put its money in India and in music streaming services after it agreed to lead a $115 million investment in India’s Gaana.

      Gaana is a music streaming service that was started by Times Media, the company behind the Times of India newspaper and tech incubator Times Internet among other things, seven years ago. Gaana didn’t reveal its user metrics, but CEO Prashan Agarwal said the company is “only 10 percent of the way towards building a business useful for 500 million Indians.”

    • Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs [Ed: He means "computers", not "AI". Why is AI trending all of a sudden? Who/what triggered it?]

      I took an Uber to an artificial-€­intelligence conference at MIT one recent morning, and the driver asked me how long it would take for autonomous vehicles to take away his job. I told him it would happen in about 15 to 20 years. He breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I’ll be retired by then,” he said.

      Good thing we weren’t in China. If a driver there had asked, I would have had to tell him he’d lose his job in about 10 years—maybe 15 if he was lucky.
    • Advice to Washington from Ancient China
      What preserves a state is humaneness and rightness. If a state lacks rightness, even if it is large, it will certainly perish.
    • Cryptocurrency and the IRS
      My parting advice is please take taxes seriously—especially this year. The IRS has been working hard to get information from companies like Coinbase regarding taxpayer's gains/losses. In fact, Coinbase was required to give the IRS financial records on 14,355 of its users. Granted, those accounts are only people who have more than $20,000 worth of transactions, but it's just the first step. Reporting things properly now will make life far less stressful down the road. And remember, if you have a ton of taxes to pay for your cryptocurrency, that means you made even more money in profit. It doesn't make paying the IRS any more fun, but it helps make the sore spot in your wallet hurt a little less.
    • EU targets US web giants with digital sales tax
      European finance ministers are fed up with companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. The US internet giants are making more and more money from their European customers’ data, but none of it finds its way into government coffers. Because the web firms have no headquarters in the EU, local tax authorities don’t get a look in.

      But now the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to change this and force web-based companies with global sales of €750 million ($916 million) or more to pay a digital sales tax. In an analysis of “taxation of digital activities in the single market,” dated February 26 and seen by Handelsblatt, it says all transactions generated by the “exploitation of user data” should be taxed. This includes revenues from the sale of data such as personal details and the provision of advertising space in social networks or search engines. The revenues of online marketplaces such as Uber or Airbnb should also be subject to the tax, the document adds.
    • Exclusive: Public wants Big Tech regulated
      That's a seismic shift in the public's perception of Silicon Valley over a short period of time. It shows how worried Americans are about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but it also reflects a growing anxiety about the potentially addictive nature of some of the tech companies' products, as well as the relentless spread of fake news on their platforms.

    • Media Parroting ‘$1000 Bonus!’ Stories Helped Give Trump’s Tax Cuts Majority Support

      A New York Times/Survey Monkey poll last week revealed that, for the first time, a slim majority of Americans support last December’s Republican tax cuts—cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich, redistributing money from the poor to the wealthiest Americans.

      How was the impressive feat of reality-inversion achieved? How did a tax cut that, once it’s all said and done, mainly benefits a small group of top earners become broadly popular? One reason is the nonstop deluge of stories over the past two months, cheerleading alleged “tax cut bonuses” from large corporations.

      Democratic-leaning cable network MSNBC and its colleagues NBC, it should be noted, have mostly been the exception, avoiding the talking point for the most part. But Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and dozens of local media outlets joined the messaging charge, singing the bill’s money-saving praises.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What Facebook Isn't Saying About Trump and Clinton's Campaign Ads

      While this chart does show that the Trump campaign paid higher rates overall than the Clinton campaign did—and that how competitive the ad market gets as the election approaches—it doesn't tell the full story. Much of the public outcry centered around the idea that Facebook’s system prioritizes more provocative or outrageous political ads. That, in turn, has stoked fears about whether Facebook’s ad algorithms reward mudslinging and fear-mongering. The chart Bosworth shared sheds no light on this question, because it contains no information about the content of the ads on any given day.

    • Facebook's algorithm has wiped out a once flourishing digital publisher
      The media industry's worst fears about Facebook's huge algorithm tweak are coming true.

      The women-focused publisher LittleThings is shutting its doors, in large part because of Facebook's recent move, the company's CEO, Joe Speiser, told Business Insider.
    • More Russiagate Rubbish
      An RT interview about the over-reaction around the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, meeting his Russian counter-part...
    • ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: David Fahrenthold and the Mysterious Loan Trump Made to Himself
      Listeners have been sending us lots of questions about President Donald Trump and his businesses. So we sat down with one of the best in the business to answer them. The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has been digging into Trump for nearly two years. And he’s involved readers from the get-go.

      Among the questions Fahrenthold takes on: How much money has the government spent on Trump properties? How much does it cost taxpayers and does Trump profit when he visits Mar-a-Lago? And who is Trump literally indebted to?
    • California Dems Withhold Endorsement of Sen. Feinstein
      This passed weekend, California democrats refused to endorse Senator Feinstein, in a major rebuke of California’s senior senator, opening the door wide for de León to run.

      According to the Sacramento Bee, “As a child, de León spent time on both sides of the border, in Tijuana, Baja California, and Logan Heights in San Diego and identifies strongly with Mexican culture, though he doesn’t know where his grandparents are from.”

      Senator de León recently led a coalition to sponsor legislation “that addresses lapses in our justice and labor systems creating serious challenges for the California’s immigrant community, including stronger wage theft laws, securing u-visas from law enforcement, and providing healthcare for undocumented children.”
    • NSA Head: Trump Has Not Directed Him to Counter Russian Election Meddling
      The outgoing head of the NSA, Michael Rogers, says the Trump administration has not directed him to try to counter Russian election meddling. This is Rogers answering questions by Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed.

    • Did Turnbull Ask Trump About the Elephant in The Room?
      A gushing sycophantic Australian press pack has hailed Malcolm Turnbull’s visit with Donald Trump as a “great diplomatic success.”

      I’m not quite sure how they arrive at that conclusion.

      Yes, Trump rolled out the red carpet and treated Malcolm like a good little lackey, and Malcolm will undoubtedly return with some crumbs and even some sort of hope that he might yet convince Trump to join the TPP(If you can call that an achievement). But, in all honesty, these “visits” are not diplomatic, they are exercises in pledging loyalty and fealty to the great power that the United States is.

      When Malcolm left Trump’s presence, you can bet that Trump’s mind would have switched to other more pressing matters and the box marked obligatory glad handing of vassal was ticked off.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google breaks down data on the 2.4 million right to be forgotten requests it's received

      Google's latest reports show it has actioned 43.3 per cent of all the requests it has received to date. The search giant noted that less than half of the right to be forgotten requests are actioned due to some requests being overridden by public interest and other information factors.

    • How Employers Already Compel Speech From Workers

      The US Supreme Court heard arguments this week in Janus v. AFSCME, and most observers believe the justices are prepared to strike down agency fees for government employees—that is, the mandatory dues that public-sector workers pay to the unions that represent them. The implications of this decision could be staggering: Recent research suggests that “right-to-work laws” (which prevent agency fees from being imposed on all workers) dramatically reduce Democratic vote share, shift policy to the right, and reduce working-class representation in legislatures.

    • House passes online sex trafficking bill

      The main concern for groups like Engine, a trade association for internet startups, is that the bill will hamper innovation by forcing smaller web companies to devote too many resources to monitoring content for which they should not be held liable. They also worry that the measure will not do enough to actually crack down on online sex trafficking.

    • Controversial sex-trafficking bill passes the House of Representatives

    • House passes anti-online sex trafficking bill, allows targeting of websites like

      The bill now goes to the Senate, which already has passed a similar version out of committee. If approved, it would go to the White House, where supporters are hopeful that President Trump will sign it. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted her approval of the legislation on Tuesday.


      The final vote in the House was 388-25.

    • Goodlatte Statement on FOSTA Passage

      Creates a New Federal Crime: websites that have the intent to promote or facilitate illegal prostitution can be prosecuted under the new 18 U.S.C 2421A created by the bill

    • China’s web censors go into overdrive as President Xi Jinping consolidates power

      China’s web scrubbers have been busy banning a collection of terms and dropping the hammer on user accounts after the Xi Jinping, the country’s premier, got the all-clear to become ‘President For Life’ after the Communist Party moved to amend the constitution to remove an article that limits Presidential terms to two five-year terms.

      Limits were introduced more than 30 years ago ostensibly to prevent a repeat of the Mao dictatorship. The proposed removal understandably stoked anger among many Chinese internet users, who have already voiced concern at Xi’s rise and his moves to quash free speech online in China.

    • Sensitive Words: Emperor Xi Jinping to Ascend His Throne

      Following state media’s announcement, censorship authorities began work to limit online discussion. CDT Chinese editors found the following terms blocked from being posted on Weibo: [...]

    • China censors social media responses to proposal to abolish presidential terms
      Negative social media reactions in China toward the government’s interest in abolishing presidential term limits have sparked a crackdown on memes since Sunday evening. China’s constitution currently restricts the president and vice-president to 10 years of leadership, meaning that President Xi Jinping would have been out of power by 2023.
    • China drowns out critics of lifetime Xi presidency
      China's propaganda machine kicked into overdrive on Tuesday to defend the Communist Party's move to lift term limits for President Xi Jinping as criticism persisted on social media in defiance of censorship.
    • China’s war on words: Anything — be it a phrase or picture — that can be used to insult Xi has been banned
      Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he’s clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.
    • Ce*sored! China bans letter N (briefly) from internet as Xi Jinping extends grip on power
      It is the 14th letter in the English alphabet and, in Scrabble, the springboard for more than 600 8-letter words.
    • China Bans ‘Re-Election,’ ‘I Don’t Agree’ from Social Media Following Xi Term Limit Repeal
      Freedom of speech is tenuous at best in China, but censors are cracking down especially hard on criticism of President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, particularly his effort to remove term limits so he can rule indefinitely.
    • Now It's The Turn Of Mercedes-Benz To Grovel Before China, Over An Instagram Post Quoting The Dalai Lama
      A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about Marriott International kowtowing to China because of a drop-down menu that dared to suggest that Tibet might be a country. We noted that a newly-confident and increasingly aggressive China might well start finding more of these alleged "insults" to use as pretexts for asserting itself internationally. And sure enough, that's already happened again, this time with Mercedes-Benz. As a New York Times story explains, the German car maker posted an image of a white car parked on a beach, along with a quotation popularly ascribed to the Dalai Lama -- "Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open. #MondayMotivation" -- to its official Instagram account.

    • UK's New 'Extremist Content' Filter Will Probably Just End Up Clogged With Innocuous Content

      For now, it's a one-way ride. Content deemed "extremist" vanishes and users have no vehicle for recourse. Even if one were made available, how often would it be used? Given that this is a government process, rather than a private one, wrongful takedowns will likely remain permanent. As Killock points out, no one wants to risk being branded as a terrorist sympathizer for fighting back against government censorship. Nor do third parties using these platforms necessarily have the funds to back a formal legal complaint against the government.

      No filtering system is going to be perfect, but the UK's new toy isn't any better than anything already out there. At least in the case of the social media giants, takedowns can be contested without having to face down the government. It's users against the system -- something that rarely works well, but at least doesn't add the possibility of being added to a "let's keep an eye on this one" list.

      And if it's a system, it will be gamed. Terrorists will figure out how to sneak stuff past the filters while innocent users pay the price for algorithmic proxy censorship. Savvy non-terrorist users will also game the system, flagging content they don't like as questionable, possibly resulting in even more non-extremist content being removed from platforms.

      The UK government isn't wrong to try to do something about recruitment efforts and terrorist propaganda. But they're placing far too much faith in a system that will generate false positives nearly as frequently as it will block extremist content.

    • State Lawmakers Want to Block Pornography at the Expense of Your Free Speech, Privacy, and Hard-Earned Cash
      More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA). But don’t let the name fool you: this bill would do nothing to address human trafficking. Instead, it would only threaten your free speech and privacy in a misguided attempt to block and tax online pornography.

      EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them. Now HTPA is back, and we have written in opposition against the bill again to urge lawmakers to oppose it this year.

      The gist of the model legislation is this: Device manufacturers would be forced to install "obscenity filters" on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices. Those filters could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee. In addition to violating the First Amendment and burdening consumers and businesses, this would allow the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices.

      On top of that, the story of this bill’s provenance is bizarre and highly recommended reading for any lawmakers considering it. In short, the HTPA is part of a multi-state effort coordinated by the same person behind a bill to delegitimize same-sex marriages as “parody marriages.” In this post, however, we’ll be focusing on the policy itself.

      Read EFF's opposition letter against HB 2422, Missouri's iteration of the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.

    • The End of American Film Censorship
      When the Oscars began in 1929, the Supreme Court didn’t even consider movies art.

      Fourteen years earlier, in 1915, the Court ruled that film was not entitled to legal protection as free speech. The state of Ohio had passed an ordinance authorizing a censorship board that could approve or reject any film seeking to be shown in the state. Mutual Film Corporation, a movie distributor, sued, claiming that the Ohio law violated the First Amendment.

      The Supreme Court held that movies were “business, pure and simple,” no different from the pharmaceutical or banking industry, both of which were subject to federal regulation. This Supreme Court ruling, Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, helped place movies under the thumb of local, state, and in-house censors for decades. The decision finally was reversed in 1952, when a short, “sacrilegious” Italian drama earned Hollywood its First Amendment rights.

    • News Corp executive chairman warns on censorship [Ed: News Corp writing about a News Corp head complaining about censorship as a third person. News Corp must be assuming people don't keep track of how many networks and sites News Corp owns entirely or partially.]

    • Is Facebook nude-shaming the Venus of Willendorf?

    • The Online Censorship of a 30,000-Year-Old Statuette

    • Facebook Censored a Stone Age Nude Sculpture, Venus of Willendorf

    • DC Appeals Court Tosses Silly Lawsuit Woman Filed Against Google Because Someone With A Blog Said Mean Things
      In late 2016, we wrote about the positively silly case that lawyer Harry Jordan filed on behalf of his client, Dawn Bennett, in which she sued Google because a guy she had once hired to do some search engine optimization work for her, and with whom there was a falling out, later wrote a mean blog about her and her company. As we noted, Bennett did not sue that person -- Scott Pierson. Instead, she and Harry Jordan went the Steve Dallas lawsuit way of filing against some tangential third party company, because that company is big and has lots of money. In this case, it meant suing Google, because Pierson's blog was hosted by Google.

      As we noted, this would be an easy CDA 230 win, because Google is not at all liable for what bloggers using its blog hosting do (we also noted that the lawsuit botched the legal meaning of "defamation" -- which is generally not a good thing to do in a defamation lawsuit). And thus it was of little surprise to see the lawsuit dismissed last summer. It was an easy ruling to make given the status of CDA 230 (which, yes, is now under threat). But, Bennett appealed. And... the results of the appeal are exactly the same as the results in the district court. Case dismissed, quick and easy (in just 10 pages), because CDA 230 makes it obvious that Google is not liable.
    • Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Frank Sivero's Publicity Rights Suit Against 'The Simpsons'
      You may recall that in 2014, bit-actor Frank Sivero of Goodfellas semi-fame sued Fox over a recurring character that appeared on The Simpsons. Sivero says several writers for the show were living next door to him just before Goodfellas began filming, at a time he says he was creating the character of Frankie Carbone. He then claims that the writers for The Simpsons were aware of this work and pilfered it to create the character Louie, who is one of Fat Tony's henchmen. Because of this, he claimed that the show had appropriated his likeness, the character he was creating, and decided he was owed $250 million from Fox for all of this. For its part, folks from The Simpsons claimed that Louie is an amalgam of stereotypical mobster characters and a clear parody of those characters.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Brit spooks slammed over 'gentlemen's agreement' with telcos to get mass comms data
      Privacy International has slammed the UK's spy agencies for failing to keep a proper paper trail over what data telcos were asked to provide under snooping laws, following its first ever cross-examination of a GCHQ witness.

      The campaign group was granted the right to grill GCHQ's star witness after he made a series of errors in previous statements submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). The evidence was part of a long-running challenge over the spy agency's collection of bulk communications and personal data.

      Although the witness's most recent errors related to submissions made at an October 2017 hearing about how much access IT contractors employed by GCHQ have to data, much of the cross-examination aimed to unpick GCHQ's role in choosing what information telcos hand over.
    • How To Delete Your Facebook Account Permanently

    • Israeli Tech Company Says It Can Crack Any Apple Smartphone

      Big, if true, but not exactly the answer Wray, and others like him, are seeking. Cellebrite claims it can crack any Apple device, including Apple's latest iPhone. This is a boon for law enforcement, as long as they have the money to spend on it and the time to send the device to Cellebrite to crack it.

      It won't scale because it can't. The FBI claims it has thousands of locked devices -- not all of them Apple products -- and no one from Cellebrite is promising fast turnaround times. Even if it was low-cost and relatively scalable, it's unlikely to keep Wray from pushing for a government mandate. Whatever flaw in the architecture is being exploited by Cellebrite is likely to be patched up by Apple as soon as it can figure out the company's attack vector. And, ultimately, the fact that it doesn't scale isn't something to worry about (though the FBI doubtless will). No one said investigating criminal activity was supposed to easy and, in fact, a handful of Constitutional amendments are in place to slow law enforcement's roll to prevent the steamrolling of US citizens.
    • Huawei CEO Fights Back Over Trust in China's Tech Companies [Ed: NSA does not worry about phones because they lack security but because they have 'too much' security i.e. no back doors for NSA to use]
      Concerns about the security of Huawei Technologies Co.’s handsets and network equipment are "groundless" and are part of a broader unfair view that Chinese companies can’t be trusted, Chief Executive Officer Ken Hu said.

      The U.S. relationship with Huawei has been fraught. Carrier Verizon Communications Inc. last month dropped plans to sell Huawei phones under pressure from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Defense wants alleged NSA leaker's confession thrown out of evidence
      Reality Winner threw up a peace sign to the Channel 2 Action News camera following her latest courtroom appearance Tuesday.

      The 26-year-old was halfway grinning in the back seat of an escort car that was transporting her from the federal courthouse in downtown Augusta back to the Lincoln County Jail.
    • NSA chief: no orders to counter Russia cyber threat

    • In re Silver -- Texas Supreme Court Recognizes Patent Agent Privilege
      In reversing an appellate court decision that had caused concerns throughout the patent world, the Texas Supreme Court recognized that communications between patent agents and clients could be covered by the attorney-client privilege.[1] In Patent Office proceedings and patent litigation, patent agent-client communications could already be protected; in non-patent litigation, however, it is far less clear -- and the prior Texas appellate court decision suggested such communications could be revealed in discovery. By reversing the appellate court decision, the Texas Supreme Court should have patent agents feeling more confident that their representation of clients in patent prosecution is no different than that provided by patent attorneys . . . and their clients breathing a sigh of belief.

    • Texas patent-agent privilege ruling could have wider impact
      The Texas Supreme Court has recognised patent-agent privilege as a form of attorney-client privilege, in a ruling that has the potential to influence court cases in the 24 other US states with the same privilege rule

      The Texas Supreme Court has recognised patent-agent privilege as a form of attorney-client privilege. This reverses the appellate court decision that had concerned patent practitioners because it suggested communications in non-patent litigation could be revealed in discovery.

    • Sexting is on the rise among teens: ~27% get nudes, other racy messages

      Sexting has “a unique ability to catalyze adult anxiety when children and adolescents engage in it,” psychologists Elizabeth Englander and Meghan McCoy from Bridgewater State University wrote in an accompanying editorial. “Yet there is not a great deal of research examining sexting, its prevalence, its causes, and its repercussions,” they note.

    • One in seven teens are “sexting,” says new research

      Sexting is known as the sharing of sexually explicit images and videos through the internet or via electronic devices such as smartphones.

      One in seven teens report that they are sending sexts, and one in four are receiving sexts, according to our study of over 110,000 teens from around the world published today, Monday Feb. 26, in JAMA Pediatrics.

    • Facebook silently enables facial recognition abilities for users outside EU and Canada

    • Social media privacy argument tenuous in court

      Earlier this month, New York’s highest court ruled against Forman, requiring her to disclose all photos she posted to Facebook. The key point for the court was that she claimed she could no longer engage in the activities she previously enjoyed and had difficulty using a computer. It was reasonable, the court concluded, to suppose her Facebook feed might contain a record of her activities while also revealing her skill with the computer. Therefore, Henkin was entitled to poke around her account for evidence to use against her. If you’re ever involved in litigation and tempted to post to social media, remember Kelly Forman and think twice.

    • In a continent dominated by WhatsApp, Ethiopia prefers Telegram

      Given that, the economics of downloading and using Telegram (49 megabits) versus WhatsApp (103 MBs) or Messenger (125 MBs) is part of what makes Telegram attractive in Ethiopia, says Moses Karanja, a doctoral candidate at University of Toronto and researcher at the Citizen Lab. In his research, he says, Ethiopians have told him how “frequent updates were too expensive” and that “[I]nternet bundles consumption is lighter and hence cheaper” with Telegram.


      Ethiopia is highly restrictive of the [I]nternet and regularly blocks social media outlets. Recent research has also shown officials using commercial spyware to target dissidents abroad who have been supporting anti-government protests.

    • Microsoft doesn’t want to turn over foreign server data, SCOTUS to weigh in [Ed: Microsoft already gives the US government access to everything, so this will be a show trial or publicity stunt, framing the biggest privacy violator as "fighting for privacy"]

      It is not publicly known what the government hopes would be revealed by acquiring the email, which was sought as part of a drug investigation. The authorities have also not revealed whether the email account owner is American or if that person has been charged with a crime.

    • Facebook rolls out job posts to become the blue-collar LinkedIn

      LinkedIn wasn’t built for low-skilled job seekers, so Facebook is barging in. Today Facebook is rolling out job posts to 40 more countries to make itself more meaningful to people’s lives while laying the foundation for a lucrative business.

    • Facebook to target people with adverts based on their religion

      The changes will allow businesses to target - or block - groups of individuals based on the faith or sexuality they identify with in their profile, along posts they have liked and groups they are members of.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Helsinki court rules police search of journalist's home was lawful

      On Tuesday the Helsinki District Court overruled a Helsingin Sanomat journalist who challenged the legality of a search of her home following the publication of an article on military intelligence that she had written.

      The court rejected the journalist’s motion and declared the search fulfilled the requirements of the Coercive Measures Act. The National Bureau of Investigation said that it conducted the home search because it had reason to suspect that the reporter had destroyed material relating to reporting by the daily Helsingin Sanomat on the activities of the Defence Forces’ Intelligence Research Centre.

    • Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology

      The program began in 2012 as a partnership between New Orleans Police and Palantir Technologies, a data-mining firm founded with seed money from the CIA’s venture capital firm. According to interviews and documents obtained by The Verge, the initiative was essentially a predictive policing program, similar to the “heat list” in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence.

      The partnership has been extended three times, with the third extension scheduled to expire on February 21st, 2018. The city of New Orleans and Palantir have not responded to questions about the program’s current status.

    • Trump's Push for Involuntary Commitment Won't Stop Gun Violence
      President Trump believes reopening mental institutions is an answer to mass shootings, but the facts say otherwise.

      One of the proudest moments of the disability rights movement came on Sept. 17, 1987. After over a decade of scandals, exposés, and advocacy, the state of New York finally closed down Willowbrook State School. As the last of the people with disabilities who suffered under Willowbrook’s horrific conditions left for life in the community, many saw an opportunity to plan for a brighter future.
    • Chicago Media Help Sheriff Exploit Post-Parkland Gun Fears to Expand Pretrial Punishment
      Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is stoking public fear over local efforts to decrease the use of money bail and reduce the jail population, arguing that these measures allow gun “offenders” to go free and therefore pose a threat to public safety. Despite the fact that Dart has presented zero evidence to substantiate his fearmongering, Chicago’s largest press outlets are dutifully reporting his claims as fact, inserting them into the public conversation following the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that left 17 dead. Reporters are going well beyond stenography to pad the sheriff’s arguments, including dredging up sympathetic quotes from a dead police officer.

      The stakes are not academic: Pretrial detention is a major driver of mass incarceration in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of local jail populations at any given time are incarcerated before trial or conviction, with those incarcerated in local jails accounting for roughly a quarter of the total population behind bars in the country. Just a few days in jail can cause people to lose their homes, jobs, custody of children and even lives. By demagoguing the movement against cash bail, the Chicago press is helping to build the case for condemning thousands to preemptive punishment before they face a jury, much less are found guilty.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Fails In Bid To Kill FTC Authority Over Broadband Monopolies
      It can't be overstated that the broadband industry isn't just trying to kill net neutrality, it's trying to gut most meaningful federal and state oversight of entrenched telecom monopolies. While Ajit Pai dismantled consumer protections at the FCC, his "Restoring Internet Freedom" order also ironically attempts to ban states from holding ISPs accountable for privacy, net neutrality, or other anti-competitive behavior. With neither adult regulatory supervision or healthy organic competition in place to keep bad actors in line, the end result will likely be even worse behavior than the kind of Comcast shitshows we've grow used to.

    • AT&T Continues Its Bullshit Sales Pitch For A Fake Net Neutrality Law
      While Verizon, Comcast and AT&T may have convinced the FCC to repeal net neutrality, they've still got a steep, uphill climb before they can be comfortable that the repeal is on solid footing, meaning we still have some time before they begin taking full anti-competitive advantage. The FCC's repeal still needs to survive a wall of legal challenges from consumer groups, Mozilla, and nearly half the states in the union. From there, ISPs need to ensure that a future FCC or Congress doesn't just pass new, tougher rules all over again.

      That's why Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are all now pushing for a new "net neutrality law" in name only. While the same ISPs that gutted these popular consumer protections insist they're just interested in "putting this contentious issue to bed," the reality is they want a law that pre-empts any future federal or state attempts to protect consumers. As usual, they've managed to get industry marionettes like Martha Blackburn behind the legislative push. Since they've long since demolished any credibility on this subject, there's been little traction in these legislative efforts so far.

    • Democrats Officially Introduce Bills to Restore Net Neutrality
      Standing in the sunshine outside the Capitol, Democratic Congressional leaders bantered, laughed, and made impassioned speeches Tuesday after formally introducing two bills to restore net neutrality.

      “This is a road to digital serfdom and we are going to block it,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) during the rally. “We intend to keep fighting until real net neutrality is the law of the land.”

      This move has been long-promised by Democrats, but couldn’t take place until the Federal Communications Commission officially published its net neutrality repeal. The FCC did this last week, opening the door for action both politically and legally. Once published, Congress has 60 days to introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. This would, if successful, overturn the FCC’s decision to scrap federal net neutrality rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Do patents and literature have something in common?
      That said, it is interesting to note that recently each side seems to be showing an inclination to be influenced by the other’s tradition. Thus, the US has moved to a first-to-file system, while the EPO has issued the G1/15 and the Bundesgerichtshof overturned the very strict Kunststoffrohrteil decision in the Pemetrexed case. However, the different approaches, i.e., romantic author-centred US-tradition on the one hand, text-based European/Asian tradition, on the other, are still discernible and even somewhat striking. This might be another reason to explain the sometimes cosmic dissatisfaction that US patent scholars and professionals have with the rest of the world and vice versa – they simply emerge from very different traditions.

    • Copyrights

      • Playboy Drops Misguided Copyright Case Against Boing Boing
        In a victory for journalism and fair use, Playboy Entertainment has given up on its lawsuit against Happy Mutants, LLC, the company behind Boing Boing. Earlier this month, a federal court dismissed Playboy’s claims but gave Playboy permission to try again with a new complaint, if it could dig up some new facts. The deadline for filing that new complaint passed this week, and today Playboy released a statement suggesting that it is standing down. That means both Boing Boing and Playboy can go back to doing what they do best: producing and reporting on culture and technology.

        This case began when Playboy filed suit accusing Boing Boing of copyright infringement for reporting on a historical collection of Playboy centerfolds and linking to a third-party site. The post in question, from February 2016, reported that someone had uploaded scans of the photos, and noted they were “an amazing collection” reflecting changing standards of what is considered sexy. The post contained links to an page and YouTube video—neither of which were created by Boing Boing.
      • Section 1201 Rulemaking – The Process Is Moving Along
        Section 1201 is a curious little section of the US Copyright Act, added by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. But the matter covered in that section is of great importance in our digital age and, due to its triennial rulemaking requirement, ‘1201’ exceptions are a topic of considerable discussion every few years. As it turns out, 2018 is one of those years.
      • Authors’ Group Study: Copyright Safe Harbour Provisions Distort Market [Ed: CISAC is not authors but a front group representing those who exploit authors]
        The study, “Economic Analysis of Safe Harbour Provisions,” by Prof. Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas at Dallas, assesses how “safe harbour” rules in copyright law, “drawn up a quarter of a century ago to help nurture early online commerce,” have damaged copyright owners.

      • Hollywood Commissioned Tough Jail Sentences for Online Piracy, ISP Says

        The owner of ISP Bahnhof has criticized new proposals currently under consideration by the Swedish government. The new rules, which envision copyright infringers going to prison for up to six years, are said to be needed to bring Sweden into line with other EU countries. However, according to Bahnhof chief Jon Karlung, the extended tariffs have been commissioned by Hollywood

      • Pirate Site Operators’ Jail Sentences Overturned By Court of Appeal

        Four men sentenced last year for their part in running several pirate sites have been told they will no longer have to spend time behind bars. After being ordered to spend up to ten months in prison, the court of appeal has now decided that for their activities on Dreamfilm, TFplay, Tankafetast and PirateHub, the men should walk free but pay increased damages to the entertainment industries.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Why We Republish Articles From Debian Disguised.Work (Formerly Debian.Community)
articles at aren't easy to find
Google: We Run and Fund Diversity Programs, Please Ignore How Our Own Staff Behaves
censorship is done by the recipients of the grants
European Patent Office (EPO) Has Serious Safety Issues, This New Report Highlights Some of Them
9-page document that was released to staff a couple of days ago
Microsoft-Run FUD Machine Wants Nobody to Pay Attention to Microsoft Getting Cracked All the Time
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt (FUD) is the business model of "modern" media
Links 21/04/2024: Earth Day Coming, Day of Rest, Excess Deaths Hidden by Manipulation
Links for the day
Bad faith: no communication before opening WIPO UDRP case
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: real origins of harassment and evidence
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 21/04/2024: Censorship Abundant, More Decisions to Quit Social Control Media
Links for the day
Bad faith: Debian Community domain used for harassment after WIPO seizure
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
If Red Hat/IBM Was a Restaurant...
Two hours ago in
Paul Tagliamonte & Debian Outreachy OPW dating
Reprinted with permission from
Disguised.Work unmasked, Debian-private fresh leaks
Reprinted with permission from
[Meme] Fake European Patents Helped Fund the War on Ukraine
The European Patent Office (EPO) does not serve the interests of Europe
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 20, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, April 20, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Torvalds Fed Up With "AI" Passing Fad, Calls It "Autocorrect on Steroids."
and Microsoft pretends that it is speaking for Linux
Gemini Links 21/04/2024: Minecraft Ruined
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Apple is Censoring China’s App Store for the Communist Party of China
Links for the day
Links 20/04/2024: Accessibility in Gemini and Focus Time
Links for the day
Congratulations to Debian Project Leader (DPL) Andreas Tille
It would not be insincere to say that Debian has issues and those issues need to be tackled, eventually
20 April: Hitler's Birthday, Debian Project Leader Election Results
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
September 11: Axel Beckert (ETH Zurich) attacks American freedoms
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
20,000 victims of unauthorized Swiss legal insurance scheme
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Matthew Garrett, Cambridge & Debian: female colleague was afraid
Reprinted with permission from
David Graeber, village wives & Debian Outreachy internships
Reprinted with permission from
Neil McGovern & Ruby Central part ways
Reprinted with permission from
Links 20/04/2024: Chinese Diplomacy and 'Dangerous New Course on BGP Security'
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 19, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, April 19, 2024
The Latest Wave of Microsoft Crime, Bribes, and Fraud
Microsoft is still an evil, highly corrupt company
Links 19/04/2024: Running a V Rising Dedicated Server on GNU/Linux and More Post-"AI" Hype Eulogies
Links for the day
Gemini Links 19/04/2024: Kolibri OS and OpenBSD
Links for the day
[Video] Novell and Microsoft 45 Years Later
what happened in 2006 when Novell's Ron Hovsepian (who had come from IBM) sealed the company's sad fate by taking the advice of Microsoft moles
[Meme] EPO “Technical” Meetings
an institution full of despots who commit or enable illegalities
EPO “Technical” Meetings Are Not Technical Anymore, It's Just Corrupt Officials Destroying the Patent Office, Piecewise (While Breaking the Law to Increase Profits)
Another pillar of the EPO is being knocked down
Red Hat Communicates the World Via Microsoft Proprietary Spyware
Red Hat believes in choice: Microsoft... or Microsoft.
Sven Luther, Lucy Wayland & Debian's toxic culture
Reprinted with permission from
Chris Rutter, ARM Ltd IPO, Winchester College & Debian
Reprinted with permission from
[Video] Microsoft Got Its Systems Cracked (Breached) Again, This Time by Russia, and It Uses Its Moles in the Press and So-called 'Linux' Foundation to Change the Subject
If they control the narrative (or buy the narrative), they can do anything
Links 19/04/2024: Israel Fires Back at Iran and Many Layoffs in the US
Links for the day
Russell Coker & Debian: September 11 Islamist sympathy
Reprinted with permission from
Sven Luther, Thomas Bushnell & Debian's September 11 discussion
Reprinted with permission from
G.A.I./Hey Hi (AI) Bubble Bursting With More Mass Layoffs
it's happening already
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 18, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, April 18, 2024