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Links 9/3/2018: GNOME 3.28 RC2, Nageru 1.7.0, LLVM 6.0.0

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Ad-Blocker Ghostery Just Went Open Source—And Has a New Business Model
    In privacy-focused, anti-establishment corners of the internet, going open source can earn you a certain amount of street cred. It signals that you not only have nothing to hide, but also welcome the rest of the world to help make your project better. For Ghostery though, the company that makes Edward Snowden’s recommended ad blocker, publishing all its code on GitHub Thursday also means clearing up some confusion about its past.

  • Ghostery tool for web privacy goes open source
    Ghostery, a browser extension that blocks advertisers and web publishers from tracking your online behavior, has opened up its code so anyone with some programming chops can see exactly what's going on.

    Making Ghostery open-source software -- a program anyone can copy, modify and distribute -- means it's now possible for interested outsiders to get involved in its development, said Jeremy Tillman, director of product at Ghostery. And it should help clear the air lingering around Ghostery because of how its owner until last year, Evidon, did business.
  • Ad Blocker Ghostery Is Going Open Source to Win Back Some Privacy Points
    The ad blocker Ghostery is shaking up its business model and open-sourcing its code in a bid to earn more consumer trust. The company faced criticism last year over its business model, which involved selling anonymized user data to businesses—not the kind of behavior you’d expect from a privacy tool.

    Now, Ghostery is ditching that model in favor of two new revenue streams: Ghostery Insights and Ghostery Rewards. Insights will be a paid analytics service that gives researchers access to data about ads and trackers that Ghostery picks up as it blocks them, Wired reports. Rewards is a consumer-focused affiliate marketing program. If users opt in, they’ll be offered occasional deals on products they might be interested in—a sort of tailored-down version of the ads they’d be seeing constantly if they weren’t using Ghostery.

  • Ad-blocker and privacy tool Ghostery goes open source, and has new ways to make money
    In an attempt to improve trust and transparency, ad-blocking tool Ghostery has gone open source. It comes after Ghostery was acquired by Cliqz last year and raised a few eyebrows with the business model it put in place.

  • Ghostery: open source and new business model
    The source code of the privacy extension Ghostery for the web browsers Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Edge, has been published on GitHub by the development company.

    Ghostery is a very popular browser extension. On Firefox, it is one of seven extensions with more than 1 million users; and on Chrome, it has more than 2.8 million active users.

  • Open Source Blockchain Developers For Hire Via FundRequest
    FundRequest is envisioned as a decentralized marketplace designed to help companies who need open source blockchain software work find qualified help. The platform, now in beta, will allow anyone to fund projects and reward developers for their work.

  • Unchained Capital Open-Sources Multisig Ethereum Smart Contract and dApp

  • Events

    • #ilovefs Report 2018
      On Wednesday 14th of February, our community celebrated the annual "I love Free Software Day". A day to declare love to the communities most important to you as well as saying "Thank You" to the Free Software projects surrounding us every single day. The Free Software Foundation Europe also wants to thank everyone who cheered and contributed to make this day as special as it could be.

      We counted hundreds of Tweets, Toots and Posts both on Twitter and the Fediverse as well as tens of blog posts, photos and artworks all showing love to the countless of people out there contributing to Free Software every day, be it in the form of code, translations, documentation, community work, designing or managing. Thank you very much to all of you amazing people!

    • Looking for New Writers and Meet Us at SCaLE 16x

    • China SDN/NFV Conference

      China SDN/NFV Conference is the official annual gathering of the China SDN/NFV Industry Alliance. It is co-organized by China Institute of Communications (CIC) and China Communications Standards Association (CCSA). In addition, the Conference is further supported by China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, Ministry of Industry & Information Technology. This influential group represents the guiding light and driving force for accelerating the research and development, commercialization and enduser adoption of software defined networking and network function virtualization.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla experiment aims to reduce bias in code reviews
        Mozilla is kicking off a new experiment for International Women’s Day, looking at ways to make open source software projects friendlier to women and racial minorities. Its first target? The code review process.

        The experiment has two parts: there’s an effort to build an extension for Firefox that gives programmers a way to anonymize pull requests, so reviewers will see the code itself, but not necessarily the identity of the person who wrote it. The second part is gathering data about how sites like Bugzilla and GitHub work, to see how “blind reviews” might fit into established workflows.

      • Changing your primary email in Firefox Accounts
        Our team kept putting this feature off because of the complexity and all the components involved. While the final verdict on how well this retains users is not out, I am happy that we were able to push through these and give a long requested feature to our user base. Below is a usage graph that shows that users are already changing their address and keeping their account updated.

      • Setting the stage for our next chapter

        Building on this momentum, we are making two important changes to our leadership team to ensure we’re positioned for even greater impact in the years to come. I’m pleased to announce that Denelle Dixon has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Mark Mayo has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.

      • Theme API Update

      • HackRice 7.5: How "uFilter" was born
        uFilter is a smart web extension made to help people browse the web without seeing content they don't like to see. Bringing the power to choose what to see back to users. The user has a list of buttons as filters they can choose. Either individual or more than one at a go. The process is simple and subtle: check off the type of content you want to avoid and let us handle the rest! Questionable content is blurred out, if you wish to see it nonetheless you can click to reveal the text.

      • MDN Changelog for February 2018

      • L10n Report: March Edition

      • A New Preferences Parser for Firefox
        Firefox’s preferences system uses data files to store information about default preferences within Firefox, and user preferences in a user’s profile (such as prefs.js, which records changes to preference values, and user.js, which allows users to override default preference values).

      • Hands-On Web Security: Capture the Flag with OWASP Juice Shop
        As a developer, are you confident that you know what you need to know about web security? Wait, maybe you work in infosec. As a security specialist, are you confident that the developers you work with know enough to do the right thing?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM 6.0.0 Release
      I am pleased to announce that LLVM 6 is now available.

      Get it here:

      This release is the result of the community's work over the past six months, including: retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation, significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86 micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of -std=gnu++98, support for some upcoming C++2a features, improved optimizations, new compiler warnings, many bug fixes, and more.

    • LLVM 6.0 Released With C++14 Default, Intel/AMD Scheduling Improvements
      Today marks the long-awaited release of LLVM 6.0 as the slightly late half-year update to this open-source compiler stack and its sub-projects like Clang, LLD, etc.

    • Chrome 65, LLVM 6.0.0, Tumbleweed, Kubernetes and More
      The Chrome 65 release has moved to the stable channel. This release includes 45 security fixes and stronger ad blocking. See the log for more details.

      LLVM 6.0.0 is now available. This long-awaited release includes "retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation, significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86 micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of -std=gnu++98...many bug fixes and more." See the release announcement for more info, and download it here.

    • syspatches will be provided for both supported releases

      Good news for people doing upgrades only once per year: syspatches will be provided for both supported releases.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • ​Linux beats legal threat from one of its own developers
      In a German court earlier this week, former Linux developer Patrick McHardy gave up on his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech Europe GmbH. Now, you may ask, "How can a Linux programmer dropping a case against a company that violates the GPL count as a win?"

      It's complicated.

      First, anyone who knows the least thing about Linux's legal infrastructure knows its licensed under the GPLv2. Many don't know that anyone who has copyrighted code in the Linux kernel can take action against companies that violate the GPLv2. Usually, that's a non-issue.

      People who find violations typically turn to organizations such as the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to approach violators. These organizations then try to convince violating companies to mend their ways and honor their GPLv2 legal requirements. Only as a last resort do they take companies to court to force them into compliance with the GPLv2.

    • prove you are not an Evil corporate person

      Google is known to be deathly allergic to the AGPL license. Not only on servers; they don't even allow employees to use AGPL software on workstations. If you write free software, and you'd prefer that Google not use it, a good way to ensure that is to license it under the AGPL.

      I normally try to respect the privacy of users of my software, and of personal conversations. But at this point, I feel that Google's behavior has mostly obviated those moral obligations. So...

      Now seems like a good time to mention that I have been contacted by multiple people at Google about several of my AGPL licensed projects (git-annex and either keysafe or debug-me I can't remember which) trying to get me to switch them to the GPL, and had long conversations with them about it.

      Google has some legal advice that the AGPL source provision triggers much more often than it's commonly understood to. I encouraged them to make that legal reasoning public, so the community could address/debunk it, but I don't think they have. I won't go into details about it here, other than it seemed pretty bonkers.

      Mixing in some AGPL code with an otherwise GPL codebase also seems sufficient to trigger Google's allergy. In the case of git-annex, it's possible to build all releases (until next month's) with a flag that prevents linking with any AGPL code, which should mean the resulting binary is GPL licensed, but Google still didn't feel able to use it, since the git-annex source tree includes AGPL files.

      I don't know if Google's allergy to the AGPL extends to software used for drone murder applications, but in any case I look forward to preventing Google from using more of my software in the future.

    • CLA vs. DCO: What's the difference?
      In your open source adventures, you may have heard the acronyms CLA and DCO, and you may have said "LOL WTF BBQ?!?" These letters stand for Contributor License Agreement and Developer Certificate of Origin, respectively. Both have a similar intent: To say that the contributor is allowed to make the contribution and that the project has the right to distribute it under its license. With some significant projects moving from CLAs to DCOs (like Chef in late 2016 and GitLab in late 2017), the matter has received more attention lately.

      So what are they? The Contributor License Agreement is the older of the two mechanisms and is often used by projects with large institutional backing (either corporate or nonprofit). Unlike software licenses, CLAs are not standardized. CLAs can vary from project to project. In some cases, they simply assert that you're submitting work that you're authorized to submit, and you permit the project to use it. Other CLAs (for example the Apache Software Foundation's) may grant copyright and/or patent licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The benefits of setting professional goals in the open
      Get the newsletter

      Join the 85,000 open source advocates who receive our giveaway alerts and article roundups.

      Self-assessments—reflection of your current abilities, and identification of areas that need focus to create future professional opportunities—are integral to personal development. In open organizations, self-assessments are most effective when they're transparent and collaborative. I'd like to share the simple process I followed when opening up my own self-assessment, so you'll have some ideas you can take forward to start your own collaborative skills assessment.

    • Open Data

      • Open-source data governance builds trust for accountability, security
        The challenge of managing data access, accountability and security, collectively known as data governance, is bringing companies together to create a standardized, holistic solution. Hortonworks Inc., an enterprise data management software company, is seeking to unify the data management experience across multiple industries by leveraging open-source technology to create a common trusted framework.

        “We don’t want to be just a streaming engine or just a tool for … creating pipes and data flows and so on. We really want to create that entire experience around what needs to happen for data that’s moving,” said Scott Gnau (pictured), chief technology officer at Hortonworks.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open standards in processor innovation with RISC-V
        Big data applications that analyze very large and disparate datasets using computations and algorithms are spawning. These applications reveal trends, patterns, and associations. These valuable insights connect and drive more precise predictions and enable better decisions to achieve better outcomes. Because big data analysis is based on information captured from the past, today's applications also require immediate analysis of information as it happens.

        As a result, there's a parallel track accompanying big data: fast data, where the immediacy of data is critical. Fast data has a different set of characteristics. Fast data applications process or transform data as it is captured, leveraging the algorithms derived from big data to provide real-time decisions and results. Whereas big data provides insights derived from "what happened" to forecast "what will likely happen" (predictive analysis), fast data delivers insights that drive real-time actions. This is particularly beneficial to "smart" machines, environmental monitors, security and surveillance systems, securities trading systems, and applications that require analysis, answers, and actions in real time.

  • Programming/Development

    • Celebrating 24 incredible women on International Women’s Day

    • Raising More than Capital: Successful Women in Technology
      One of my employees chooses a word at the beginning of each year to guide her personal and professional development efforts. Last year the word she selected was “Rise.” She told me it inspired her to elevate not only her skills, but the quality of her relationships, her attitude toward life and her self-confidence. As a female entrepreneur and the CEO of a growing global software company, our conversation led me to reflect on how successful women in technology rise above our challenges.

    • 9 tech influencers you should know
      In 2017, I published a list of ten fantastic people who inspired me. In this post, I'd like to recognize some of the people who have influenced and helped me in my open source and DevOps journey during the past year. This list is 100% personal; there is no particular rhyme or reason to the order. There are also a lot of terrific people I have not included.

    • A quick and easy way to make your first open source contribution
      The best way to level up your programming skills is to code more. The second best way is to read others’ code. What better way to do these things than collaborating in open source projects?

      First Contributions is a project to help you get started with contributing to open source projects. Excited to start your open source journey? Follow the instructions in Readme of the First Contributions project on GitHub.


  • Hybrid cloud security fundamentals: 4 things to know

  • Science

    • Hedy Lamarr – the 1940s ‘bombshell’ who helped invent wifi

      Lamarr’s invention didn’t become widely known until near the end of her life, in the late 1990s. It gained more traction when her obituaries were published in 2000.


      Bombshell is out on Friday.

    • The Psychopath Next Door

      A key to the success of psychopaths in the modern world is found in evolutionary mismatch — a concept that speaks to instances in which an organism finds itself in conditions that do not match the conditions that characterized the evolutionary environment that surrounded that kind of organism in the past. In our modern human social environment, evolutionary mismatch abounds. For the lion’s share of human evolutionary history, our nomadic ancestors lived in groups no larger than 150 (see Dunbar, 1992). Under modern conditions, many of us live in cities with populations that number in the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. That is an evolutionary mismatch.

      In a careful analysis of the evolutionary origins of psychopaths, A. J. Figueredo and colleagues (2008) argue that modern large-scale societal conditions have unwittingly paved the way for psychopaths. Or, as the authors write, “Psychopaths flourish in mega-cities” (Figuredo et al., 2008).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.
      An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last month — and no new members have been appointed.

    • ‘Our Healthcare Crisis Won’t Be Solved Until We Get Private Insurance Out’
      When you hear that Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon have a plan to “fix” healthcare, questions, shall we say, naturally arise about how transformative it’s likely to be, this plan of super-wealthy corporate executives that they insist would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”

      But if the plan comes from a group represented as liberal, and its spokespeople talk about “universal coverage” and “healthcare as a right,” and the New York Times declares it “a better single-payer plan,” well, what are you to think?

      Here to help us see what’s going on in a new healthcare proposal that you will be hearing about is Margaret Flowers. Margaret Flowers is co-director of Popular Resistance and coordinator of the national Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign. She joins us now by phone.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • It just got much easier to wage record-breaking DDoSes

      Now, two separate exploits are available that greatly lower the bar for waging these new types of attacks. The first one, called Memcrashed, prompts a user to enter the IP address to be targeted. It then automatically uses the Shodan search engine to locate unsecured memcached servers and abuses them to flood the target. Here's a screenshot showing the interface: [...]

    • Push to bolster election security stalls in Senate

      But Lankford on Wednesday was forced to table an amendment to a bill moving through the Senate that was aimed at improving information-sharing between federal and state election officials on election cyber threats. State officials objected to the amendment.

    • Senate committee approves bill reorganizing Homeland Security’s cyber office
      A key Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that includes a measure reorganizing the department’s cybersecurity wing.

      The bill includes language that would reorganize and rename the office within the department that protects federal networks and critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats, currently known as the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Under the legislation, the entity would be transformed into an operational agency called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

    • Security updates for Friday

    • Memcached DDoS: This 'kill switch' can stop attacks dead in their tracks
      The 1Tbps-plus memcached amplification attacks that hammered GitHub and other networks over the past week can be disarmed with a "practical kill switch", according to DDoS protection firm Corero.

    • Researchers Bypassed Windows Password Locks With Cortana Voice Commands

      In Windows 10, the default setting tells Cortana to respond to any voice calling "Hey Cortana," even when the computer is locked. An alternate setting tries to limit this to just the computer owner by telling Cortana to "try to respond only to me." With this setting, the user provides voice-command samples to help the virtual assistant fingerprint and recognize it.

    • Cryptojacking attack uses leaked EternalBlue NSA exploit to infect servers [Ed: Microsoft Windows back doors for NSA are now being exploited to infect servers]

    • NSA Exploit Leak is the Gift That Keeps on Giving

    • List Of Hackers Relased By An NSA Leak
      At the point when the leaked version of Territorial Dispute keeps running on a target computer , it checks for signs of 45 distinct sorts of malware—perfectly marked SIG1 through SIG45—via looking for unique documents or registry keys those programs leave on victim machines.

      SIG2 is malware utilized by another known Russian state hacker group, Turla.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • To Stop War, Do What Katharine Gun Did

      Daniel Ellsberg has a message that managers of the warfare state don’t want people to hear.

      “If you have information that bears on deception or illegality in pursuing wrongful policies or an aggressive war,” he said in a statement released last week, “don’t wait to put that out and think about it, consider acting in a timely way at whatever cost to yourself…. Do what Katharine Gun did.”


      Fifteen years ago, “I find myself reading on my computer from the Observer the most extraordinary leak, or unauthorized disclosure, of classified information that I’d ever seen,” Ellsberg recalled, “and that definitely included and surpassed my own disclosure of top-secret information, a history of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam years earlier.” The Pentagon Papers whistleblower instantly recognized that, in the Observer article, “I was looking at something that was clearly classified much higher than top secret…. It was an operational cable having to do with how to conduct communications intelligence.”

      What Ellsberg read in the newspaper story “was a cable from the NSA asking GCHQ to help in the intercepting of communications, and that implied both office and home communications, of every member of the Security Council of the UN. Now, why would NSA need GCHQ to do that? Because a condition of having the UN headquarters and the Security Council in the U.S. in New York was that the U.S. intelligence agencies promised or were required not to conduct intelligence on members of the UN. Well, of course they want that. So, they rely on their allies, the buddies, in the British to commit these criminal acts for them. And with this clearly I thought someone very high in access in Britain intelligence services must dissent from what was already clear the path to an illegal war.”

    • The National Endowment for (Meddling in) Democracy
      But meddling in other countries has been a favorite Washington pastime ever since William McKinley vowed to “Christianize” the Philippines in 1899, despite the fact that most Filipinos were already Catholic. Today, an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies engage in political interference virtually around the clock, everyone from USAID to the VOA, RFE/RL to the DHS—respectively the U.S. Agency for International Development, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Department of Homeland Security. The last maintains some 2,000 U.S. employees in 70 countries to ensure that no one even thinks of doing anything bad to anyone over here.

      Then there is the National Endowment for Democracy, a $180-million-a-year government-funded outfit that is a byword for American intrusiveness. The NED is an example of what might be called “speckism,” the tendency to go on about the speck in your neighbor’s eye without ever considering the plank in your own (see Matthew 7 for further details). Prohibited by law from interfering in domestic politics, the endowment devotes endless energy to the democratic shortcomings of other countries, especially when they threaten American interests.
    • Nevada Supreme Court Overturns Lower Court's Abysmal Ruling On Las Vegas Shooting Coroner's Reports
      Prior restraint gets another thumping in court following a truly lousy injunction issued against a Las Vegas newspaper. The Las Vegas Review-Journal requested autopsy reports on victims of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead. The coroner's office refused and was sued by the newspaper. The judge ruled the paper had a right to access copies of the reports after they were stripped of identifying info.

      All went according to the First Amendment until a family of one of the victims went to court seeking to prevent the publication of Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield's report. The family argued the report was "confidential" and not subject to disclosure under Nevada's public record laws.

      This led to a bizarre ruling by the Las Vegas court. First, the court decided there was "no public interest" in the publication of the reports, which was obviously not true. Then it decided just to block the publication of Hartfield's autopsy. Given the fact the reports were stripped of identifying info before the paper received them, the Las Vegas Review-Journal had no way of knowing which report belonged to the Las Vegas cop. No problem, said the court, we'll just send the government and the suing family into your offices to retrieve it.

    • Coroner Releases Causes Of Death For All 58 Victims Of Las Vegas Shooting
      All 58 of the people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died of gunshot wounds, the Clark County County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined.

      Nearly all of the fatalities were caused by a single gunshot wound, though six victims died from multiple wounds. Most had been shot in the head, chest or back. The deaths were all ruled homicides.

    • North Korea and South Korea snooker Trump
      South Korean conservatives have had two nightmare scenarios about President Trump: that he would either embroil their country in a ruinous war with North Korea or that he would sell out their interests to the North.

      Trump spent his first year in office lending credence to the first concern. He threatened to rain “fire and fury” down on North Korea. He called its dictator, Kim Jong-un, “Little Rocket Man,” and bragged that his “nuclear button” was much bigger than Kim’s. Administration officials claimed that deterrence couldn’t work and discussed the possibility of a “bloody nose” strike that could have triggered a nuclear war.


      That strategy paid off spectacularly during the “sunshine policy” years of 1998-2008. Progressive governments in Seoul delivered approximately $8 billion in economic assistance and got nothing in return. North Korea reneged on its 1994 pledge to the U.S. to freeze its nuclear development and instead raced ahead with a secret nuclear enrichment program. South Korea’s current president, Moon Jae-in, was a top aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, one of the presidents who pursued the sunshine policy, and evidently he is has not lost his faith in negotiations with the North. Admittedly, from his perspective, it makes sense to do anything possible to stop Trump from starting Korean War II.

      Moon and Kim have, for their own reasons, snookered the credulous American president into a high-profile summit that is likely to end in disaster one way or another. Kim is evidently willing to suspend his nuclear and missile tests while the talks are under way, but this is a minimal concession that can easily be reversed. He is most likely willing to do even that much only to buy time for his engineers to finish developing a nuclear warhead that can fit on an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S.

    • False Alarms and Exaggerated Threats
      Today’s endless “war on terrorism” likewise requires that manufactured fear which be endlessly hyped. Dick Meyer reported for Newsday in 2015 how the threat of terror “is massively exaggerated in both the public and official mind.”

    • The University of Nuclear Bombs
      The University of California is once again bidding to manage Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab at a time when the threat of nuclear war is rising.

      When Nobu Hanaoka was 8 months old, the city where he lived and played was consumed by a fiery hell. On Aug. 9, 1945, a U.S. warplane released an atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. The blast, heat, fire, and radiation from the bomb killed 40,000 people almost instantaneously. Roughly 70,000 died by year’s end. Three days prior, the U.S. military had also exploded an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Those killed immediately numbered some 90,000. Those dying by the end of 1945 numbered some 140,000.

      Now 73, Hanaoka was too young to remember the blast. But he vividly recalls the sickness and frailty that overcame his mother and sister, who — like tens of thousands of others — died more slowly due to radiation exposure. They both died from leukemia when Hanaoka was 5 years old. “As far back as I can remember, they were both in bed looking very pale,” recalled Hanaoka, in a recent interview.

    • Britain can't prove that Putin was behind the Skripal poisoning - but we must act nevertheless

      On a wall of GCHQ’s sprawling donut-shaped office in Cheltenham, there is a large screen showing a map of the world – and of cyber-attacks. It seems to show digital missiles being fired every few seconds from Russia and China, hitting targets in Britain and America. But as the spies know, this is little more than educated guesswork. There’s no doubt that the governments of both countries sponsor hacking of Western businesses on an industrial scale, but the serious cyber attacks are so well disguised that it’s almost impossible to trace where they came from. Without proof, it’s hard to complain – or retaliate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New details of Cecil the Lion's death spark fresh outrage
      New details have emerged that Cecil the Lion’s killers lured him out of a protected park in Zimbabwe with an elephant carcass and people are outraged all over again.

    • Appeals Court Rules Youth Suing Trump Admin over Climate Change Can Go to Trial
      In San Francisco, an appeals court has ruled that a group of young people suing the Trump administration over climate change can take their lawsuit to trial. The 21 youth are arguing the government has failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions, violating their constitutional rights. They first launched their lawsuit under the Obama administration.

  • Finance

    • President Trump’s Exaggerated and Misleading Claims on Trade
      In defending his embrace of steep tariffs — and in comments that seem to encourage a trade war — President Trump has repeatedly claimed enormous trade imbalances, unfair practices and an international system that benefits everyone but the United States.

      Mr. Trump’s promises to fix the problems he has identified through an aggressive trade agenda has appeared to unnerve markets, which fell when they opened on Wednesday. The dip came after Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, announced on Tuesday his plans to resign amid an internal White House struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

    • Top Court Throws Out Corporate Sovereignty For All Trade Deals Within EU; Those Involving Other Nations Likely To Suffer Same Fate
      This is a classic case of a government changing its policy, as governments often do, and a company demanding compensation as a result. What this -- and the general theory behind ISDS -- overlooks is that business is by its nature risky; profits are the reward for taking on risks successfully. Corporate sovereignty demands free insurance for foreign investors, guaranteeing that they will not lose out, whatever happens, without actually needing to pay for a formal insurance policy (which is in any case available for those that want such protection). That kind of guarantee is not something that members of the public ever get for free, so it's not clear why corporates should either.
    • Mike Elk on West Virginia School Workers Strike
      West Virginia teachers and school staffers, among the lowest paid in the country, won a 5 percent pay raise for all of the state’s public sector workers, after a nine-day walkout over pay and surging healthcare costs. Much coverage, of what there was, was sympathetic; though some reports stuck to corporate media’s old recipe, like the AP piece that said the deal “ended a paralyzing strike that shut students out of classrooms statewide, forced parents to scramble for child care and cast a national spotlight on government dysfunction in West Virginia.” Media will need to shake up their reporting on how workers fight, because it looks like West Virginia won’t be the end of this sort of action.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Gary Cohn served Donald Trump for 14 months, and made billions for his old bosses at Goldman Sachs
      When Donald Trump announced that he would "drain the swamp" by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, billionaires, and political operators, we all braced for an onslaught of rules that benefited the fattest of cats at the expense of everyone else, but Gary Cohn outdid himself.

      During the 14 months that he served as Trump's chief economic advisor, the former Goldman Sachs president helped deliver a 40% cut in corporate taxes (saving Goldman $1 Billion/year!), as well as a tax-holiday on $3 trillion in corporate money stashed in overseas tax-havens, saving billions more for Goldman's largest clients. He also preserved the carried-interest tax loophole (which Trump promised to get rid of), ensuring that hedge fund managers would continue to pay a lower tax rate on their billions than their cleaners pay on the $7.55 they earn scrubbing toilets.
    • Raining on Trump’s Parade

      President Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a military parade in Washington DC on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Democrats have decried the cost and authoritarian implication, and antiwar groups are planning a countermarch. I spoke to Margaret Flowers, medical doctor, Green Party activist, and co-founder of the movement news website Popular Resistance, who is among those organizing the countermarch.
    • Evidence Points to Murdered DNC Staffer as WikiLeaks Source for DNC E-mails
      When 27-year-old Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich was shot dead in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2016, the news had just broken that WikiLeaks was publishing a trove of embarrassing and damning DNC e-mails. And while the official story is that the leaked e-mails had nothing to do with Rich’s murder, that story falls apart under scrutiny.

      That official story is that Rich was killed during a robbery in an area of the city with escalating levels of crime, including armed robbery. But when Rich — who was shot twice in the back at close range — was found, nothing was missing. He was still wearing his watch and expensive jewelry, he still had his phone and his wallet. His father said, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”

      Last week, The New American published a video of an exclusive interview with legendary political operative Roger Stone, who made it clear that he does not buy the official story. He said, “It is very clear that Seth Rich was murdered for political purposes” and not in a random robbery. He said Rich was murdered because he was the source of the DNC e-mails published by WikiLeaks.
    • How Many Terms Till You’re a Tyrant Ripe for Regime Change?
      Donald Trump caused some concern last week when he appeared to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping’s removal of term limits on the president from the Chinese constitution, clearing the path for him to become “president for life.” At a fundraiser in Florida, Trump said, “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great.” He then added, to enthusiastic cheers: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”


      That is a sentence that has recently come up for consideration in other countries too: none more troublingly than Honduras as far as the U.S. reaction goes. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Honduras removed the one-term limit on the president, clearing the way for Juan Orlando Hernández to run for a second term in office. The U.S. has supported Hernández’s bid for a second term though it is not clear the Honduran court had the authority to make that constitutional amendment without a vote by the people. It is also not clear that the court did legitimately make that amendment since a five-member panel and not the full 15-member court voted on the change.

      The same support was not offered to the previous Honduran president, the popularly elected Manuel Zelaya, though he didn’t go as far as Hernández. Zelaya did not touch the constitution, he did not change presidential term limits and he did not run for a second term. He merely opened the constitutional change for discussion. Zelaya only had to announce a plebiscite to see if Hondurans wanted to draft a new constitution for the hostile political establishment to falsely translate his intention into an intention to seek an unconstitutional second term and oust him in a coup.

    • False stories travel way faster than the truth, says study
      Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.

      And you can’t blame bots; it’s us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation.

      Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter “farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science.

    • How ISIS and Russia Won Friends and Manufactured Crowds

      The online battle against ISIS was the first skirmish in the Information War, and the earliest indication that the tools for growing and reaching an audience could be gamed to manufacture a crowd. Starting in 2014, ISIS systematically leveraged technology, operating much like a top-tier digital marketing team. Vanity Fair called them “The World’s Deadliest Tech Startup,” cataloging the way that they used almost every social app imaginable to communicate and share propaganda: large social networks such as Facebook; encrypted chat apps such as Telegram; messaging platforms including Kik and WhatsApp. They posted videos of beheadings on YouTube, and spoke to their followers on Internet radio stations. Perhaps most visibly, they were on Twitter, which they used for recruiting and for reach. Each time ISIS successfully executed an attack, they used Twitter to claim responsibility and tens of thousands of followers were ready to cheer them on with favorites and retweets. And in one of the pioneering instances of automated, manufactured crowds, thousands of bots were used for amplification and share-of-voice.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Rhode Island proposes blocking all online porn and charging $20 to unblock it

      Rhode Island Democratic state Senators Frank Ciccone (@senatorciccone) and Hanna Gallo (@hannagallo27) have proposed grandstanding, unworkable legislation, "Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers—Internet Digital Blocking" which would mandate the state's ISPs to identify all the pornography on the [I]nternet, and then block it for all Rhode Islanders, unless those Rhode Islanders specifically requested their porn to be unblocked and paid $20 for the privilege.

    • Navy, Marine Corps leaders warn that China is 'weaponizing capital'

      “I don’t think they want to fight us, personally, but I think they want to be able to impose their will and use intimidation.”

    • Stop SESTA/FOSTA: Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet
      The U.S. Senate is about to vote on a bill that would be disastrous for online speech and communities.

      The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) might sound appealing, but it would do nothing to fight sex traffickers. What it would do is silence a lot of legitimate speech online, shutting some voices out of online spaces.

      This dangerous bill has already passed the House of Representatives, and it’s expected to come up for a Senate vote in the next few days. If you care about preserving the Internet as a place where everyone can gather, learn, and share ideas—even controversial ones—it’s time to call your senators.
    • More People Realizing That SESTA Will Do A Lot More Harm Than Good
      At this point, it seems fairly clear that Congress simply does not care that SESTA is going to do an awful lot of harm for almost no benefit at all, and is rushing towards a Senate vote. But more and more people outside of Congress are recognizing the problems that it will cause. While all of the supporters of the bill are insisting they're doing it to "protect" victims of sex trafficking, as we've explained SESTA will almost certainly make their lives worse -- putting them at much more risk while doing little to nothing to stop actual trafficking.

    • Five Senators Agree: Search Engines Should Censor Drug Information
      The US government would like to be involved in the web censorship business. The anti-sex trafficking bill recently passed by the House would do just that, forcing service providers to pre-censor possibly harmless content out of fear of being sued for the criminal acts of private citizens. Much has been made recently of "fake news" and its distribution via Russian bots, with some suggesting legislation is the answer to a problem no one seems to be able to define. This too would be a form of censorship, forcing social media platforms to make snap decisions about new users and terminate accounts that seem too automated or too willing to distribute content Congressional reps feel is "fake."

      For the most part, legislation isn't in the making. Instead, reps are hoping to shame, nudge, and coerce tech companies into self-censorship. This keeps the government's hands clean, but there's always the threat of a legal mandate backing legislators' suggestions.

      Key critic of Russian bots and social media companies in general -- Senator Dianne Feinstein -- has signed a handful of letters asking four major tech companies to start censoring drug-related material. Her co-signers on these ridiculous letters are Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, and Sheldon Whitehouse. As members of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotic Control, they apparently believe Microsoft, Yahoo (lol), Pinterest, and Google should start preventing users for searching for drug information. (h/t Tom Angell)
    • Cross-border collaboration: the antidote to censorship and press intimidation in Thailand
      Facing prosecution, censorship and financial hardship, Thai reporters are finding it more and more difficult to hold the government and corporations to account.

      Thailand has a “strong investigative reporting culture,” said Prangtip Daorueng, an investigative reporter and a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. But attacks against freedom of expression in the recent years have been crippling.

    • Copyright, Censorship, Pepe & Infowars
      If you're reading this, you're probably well aware of Pepe the Frog, the cartoon character created by Matt Furie years ago that turned into quite the meme by the 4chan crowd. Over time, the meme morphed into one favored by Trump supporters and the alt-right (though, upset that Pepe has become too "mainstream," that crowd has moved onto something of a derivative work known as Groyper). As you may have heard, Furie has now decided to sue Infowars over a poster the site is selling that puts together a bunch of... well... the crowd of people you'd expect to be fans of Infowars and Pepe.


      A year or so later, once Pepe had been adopted by the alt-right, Furie still appeared pretty laid back about the whole thing, while making it clear that he, in no way, agreed with the alt-right.

    • Parliament has passed the ‘internet censorship’ bill – here’s what it means for you

      On Tuesday (6 March), Parliament confirmed that the bill will now be transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, following which it is set to be signed off by the president and will officially come into law.

      The bill had previously come under scrutiny from members of industry and the public, over concerns that it would be used as a means of censorship for online content.

    • Parliament approves “Internet Censorship Bill” – What happens next
      The National Assembly has approved legislation that aims to allow the FPB to regulate the distribution of online content in South Africa.

      Known as the Internet Censorship Bill, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill includes provisions to give the FPB powers to have online content blocked in South Africa.

      This includes “user-generated content”, such as posts published to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services.

    • Veteran broadcaster on media censorship: History seems to repeat itself

    • Man who complained of odor sues town he says threatened him
      An Iowa man who said his hometown smelled like “rancid dog food” because of an animal food processing plant sued the city Thursday after he says they threatened to silence him.

      Josh Harms with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed suit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to block Sibley officials from making legal threats or taking action to force him to remove criticism from his website.

      Harms created a website entitled, “Should You Move to Sibley, Iowa ?” to point out city officials’ lack of action on the stench from Iowa Drying and Processing, which makes a high-protein animal food supplement from pig blood.
    • Social media censorship is vastly more dangerous than the censored media
      I know objecting to Internet censorship makes me a right-wing Nazi-kissing literal Hitler in the eyes of many in this bizarre funhouse mirror world of online political discourse, but I insist that censorship by powerful corporations is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our fight to survive and thrive as a species in a world that is increasingly imperilled and dominated.

      It has become painfully obvious that political solutions to the problems we face are locked shut to us. Democracy does not exist in America in any meaningful way, and those of us who live outside of America are all subject to the whims of the power establishment which has loosely centralised itself there. Here in Australia, we have paper ballots, exit polls and ranked-choice voting, which is a wet dream for many American election reform advocates.
    • Queen's Film Theatre accused of censorship in row over 'gay therapy' film
      The leader of a Christian organisation who says that gay people "can choose not to live out homosexuality" has accused Queen's Film Theatre (QFT) of censorship after claiming that it refused to screen a film about people "emerging" from gay lifestyles.
    • Assange Slams UK Government's Remarks on Freedom of Media in Other Countries
      WikiLeaks whistleblowing website's founder Julian Assange criticized on Friday remarks of the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva on the situation with the freedom of media in other countries, saying that his own detention results from pressure on media in the United Kingdom.

      "And that is exactly why you have detained me without charge for eight years in violation of two UN rulings and spent over 20 million pounds [$27.8 million] spying on me… Your entire international human rights programme is €£10.6m you pathetic frauds," Assange wrote on his Twitter page.

    • UK is a ‘hypocritical mother f*****’ over free media claim, Julian Assange says
      Julian Assange has said the UK is “hypocritical mother f*****” made up of “pathetic fraudsters.” He was commenting on a tweet from the UK embassy in Geneva promoting “free and independent media.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Notes on Analytics and Tracking in Onavo Protect for iOS

      I found that Onavo Protect uses a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension, which should consistently run for as long as the VPN is connected, in order to periodically send the following data to Facebook ( as the user goes about their day:

      • When user’s mobile device screen is turned on and turned off
      • Total daily Wi-Fi data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Total daily cellular data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Periodic beacon containing an “uptime” to indicate how long the VPN has been connected

    • FBI again calls for magical solution to break into encrypted phones
      FBI director again laments strong encryption in remarks to Congress FBI Director Christopher Wray again has called for a solution to what the bureau calls the "Going Dark" problem, the idea that the prevalence of default strong encryption on digital devices makes it more difficult for law enforcement to extract data during an investigation.

    • FBI Director Says It's 'Not Impossible' To Create Compromised Encryption That's Still Secure

      Yet Wray continues to believe this can be done. He has yet to provide Senator Ron Wyden with a list of tech experts who feel the same way. The "going dark" part of his remarks is filled with incongruity and non sequiturs. Like this, in which Wray says he doesn't want backdoors, but rather instant access to encrypted data and communications… almost like a backdoor of some sort.
    • Whistleblower: NSA Spying on Hacking Groups to ‘Swindle’ Congress Out of Money
      A group of Hungarian researchers examined leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents and reported that the NSA was tracking as many as 45 hacking groups, many of them state-backed in nature.

      John Kiriakou, co-host of Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, discussed what this revelation means with William Binney, a famous whistleblower who spent 30 years with the National Security Agency (NSA) before leaving the agency over what he has described as its "totalitarian" approach to surveillance: "better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had."

    • Supreme Court of Texas Recognizes Patent Agent Privilege
      Texas now recognizes an independent patent agent privilege in Texas state courts. In re Andrew Silver, No. 16-0682 (Texas 2018).
    • FBI Documents Show More Evidence Of Agency's Sketchy Relationship With Best Buy's Geek Squad
      Thanks to an FOIA lawsuit, the FBI has finally started handing over documents to the EFF detailing the federal agency's "partnership" with Best Buy Geek Squad employees. The too-cozy-to-be-Fourth-Amendment-compliant relationship was uncovered during discovery in a child porn prosecution. Produced documents showed the FBI not only paid Geek Squad members to search for child porn, but it actively engaged in recruiting efforts at Best Buy locations.

      The problem with this relationship is the relationship. And the money. While tech repair personnel are expected to turn over discovered child porn to authorities, the active efforts of the FBI alter the incentives, pushing Geek Squad members towards digging through customers' computers for illicit material, rather than simply reporting what they come across during the course of their work.

    • Google attempts to kill off landlines with voice calling on Google Home

      Google Assistant will be updated this week on Home devices to allow WiFi calling to any number in your contacts or any business in its directory. It doesn't require a landline and doesn't cost anything.

    • ISPs a Greater Threat to Online Privacy than Facebook, Google, or the NSA: Survey

      Of the 1,000 individuals who responded to the survey, 25 percent fingered their ISPs as the most likely organization to violate their right to privacy. Facebook ranked second, followed by Google, the National Security Agency (NSA), and e-commerce giant Amazon.

    • FBI paid Geek Squad staff to be informants, documents show

      FBI agents paid employees in Best Buy's Geek Squad unit to act as informants, documents published Tuesday reveal.

      Agents paid managers in the retailer's device repair unit to pass along information about illegal content discovered on customers' devices, according to documents posted online by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital rights group sued the FBI for the documents last year after the bureau denied a Freedom of Information Act request.

    • NSA tracking program watched foreign hackers in action
      According to a report by The Intercept, which obtained the research prior to its official reveal at the Kaspersky Security Summit on March 9, the NSA tracking program aimed to gather information by infecting the same target system as an APT to understand not only when and who threat actors will attack but to find out what was being stolen in real time.

      The NSA tracking tools included instructions to abandon a target system if there was too much risk of being discovered, including when the agency came across unknown malware, as well as instructions to seek help when known malware or "friendly tools" were discovered.

      Satya Gupta, co-founder and CTO at Virsec, a cybersecurity company headquartered in San Jose, Calif., said this was evidence of "the eternal dilemma of spying."

    • CCTV footage of Kampala hotel where Finnish businessman died was doctored, says ISO

      The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) on Tuesday said the footage that is currently in the hands of security and intelligence agencies on the death of the Finnish national who died at Pearl of Hotel on February 6, in Kampala was manipulated.

    • Fake video? New twist in case of Finnish businessman's death in Uganda

      Aliganyira said that local police were using doctored footage which contained "insertions, removal of images, creating someone to look like [the victim] yet it wasn't him."

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • SF tech company fired software engineers seeking to organize, union claims

      Most of the engineers were fired Friday, about 10 days after they filed a petition seeking union representation, according to the complaint filed by the CWA’s Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A hearing to determine a date to hold the union vote was scheduled for Thursday.

    • Clinton Township teen charged with felony for school threat
      An 18-year-old student at Chippewa Valley High School was formally charged Monday for a school-related threat posted on social media.

      A few hours after Jacob Michael Graham of Clinton Township was arraigned in 41B District Court, township police arrested another student in an unrelated, similar threat.

      Graham is accused of posting the words “next school shooter” along with a photograph of him holding an AR-15 rifle on Instagram, police said.

    • All This National Champion Wrestler Wants Is a Chance to Compete
      The National Collegiate Wrestling Association won’t let Marina Goocher wrestle men, which means she can’t wrestle.

      Marina Goocher just wants an equal opportunity to wrestle in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The NCWA’s response: Build your own women’s team.

      Goocher, a national champion college wrestler in her junior year, is a favorite to win another national championship in a few days. Yet she has been benched for the entire last three regular seasons in her wrestling league, the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). Despite the male team at University of Michigan-Dearborn having abundant opportunities to train and attend NCWA competitions throughout the season, NCWA rules prohibit Marina from wrestling.
    • Police Union Boss Attacks New DA For Daring To Speak To Police Recruits About Deadly Force
      The residents of Philadelphia elected new District Attorney Larry Krasner because he wasn't like the long line of police misconduct enablers that preceded him. Fed up with crumbling relationships between law enforcement officers and the people they served, Krasner secured the position by promising to clean house and start representing the people's best interests, rather than just law enforcement's.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senator Introduces Fake Net Neutrality Bill Championed By ISPs Then Pretends He's Fighting Against Them

      The bill, introduced by Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, mirrors legislation that has been pushed in the House that would enshrine the ability for ISPs to screw you over.

    • Cable's Top Lobbyist Again Calls For Hyper Regulation Of Silicon Valley
      For years telecom monopolies have downplayed the lack of competition in the broadband sector, and the chain reaction of problems this creates for everybody (from privacy infractions to net neutrality violations). At the same time, large ISP lobbyists (and the regulators, politicians and policy flacks paid to love them) have insisted that it's Silicon Valley companies the public really need to worry about. As a result, ISPs like Comcast and AT&T routinely insist that we need new regulations governing companies like Google and Facebook, but entrenched natural monopolies should be allowed to do pretty much whatever they'd like.

      This of course requires you ignore a few things. One, that the lack of competition in broadband makes the two sectors an apples to oranges comparison. Customers frustrated by Facebook's bad behavior can vote with their wallets, something most Comcast customers can't do. You're also supposed to ignore the fact that large ISPs are simply trying to saddle Google and Facebook with additional regulation because they're increasingly trying to challenge them for advertising revenue in the video and media space.

    • “Dig Once” rule requiring fiber deployment is finally set to become US law

      The Dig Once policy "mandates the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding," an announcement from Eshoo said.

    • GOP senator offers his own net neutrality bill

      For their part, Democrats are pushing legislation that would use authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the FCC’s repeal vote. Their CRA bill currently has 50 Senate backers, including GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), meaning it needs just one more Republican supporter for it to pass the chamber.

    • GOP tries to block state net neutrality laws and allow paid prioritization

      Republicans in Congress are continuing to push a net neutrality law that would preempt state net neutrality rules and let Internet service providers charge online services for prioritized access to Internet users.

      The Open Internet Preservation Act would prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful Internet content but clear the way for paid prioritization or "fast lanes."

    • Terrified Of Losing In Court, ISPs (With Senator John Kennedy's Help) Push Hard For A Fake Net Neutrality Law
      ISPs are worried that the FCC's assault on net neutrality won't hold up in the face of court challenge. And they should be.

      By law, the FCC has to prove that the broadband market changed substantially enough in just a few years to warrant such a severe reversal of popular policy. And the numerous lawsuits headed the FCC's direction (including one by nearly half the states in the union) will also take aim at all of the shady and bizarre behaviors by the FCC during its ham-fisted repeal, from making up a DDOS attack to try and downplay the John Oliver effect, to blocking a law enforcement investigation into the rampant fraud and identity theft that occurred during the public comment period.

      With the FCC repeal on unsteady legal ground, ISPs have a back up plan for in case the FCC and its mega-ISP BFFs lose in court: bogus net neutrality legislation.

      Last fall, AT&T-favorite Masha Blackburn introduced one such bill in the House dubbed the "Open Internet Preservation Act." While the bill's stated purpose was to reach "compromise" and "put the net neutrality debate to bed," the bill's real intent is notably more nefarious. While the bill would ban behaviors ISPs had no real interest in (like the outright blocking of websites), it contained numerous loopholes that allowed anti-competitive behavior across a wide variety of fronts, from zero rating tactics that exempt an ISPs own content from usage caps, to interconnection shenanigans or anti-competitive paid prioritization.

  • DRM

    • Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America's independent farmers into tenant farmers

      "Precision agriculture" is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can't afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they're locked into the platforms' walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits.

    • America's Farmers Are Becoming Prisoners to Agriculture's Technological Revolution

      Big data, proprietary systems, and restrictive EULA agreements threaten farmers, but the right to repair movement shows they are fighting back.

    • The Right to Repair Battle Has Come to Silicon Valley

      Right to repair legislation has considerable momentum this year; 18 states have introduced it, and several states have held hearings about the topic. In each of these states, big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, John Deere, and AT&T and trade associations they’re associated with have heavily lobbied against it, claiming that allowing people to fix their things would cause safety and security concerns. Thus far, companies have been unwilling to go on the record to explain the specifics about how these bills would be dangerous or would put device and consumer security in jeopardy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 11 Asia-Pacific states to sign revamped TPP trade deal without United States

      But the revamped deal, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is still a significant achievement that sends a message of openness, its supporters said ahead of the signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile.

    • Trademarks

      • US Generic-Named Food Industries Cry For US Government Help Against ‘Relentlessly Aggressive’ EU
        Something that was unimaginable just a few years ago: What if Americans could not buy ordinary bologna, feta or parmesan cheese? Or worse, make them and export them under those names? The industry group in the United States representing a range of products like those today called on the US government to help them defend their products and their jobs against what they called “purposeful,” “relentless” and “aggressive” efforts by Europe to promote adoption of geographical indications (products named for places and with particular characteristics) to the detriment of the US common-named goods.


        “Unfortunately, our members repeatedly witness the EU trying to abuse this respect for truly unique products by expanding their GI monopolies to cover clearly generic names,” the group said. “An example of this indefensible voracious behavior is the EU’s approach to dealing with the GI Parmigiano Reggiano. The EU is not content with having the unique right to just this legitimate term but instead is pushing in many markets to go beyond any reasonable scope of rights in order to bar use by all non-Italians of the generic term “parmesan”. Of course, this is outrageous as parmesan is a type of cheese that has always been recognized around the world as generic.”

    • Copyrights

      • Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018 Highlights Balance in the Copyright System
        The fifth annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week took place February 26–March 2, 2018, growing to 153 participating organizations—as well as numerous individuals—celebrating the important and flexible doctrines of fair use and fair dealing worldwide. This year’s event was organized by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and participants included universities, libraries, library associations, and many other organizations, such as Authors Alliance, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the R Street Institute, and Re:Create. Sixty ARL member institutions contributed a wide range of resources this year. Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week was observed around the globe by participants in such countries as Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, and the United States.
      • Playboy Decides Not To Appeal Silly Boing Boing Lawsuit In The Most Petulant Manner Possible
        Well that all happened remarkably quickly. In November, we wrote about Playboy filing a particularly ridiculous lawsuit against the blog Boing Boing for linking to (but not hosting) an Imgur collection and YouTube video highlighting basically all Playboy centerfold images. Boing Boing explained to the court in January that linking is not infringement and the judge dismissed the case in February. And while the court left it open for Playboy to file an amended complaint, it also made it clear that Playboy had basically no chance of winning the case.

      • Torrent Tracking Evidence is Flawed and Unreliable, Alleged Pirate Argues

        The operator of a Tor exit node has asked a federal court in Oregon for a summary judgment of non-infringement. The man, who is accused of sharing a pirated copy of Dallas Buyers Club, argues that the evidence gathering software is flawed and unreliable.

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