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Links 12/8/2018: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mesa 18.1.6 Release Notice, New Linux Imminent

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Tesla plans to open-source its vehicle security software for free to other automakers for safer self-driving future
    With the upcoming rise of self-driving and more connected vehicles come an increased risk of hacking those vehicles with ill-intent.

    Elon Musk thinks that Tesla’s vehicle security software is the best solution and he plans to open-source it for free to other automakers for a safer self-driving future.

    Musk has expressed concerns about hackers gaining access to Tesla system in the past.

  • Elon Musk Announces Plan to Open-Source Tesla's Self-Driving Software
    Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to share more news about the company's self-driving technology. According to the entrepreneur, plans are in place to make the autonomous software found in Tesla units available on open-source platforms.

  • Tesla will open its security code to other car manufacturers

  • Tesla may Open Source Vehicle security Software to Other Car Manufacturers
    The best explanation to Tesla’s decision to give away its patents in good faith was written by Bin Hu, Ming Hu, and Yi Yang on Informs.Org. They wrote, “We believe that Tesla opened up its patents to tip the scale between the two competing technologies in its favor. This is the logic: if Tesla’s patents are more likely to be adopted by other auto makers because they are free, the electric vehicle technology is more likely to become mainstream, and holding on to this belief, component suppliers (including energy companies by extension) are more likely to make investments into the electric vehicle technology rather than the competing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology.”

  • Openbook is the latest dream of a digital life beyond Facebook
    As tech’s social giants wrestle with antisocial demons that appear to be both an emergent property of their platform power, and a consequence of specific leadership and values failures (evident as they publicly fail to enforce even the standards they claim to have), there are still people dreaming of a better way. Of social networking beyond outrage-fuelled adtech giants like Facebook and Twitter.

    There have been many such attempts to build a ‘better’ social network of course. Most have ended in the deadpool. A few are still around with varying degrees of success/usage (Snapchat, Ello and Mastodon are three that spring to mine). None has usurped Zuckerberg’s throne of course.


    The team behind Openbook includes crypto(graphy) royalty, Phil Zimmermann — aka the father of PGP — who is on board as an advisor initially but billed as its “chief cryptographer”, as that’s what he’d be building for the platform if/when the time came.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • Unifont 11.0.02 Released
      Unifont 11.0.02 is now available. This is an interim release, with another released planned in the autumn of 2018. The main addition in this release is David Corbett's contribution of the over 600 glyphs in the Sutton SignWriting Unicode block.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Badgy is an open source E Ink badge
        Squaro Engineering has just developed their first e Ink product called Badgey. It features a 2.9 inch e-paper display with a resolution of 296×128 E and a five-way tactical switch for user input. The default firmware includes support for WiFiManager and OTA updates. This device retails for $29.99 and they offer volume pricing options, but it does not come with a battery, it has to be purchased separately.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.0

      Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: June 2018
      They’re a month overdue, and from the volume of inbound questions about when the language rankings would drop, it’s been noticed. As always, these are a continuation of the work originally performed by Drew Conway and John Myles White late in 2010. While the means of collection has changed, the basic process remains the same: we extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction. The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.


  • Secretly Handmade for CIA: Pottery From Poland
    A newly declassified secret of the CIA's is the handiwork of experts in Poland: custom-made plates, bowls and other pieces of tableware painted with the U.S. intelligence agency's official seal.

    Helena Smolenska, the head of the craft-maker cooperative in the town of Boleslawiec that produced the ceramic set, said workers met the order with "joy and disbelief" and saw it as a chance to do "something exceptional."

  • Hardware

    • Intel has no chance in servers and they know it
      Intel is flying press to an Analyst day to discuss their impending server meltdown. SemiAccurate has been detailing this impending catastrophe for over a year now, it is now time for the details.

  • Security

    • Practical Web Cache Poisoning

      In this paper I'll show you how to compromise websites by using esoteric web features to turn their caches into exploit delivery systems, targeting everyone that makes the mistake of visiting their homepage.

      I'll illustrate and develop this technique with vulnerabilities that handed me control over numerous popular websites and frameworks, progressing from simple single-request attacks to intricate exploit chains that hijack JavaScript, pivot across cache layers, subvert social media and misdirect cloud services. I'll wrap up by discussing defense against cache poisoning, and releasing the open source Burp Suite Community extension that fueled this research.

    • IBM's proof-of-concept 'DeepLocker' malware uses AI to infect PCs

    • Hack causes pacemakers to deliver life-threatening shocks

      At the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts said they first alerted medical device maker Medtronic to the hacking vulnerabilities in January 2017. So far, they said, the proof-of-concept attacks they developed still work. The duo on Thursday demonstrated one hack that compromised a CareLink 2090 programmer, a device doctors use to control pacemakers after they’re implanted in patients.

    • Bad infrastructure means pacemakers can be compromised before they leave the factory [iophk: "Windows kills"]

      The new research is some of the most chilling to date. Rios and Butts have found vulnerabilities in Medtronic's infrastructure for programming and updating the pacemakers and their programming terminals (which run Windows XP!) (Windows XP!!). By attacking Medtronic's cloud infrastructure, the pair can poison all the devices as they leave the factory, or corrupt them once they're in the field.

    • Hackable implanted medical devices could cause deaths, researchers say

      To take control of the pacemaker, Rios and Butts went up the chain, hacking the system that a doctor would use to program a patient’s pacemaker. Their hack rewrote the system to replace the background with an ominous skull, but a real hack [sic] could modify the system invisibly, while ensuring that any pacemaker connected to it would be programmed with harmful instructions. “You can obviously issue a shock,” Butts said, “but you can also deny a shock.” Because the devices are implanted for a reason, he added, withholding treatment can be as damaging as active attempts to harm.

    • AWS does a guff in a bucket and exposes GoDaddy's dirty laundry

      Details included usage stats from GoDaddy, pricing and negotiated discounted rates from Amazon. More worryingly, there's also server config information, CPU specs, hostnames, operating systems and server loads.


      GoDaddy was given a chance to plug the leaks, but after five weeks, UpGuard decided to act, as GoDaddy still hadn't locked things down.

    • Amazon AWS error exposes info on 31,000 GoDaddy servers

      Data leaks are par for the course these days, and the latest company to be involved in one is GoDaddy. The company, which says it's the world's top domain name registrar with over 18 million customers, is the subject of a new report from cybersecurity firm UpGuard that was shared exclusively with Engadget. In June, cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery discovered files containing detailed server information stored in an unsecured S3 bucket -- a cloud storage service from Amazon Web Services. A look into the files revealed multiple versions of data for over 31,000 GoDaddy systems.

    • Hackers [sic] Could Cause Havoc By Pwning Internet-Connected Irrigation Systems

      The researchers studied three different Internet of Things devices that help control irrigation and found flaws that would allow malicious hackers [sic] to turn them on remotely in an attempt to drain water. The attacks don’t rely on fancy hacking techniques or hard to find vulnerabilities, but to make a real, negative impact on a city’s water reserves, the hackers [sic] would need to take control of a lot of sprinklers. According to the researcher’s math, to empty an average water tower, hackers [sic] would need a botnet of 1,355 sprinklers; to empty a flood water reservoir, hackers [sic] would need a botnet of 23,866 sprinklers.

      The researchers say their attacks are innovative not because of the techniques, but because they don’t rely on targeting a city’s critical infrastructure itself, which is (or should be) hardened against hackers [sic]. Instead, it attacks weak Internet of Things devices connected to that infrastructure.

    • Windows BitPaymer ransomware scores a hole in one: US PGA takes a hit

      Malicious attackers have launched a Windows ransomware attack on the servers of the PGA of America golf tournament which began at the Bellerive County Club in St Louis on Thursday.

      Allan Liska, a ransomware expert from security form Recorded Future, told iTWire that the ransomware in question appeared to be BitPaymer.

    • Hacking [sic] a Brand New Mac Remotely, Right Out of the Box

      That attack, which researchers will demonstrate Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, targets enterprise Macs that use Apple's Device Enrollment Program and its Mobile Device Management platform. These enterprise tools allow employees of a company to walk through the customized IT setup of a Mac themselves, even if they work in a satellite office or from home. The idea is that a company can ship Macs to its workers directly from Apple's warehouses, and the devices will automatically configure to join their corporate ecosystem after booting up for the first time and connecting to Wi-Fi.

    • In-the-wild router exploit sends unwitting users to fake banking site

      The vulnerability works against DLink DSL-2740R, DSL-2640B, DSL-2780B, DSL-2730B, and DSL-526B models that haven’t been patched in the past two years. As described in disclosures here, here, here, here, and here, the flaw allows attackers to remotely change the DNS server that connected computers use to translate domain names into IP addresses.

    • In-vehicle wireless devices are endangering emergency first responders

      In late 2016, security researcher Justin Shattuck was on assignment for an organization that was under a crippling denial-of-service attack by a large number of devices, some of which appeared to be hosted inside the network of a large European airport. As he scanned the airport’s network from the Internet—and later, with the airport operators’ permission, from inside the network—he was eventually able to confirm that the devices were indeed part of several previously unseen botnets that were delivering record-setting denial-of-service attacks on websites.

    • Breaking Down the Door to Emergency Services through Cellular IoT Gateway

      Nearly two years have passed since we first started observing cellular gateways distributing packets across the internet. Today, we are only scratching the surface of what will inevitably turn into years of future research and discoveries before the world has tackled the problem of IoT devices being deployed without security considerations. For now, this article includes the following, and will be followed up with future research and discoveries.

      • The existence of cellular IoT devices that are not properly configured is allowing attackers to easily leverage remote administration for nefarious purposes.
        • The improperly configured devices we discovered and tested had either default administration credentials (such as admin:12345), or they required no authentication at all.
      • The absence of logging capabilities on these devices ensures that nefarious activities cannot be tracked.
      • Because most of the use cases for cellular IoT are for moving fleets, devices that need tracking, or remote critical infrastructure, virtually all of them have GPS coordinates. Excessive information disclosure, such as providing GPS coordinates publicly without requiring authentication (as some devices we discovered do) is giving attackers the ability to track fleet vehicles without ever breaking the law with unauthorized access. Yes, police cars can be tracked without breaking the law.
      • There is no bias on which industries or cellular device manufacturer will fall victim to threats emerging from cellular devices. Virtually every industry that requires some form of long-range, constant connectivity is impacted (and likely, most manufacturers) as development standards apply unilaterally.
      • As of July 28, 2018, we have identified more than 100,000 devices that are impacted online. 86% of the devices identified exist within the United States.
      • Attackers have been exploiting many of these systems since August 2016, if not earlier.
      • We have a defined list of impacted Sierra Wireless makes and models, however, we believe the problem to be widespread across all manufacturers of cellular IoT devices.
    • David Tomaschik: I'm the One Who Doesn't Knock: Unlocking Doors From the Network

      Today I’m giving a talk in the IoT Village at DEF CON 26. Though not a “main stage” talk, this is my first opportunity to speak at DEF CON. I’m really excited, especially with how much I enjoy IoT hacking. My talk was inspired by the research that lead to CVE-2017-17704, but it’s not meant to be a vendor-shaming session. It’s meant to be a discussion of the difficulty of getting physical access control systems that have IP communications features right. It’s meant to show that the designs we use to build a secure system when you have a classic user interface don’t work the same way in the IoT world.

    • Google security specialist booted from Vegas hotel over ‘threat’

    • Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack 'attack' tweet

    • A Tweet About Hacking Gets a Google Engineer in Trouble

    • Stylistic analysis can de-anonymize code, even compiled code

      A presentation today at Defcon from Drexel computer science prof Rachel Greenstadt and GWU computer sicence prof Aylin Caliskan builds on the pair's earlier work in identifying the authors of software and shows that they can, with a high degree of accuracy, identify the anonymous author of software, whether in source-code or binary form.

    • Even Anonymous Coders Leave Fingerprints

      Rachel Greenstadt, an associate professor of computer science at Drexel University, and Aylin Caliskan, Greenstadt's former PhD student and now an assistant professor at George Washington University, have found that code, like other forms of stylistic expression, are not anonymous. At the DefCon hacking conference Friday, the pair will present a number of studies they've conducted using machine learning techniques to de-anonymize the authors of code samples. Their work could be useful in a plagiarism dispute, for instance, but it also has privacy implications, especially for the thousands of developers who contribute open source code to the world.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Swedish Nazi arrested for planned murder of journalists

      A member of Sweden’s neo-Nazi party the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) has been arrested after police found proof that he was planning to murder two journalists.

    • Wikileaks: Rwandan Reconciliation Is a Lie
      On Sunday I joined the three-day YouTube vigil for imperiled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The next day I realized that I must have sounded obsessive because I’d kept returning to a single classified diplomatic cable from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, sent to the US State Department. This is one of the many thousands of diplomatic cables that Wikileaks released between February 18, 2010, and September 1, 2011. I know I didn’t fully explain it although I kept returning to it because I kept turning it over in the back of my mind. Apologies to the YouTube vigil producers and listeners for any inexplicable redundancy. I’m going to do my best to clear that up now that I’ve had more time to think about.

      The cable’s title is “ETHNICITY IN RWANDA - - -WHO GOVERNS THE COUNTRY?” It’s dated August 5, 2008. Its overall classification is “SECRET,” second only to “TOP SECRET,” and “NOFORN,” no distribution to foreign nationals. Those parts of it which describe Rwandan reality in general terms are marked “CONFIDENTIAL, NOFORN.” Passages naming specific individuals holding various positions in Rwanda are marked “SECRET, NOFORN.” The latter seem to explain why the cable is marked “SECRET, NOFORN” overall.

    • No, Assassination By Drone Isn't A New Concept, I Have Been Warning Of It For Years

    • The Day of the Drone Assassin Has Arrived
      Unknown forces attempted to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro last Saturday in Caracas. The weapon of choice: a pair of powerful M600 quadcopters, each armed with more than two pounds of C4 explosive, and equipped with remote-control detonators.
    • 'Real assassins!': Venezuela targets opposition after drone blasts
      Venezuela confirmed the arrest of one lawmaker and ordered the detention of another on Wednesday, accusing the opposition politicians of scheming to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro with explosives-laden drones at a rally last weekend.

      Two drones detonated during a military parade on Saturday, injuring seven officers and sending soldiers scurrying for cover during a Maduro speech broadcast live. Maduro himself was unharmed.

    • Danger Ahead: The Game-Changer Drone
      A quick survey of some of the well known victims illustrates the targeted killings. Phillip II of Macedonia was assassinated in 336 B.C. and Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. For a number of centuries, the 8th through the 14th, an Islamic sect called the Assassins was active in the areas of what is now Iran and Syria, killing, often under influence of hashish, caliphs, viziers, sultans, and Crusaders for political and religious reasons.

    • ‘CIA kept changing story on losing the nuclear device in Nanda Devi’
      After the Chinese carried out their first nuclear test in 1964, the US decided to spy on China’s nuclear capabilities via India. The CIA asked the Indian government if it could plant a sensor. The government, which at the time blindly followed the CIA, agreed. On June 23, 1965, we did a trial run on Mount McKinley in Alaska, and then went to Nanda Devi, but had to turn back because of bad weather conditions. Unable to carry it back, we left the device there. We went back in May 1966 to search for it, and again in 1967 but had no luck. In 1968, we finally abandoned the search. Because it was a top-secret mission, we were not allowed to disclose what we were doing even to our families. The American agents used aliases. The whole thing was quite exhausting, but we were in the service of the nation.

    • Israel pounds Gaza, killing a pregnant woman and her child
      At least three Palestinians, including a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old child, were killed by Israeli air attacks and artillery shelling on the besieged Gaza Strip.

      Israeli launched more than 140 attacks after about 150 rockets were fired from the coastal enclave, injuring at least six people in Israel.

    • He flew secret CIA missions with Hmong fighters in Laos. A new play tells their story.

      Yang said the play will not only be enjoyable to those who may not have know about the Secret War, but it will also shed light on the war for younger generations of Hmong.

      "The younger Hmong generation who were born here after 1975, they had no idea how hard, how bad their parents went through," Yang said. "They had no idea what happened in the Secret War."

      Following the play, Hansen and Yang will hold a question and answer segment. Yang hopes this will allow people, young and old, who want specific answers to what exactly happened all those years ago in Laos to get a chance to ask people who have a deep connection to it.

    • Stephen Gutowski: Censorship of gun-rights group is ‘far more aggressive than anything we’ve seen with Alex Jones’
      2nd Amendment reporter Stephen Gutowski has a must-read piece over at the Free Beacon on the censorship of, a coalition of gun-rights groups that published the now infamous 3D-gun design files.

    • At least 29 children killed in strike on Yemen bus
      An attack on a bus at a market in rebel-held northern Yemen killed at least 29 children Thursday, the Red Cross said, as the Saudi-led coalition faced a growing outcry over the strike.

      The coalition said it had carried out a "legitimate military action", targeting a bus in response to a deadly missile attack on Saudi Arabia on Wednesday by Huthi rebels.

      Coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told AFP that claims by aid organisations that children were inside the bus were "misleading", adding that the bus carried "Huthi combatants".

      The International Committee of the Red Cross said the strike hit a bus filled with children at the Dahyan market in the Huthi stronghold of Saada.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Oracle Accused of Defrauding Investors on Cloud Sales Growth

      After a few years, the effort is still nascent and Oracle trails market-share leaders in key segments. The Redwood Shores, California-based company stopped disclosing specific cloud sales metrics as of June, giving investors less insight into its transition to [I]nternet-based software.

      The suit claimed that Oracle’s executives lied in forward-looking statements, which are never guaranteed, during earnings calls and at investor conferences in 2017 when they said customers were rapidly adopting their cloud-based products and cloud sales would accelerate.

    • Microsoft CEO Sells $36 Million in Stock; Starts Trading Plan

      Nadella will continue to divest shares in the next year through the structured plan in which he doesn’t control the timing or amounts sold, the company said Friday. He will sell fewer than half his Microsoft shares through the plan, according to the company.

    • Maybe MoviePass Shouldn't Compare Itself to Uber

      One thing the two companies do have in common is that neither one has shown any signs of turning a profit.

    • More than 100 seats that backed Brexit now want to stay in EU
      More than 100 Westminster constituencies that voted to leave the EU have now switched their support to Remain, according to a stark new analysis seen by the Observer.

      In findings that could have a significant impact on the parliamentary battle of Brexit later this year, the study concludes that most seats in Britain now contain a majority of voters who want to stay in the EU.

      The analysis, one of the most comprehensive assessments of Brexit sentiment since the referendum, suggests the shift has been driven by doubts among Labour voters who backed Leave.


      One seat has switched support in Scotland and 97 have switched in England, while 14 of the 40 seats in Wales have changed from Leave to Remain. Overall, the model puts Remain on 53% support, with 47% backing Leave.

      It suggests that there is now a majority for Remain in Scotland and Wales – meaning greater pressure on the union following the UK’s departure. Young voters and those from ethnic minorities have also driven the switch to Remain.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Dems want GOP chairman to subpoena State Department over cyber docs

      “The Department has not produced a single document in 2018 in response to our request,” Cummings and Kelly wrote, arguing that the dearth of documents has prevented lawmakers from understanding “the basis of the Department’s decision to shutter” the office and from “planning for the reorganization of these functions.”

    • Bill would ban House members from serving on boards of publicly held companies

      The resolution from New York Reps. Tom Reed (R) and Kathleen Rice (D) would amend House rules to mirror a Senate provision banning lawmakers from sitting on the boards of “any publicly-held or publicly regulated corporation, financial institution, or business entity.”

    • Twitter Fact-Checking Won't Free Us From Our Baseless Convictions

      We drop faulty beliefs not when they’re disproven by scientists or lawyers, but when—and only when—they cost us our relationships, our professional standing, our freedom, and even our chances for survival. We’re humans in a world of natural selection. The prospect of exile, isolation, and death can be keenly persuasive.

    • The Sinclair/Tribune Merger Is Dead

      A merger that would have given a conservative broadcasting company access to 73 percent of US households is now officially dead. Today, the Tribune Media Company announced that it has terminated its $3.9 billion merger agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, and is now suing Sinclair for $1 billion for breach of contract.

    • We analyzed every QAnon post on Reddit. Here’s who QAnon supporters actually are.
      Late on a recent Thursday night, a Reddit user posted a comment in a forum (or subreddit) devoted to the game Magic: The Gathering about how the company that makes the game is hiring with diversity in mind — and how that was ruining the quality of its cards.
    • We Have the CIA to Thank for the QAnon Conspiracy Theory
      As the editor of the JFK Facts blog, I try not to spend a lot of time on stupid conspiracy theories, but given widespread ignorance and confusion on the subject, unpleasant journalist duty often calls.

      Who killed JFK? The Federal Reserve? Nah. The Secret Service man? A hoax. Ted Cruz’s father? Pure B.S. George H.W. Bush? Heavy breathing is not the same as credible evidence. On a recent Black Vault podcast, the most common JFK question I heard was, “Was Kennedy assassinated because of his interest in UFOs?” Um, no, he was not.

      Which brings me to QAnon, the imaginative conspiracy theorist now dominating the internet, attracting followers of President Trump, and obsessing the Washington Post, which has published a dozen articles about QAnon in the span of four days. Like many conspiracy theories, the QAnon fever dream can be traced back to the assassination of JFK.
    • The dark conspiracy theory that helped create QAnon
      A shadowy group of powerful figures are secretly in control of the United States. They’re abducting children and subjecting them to lurid, Satanic abuse. Our only hope lies with a single brave source, one with first-hand experience of the horrifying conspiracy, to expose the plot.

      This may sound like a brief description of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which, after spending a year bubbling at the fringes of the internet, suddenly burst into the mainstream last week at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. But it’s actually a description of another conspiracy theory that gripped America in the early 1980s, one that led to the most expensive trial in California’s history and was eventually proven to be utterly false.

      In 1980, Canadian psychiatric patient Michelle Smith co-wrote a book with her psychiatrist Lawrence Pazder — whom she later married — titled Michelle Remembers. In the book, Michelle claimed to “remember,” via hypnosis, that her mother was actually a member of a Satanic cult and had forced her to endure horrific abuse. Michelle claimed that she was caged, was forced to watch the cult slaughter kittens, and endured 81 straight days of abuse in an effort to summon Satan himself.
    • CLARENCE PAGE: QAnon: When reality is just too much
    • Down the 'QAnon' rabbit hole
    • Fearmongering is fueling QAnon: This is not a dangerous cult, at least yet
    • Why young white men are abandoning the Democrats

      The Democrats’ embrace of identity politics is turning off a generation of voters.
    • "Absolute Failure": DNC Passes Perez Resolution Reversing Ban on Donations From Fossil Fuel PACs
      Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was celebrated by environmentalists for banning donations from fossil fuel companies, it voted 30-2 on Friday to adopt a resolution from Chair Tom Perez that critics said effectively reverses the ban and represents “an absolute failure by the DNC.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Woman held in Dubai with daughter after drinking wine on flight

    • Senator Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture
      Newly released official documents obtained by the National Security Archive showing that CIA Director Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at the first CIA “Black Site” simply confirm what Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) already knew as he orchestrated the charade that was Haspel’s confirmation hearing. Burr allowed her to “classify” her own direct role in waterboarding and other torture techniques so that it could be kept from the public and secure her confirmation–further proof that this Senate oversight committee has instead become an overlook committee.

      That Haspel supervised the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the first CIA “black site” for interrogation was already clear to those who had followed Haspel’s career, but she was able to do a song and dance when Sen. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) asked her about it. Haspel declinded to reply on grounds that the information was classified. It was of course because Haspel herself had classified it. All the senators knew that only too well. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) had strongly objected to this bizarre practice only minutes before.

      Witnessing this charade from the audience is prompted me to stand up, excuse myself for interrupting, and suggest that the committee members were entitled to an honest answer since this was a public hearing with thousands watching on TV. The American people were also entitled to know whether or not she was directly involved in torture. As I was calmly pointing out that any Senate Intelligence Committee member who prepared for the hearing already knew the answer, I was “escorted out,” man handled and charged with disrupting Congress and resisting arrest.

    • Shining a Light on CIA Torture
      OFFICIALLY REGISTERED AS business charter jets, two aircraft based at North Carolina’s rural Johnston County Airport—a Gulfstream V and a Boeing 737 with the original tail numbers N379P and N313P—secretly conducted some ghastly “business.”

      They were U.S. “torture taxis” in the years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

      Playing a key role in the CIA’s “extraordinary rendition,” detention, and interrogation program, the two aircraft flew at least 34 separate “rendition circuits” that resulted in the kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture of at least 49 individuals, according to the U.K.-based Rendition Project, a coalition of academics, human rights investigators, legal teams, and investigative journalists who waded through reams of data, including falsified and redacted flight plans and other reports, to uncover the truth about the CIA program and its victims.


      The commission against torture is following the lead of previous truth commissions, including its own state’s Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission and another focused on the 1898 Wilmington race riot—both of whose members and staff provided advice. The independent, nongovernmental torture commission held public hearings in November and December to investigate and encourage public debate about the role North Carolina played in facilitating the U.S. torture program between 2001 and 2006.

    • When the CIA Learned Cats Make Bad Spies
      The most famous kitty in spy history is probably the white Persian of James Bond flicks. The image of a faceless villain stroking the cat in the early 1960s films is now a meme (see: Inspector Gadget, Austin Powers). Lesser known is the cat whom, during the same decade, the CIA attempted to turn into a spy.

      “Operation Acoustic Kitty” was a secret plan to turn cats into portable spying devices. However, the CIA only ever produced one Acoustic Kitty because it abandoned the project after a test with this cat went horribly wrong.

      The Acoustic Kitty was a sort of feline-android hybrid—a cyborg cat. A surgeon implanted a microphone in its ear and a radio transmitter at the base of its skull. The surgeon also wove an antenna into the cat’s fur, writes science journalist Emily Anthes in Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts.

    • Iran arrests dozens in crackdown on 'immoral' Instagram models
      Iran has arrested dozens of people, including Instagram models and beauty salon owners, for posting photos online, in the latest crackdown against “immoral” behaviour.

      More than 40 people, including at least eight women, have been rounded up in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, 630 miles south of Tehran, according the official IRNA news agency.

    • Malaysia government ‘demonising’ LGBT people by censoring art exhibit
    • Stop censoring LGBT people from the M'sian picture

    • Stop censoring us: LGBT people are part of the Malaysian picture — 47 civil society organisations
    • Removal of activists’ portraits is censorship, says ex-Bar president

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • The JPEG Committee is “exploring Blockchain” — to put DRM into JPEG

      The Twitter reaction was “lol what,” and even the cryptocurrency press ignored it — but there’s more to this than slapping on a buzzword, and it’s not good. They seem to think they can advance the cause of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for JPEG images — automated copy protection and access control — with a bit of applied blockchain. And that this will make DRM work — rather than be an idea that fundamentally doesn’t work, despite sounding interesting and potentially useful to some people.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • United Kingdom: Edwards Lifesciences LLC v Boston Scientific Scimed Inc, High Court of Justice of England and Wales, Chancery Division, Patents Court, [2018] EWHC 1256 (Pat), 24 May 2018
      The Court ordered a twelve month stay of the injunction granted when it found one of Boston’s patents concerning a transcatheter heart valve (THV) valid and infringed by Edwards’ medical device, in order to allow for the re-training of clinicians to use non-infringing THVs.

    • Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights, Oh My! What's the Difference? [Ed: "Intellectual property" does not exist. This article tries to group together different laws under this same, misleading umbrella.]
      Intellectual property might seem esoteric, but it's important to protect it like you would any other asset. To do so, you'll need to understand some basics about intellectual property rights first.

      Two of the most common forms of intellectual property protections are the copyright and the trademark. While the two are often confused, they protect very different types of intellectual property. Learning the differences, and how you can use both to protect your own creative output, is essential to securing your assets.

    • Germany: Ultrasonic Transducer, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 4/16, 20 March 2018
      The FCJ confirmed that the cited prior art should, generally, provide concrete suggestions, hints or at least provide other reasons beyond the recognisability of the technical problem to seek the solution to a technical problem in the way as presented in the patent.

    • Trademarks

      • Disparaging, Immoral, and Scandalous Trademarks Since Matal v. Tam
        A little more than one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Lanham Act’s disparagement clause as unconstitutional in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (June 19, 2017). The case involved Asian-American dance-rock band The Slants, who sought “to ‘reclaim’ and ‘take ownership’ of stereotypes about people of Asian ethnicity.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected the band’s application to register its name under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, finding that the mark “[c]onsists of . . . matter which may disparage . . . persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt.” After the case made its way through the court system, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the disparagement clause as viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment’s free speech clause. This article explores Tam’s impact over the past year and related developments on the horizon.

    • Copyrights

      • Kodi Addon Repo Operator Shuts Down Following Threats from BREIN

        A Dutch-based developer and Kodi addon repository administrator has shut down his operation following threats from anti-piracy outfit BREIN. Due to the XvBMC-NL repo offering addons including Covenant and IPTV Bonanza, BREIN accused its operator of facilitating access to infringing content. He is now required to sign an abstention agreement and pay a settlement of 2,500 euros.

      • Intercept Music Debuts Globally, Offers Tools for Artists to Get Noticed
        Intercept Music’s highly organized tools and artist-focused systems empower musicians to build quality fan bases in a short time, leaving them more time to focus on their art. The cornerstone of Intercept Music is its sophisticated social media scheduling system, which not only integrates posts across multiple social networks, but also offers a balance of content to keep the fan base engaged and growing. The powerful software also enables artists to market music, promote shows and sell merchandise, as well as connect to industry professionals, all at the touch of a button.

      • People are taking to the streets on August 26th to #SaveYourInternet – join in!

        We’ve stopped the train – but the job is not finished: Now we must put it on the right track.

        Decision Day: September 12th

      • The Pirate Bay Turns 15 Years Old

        Founded in 2003 by a group of hackers and activists, The Pirate Bay aimed to bring file-sharing to the masses. In the fifteen years that followed, the site transformed from a small community to Hollywood's resilient arch-rival, serving millions of users. And that's not the only thing that changed.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Girlfriends, Sex, Prostitution & Debian at DebConf22, Prizren, Kosovo
Reprinted with permission from
Martina Ferrari & Debian, DebConf room list: who sleeps with who?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Europe Won't be Safe From Russia Until the Last Windows PC is Turned Off (or Switched to BSDs and GNU/Linux)
Lives are at stake
Links 23/04/2024: US Doubles Down on Patent Obviousness, North Korea Practices Nuclear Conflict
Links for the day
Stardust Nightclub Tragedy, Unlawful killing, Censorship & Debian Scapegoating
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 24/04/2024: Layoffs and Shutdowns at Microsoft, Apple Sales in China Have Collapsed
Links for the day
Sexism processing travel reimbursement
Reprinted with permission from
Microsoft is Shutting Down Offices and Studios (Microsoft Layoffs Every Month This Year, Media Barely Mentions These)
Microsoft shutting down more offices (there have been layoffs every month this year)
Balkan women & Debian sexism, WeBoob leaks
Reprinted with permission from
Links 24/04/2024: Advances in TikTok Ban, Microsoft Lacks Security Incentives (It Profits From Breaches)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/04/2024: People Returning to Gemlogs, Stateless Workstations
Links for the day
Meike Reichle & Debian Dating
Reprinted with permission from
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, April 23, 2024
[Meme] EPO: Breaking the Law as a Business Model
Total disregard for the EPO to sell more monopolies in Europe (to companies that are seldom European and in need of monopoly)
The EPO's Central Staff Committee (CSC) on New Ways of Working (NWoW) and “Bringing Teams Together” (BTT)
The latest publication from the Central Staff Committee (CSC)
Volunteers wanted: Unknown Suspects team
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Debian trademark: where does the value come from?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Detecting suspicious transactions in the Wikimedia grants process
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gunnar Wolf & Debian Modern Slavery punishments
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
On DebConf and Debian 'Bedroom Nepotism' (Connected to Canonical, Red Hat, and Google)
Why the public must know suppressed facts (which women themselves are voicing concerns about; some men muzzle them to save face)
Several Years After Vista 11 Came Out Few People in Africa Use It, Its Relative Share Declines (People Delete It and Move to BSD/GNU/Linux?)
These trends are worth discussing
Canonical, Ubuntu & Debian DebConf19 Diversity Girls email
Reprinted with permission from
Links 23/04/2024: Escalations Around Poland, Microsoft Shares Dumped
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/04/2024: Offline PSP Media Player and OpenBSD on ThinkPad
Links for the day
Amaya Rodrigo Sastre, Holger Levsen & Debian DebConf6 fight
Reprinted with permission from
DebConf8: who slept with who? Rooming list leaked
Reprinted with permission from
Bruce Perens & Debian: swiping the Open Source trademark
Reprinted with permission from
Ean Schuessler & Debian SPI OSI trademark disputes
Reprinted with permission from
Windows in Sudan: From 99.15% to 2.12%
With conflict in Sudan, plus the occasional escalation/s, buying a laptop with Vista 11 isn't a high priority
Anatomy of a Cancel Mob Campaign
how they go about
[Meme] The 'Cancel Culture' and Its 'Hit List'
organisers are being contacted by the 'cancel mob'
Richard Stallman's Next Public Talk is on Friday, 17:30 in Córdoba (Spain), FSF Cannot Mention It
Any attempt to marginalise founders isn't unprecedented as a strategy
IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, April 22, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Don't trust me. Trust the voters.
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Chris Lamb & Debian demanded Ubuntu censor my blog
Reprinted with permission from
Ean Schuessler, Branden Robinson & Debian SPI accounting crisis
Reprinted with permission from
William Lee Irwin III, Michael Schultheiss & Debian, Oracle, Russian kernel scandal
Reprinted with permission from
Microsoft's Windows Down to 8% in Afghanistan According to statCounter Data
in Vietnam Windows is at 8%, in Iraq 4.9%, Syria 3.7%, and Yemen 2.2%
[Meme] Only Criminals Would Want to Use Printers?
The EPO's war on paper
EPO: We and Microsoft Will Spy on Everything (No Physical Copies)
The letter is dated last Thursday
Links 22/04/2024: Windows Getting Worse, Oligarch-Owned Media Attacking Assange Again
Links for the day
Links 21/04/2024: LINUX Unplugged and 'Screen Time' as the New Tobacco
Links for the day
Gemini Links 22/04/2024: Health Issues and Online Documentation
Links for the day
What Fake News or Botspew From Microsoft Looks Like... (Also: Techrights to Invest 500 Billion in Datacentres by 2050!)
Sededin Dedovic (if that's a real name) does Microsoft stenography
Stefano Maffulli's (and Microsoft's) Openwashing Slant Initiative (OSI) Report Was Finalised a Few Months Ago, Revealing Only 3% of the Money Comes From Members/People
Microsoft's role remains prominent (for OSI to help the attack on the GPL and constantly engage in promotion of proprietary GitHub)
[Meme] Master Engineer, But Only They Can Say It
One can conclude that "inclusive language" is a community-hostile trolling campaign
[Meme] It Takes Three to Grant a Monopoly, Or... Injunction Against Staff Representatives
Quality control
[Video] EPO's "Heart of Staff Rep" Has a Heartless New Rant
The wordplay is just for fun
An Unfortunate Miscalculation Of Capital
Reprinted with permission from Andy Farnell
[Video] Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Started GNU/Linux is Denied Public Speaking (and Why FSF Cannot Mention His Speeches)
So basically the attack on RMS did not stop; even when he's ill with cancer the cancel culture will try to cancel him, preventing him from talking (or be heard) about what he started in 1983
Online Brigade Demands That the Person Who Made Nix Leaves Nix for Not Censoring People 'Enough'
Trying to 'nix' the founder over alleged "safety" of so-called 'minorities'
[Video] Inauthentic Sites and Our Upcoming Publications
In the future, at least in the short term, we'll continue to highlight Debian issues
List of Debian Suicides & Accidents
Reprinted with permission from
Jens Schmalzing & Debian: rooftop fall, inaccurately described as accident
Reprinted with permission from
[Teaser] EPO Leaks About EPO Leaks
Yo dawg!
On Wednesday IBM Announces 'Results' (Partial; Bad Parts Offloaded Later) and Red Hat Has Layoffs Anniversary
There's still expectation that Red Hat will make more staff cuts
IBM: We Are No Longer Pro-Nazi (Not Anymore)
Historically, IBM has had a nazi problem
Bad faith: attacking a volunteer at a time of grief, disrespect for the sanctity of human life
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Bad faith: how many Debian Developers really committed suicide?
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 21, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, April 21, 2024
A History of Frivolous Filings and Heavy Drug Use
So the militant was psychotic due to copious amounts of marijuana
Bad faith: suicide, stigma and tarnishing
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
UDRP Legitimate interests: EU whistleblower directive, workplace health & safety concerns
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock