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Links 24/7/2018: Slax 9.5, ReactOS 0.4.9, and 'Fake' LibreOffice

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Launching Open Source Initiatives Is the Next Battleground In Quantum Computing
    At a time when tech giants are ploughing millions of dollars in quantum computing and are striving ahead with breakthroughs, Google, Microsoft and IBM seem to be locked in an intense battle of quantum supremacy. Mountain View search giant announced Cirq — an open-source framework for NISQ computers. Cirq is an open-source initiative that allows developers to create algorithms that can run on a number of machines without having a full background in quantum physics.

    The Google blog notes that once installed — Cirq enables researchers to write quantum algorithms for specific quantum processors. “Cirq gives users fine-tuned control over quantum circuits, specifying gate behaviour using native gates, placing these gates appropriately on the device, and scheduling the timing of these gates within the constraints of the quantum hardware,” the blog notes. Cirq supports running these algorithms locally on a simulator and is designed to easily integrate with future quantum hardware or larger simulators via the cloud.

  • ReactOS 0.4.9 released
    The ReactOS Project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.4.9, the latest in our accelerated cadence targeting a release every three months.

    While a consequence of this faster cycle might mean fewer headliner changes, much of the visible effort nowadays comes in the form of quality-of-life improvements in how ReactOS functions. At the same time work continues on the underlying systems which provide more subtle improvements such as greater system stability and general consistency.

  • ReactOS 0.4.9 Officially Released As The First Self-Hosting Version, Better Stability

  • ReactOS 0.4.9 Officially Released with Self-Hosting Capabilities, New Features

  • ReactOS, the open source Windows clone, has a new release out
    The latest effort to result from the switch to a faster release cadence, ReactOS 0.4.9 comes packing a stack of smaller changes than previous versions, with focus firmly on improving the overall system stability, usability, and UI consistency.

    We’ll take a closer look at the key improvements and features of ReactOS 0.4.9 in a second.

  • How MyRepublic is embracing the cloud, open source and disruptive tech
    When MyRepublic launched its 1Gbit per second broadband plan in Singapore in January 2014, it gave the nation a new world's first achievement as the first country to offer such a plan at mass pricing rates.

    The telecommunications company headquartered in the city-state now operates in three other markets — New Zealand, Indonesia, and Australia.

    In an exclusive interview with Eugene Yeo, Group CIO at MyRepublic in Enterprise Innovation in October 2017, he said the company was looking for four more potential areas of investment, possibly Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

  • When Meat Salespeople Call Vegans “fundamentalists”

    Someone linked me to this blog by a boutique proprietary software company complaining about porting to GNU/Linux systems, in which David Power, co-founder of Hiri...


    If you make a product to which a large part of the potential customer population has a moral objection, you should expect that objection, and it's reasonable for that to happen. To admonish those people because they don't want to promote your product really is akin to a butcher annoyed that vegans won't promote their prime cuts of meat.

  • What Is Kodi? What Are Its Features? Is It Illegal? — All Questions Answered
    A big part of our daily lives is interacting with our electronic devices and using them for different purposes. In offices, we use them to get our work done and communicate; In homes, such devices are used for entertainment and other purposes. We have a wide range of devices at our disposal and it’s a tough task to find a suitable solution that fulfills all your entertainment needs. In the past, we have tried to answer this question by preparing the list of best media players for Windows and Linux. In this article, I’ll be telling you about one of most versatile media solutions, Kodi, in detail. You will get to know in detail what is Kodi and how does Kodi work.

  • Open source container software shipments set to quadruple by 2022: report
    Thanks to increased adoption by telcos and enterprises, total container software units shipments will grow at a 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2022.

    That 30% increase quadruples the container software units shipped last year, according to the "Data Center Multi-Tenant Server Software" report from IHS Markit. Hyperscale cloud service providers such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook pioneered the initial adoption of container software in their data centers (DCs), and already run container operating systems in virtual machines in a third of their multi-tenant servers. By comparison, telcos and enterprises run container software in only 5% of their multi-tenant servers today, according to the report.

    “Drivers behind the growth of container software include the need to evolve application architectures and provide increased agility and portability for software development practices. Container software allows developers to hand off applications from the coding table to the enterprise data center for testing and finally move a fully tested application to the cloud,” said IHS Markit's Vladimir Galabov, senior analyst, in a prepared statement. “A properly containerized application is easy to scale and maintain, makes efficient use of available system resources and is portable.”

  • How to get started with open-source backup software [Ed: mentions some proprietary stuff which doesn’t work or is barely reliable like Windows stuff]
    System administrators have many choices for data backup software, ranging from standalone applications to storage vendors' own systems to all manner of cloud storage and data appliances—but what about the open-source options?


    "Although we do not have specific data based on research, our guess is that Amanda and BackupPC are the most downloaded and that Rsync has the biggest installed base," Bertrand noted. "This being said, there are a couple of points to bear in mind: When you get to the enterprise, you need automation, repeatability, reliability, and a good support organization." And also, "Even industries that have embraced open-source comput[ing] still want enterprise data protection. No one wants to not be able to recover mission critical data when they really need it."

    However the open-source applications are indeed working for some name-brand organizations—Bacula cites NASA along with European entertainment giant Sky PLC.

  • Events

    • ASG! 2018 CfP Closes Soon
      The Call for Participation (CFP) for All Systems Go! 2018 will close in one week, on 30th of July! We’d like to invite you to submit your proposals for consideration to the CFP submission site quickly!

  • Web Browsers

    • Inside out
      Recently the question of whether browsers should have a View Source function has reared its head again. Chris Coyier says no, as do Tom Dale and Christian Heilmann. Jonathan Snook says yes they should.

      The argument against essentially boils down to this: the browser devtools are better. This is undeniably, absolutely the truth. You can not just see the original HTML source of a page but manipulate it, drill down into it, see it beside the page itself and see which parts correspond. Everyone who develops for the web spends most of their day in the devtools, and rightly so. They are enormously powerful. View Source… isn’t. It’s a throwback, a historical legacy back from the days when you couldn’t introspect a page, couldn’t fiddle with things at runtime. If something was wrong with the page you were building, you went back to your editor and tentatively changed a thing, and then went back again to the browser and hit Refresh to see if you’d fixed it. Debugging blind, like finding your way through a cave with no lights on. You were quite likely to be eaten by a grue. Things are better now.

    • Chrome

      • Google tests curvy Chrome tabs with material design overhaul
        Google is trying out a new Chrome interface that for the first time in a decade presents a very different look for the tabs and address bar at the top of the widely used web browser.

        Since its public debut in 2008, Chrome has featured a trapezoidal tab for each website you have open. But tabs now look very different on Chrome Canary -- a very rough-around-the-edges version used to test changes before they reach a broader audience. The active tab has a slope-shouldered look with curved corners. The grayed-out inactive tabs merge with the the browser itself and are separated only by thin vertical lines. In addition, the address bar's text box is a gray oval against a white backdrop, instead of a round-cornered white rectangle with a hairline border.

      • Google Testing A Revamped Interface For Chrome With Curvy Tabs
        Chrome users have long complained about the browser’s dull interface and slow performance. But that is going to change soon. As mentioned by CNET, Google is testing out a new interface in the Chrome Canary channel.

      • 8 New Features Under Development: Google Chrome and Chrome OS Updates
        Google Chrome is undoubtedly the most popular web browser right now. With a 58% market share worldwide, Chrome has defeated every other option out there. But that doesn’t mean it is perfect in every way. Google has received more than enough complaints about leaving its browser unattended for years now.

        Since the browser made public debut in 2008, the browser has never seen a massive update. But this time, it looks like Google has finally set eyes on its best project. The Alphabet-owned Google is reportedly working on new features for Chrome that will solve most of the issues users face with the browser.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla's Servo Has Been Picking Up A Number Of WebGL Improvements
        After being on hiatus since the end of April, Mozilla's Servo Blog has finally put out a status update concerning their web engine improvements made over the past three months.

        What really stands out in their additions to Servo over the past three months include many WebGL additions. Servo now has a number of WebGL API corrections, support for more getParameter values, several more WebGL extensions are now supported, instanced drawing calls support, better support for the uniform API calls, and other improvements. EXT_blend_minmax and EXT_texture_filter_anisotropic are among the extensions newly added to Servo.

      • The Servo Blog: These Months In Servo 112
        Our roadmap is available online, including the overall plans for 2018. It has been updated to account for Servo’s new role in Mozilla’s mixed reality team.

      • On Designing and Building Toggle Switches
        Yesterday I was working on creating the slides and accompanying demos for my upcoming Web Directions Code talk next week. One of the demos I’m creating is a basic proof of concept for a simple switch that is used to switch the theme of a UI from light to dark and vice versa. I liked, and was inspired, by the theme switch in the Medium app, shown below.

      • Ad Hoc Profiling

        I have used a variety of profiling tools over the years, including several I wrote myself.

        But there is one profiling tool I have used more than any other. It is capable of providing invaluable, domain-specific profiling data of a kind not obtainable by any general-purpose profiler.

        It’s a simple text processor implemented in a few dozen lines of code. I use it in combination with logging print statements in the programs I am profiling. No joke.


        I use counts to do ad hoc profiling all the time. It’s the first tool I reach for any time I have a question about code execution patterns. I have used it extensively for every bout of major performance work I have done in the past few years, as well as in plenty of other circumstances. I even built direct support for it into rustc-perf, the Rust compiler’s benchmark suite, via the profile eprintln subcommand. Give it a try!

  • Databases

    • Replacing Linux with a Database System [Ed: You cannot quite replace a kernel with a database]

      When it comes to building extreme scale computing platforms, there are plenty of system design options but in supercomputing, the only practical choice for an OS is Linux.

      A team from MIT and Sandia took note of this imbalance, noting that while traditionally it was the job of an OS to manage the hardware, now the controlling processor and the compute engines are far more separated. In other words, the OS is more like a resource tracker that manages usage of the hardware resources. They draw parallels between this and a database management system and have thus turned a database into an OS of sorts.

      On the surface this may not sound logical—or more accurately, like it would be functional. But simulations of the database system (called TabulaROSA) on a 32k core supercomputer yield some impressive early results with a measured 20X performance boost over Linux while managing 2000X more processes in fully searchable tables.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Healthcare

    • Medical Implications of Open Source Neuroscience
      Through our previous Open Science articles, we have focused on various fields about the significance of adopting an Open Source Approach in Science and Technology. Let’s now dive deeper into the spectrum by looking into some important aspects of Neuroscience.

      In this new article on open science, we are going to start with Neuroscience with an Open Source perspective of course, and look into its Medical Implications in terms of medicine and beyond. We talk about modern neuroscience in particular and look into some of its branches as well, where Open Source proves to be a great advantage. Along the way through this reading, we’ll also explore some FOSS developments in Neuroscience.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • University CompSci Plagiarism

      I’ve worked really hard on django-todo over the years, so was very dismayed to receive email recently from a CompSci student at the University of Western Australia informing me that the department had taken the django-todo source code, removed the license file and all attribution, and included its code in one of their assignments.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Oasis Loss Modelling Framework offered open source and free of charge
      Oasis says the modelling system has been made more accessible in an effort to increase the resources available to strengthen resilience to natural disasters.

      Robert Bentley, President, Global Strategic Advisory at Guy Carpenter & Company, that deploys Oasis’ framework in its business, said, “We welcome this milestone for Oasis and the business impact it will deliver for Guy Carpenter and our clients.”

      “It is important that we lower the barriers to entry and increase flexibility in understanding and managing risk. This achievement advances the industry’s capabilities on both fronts.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Applicant For Major EU Open Access Publishing Contract Proposes Open Source, Open Data And Open Peer Review As Solution
        Unfortunately, even a major project like the Horizon 2020 open research publishing platform -- whichever company wins the contract -- will not be able to change that culture on its own, however welcome it might be in itself. Core changes must come from within the academic world. Sadly, there are still precious few signs that those in positions of power are willing to embrace not just open access and even open science, but also a radical openness that extends to every aspect of the academic world, including evaluation and recognition.

  • Programming/Development

    • Introducing Python 3.7's Dataclasses
      Newcomers to Python often are surprised by how little code is required to accomplish quite a bit. Between powerful built-in data structures that can do much of what you need, comprehensions to take care of many tasks involving iterables, and the lack of getter and setter methods in class definitions, it's no wonder that Python programs tend to be shorter than those in static, compiled languages.

    • Python has brought computer programming to a vast new audience

      Nearly 30 years after his Christmas invention, Mr Van Rossum resembles a technological version of the Monty Python character who accidentally became the Messiah in the film “Life of Brian”. “I certainly didn’t set out to create a language that was intended for mass consumption,” he explains. But in the past 12 months Google users in America have searched for Python more often than for Kim Kardashian, a reality-TV star. The rate of queries has trebled since 2010, while inquiries after other programming languages have been flat or declining (see chart).

    • Visual Studio or Vim: Is an IDE or text editor right for you? [Ed: Comparing a malicious proprietary IDE from a company that commits many crimes to a text editor?]
      An age-old debate among programmers is whether to use a plain text editor, such as Emacs, or a more fully-featured integrated development environment (IDE), such as Microsoft's Visual Studio.


      Stallman highlights how text editors can be plugged into other developer tools, addressing the criticism that such editors lack much of the functionality of IDEs.

      "Emacs has an interface to GDB [GNU Debugger] (and some other debuggers) which has more or less the effect of an IDE. GDB displays its interaction through Emacs, and it displays the source code of the debugged program via Emacs as well."

      Stallman is not the only well-known developer to favor the simplicity of a text editor.

      Ken Thompson, who co-created the Go programming language is on record as saying he used the Sam text editor, which he also co-created, and Linus Torvalds, developer of Linux kernel, has said he favors MicroEMACS.

    • Rcpp 0.12.18: Another batch of updates

      Another bi-monthly update in the 0.12.* series of Rcpp landed on CRAN early this morning following less than two weekend in the incoming/ directory of CRAN. As always, thanks to CRAN for all the work they do so well.


  • 2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open

    One of the downsides of film that led to the triumph of digital cinema is that, no matter how careful you are, everything you do with a film print will ever-so-slightly damage it. Every time you project a film, it gets a teensy-bit more scratched. Every time you make a new release print of a film, your source print gets damaged, too. Every time you think about a film, a version of it preserved in a vault somewhere decays just a little bit.

  • Science

    • Who is driving the AI agenda and what do they stand to gain?

      But who is driving the regulatory agenda and what do they stand to gain? Cui Bono? Who benefits?

      This question needs to be answered because letting industry needs drive the AI agenda presents real risks. With so many digital giants like Amazon and Facebook housed in the US, one particular concern regarding AI is its potential to mirror societies in the image of US culture and to the preferences of large US companies, even more than is currently the case.

    • Millennials: the age of entitlement

      Millennials don’t read. They don’t think as critically as they could. And they’re not interested in learning for learning’s sake. They want the Dream. They will go into debt to get that degree they believe will help them pursue it, but they have lost respect for knowledge, rigour and hard intellectual work. Working among such entitled puppies makes me feel like an academic platypus out of water.

    • Microfilm Lasts Half a Millennium

      The xkcd comic gets a laugh because it seems absurd to suggest microfilm as the most reliable way to store archives, even though it will remain reliable for 500 years. Its lasting power keeps it a mainstay in research libraries and archives. But as recent cutting-edge technologies approach ever more rapid obsolescence, past (and passed-over) technologies like the microfilm machine won’t go away. They’ll remain, steadily doing the same work they have done for the last century for another five more at least—provided the libraries they are stored in stay open, and the humans that would read and interpret their contents survive.

    • Natural blood doping and rewriting the textbooks
      The phrase "rewriting the textbooks" is more than a cliché to me, because that's what I do. I revise each of my books every three years, updating the science.

      I love to explain biology through cases and stories, and am disturbed when something changes – that is, when new evidence indicates that facts aren't as they seemed.

      Sometimes it's hard for me to give up favorite stories. Worst was the case of Phineas Gage.

  • Security

    • Episode 106 - Data isn't oil, it's nuclear waste
      Josh and Kurt talk about Cory Doctorow's piece on Facebook data privacy. It's common to call data the new oil but it's more like nuclear waste. How we fix the data problem in the future is going to require solutions we can't yet imagine as well as new ways of thinking about the problems.

    • Intel Patches New ME Flaws That Could Let Hackers Run Arbitrary Code: Check For Patches
      Talking specifically about the flaws, the first one is CVE-2018-3627. Described as a logic bug, this easily exploitable bug allows code execution. CVE-2018-3628 is the more dangerous sibling which enables comprehensive remote code execution in the AMT process; it’s also identified as a “Buffer overflow in HTTP handler.”

    • Intel patches new ME vulnerabilities
      In early July, Intel issued security advisories SA-00112 and SA-00118 regarding fixes for vulnerabilities in Intel Management Engine. Both advisories describe vulnerabilities with which an attacker could execute arbitrary code on the Minute IA PCH microcontroller.

      The vulnerabilities are similar to ones previously discovered by Positive Technologies security experts last November (SA-00086). But that was not the end of the story, as Intel has now released fixes for additional vulnerabilities in ME.

    • Why Intel will never let owners control the ME

      Intel/AMD will never allow machine owners to control the code executing on the ME/PSP because they have decided to build a business on preventing you from doing so. In particular, it's likely that they're actually contractually obligated not to let you control these processors.

      The reason is that Intel literally decided to collude with Hollywood to integrate DRM into their CPUs; they conspired with media companies to lock you out of certain parts of your machine. After all, this is the company that created HDCP.

      This DRM functionality is implemented on the ME/PSP. Its ability to implement DRM depends on you not having control over it, and not having control over the code that runs on it. Allowing you to control the code running on the ME would directly compromise an initiative which Intel has been advancing for over a decade.

    • Passwords Used by Daemons
      When SSL support for Apache was first released the standard practice was to have the SSL private key encrypted and require the sysadmin enter a password to start the daemon. This practice has mostly gone away, I would hope that would be due to people realising that it offers little value but it’s more likely that it’s just because it’s really annoying and doesn’t scale for cloud deployments.

    • Security updates for Monday

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #169

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Turkey: Exposing Crimes Of ISIS Is Terrorism

      The author of nine books, Erdem worked as a journalist before being elected as a CHP member of parliament for Istanbul in 2015. He appears to be the bravest MP who has exposed ISIS activities across Turkey during his tenure and has often urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to stop these activities and bring the perpetrators to account.

    • Long shadow of lynching

      While WhatsApp gives wheels to rumours, falsehoods spread faster when there is polarisation of beliefs, when there is an us-versus-them climate. Today, even as faith in general institutions like the mass media or the justice system is breaking down, people trust their tribes intensely, and are primed to ignore any challenges to their worldview.

    • How paranoia killed a techie

      Two men showed fake messages on WhatsApp to others in the Old City area and soon, a mob of 300 cornered and lynched the beggar.

    • Engineers, coders – it's down to you to prevent AI being weaponised
      Debate has raged for months over various internet giants' forays into providing next-generation technology for war.

      For example, in March, dissenters at Google went to the press about the web goliath's contract with the US military's Project Maven, which aims to fit drones with object-detecting AI among other things.

      This US Department of Defense project apparently began a year before, in April 2017. Google has always maintained that its computer vision TensorFlow APIs are for "non-offensive" purposes only and repeatedly denied the malicious use of its technology in its Maven contract with the Pentagon.

      Over 3,000 staff signed an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, stating that "Google should not be in the business of war".

      Academics across the world also urged Google to stop working on the project.

    • UK Report: UK To Hand Over Jihadists To US Without Death Penalty Assurances

    • UK silent on US death penalty concerns for alleged jihadis
      A furor has erupted over leaked documents showing that British officials are not requiring their U.S. counterparts to provide assurances that two alleged British jihadis loyal to the Islamic State group will not be executed if they are eventually put on trial in the United States.
    • Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: UK 'will not block death penalty'
      The UK will not block use of the death penalty by the US in the case of two men who are accused of being Islamic State members, the home secretary says.

      In a letter to the US attorney general, leaked to the Telegraph, Sajid Javid said the UK will seek no assurances that the pair will not be executed.
    • UK may not oppose US death penalty for ISIS 'Beatles', official says in letter
    • Uproar In Britain As Minister Says Uk Will Not Block Death Penalty On Isis 'beatles'

    • UK 'drops' death penalty opposition for ISIS ‘Beatles’
      Preparations for the trial of two arrested members of an ISIS terrorist cell in the United States are under way, with reports suggesting that Britain could provide intelligence to the prosecution even if the accused face the death penalty.

      Leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph newspaper include a letter written by Britain’s Home Secretary Sajid Javid that said the UK would share information with US authorities on Alexanda Kotey and Shafee El Sheikh, two of the four foreign fighters that made up the “Beatles” terrorist group in Syria.

    • A litmus test of sanity: the fate of Iran and Assange both
      As one who has never visited Iran, I am still sure of one thing: Iranians, even those who have never left Iran, know more about what is happening outside Iran than Americans do about what’s really happening, and why, outside the US. There are a number of good American and foreign journalists who tell the truth and inform well, but they are not a part of the mainstream media any longer, which is almost totally a corporate, corruption influenced media now. So most Americans, who don’t read much anyway, are ill informed, and if they do read, it’s a local paper somewhere with canned news, especially regarding other countries. What seems impressive about the Iranian media is that, at least, there is more truth and Iranian writers and leaders opine correctly about the dangers of US foreign policies.

    • Trump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer'
      White House national security adviser John Bolton — who has long held an adversarial stance toward Iran — later weighed in on the tweet.

      “I spoke to the President over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before," Bolton said in a statement Monday morning.

    • Trump warns Iran's Rouhani to stop the threats or suffer historic consequences
    • Trump Tweets Late-Night Threat At Iranian President: 'BE CAUTIOUS'
    • Dem rep: Trump 'regards war as a way to solve political problems'
    • POTUS Threatens Iran In Explosive All Caps Twitter Tirade

    • Trump tweets explosive threat to Iran
      The tirade signaled an immediate escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran, and capped a weekend of angry tweets by the President on the Russia investigation and the legal problems facing his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

    • ACTION ALERT: It’s Been Over a Year Since MSNBC Has Mentioned US War in Yemen
      As FAIR has noted before (1/8/18, 3/20/18), to MSNBC, the carnage and destruction the US and its Gulf Monarchy allies are leveling against the poorest country in the Arab world is simply a non-issue.

      On July 2, a year had passed since the cable network’s last segment mentioning US participation in the war on Yemen, which has killed in excess of 15,000 people and resulted in over a million cases of cholera. The US is backing a Saudi-led bombing campaign with intelligence, refueling, political cover, military hardware and, as of March, ground troops. None of this matters at all to what Adweek (4/3/18) calls “the network of the Resistance,” which has since its last mention of the US’s role in the destruction of Yemen found time to run over a dozen segments highlighting war crimes committed by the Syrian and Russian governments in Syria.

    • Politics of education in East Jerusalem
      Roughly around their sixteenth birthday, the youth of Jerusalem are eager to obtain their Israeli Identification card. They would wait in an inhumane line outside the Israeli Ministry of Interior in East Jerusalem for hours, and when they reach the officer, they will submit an extensive set of documents to prove that their centre of life is Jerusalem. Eventually, and if they were fortunate enough, and have fulfilled a particular set of requirements, they would receive an Israeli ID stating they were “permanent residents” in the place they call home. The word “permanent” is used loosely here because Israel considers Palestinian Jerusalemites as “foreign immigrants” who reside in Jerusalem not as per their right of birth, but more so as a favour granted to them by the state.

      Israel considers Palestinian Jerusalemites as “foreign immigrants”

      Within the pile of papers, these teenagers have to present their school transcripts of the past three years. If they have attended schools outside of Jerusalem, they risk their residency being revoked. According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, Israel has revoked the status of 14,500 Palestinians since 1967.

      Most of the Jerusalemite youngsters, who speak Arabic and identify themselves as Palestinians in contradiction to the identification card they hold, would be enrolled at Arabic schools in East Jerusalem. The total number of students in Arab education in East Jerusalem, as per data acquired from the Jerusalem Education Authority (JEA) is 110,496. Whereas the number of Arab children in Jerusalem (ages 3-18) is 127,198, which means that 16,702 Palestinian children, who constitute 13% of East Jerusalemite children of compulsory education age are Vanished Children. They are not registered in a known educational institution and are therefore unmonitored by authorities in the education system.

    • Risky Click: Adding Undercover Cop As Friend Nets Man Conviction For Gun Charges

      Here's the thing about public profiles on social media services: they're public. If you don't want to be immediately arrested for committing criminal acts, maybe steer clear of social media. A multitude of examples can be found here at Techdirt, many of them covered caustically by Tim Geigner.

      But it's not just bragging about bad behavior getting people caught. It's not being more selective about who you let into your online inner circle. It's not a new thing but it's only going to become more prevalent. "Friending" people you don't know is pretty much letting cops take a look around your place without a warrant.

      A recent Delaware Supreme Court ruling said there's no Fourth Amendment violation contained in government surveillance of a public Facebook account, even if a cop hid behind a pseudonym to get invited into the suspect's social circle. While it does seem like months of lurking to produce only a weapons possession charge is sort of low on the ROI, scale, lurking is a passive effort that only requires the periodic checking of notifications from surveilled accounts.

      There's no expectation of privacy to stuff published to social media accounts others can view. Setting it to "Friends Only" may prevent the general public from accessing the contents of your page, but when the passive surveillance is already coming from inside the house (so to speak), there's really little you can argue when seeking to have this evidence suppressed. It's sort of like inviting in vampires and then complaining about the holes in your neck.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Martyrs to the Cause: Carter Page and Julian Assange

      I won’t reiterate the many tortures Assange has had to endure due to his unique position as the greatest truth-teller of modern times. Suffice to say that his long – six years! – imprisonment in London’s Ecuadorian embassy is a sentence that was neither deserved nor was it legal. As far as we know, Assange has not been charged with any crime: contra journalistic malfeasance, he was never actually charged by the Swedish authorities for supposedly engaging in bad behavior with two women. He sought asylum in the embassy because the Swedes, always subservient to Washington, would have shipped him to the United States to stand trial for “espionage” – despite the fact that we don’t know if a grand jury has proffered charges.

      Assange was granted sanctuary due to Rafael Correa, then the President of Ecuador: unfortunately, Correa’s successor – one Lenin Moreno – has caved to pressure from the US and Britain, and it looks like Assange is going to be handed over to the British imminently.

    • Deal to force Julian Assange out of embassy ‘imminent’
      An agreement over the Wikileaks founder is ‘imminent’ and could be finalised when Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno visits Britain this week, sources say.

      Mr Moreno is set to meet international development secretary Penny Mordaunt in London tomorrow, and insiders say he is close to agreeing a deal under which Ecuador could withdraw its asylum protection of Mr Assange.

      The 47-year-old has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, since June 2012. He is fearful that if he leaves, he could be extradited to the US, where he is wanted for leaking Iraq War documents

      News he could be turned over to UK authorities comes after The Sunday Times reported foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan has been in talks with Ecuador over its protection of the Australian. Mr Moreno has previously called Mr Assange a ‘hacker’ and a ‘stone in the shoe’.

      The whistleblower was given political asylum under Mr Moreno’s predecessor Rafael Correa. But in March Mr Assange’s internet was cut off and restrictions were placed on who could visit him.

    • Imminent threat to Julian Assange underscores need for global defence movement

      Credible reports indicate that Ecuador’s government is about to renege on the political asylum it granted to WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and hand him over to British police, possibly within days.

      The reports also indicate that Assange would be subjected to lengthy imprisonment by the British authorities, perhaps for two years or more, pending extradition to the US, where he could face the death penalty on espionage and conspiracy charges.

      These developments underscore the necessity to deepen the fight for a powerful international working-class movement for his freedom and for the defence of all basic democratic rights.


      Even before removal to the US, Assange would thus end up having spent more than a decade in prison or effective detention despite never having been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime.

      Ecuador’s moves to terminate Assange’s political asylum are the result of intensive pressure on the Moreno government by the Trump administration, which has escalated the Obama White House’s machinations to get its hands on Assange. US Vice President Mike Pence visited Ecuador earlier this month to ramp up Washington’s demands on Moreno, who has shifted the country’s government sharply to the right to try to win favour from the US and the financial markets.

      Leading figures in the Trump administration, including Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have publicly declared their intent to see Assange arrested and imprisoned. Sessions last year said putting Assange on trial was a US “priority” and Pompeo, who was then the CIA director, branded WikiLeaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.

    • Ecuador could withdraw Assange asylum

    • Stalemate over WikiLeaks Assange's future 'coming to a head': source
      The diplomatic impasse over Julian Assange’s six-year stay in Ecuador’s London embassy is coming to a head, a source close to the WikiLeaks founder said on Monday, after media reports the South American country would rescind his political asylum.


      Speculation about the Australian-born Assange’s future has grown this month after the Sunday Times newspaper said senior officials from Ecuador and Britain were now in discussions about how to remove him from the embassy after revocation of his asylum.

      “The situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head,” the source, who spoke on condition on anonymity, told Reuters. He said the latest information from inside the embassy was, “It’s not looking good”.

    • Ecuador could withdraw Assange asylum
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, could soon see his stay in the Ecuardorian embassy in London brought to an abrupt end.

      There is speculation that the country's president is planning to withdraw asylum protection which has been in place since 2012, and hand him over to British authorities.

      President Lenin Moreno is in London ostensibly to speak at the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit - he has been in a wheelchair since being shot in a 1998 robbery attempt.

      But presidential sources say he is close to finalising a deal.

      Almost three months ago, Spanish anger over his tweets about Catalonia stirred Ecuador into blocking Assange from accessing the internet.

    • RAW: Furniture removed from Ecuadorian embassy amid reports of handing Assange over to UK

    • Assange: Furniture seen being removed from Ecuadorian embassy
      Furniture was seen being packed-up into a van outside the Ecuadorian embassy, coinciding with reports that Assange’s asylum is being withdrawn.

    • Ecuador May Boot Julian Assange…Will US Seek Extradition?

    • Ecuadorian president’s UK visit raises speculation Julian Assange will be forced to leave embassy

      Mr Moreno, who has used a wheelchair since being shot in a robbery in 1998, will speak at the Global Disability Summit, which is being organised by the British government.

    • Ecuador Preparing to Hand Julian Assange Over to British Authorities
      Ecuador’s president has cleared the way for his government to withdraw asylum protection for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to hand him over to British authorities. That’s according to The Intercept, which reports Assange could soon face a prison term of up to two years if he’s convicted of contempt of court for missing a bail hearing, after he holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London more than five years ago, seeking to avoid a Swedish sexual assault investigation. He was later cleared of any of those charges by Sweden. This comes as the Trump administration is reportedly planning to seek Assange’s extradition to the U.S., where he could face espionage charges.

    • 'TIME RUNNING OUT' Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could be arrested by the Metropolitan Police within weeks, MPs have been told
      But they want him out, and his communication with the outside world was cut off three months ago when he was accused of interfering with other states.

      Now Mr Assange’s supporters and intelligence experts say matters are “coming to a head” and Ministers believe his health is rapidly deteriorating.

      Leading critic Bob Seely said he had been told Mr Assange time “maybe about to run out” before he is turned over to the Metropolitan Police.

    • Assange Could Become First Journalist Put on Trial Since Colonial Days – Author
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be soon forced out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and handed over to the UK authorities by the government of Lenin Moreno, according to The Intercept. Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Joe Lauria, an independent journalist and former Wall Street Journal correspondent, shed light on what could happen to Assange.

    • Julian Assange’s Asylum to be Rescinded

      Since Julian Assange is now an Ecuadorian citizen, President Moreno must protest his rights, says Alfred de Zayas, former UN independent expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

    • Ecuador to boot Assange from London embassy, report
      Julian Assange reportedly will be evicted from his cramped refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in London that's been his home for past six years, after Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno met with U.K. officials last week allegedly to discuss the details of removing the WikiLeaks founder.

      Moreno, who has referred to Assange as a “hacker” and an “inherited problem” encamped in the embassy for the last six years to avoid prosecution in Sweden and the U.S., visited the U.K. ostensibly to attend the 2018 Global Disabilities Summit, but the Intercept, citing RT, reported that the purpose of the Ecuadorian president's trip was to meet with U.K. diplomats to finalize an agreement for handing over Assange to U.K. authorities.

    • WATCH Supporters of WikiLeaks Founder Assange Gather Near Ecuadorian Embassy
      Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after being accused of sexual assault. According to Assange, the charges could have served as an excuse to extradite him to the US, where he has been accused of espionage and leaking thousands of classified documents related to military operations.

      A group of people supporting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gathered near the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Sunday, following reports that he might be stripped of his asylum.

      Tensions surrounding Assange rose amid reports that Quito and London have allegedly been negotiating an eviction of the WikiLeaks founder from the embassy.

    • Ecuador 'close to evicting' Julian Assange from UK embassy
      Ecuador is close to evicting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from its UK embassy, according to reports.

      Lenin Moreno, the country's president, is in London for a disabilities summit, but is allegedly in discussions with British officials over a deal to hand the Australian over to police.

      Mr Assange, who has been described as an "inherited problem" by Mr Moreno, could lose his diplomatic protection in a matter of days, The Intercept reported.


      "At the moment, due to the complexity of the topic, a short or long-term solution is not in sight."

      A British government source also said there was no sign of immediate progress. Last month, Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan told parliament that they were increasingly concerned about Mr Assange's health.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Swimming pigs of the Bahamas 'fed booze by tourists, forced to do tricks and burnt by sun'
      Swimming with pigs in beautiful, crystal clear Caribbean waters, under glorious blue skies, seems like a dream come true for many people.

      And for the inquisitive animals, it doesn't seem like a terrible life either - with plenty of room to run around in the glistening sunshine.

      The pigs have some famous neighbours in the luxurious Exumas - a stretch of 365 cays and islands in the Bahamas, where A-listers own private islands.

  • Finance

    • Eventbrite is reportedly going public in the second half of this year

      Originally created for individuals wanting to host smaller events and private parties, but who faced few few options aside creating Excel spreadsheets — remember, the ticketing world formerly revolved around stadiums and major sporting events — Eventbrite has grown steadily over the years into a corporate giant. It now powers ticketing for millions of events in more than 180 countries, and it has rung up more than $10 billion in cumulative tickets sales since its founding.

      According to Forbes, in 2017, Eventbrite processed more than three million tickets per week to events, including conferences and festivals.

      Part of the company’s growth has come through acquisitions. [...]

    • In the Age of Disaster Capitalism, Is ‘Survival Socialism’ the Solution?
      Disaster capitalism: Perhaps you’ve heard of it. You’ve certainly lived with it. Well described by author and activist Naomi Klein, it’s the scenario in which big banks and corporate businesses profit off crises like earthquakes, bankruptcies, and war, taking advantage of people and places in trouble to enact policies that allow them to amass more power and wealth. What’s gotten far less press, at least until now, is what I’m calling “survival socialism”: the plethora of alternatives that emerge as people under pressure conjure solutions to their own troubles in ways that aim to deliver not profit as much as social value—better services, cheaper prices, more social cohesion, a greater ownership share in production, a more vibrant democracy, a healthier environment.

      Across the world, such practices and policies vary, from land trusts and community gardens to local-first contracting and public takeovers of private utilities. The Transnational Institute, a progressive Amsterdam-based think tank, reports that more than 800 cities in 42 countries have recently taken over crucial utilities: water in Grenoble, France; energy in Boulder, Colorado; community health clinics in Delhi, India. Big cities and small towns are doing it, but some of the most exciting efforts are happening in some of the most obscure places, where the need and the neglect have been the greatest.

      Until now, most of these experiments have been small-scale and local, bubbling up from the grass roots in solitary bursts, with little coordination and few high-profile champions. But some of them might soon go mainstream, if a pair of Labour Party politicians—themselves fairly obscure until recently—form the next government in the United Kingdom. While the ruling prime minister, Theresa May, has until May 2022 to call an election, the recent series of high-level resignations from her Conservative-led government could well hasten its collapse.
    • Six reasons why it is likely there will be a Brexit exit deal
      The first is that both sides want an agreement.

      The second is that it is in the respective interests of both parties that there is an agreement.

      The third is that the two sides are still negotiating.

      The fourth pointer is that there is a text which is 80% agreed.

      The fifth is that there is plenty of time before next March (and even before October which is preferred deadline of the EU).

      And sixth, the current difficulties about the Irish “backstop” arrangements if there is not a future relationship agreement are a disagreement about means rather than ends. Both sides accept that this is an issue to be addressed and a risk to be managed.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Authoritarians used to be scared of social media, now they rule it

      A new report from the Institute For the Future on "state-sponsored trolling" documents the rise and rise of government-backed troll [sic] armies who terrorize journalists and opposition figures with seemingly endless waves of individuals who bombard their targets with vile vitriol, from racial slurs to rape threats.

    • Maria Butina, explained: the accused Russian spy who tried to sway US politics through the NRA

      Butina met with Donald Trump Jr. and lived with a Republican consultant. Where will this investigation lead?
    • Marco Rubio Breaks With Trump: FBI 'Did Not Spy' On President's Campaign

      Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Sunday he doesn’t believe the FBI “spied” on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, as Trump and his allies have repeatedly claimed.

      Rubio disputed Trump’s characterization during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, saying that FBI investigators were justified in their October 2016 wiretapping of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser. The agents, it has been learned, had reason to believe Russia had sought to recruit Page as part of the scheme to subvert the presidential election.

      “I don’t think they did anything wrong,” Rubio said of the FBI efforts. “I think they went to the court. They got the judges to approve it. They laid out all the information ― and there was a lot of reasons... for why they wanted to look at Carter Page.”
    • Rubio: Carter Page FISA Surveillance Was Justified By More Than Steele Dossier
      Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said he supports President Donald Trump interacting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that Trump should be aware of Putin's human rights record and zero-sum approach to the US-Russia relationship.
    • Other revolving doors in the US
      Do Democrats and Republicans quarrel with each other in front of TV cameras? Obviously yes – but it’s merely a mock lovers’ spat crafted for public consumption.
    • Social Media Presences Terminated So Far Today
      Additionally, I've been getting tired of seeing things spill over on various social networks about how the current President of the United States (my 11th-line supervisor) is the embodiment of evil walking this planet. It is bad enough spending eight hours per day being paid by the federal government to hear that garbage while protecting the nation's financial interests. Coming home to hear that too is just a step too far. There just comes a point where I can't handle it anymore & have to cut something back.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Writer-director James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 over offensive tweets

      Disney has fired writer-director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after a right-wing media personality resurfaced a series of offensive tweets Gunn made, in many cases from 2009 and 2010.


      Cernovich also has a history of using old Twitter posts to target outspoken progressive voices.

    • Facebook is right to not censor Holocaust denial
      Mark Zuckerberg made several newsworthy choices this week. One — to invoke Holocaust denial as an example of content that Facebook should keep up because “there are different things that different people get wrong” and “it’s hard to impugn [their] intent” — was ill advised.

      But another — to keep Facebook from diving deeper into the business of censorship — was the right call. On July 18, Facebook announced a policy it put in place last month to remove misinformation that contributes to violence, following criticism that content published on the platform has led to attacks against minorities overseas. When pushed to go further and censor all offensive speech, Facebook refused.


      If Facebook gives itself broader censorship powers, it will inevitably take down important speech and silence already marginalized voices. We’ve seen this before. Last year, when activists of color and white people posted the exact same content, Facebook moderators censored only the activists of color. When black women posted screenshots and descriptions of racist abuse, Facebook moderators suspended their accounts or deleted their posts. And when people used Facebook as a tool to document their experiences of police violence, Facebook chose to shut down their livestreams. The ACLU’s own Facebook post about censorship of a public statue was also inappropriately censored by Facebook.

    • Mark Zuckerberg: CEO, billionaire, troll

      This week we learned that if you give that guy a platform for his voice, he'll out himself real fast. Right now, headlines blare Zuckerberg in Holocaust denial row and Fortune 500 C.E.O. Says Holocaust Deniers Must Be Given "a Voice".

    • WhatsApp to curb message forwarding after deaths in India

      Facebook is rolling out software changes to make it harder for WhatsApp messages to be forwarded following complaints that spreading of rumours led to deaths in India.

    • ‘It would be a mistake to view this censorship in isolation’
      The difference is that now this censorship is organized around a partisan political ideology since 2014. Essentially it is meant to consolidate a notion that Hindus here have suffered at the hands of minorities and ‘self-hating Hindus’. The rot has gone deep when you see something like this happening in Kerala.
    • After Haruki Murakami novel ban, five other Hong Kong censorship controversies
      One of the city’s annual literary highlights, the Hong Kong Book Fair, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the weekend when the latest work by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami was banned from the event after being deemed “indecent” by the Obscene Articles Tribunal.

      The novel, titled Kishidancho Goroshi, or Killing Commendatore, was temporarily classified as “Class II – indecent materials,” according to a notice issued by the tribunal last week. The classification means the book had to be removed from all the fair’s booths, and can now only be sold in city bookstores with its cover wrapped and a warning about its content.
    • Censorship is alive and well in Israel
      When thinking of censorship in the Middle East, many people, especially Americans, tend to think that most, if not all, Arab countries impose some form of censorship on foreign and domestic media. Many countries in the region do impose restrictions on the press but typically those affect domestic media.

      Where foreign correspondents are concerned, the rules, when broken, are rarely enforced. Why? Because arresting foreign journalists is really bad for business.

      Interestingly, the country the United States likes to identify as “the only democratic country in the Middle East region,” is the one with some of the strictest rules. That country is Israel. Despite its “democratic” labels, Israel’s military censors have been the busiest in the region.

    • Kerala Government Backs Author Who Pulled Back Novel After Alleged Threat
      Writers and leaders of political parties rallied behind noted Malayalam author S Hareesh, who withdrew his novel being serialised in a weekly after alleged threats from right-wing groups, with the Kerala government asking the publishers to go ahead with the work.

      An array of eminent Malayalam writers, including M Mukundan, K Satchidanandan, Anita Nair, Unni R and KR Meera, expressed anguish over the development and said it was a threat to freedom of expression.

    • Writers Against Self-censorship
      The thugs policing our cultural fraternity have struck again. In response to the violent threats against his family, Malayalam writer S Hareesh has now withdrawn his novel Meesa (Moustache) being serialised by Mathrubhumi, stating that he will publish it when “the climate is congenial”.

      Meesa is the first novel written by Hareesh, winner of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for short fiction​. The first three chapters of this novel were published in serial form by Mathrubhumi weekly, raising great expectations among readers. Then right​-wing groups began a campaign of intimidation that has become only too familiar in recent years.

      Hareesh was accused of “hurting religious sentiments” and “maligning Hindus”. He was threatened that his hand would be chopped off ​to “teach him a lesson”. He was abused and threatened on social media, forcing him to deactivate his accounts. Members of his family were viciously trolled. Copies of the weekly were burnt, prompting the editor to tweet that literature is being mob lynched. ​

    • Converting censorship battles into stagecraft
      Just over a week remains for applications to close for the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival. This year marks the 14th edition of the Bengaluru-based cultural venue’s annual fiesta, and its theme is particularly prickly given the times. They have mooted the idea of a ‘Festival of Plays that Almost Weren’t’, inviting applications for works based on material that may have faced censure, censorship or muzzling by both state or ‘extra-state’ players. The festival both curates existing productions and commissions new ventures, so a fresh bunch of plays based on previously banned works could emerge from just one season.


      Citing the ‘hurt sentiments’ of Warkaris, the Samiti shut down Khade’s play and railed against Mokashi’s film, less successfully.

    • The great nipple debate: on the censorship of women’s bodies
      In 1485, an acclaimed German portrait painter named Hans Memling unveiled his supposed masterpiece. A carefully-detailed triptych, it depicts three figures; the one on the left, a hideous skeleton sporting a gaping wound; the one on the right, a demonic, black-taloned horror, his midriff the snarling fanged face of an ogre. But it’s the central image that is the most concerning. There, completely naked, stands a woman, a small dog behind her, and a long, thin mirror in her hand. The central image’s title? Vanity.

      In a lot of ways, this one assuming image – the height of a thoroughly ordinary fifteenth century painter’s entire career – sums up the entire rotten core of classical art. Acclaimed critic John Berger put it best in Ways Of Seeing, a book released to tie into his BBC television series of the same name. “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her,” wrote Berger. “Then you put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting Vanity, thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.”

    • New York Times LGBT coverage censored in Qatar: report

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF Files Amicus Brief in Seventh Circuit Supporting Warrant for Border Searches of Electronic Devices

      EFF, joined by ACLU, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit arguing that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching personal electronic devices like cell phones and laptops.

      We filed our brief in a criminal case involving Donald Wanjiku, who, in June 2015, landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport after returning from a trip to the Philippines. Without getting a warrant from a judge that was based on probable cause of criminality, border agents searched Wanjiku’s cell phone manually—using their hands to navigate the phone’s interface; and forensically—using external software to search the phone’s files. Border agents also forensically searched Wanjiku’s laptop and external hard drive. He was ultimately charged with transporting child pornography.

      Wanjiku asked the district court in U.S. v. Wanjiku to suppress evidence obtained from the warrantless border searches of his electronic devices, but the judge denied his motion. He then appealed to the Seventh Circuit.

    • Bad Bill Would Create A Nationwide Exception To Subpoena And Warrant Requirements For Cellphone Location Data

      This law is named after Kelsey Smith, who was murdered more than a decade ago. Police approached Verizon asking for her cellphone's current location, only to be told they needed to get a subpoena. By the time police had obtained that, Smith was already dead -- killed the same day she was kidnapped. As Ruiz points out, Kansas lawmakers immediately carved out an emergency exception for cell location ping orders, stripping away subpoena requirements. This bill would extend that to all 50 states.

      The problem is the bill's wording, which would eliminate privacy protections granted to Americans under the nebulous heading of "emergency." The bill's language contains an expansive definition for the new subpoena/warrant exception, which would definitely cover no one idea of an emergency.

    • Private messaging apps increasingly used for public business

      Democratic lawmakers has introduced a bill that would make clear that personal social media pages and messages are public records.

    • Canadian Court Affirms Citizens Still Have An Expectation Of Privacy In Devices Being Repaired By Third Parties
      A Canadian appeals court has decided in favor of greater privacy protections for Canadians. The case involves the discovery of child porn by a computer technician who was repairing the appellant's computer. This info was handed over to the police who obtained a "general warrant" to image the hard drive to scour it for incriminating evidence.

      Yes, "general warrants" are still a thing in the Crown provinces. The same thing we fought against with the institution of the Fourth Amendment exists in Canada. These days, it has more in common with All Writs orders than the general warrants of the pre-Revolution days, but there's still a hint of tyrannical intent to them.
    • Orders to snoop on private data unlawful, tribunal finds
      Directions for the collection of bulk communications data issued to the Government’s GCHQ snooping agency over a period of more than a decade were unlawful, a tribunal has found.

      Under security arrangements introduced after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, successive foreign secretaries have had the power to direct GCHQ to obtain data from communications companies.

    • Orders to snoop on private data unlawful, tribunal finds
      Directions for the collection of bulk communications data issued to the Government’s GCHQ snooping agency over a period of more than a decade were unlawful, a tribunal has found.

      Under security arrangements introduced after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, successive foreign secretaries have had the power to direct GCHQ to obtain data from communications companies.

      But the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) found that in practice, this power was unlawfully delegated to the Cheltenham-based agency, allowing spies unfettered discretion on what data to demand.

      The ruling came after a legal challenge by the charity Privacy International, which said it amounted to “proof positive” of the inadequacy of the oversight system formerly in place to safeguard personal privacy.

    • UK spies broke law for 15 years, but what can you do? shrugs judge
      The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has re-ruled that GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 engaged in indiscriminate and illegal bulk cable-tapping surveillance for 15 years – and has once again refused to do anything about it.

      In a 113-paragraph judgment handed down today filled with assurances that he was "anxious to assist in achieving improvements" in spying practices, Sir Michael Burton, president of the IPT, found that for a decade and a half, the spy agencies were operating outside section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984.
    • Foreign Secretaries Illegally Handed GCHQ Data Request Powers
      Privacy International (PI) claimed victory today after a tenacious legal investigation which had forced GCHQ to make “substantial corrections” to evidence it originally gave to the court mid-case.

    • Breaking With 30 Years Of Traditional Opacity, DOJ Releases FISA Warrant Applications For Surveillance Of Carter Page
      The Trump Administration can claim a historic first, even though it would probably rather not do so. As the result of multiple FOIA lawsuits -- whose arguments were strengthened by Trump's tweets and statements from the House Intelligence community -- the DOJ has released a stack of FISA warrant applications. This has never happened in the 30-year existence of the FISA court.

      The 412-page document [PDF] (which is actually four warrant applications and their accompanying court orders) detail the FBI's surveillance of Carter Page, alleged agent of a foreign power. The affidavits detail Page's connections to Russia, as well as the FBI's reliance on contested Steele dossier to build its case.

      There are a lot of redactions that obscure Page's ties to Russian government officials, intelligence officers, and business owners, but there's enough left out in the open to draw some inferences. What's most interesting about the warrant applications is how often they rebut assertions made by Devin Nunes and his supposedly-damning memo.

      Nunes portrayed this investigation as an abuse of surveillance powers to spy on the Trump campaign. Unfortunately for this member of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, the documents make it clear surveillance of Page didn't begin until after he had left his position as an adviser to Trump.

      That doesn't mean Trump is off the hook in terms of collusion. The documents also refer to other members of Trump's campaign team "perhaps" being involved with Russian officials and intelligence services during the campaign.

      The affidavits also undercut Nunes' and Trump's claims the FBI misled the FISA court about the origins of the Steele Dossier. Both claimed the FBI did not disclose the fact this dossier had been funded by Trump's political opponents. Footnotes attached to the very first warrant request expressly state Steele ("Source #1") had been hired by to dig up dirt on Trump's Russian connections by an outside law firm.

    • Uber, Lyft driver booted after newspaper reveals he was livestreaming passengers

      A St. Louis Uber and Lyft driver has been kicked off both companies' platforms after the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday night that he had been livestreaming his passengers for months without their consent.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Statement: No Fascists at HOPE

      On Saturday, 2600 and HOPE Conference organizers refused to remove fascist and white nationalist disruptors from HOPE 2018...

    • Freedom not Fear 2018: 21–24 September, Brussels

      Freedom not Fear is an annual meeting for civil rights activists from all across Europe. Representatives from non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels for four days to work for freedom in the digitised world.

    • Uber loses a 'precedential' victory, and some New York state drivers win 'employee' status

      If Uber wants to further contest the Board's findings, it will have to do so in state court.

    • Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities
      Under the alias Cynthia Murphy, Russian spy Lydia Guryeva attended Columbia Business School, and ingratiated herself with a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Guryeva’s instructions from Moscow, according to a 2010 FBI complaint, were to “strengthen…ties w. classmates on daily basis incl. professors who can help in job search and who will have (or already have) access to secret info” and to report “on their detailed personal data and character traits w. preliminary conclusions about their potential (vulnerability) to be recruited by Service.”

      Now another graduate student at an urban East Coast university, who similarly cultivated powerbrokers and political operatives, is accused of being a Russian spy and taking orders from high-ranking officials in her homeland. Maria Butina, who received a master’s degree in international relations this past spring from American University in Washington, D.C., courted the National Rifle Association’s top guns and sought access to Republican presidential candidates Scott Walker and Donald Trump. She pleaded innocent last week to charges of conspiring to act as a foreign agent.

    • The Next Supreme Court Justice: Here's What the Senate Should Ask About New Technologies and the Internet
      Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination has sparked a great deal of discussion about his views on reproductive rights and executive authority. But the Supreme Court tackles a broad range of issues, including the present and future of digital rights and innovation. As Congress plays its crucial constitutional role in scrutinizing judicial nominees, Senators should take care to press the nominee for his views on how the law should address new technologies and the Internet.

      We hope that the Court will ensure that constitutional protections extend to our digital landscape. To better understand whether Kavanaugh is likely to help or hinder, here are a few questions Senators should ask.

      As an initial matter, any nominee to the Supreme Court must appreciate how the Court’s rulings may impact digital rights now and far into the future. In a 1979 case called Smith v. Maryland, for instance, the Supreme Court ruled that people do not have a privacy interest in information they hand over to third parties (like the numbers you dial on a telephone). That case—where police had reasonable suspicion that a single individual was committing a specific crime—has shaped police practice in the digital age, and provided a contorted legal defense for mass domestic surveillance programs like the NSA’s call-records program, even though they subject millions of people to continuous monitoring based on no suspicion of any particular crime.

      But the Court is starting to understand how much the Internet and the ubiquity of mobile devices have changed daily life in the United States. In Packingham, the Court acknowledged that social media has become the “modern public square,” and in Riley the Court ruled that law enforcement cannot search cell phones at the time of arrest because of the vast quantities of personal data they store. And just a few weeks ago, in Carpenter the Supreme Court ruled that the 4th Amendment applies to cell-phone-based location tracking—so if law enforcement wants historical customer location information from cell-phone providers, they will now have to get a warrant.

    • The Power of the Prosecutor: A Personal Account
      I was an addict and I needed help. The prosecutor in my case couldn’t have cared less.

      Have you ever watched an episode of “Law & Order”? The creators do an amazing job of dramatizing the court process. The characters playing the prosecutors are always eloquent and passionate as they go toe-to-toe with an indignant defense attorney who is quick to counter every point. We see this version of the trial process all the time in mainstream media. The real life, everyday version is much different. My real-life experience was much different.

      Like millions of others in this country, my experience didn’t involve expensive defense lawyers, just overworked and underpaid public defenders. There were no passionate arguments from the prosecutors because over 90 percent of all cases end in a plea agreement, as mine did. I was convicted in 2015 for two felonies and a few subsequent misdemeanors. My felonies were fraud-based charges for cashing checks that weren’t mine. My misdemeanors included things like attempted retail theft, trespassing, and a couple other minor things.

      I did not walk into that courtroom a hardened criminal, and I had never been to jail. My real crime was addiction. Like many others, I was a heroin addict and committed these low-level crimes to support my daily use. My addiction, as that of many women, spurred from serious trauma, including sexual and domestic violence.

    • Trump’s Family Separation Deadline Looms

      On July 23, the Trump administration told the court that it had reunited or 'appropriately discharged' 1,187 of the 2,551 children ages five and older who were forcibly separated from their parents. The government has also reunited 58 out of 103 children who are under the age of five and whose reunions were required by the first deadline, July 10.

      The government identified 1,634 class members who are eligible for reunification and are in various stages of the process. However, in the same federal court filing, the government has claimed that the separated children of 917 parents are either not eligible, or “not yet known to be eligible,” for reunification.

    • Listen To Stephen Fry Perfectly Analogize The Moral Panics Around Facebook To The Ones Over The Printing Press
      So I'm a bit late to this, as Stephen Fry released a podcast "documentary" entitle Great Leap Years a few months back. I've just started listening to it recently, and it hits on so many of the points and ideas that I've tried to address here on Techdirt over the course of the past 20 years, but does so much more brilliantly than anything I've done in those ~70,000 posts. That is, in short, if you like what we write about here concerning the nature of innovation and technology, I highly recommend the podcast, after having just listened to the first two episodes.

      And just to give you a sense of this, I'm going to quote a bit from near the end of the 2nd podcast. This isn't revealing any spoilers, and the storytelling is so wonderful that you really ought to listen to the whole thing. But this so perfectly encapsulates many of my thoughts about why people freaking out about "bad stuff" happening on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more are in the midst of a a moral panic not unlike those we've seen before. None of this is to say that we should ignore the "bad stuff" that is happening, or try to minimize it. But it does suggest that we take a broader perspective and recognize that, maybe, this is the way humans are, and it's not "this new technology" that's to blame.

    • Kushner Companies Loses a Key Motion in Class Action Filed by Baltimore Tenants
      A Maryland judge is allowing a class action lawsuit against Jared Kushner’s family real estate company to proceed, in a ruling that denies most of the company’s arguments to dismiss the case over its treatment of tenants at large apartment complexes in the Baltimore area.

      The lawsuit, filed last September in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, alleges that the Kushner Companies’ real estate management arm, Westminster Management, has been improperly inflating payments owed by tenants by charging them late fees that are often baseless and in excess of state laws limiting them to 5 percent of rent. The suit also claims that Westminster was making some tenants pay so-called court fees that are not actually approved by any court. The suit alleges that the late fees and court fees set in motion a vicious churning cycle in which rent payments are partly put toward the fees instead of the actual rent owed, thus deeming the tenant once again “late” on his or her rent payment, leading to yet more late fees and court fees. Tenants are pressured to pay the snowballing bills with immediate threat of eviction, the suit alleges.

      The lawsuit followed a May 2017 article co-published by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine that described the highly aggressive legal tactics used by Kushner Companies to pursue tenants and former tenants at 15 apartment complexes in the Baltimore area.
    • When a Stop-and-Frisk Became a Stop-and-Grope
      During a pat-down, a DC police officer put his fingers into our client’s anus and grabbed his genitals.

      Late one September afternoon in 2017, on an ordinary residential street in a predominantly African-African neighborhood of the nation’s capital, M.B. Cottingham and his friends had gathered to discuss how to celebrate his birthday that evening. Someone popped a bottle of champagne.

      And then everything changed.

      In what D.C. residents (and even a federal appeals court judge) recognize as common practice in the city, police cars rolled up and the officers jumped out to confront this group of African-African men congregating peacefully on the streets of their own neighborhood. Though the officers had no reason for suspicion, they demanded to know if the men had guns. The men all said no.

      One officer approached Mr. Cottingham, a lifelong D.C. resident who works as an ice-cream vendor, selling frozen treats out of a truck. The officer, Sean Lojacono, asked Mr. Cottingham about a bulge in his sock. Mr. Cottingham pulled out a legal amount of marijuana and — having been stopped and frisked countless times by D.C. police since he was 14 and hoping to keep the situation from escalating — volunteered to let the officer frisk him.

      What happened next was shocking both to Mr. Cottingham and the thousands of viewers who would later watch the video of the incident online.

      Ranging far beyond what should have been a limited pat-down for weapons, Officer Lojacono jammed his fingers between Mr. Cottingham’s buttocks and grabbed his genitals. Mr. Cottingham physically flinched and verbally protested, making clear that this highly intrusive search was not within the scope of the frisk to which he had consented. Officer Lojacono responded by handcuffing Mr. Cottingham and returning to probe the most sensitive areas of his person — two more excruciating times.

      No warrant, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or consent justified the scope of these probes, which were conducted in broad daylight in public and with no other discernible reason than to humiliate and degrade Mr. Cottingham and to display the officer’s power over him.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Survey: 5.4 Million Americans Will Cut The Cable TV Cord In 2018
      The rise of cord cutting shows no sign of slowing down. As cable providers continue to raise prices yet refuse to seriously address their dismal customer service, nasty billing fraud problems and skyrocketing prices, more users than ever are flocking to a new variety of cheaper, more flexible streaming alternatives. Some cablecos have attempted to get out ahead of this trend by offering their own competing services (AT&T's DirecTV Now, Dish Network's Sling TV), but most traditional cable providers seem intent on just doubling down on the same bad ideas that started the cord cutting trend in the first place.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • UK: Maxell Wins In Smartphone Patent Dispute With ZTE
      ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications manufacturer, has been found to be wilfully infringing seven of Maxell's US patents. ZTE has been ordered to pay Maxell $43 million for the infringement of the patents, which relate to wireless flash drives, multimedia devices, and storage and memory devices in mobile phones and tablets.

      Maxell, a Japanese consumer electronics company, had been trying to negotiate a licence agreement with ZTE for its patents since 2013, which it believed would be mutually beneficial to the companies. However, ZTE resisted signing a deal with Maxell and incorporated Maxell's patented technology in 105 of its products. ZTE were thus found to have wilfully infringed Maxell's patents.

    • What Drives Product Companies to Sue?
      There are many studies of patent litigation, including the reasons that firms litigate - I have worked on some myself. Much of it is really helpful information, but all of the studies lack one key component: the patents that get litigated are highly selected. They are selected for a) the firms that litigate (practicing v. non-practicing), b) the patents that are litigated (individual, portfolio, lead), and c) the cases that are litigated to judgment (default, settlement, summary judgment, trial).

      In the realm of which firms and patents litigate, most of the studies have looked at the litigation level, comparing characteristics of patents and technology with samples of those patents and technologies that were not litigated. This is helpful information, but it certainly doesn't tell the whole story. So, Dirk Czarnitzki and Kristof Van Criekingen (KU Leuven Managerial Economics) have used survey data of Belgian firms to be better understand which firms litigate. A draft of their paper New Evidence on Determinants of IP Litigation: A Market-Based Approach is posted on SSRN.

    • NEXTracker acquires key patents from Optimum Tracker
      NEXTracker announced a technology agreement with French solar tracker company, Optimum Tracker, to acquire key intellectual property elated to mechanical, electrical and software systems that will allow further differentiation of NEXTracker’s solar tracker portfolio of products and services. NEXTracker says the acquired IP is especially relevant for its TrueCapture control system, which increases typical PV power plant energy harvest by 2 to 6 percent. The strategic partnership will also enable the two companies to expand their market presence in the burgeoning Middle East, Southern Europe, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa regions.

    • Trademarks

      • UK: .eu Domain Names In A Post-Brexit World
        There has been much progress in recent times with the negotiations between the UK and European Union in relation to registered IP rights. However, the European Commission has recently given notice that .eu domain names will no longer be open to UK businesses post-Brexit.

        In a recent notice to stakeholders, including EURid, the .eu register operator, the Commission has stated:

        "As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date."

        The consequence of the above statement is that the estimate 300,000 .eu domain names owned by UK-based registrants may need to be deleted on 30 March 2019, or at least when they next become due for renewal.

    • Copyrights

      • Appeals Court Won't Yet Review Awful District Court Decision That Says Embedding Could Be Infringement
        Back in February we wrote about an absolutely horrible ruling out of a New York court by Judge Katherine Forrest that argued embedding an infringing tweet could be an act of infringement on its own. As we pointed out, if this ruling holds, it would undermine some of the basis of how the internet itself works. The issue here gets a bit into the weeds of both how the internet and how copyright law works. Embedding something on the internet, at a technical level, is really no different than how linking on the internet works. And it's long been established that if you link to infringing content, that alone should not be considered a separate act of infringement.


        Depending on where you stand this may or may not be a good thing. The case now moves back to the lower court (though, potentially with a different judge as Forrest just announced she's leaving the bench at some point "later this year."). It may go to trial, or the remaining defendants may decide to just settle the case and not have to deal with it. If the case does move forward, there are other potential reasons why Goldman may have difficulty winning, including the lack of actual knowledge of infringement by the publishers embedding the tweets.

        In either of those situations, Forrest's odd decision is then rendered less impactful. Since it's in the district court, it has no direct precedential value on other cases (though can be cited). And that's at least preferable to the 2nd Circuit blessing Forrest's dismissal of the server test... though not as good as if the 2nd Circuit decides to bless the server test. It's also possible that the issue could come up on appeal later (i.e., not as an interlocutory appeal, but after the case reaches a conclusion in the lower court). Either way, this case is still a bit of a mess, and is yet another example of how bad the law is at dealing with technology.
      • The Creator of Pepe Is Winning His War on the Alt-Right
        Matt Furie had no idea a stoned frog he posted on Myspace would be co-opted by Nazis. Now he’s on a mission to reclaim his infamous work.

        Matt Furie drew the alt-right’s favorite cartoon frog. Now he is leading one of the most successful legal campaigns against the racist right.


        “We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” a white supremacist Twitter user told The Daily Beast in 2016 of the campaign to make Pepe a gateway meme to the alt-right.

        Furie was initially casual about the frog’s incorporation into meme culture.


        Furie’s first copyright claim came last August against the author of The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, a children’s book with a thinly veiled anti-Muslim message. The kid’s book followed Pepe the frog and Pede the centipede (Redditors on the r/the_donald refer to each other as “Pedes,” short for centipedes) as they took on an evil bearded alligator named “Alkah.”

      • Russia Has Permanently Blocked 3,400 Pirate Resources

        Site-blocking is the in-vogue anti-piracy mechanism and in this respect, Russia is taking matters to extremes. According to an announcement from the authority tasked with managing Internet restrictions, more than 3,400 online resources are now subject to permanent blocking after being sanctioned by either the Moscow City Court or Ministry of Communications.

      • ‘Piracy Audiences Are Untapped Pools of Wealth’

        This week UK telecoms regulator Ofcom announced that streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon are now more popular than traditional pay-TV. It's a sign that the Internet plays a crucial role in today's distribution of video entertainment. However, according to research and analytics firm MUSO, pirate audiences remain a great untapped pool of wealth.

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