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Links 26/10/2018: System76 Hardware, Glenn Rander-Pehrson (PNG Innovator) Dies, Patched

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook
      The Linux apps' performance on Chromebook in its current Beta phase seems to be much more reliable and stable than the Android apps integration initially was. Linux apps on Chromebook will get even better as Crostini gets more developed.

      Chrome OS 71 brings considerably more improvements, according to various reports. One of those changes will let the Linux virtual machine be visible in Chrome OS' Task Manager.

      Another expected improvement is the ability to shut down the Linux virtual machine easily.

      An even better expected improvement is folder-sharing between the Linux VM and Chrome OS. That should resolve the inconvenience of the isolated Linux files folder.

      Is it justifiable to get a new "qualified" Chromebook in order to run Linux apps on it? If you are primarily a Linux distro user and have settled for using a Linux-less Chromebook as a companion portable computer, I can only say, "Go for it!"

      I do not think you will regret the splurge.

    • System76’s new ‘open-source computer’ will be available for preorder November 1
      Details on what the hardware will entail specifically are still a little light, and we’ll likely only know for sure when the system goes up for preorder, but there’s a few things that we can say for sure. In reply to a tweet sent by Liam asking whether or not they’d have a custom motherboard, the CEO clarified that “we’re pulling proprietary functionality off the mainboard and onto a custom, open source (hardware and firmware) daughter board.”

    • System76 Thelio Systems Being Announced Next Week
      The past month Linux PC/laptop vendor System76 has been teasing its open-source fan-base about building a new "open-source" PC with their new Colorado factory.

      Last week they expanded a bit more on these open-source plans about how they are pursuing a daughter board approach. Now next week they will be revealing the "Thelio" systems in full.
    • Linux-friendly company System76 shares more open source Thelio computer details
      System76 has been making big news in the Linux community lately with its upcoming open source Thelio computer. Many Linux users have been clamoring for System76 to make its own hardware, and that dream will soon be a reality.

      Unfortunately, not much is known about Thelio hardware other than it is definitely a desktop computer that is built with open source ideology. Today, however, System76 shares new details and images about the computer with those that signed up for its email list. Probably the most exciting is the promise of an open source "daughter board" that will apparently strip the proprietary aspects from a typical motherboard -- this has me seriously intrigued.

    • Linux vs. Windows: An Objective Look at Both Operating Systems
      Linux over recent years has made huge leaps in usability. Distributions like Linux Mint have made installation and setup simple. Even non-technical users can install software and do normal day-to-day activities like web browsing, answering email, playing music or watching video.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E33 – Thirty-Three Teeth
      This week we’ve been playing with DXVK and Volumio. We discuss Wifi getting a new naming scheme, interpreting the Linux CoC, Motorola partnering with iFixIt, KDE adding scaling for GTK applications and what’s been going on in the Ubuntu Community.

    • Fail Better
      Failure is the heartbeat of discovery. We stumble a lot trying new things. The trick is to give up on failing fast. Instead, fail better.

      This episode looks at how tech embraces failure. Approaching failure with curiosity and openness is part of our process. Jennifer Petoff shares how Google has built a culture of learning and improvement from failure. With a shift in perspective, Jessica Rudder shows how embracing mistakes can lead to unexpected successes. And Jen Krieger explains how agile frameworks help us plan for failure.

  • Kernel Space

    • UPower 0.99.9 Released, Near v1.0 For this Linux Power Management Middleware
      Since 2013 has been the UPower 0.99 series and those releases continue with not yet ready to call UPower 1.0.0. Today marks the release of UPower 0.99.9, which is mostly about fixing bugs / open issues ahead of v1.0.

    • Intel's Guide To Achieving S0ix Low-Power States On Linux
      Modern Intel SoCs support S0ix low-power states during idle periods, which are sub-states of ACPI S0 that increase power-savings while supporting an instant-on experience for providing lower latency than ACPI S3.

      Intel's open-source portal has published a guide to utilizing Intel S0ix power states on Linux with supported SoCs and how to debug power issues around this low-power idle state where parts of the SoC are turned off when not in use.

    • Some Optimizations Inbound In The Linux Kernel Space For x86/x86_64
      Across Ingo Molnar 's x86-focused kernel branches (including x86 64-bit) there are some performance optimizations to note in this new material for Linux 4.20~5.0.

      Of the locking/misc x86 work for this next version of the kernel there are lockdep scalability improvements and micro-optimizations, spin lock micro-optimizations, better fairness for qspinlocks, and support for relative references in jump tables to optimize jump labels.

    • Linux v4.19: Performance Goodies
      This post marks one year since I began doing these kernel performance goodies write ups, starting from v4.14.

    • Linus returns to the helm as Linux 4.19 ships with new conduct code
      Linux 4.19 has arrived with new CAKE router tech, WiFi 6 support, and a lightweight EROFS file system. Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds returned to duty from his self-imposed time-out to publicly discuss the new Code of Conduct.

      In conjunction with this week’s Open Source Summit and Embedded Linux Conference events in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Linux kernel project released Linux 4.19. This was the first kernel that was not signed off by Linux creator Linus Torvalds, who had stepped away from his Linux herding duties for six weeks to try to improve his online behavior. Long-time number two kernel honcho Greg Kroah-Hartman (GKH), who officially released the kernel, will continue to share rights to the kernel tree, Torvalds told ZDNet in an interview that discussed the new Code of Conduct (CoC), BPF VMs, and more (see farther below).

    • XFS & EXT4 Offer Up Modest Changes For Linux 4.20~5.0
      The changes are not as notable as Btrfs having multiple performance improvements or multiple new features for F2FS, but the XFS and EXT4 mature file-systems have their latest advancements now queued for the next kernel cycle.

      XFS, the preferred server file-system these days by Red Hat and others, has some small additions for 4.20/5.0 as well as various fixes. The fixing work includes addressing some problems with the buffer handling bugs as well as around quota stats output. Some of the other XFS work includes prep work for parent pointers, debugging improvements around dangling delalloc extents, and other low-level work.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Cloud native computing grows by 200 percent [Ed: The Microsoft operandi: call everything "cloud", then even on the decline pretend there's "growth" in "growth area"]
        Over the last few years the way you moved applications from your data center to the cloud was lift-and-shift, refactor, or migrate to containers. The latter has gotten a kick in the pants as cloud-native techniques such as serverless computing and microservices have joined forces with containers. Still unsure what I’m talking about? Chris Aniszczyk, executive director of the Open Container Initiative (OCI) and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), explained: “Cloud-native computing uses an open-source software stack to deploy applications as microservices, [each part packaged] into its own container, and dynamically orchestrate those containers to optimize resource utilization.”

      • The State of Hyperledger with Brian Behlendorf
        One region where Hyperledger is witnessing incredible interest is mainland China. “The Chinese government has actually said this is a top-level priority for them, to figure out how to make distributed ledgers work,” said Behlendorf. “About 20 percent of our members come from Chinese companies like Baidu, Tencent, and Huawei. These companies are actually contributing code, which is great to see.” As the adoption of Hyperledger projects is growing, the organization is also working on creating training and education courses in partnership with edX to meet this growing demand. Hyperledger also has a technical working group focused on communicating in Chinese with developers who are there to help them get involved with the project. Hyperledger aims to be a global initiative. “There are a few Silicon Valley companies involved, but it’s New York. It’s London. It’s Singapore. It’s incredibly broad,” said Behlendorf. “That’s been really reassuring because open source is a global phenomenon and really should be about kind of uplifting all regions. So it’s been a great journey.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 410.73 Linux Driver Released With Quadro RTX 5000/6000 Support
        As the latest to the NVIDIA 410 Linux driver series, rolling out today is the 410.73 Linux stable driver update.

        The principal addition to the new NVIDIA 410.73 Linux driver update is officially supporting the Turing-based Quadro RTX 5000 and Quadro RTX 6000 graphics cards. Those were the Turing-based ray-tracing-focused workstation cards announced back in August and will cost $2,300 to $6,300 USD for those models (or $10k+ for the RTX 8000 series). The RTX 6000 cards are expected to begin shipping at the end of October while the RTX 5000 will ship around mid-November.

    • Benchmarks

      • 8-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks On The Intel Core i9 9900K - One Distro Wins 67% Of The Time
        Following last week's release of the Intel Core i9 9900K, I spent several days testing various Linux distributions on this latest Core i9 CPU paired with the new ASUS Z390-A PRIME motherboard. I was testing not only to see that all of the Linux distributions were playing fine with this latest and greatest desktop hardware but also how the performance was looking. Benchmarked this round on the i9-9900K was Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, Ubuntu 18.10, Clear Linux 25720, Debian Buster Testing, Manjaro 18.0-RC3, Fedora Workstation 29, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and CentOS 7.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The History of GNOME
        GNOME has the luxury of having a lot of people that stuck around—some even from the early days when there was no GNOME; there are also other people, though, some of them born after Miguel’s announcement, that are now starting to contribute to GNOME. I guess that means that it’s time to look back a bit, and give some more context to the history of the project.

        I hope I won’t bore you that much with this; I hope that people will learn something new, or re-discover something that was forgotten. In general, I do hope people will have fun with it.

      • Announcing the Fractal Hackfest in Seville
        It’s been an exciting year for Fractal, the GNOME Matrix client. Since our last hackfest in May, we’ve decided to split the application, refactored large parts of the backend, implemented new features such as the media viewer, made the message history adaptive, and laid the groundwork for end-to-end encryption.

        Now that we have most of the foundations in place that will enable our long-term goals (such as adaptive layout, E2E, and the app split), we’re getting together again to push these initiatives forward. This is why we’re having another hackfest on December 11-14 in Seville, Spain.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Knative: Configuration, Routes and Revisions
        In Part-1 of this series, you were introduced on how deploy your first serverless service using Knative Serving and in Part-2 you were able to understand how to build the serverless services using Knative Build.

      • This is not the root cause you're looking for
        The IT industry is going through a paradigm shift from monolithic to microservices systems. Microservices provide a huge benefit allowing rapid software development and decreasing time to market (TTM), but it also requires a shift in processes and mindsets as we have seen. Adapting to microservices’ needs is crucial and delaying your adaptation will just increase your technical debt, and if there is one thing we have learned throughout past years is, technical debt finds a way to be repaid, but with interest.

      • Welcome Apache Kafka to the Kubernetes Era!
        We have pretty exciting news this week as Red Hat is announcing the General Availability of their Apache Kafka Kubernetes operator. Red Hat AMQ Streams delivers the mechanisms for managing Apache Kafka on top of OpenShift, our enterprise distribution for Kubernetes.

        Everything started last May 2018 when David Ingham (@dingha) unveiled the Developer Preview as new addition to the Red Hat AMQ offering. Red Hat AMQ Streams focuses on running Apache Kafka on OpenShift. In the microservices world, where several components need to rely on a high throughput communication mechanism, Apache Kafka has made a name for itself for being a leading real-time, distributed messaging platform for building data pipelines and streaming applications.

        A leader in the traditional infrastructure deployments, Apache Kafka was missing pieces to be a easily usable container-native citizen in the new Kubernetes era. As a result, a team grouped in 2017 to create the upstream Strimzi project. This team worked to apply the new operator pattern to solve the gaps. With the development of new components deployed along the traditional Apache Kafka broker, these new Kubernetes operators are now able to manage cluster wide resources as well as entities as topics and authentication users.

      • Red Hat Continues Advancing GFS2 File-System Capabilities
        Red Hat developers continue advancing the capabilities of the GFS2 cluster file-system and this week Andy Price shared an update on their efforts at the Open-Source Summit Europe in Edinburgh.

        Some of the recent developments around the GFS2 shared-disk file-system include performance optimizations around iomap writes, new resource group header fields, expanded journal log header information, and other low-level improvements.

      • Red Hat Partners with NVIDIA on Container Platform for AI
        Red Hat and NVIDIA this week announced a joint effort under which AI applications can be built using containers, which then are deployed on instances of Red Hat OpenShift that are running on supercomputers utilizing NVIDIA graphical processor units (GPUs).

        The Red Hat OpenShift platform, which is based on an instance of Kubernetes, then would be able to host AI applications that are much more manageable using containers. Instead of trying to maintain a massive monolithic AI application that is unwieldy to maintain and update, organizations will be able to update components of the AI application as they see fit.

        The announcement was made at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference.

      • Sterlite Tech leverages Red Hat technology to enable programmable networks of the future
        Sterlite Technologies announced that they will develop and deliver software-enabled programmable solutions using Red Hat's portfolio of open, enterprise-grade technologies. The solutions will enable communication service providers, enterprises and citizen networks to realise the full potential of web-scale Network Function Virtualisation Infrastructure (NFVI) platform, for their network automation and Software Defined Network (SDN) initiatives.

        Given the volume and variability in data demand by end users in today's digital landscape, the networks of today and tomorrow need to be higher-speed, more secure, programmable and more reliable.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 29 Is Cleared For Release Next Tuesday
          After it was delayed last week, the beautiful Fedora 29 will greet the world next week.

          Fedora 29 has ended up being another great release that's running well and looking great from the Fedora Workstation perspective. It's also exciting on the Fedora Silverblue front for replacing what was Atomic Workstation. There's also new features on the server front too. All around, there's plenty of new features in Fedora 29.

        • PHP version 7.1.24RC1 and 7.2.12RC1
          Release Candidate versions are available in remi-test repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests (for x86_64 only), and also as base packages.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Desktop in the Hyper-V Gallery, an Interview with Canonical and Microsoft
            Although the announcement itself came as a bit of a surprise, even more so when you consider the long tumultuous history between both Microsoft and Linux, it does, however, indicate that times (and the company) have been changing. In recent years, Microsoft has been making a concerted effort to embrace open source and open-source technologies.

            The announcement did leave me with a few questions, so I took the opportunity to sit down with Will Cooke, the Engineering Director for Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical, and Sarah Cooley, Program Manager at Microsoft.

          • Low latency and real-time kernels for telco and NFV
            The kernel is the fundamental core of a computer operating system. It is the first program to load, and it manages all core functions of the computer. With the expanding role of the Linux kernel in systems today, Canonical is often asked to provide leadership and support for different offerings for many purposes. Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) has taken root in the production environments of telecoms operators. The individual components of NFV, known as Virtualised Networks Functions (VNFs), are critically tied to a general purpose operating system, as opposed to being integrated into application-specific devices. This union makes performance and support of core operating system components, like the kernel, the foundational metrics of success. There are flexibility and economic benefits of using general purpose software for function-specific applications, but as VNFs are mission critical services in a telco infrastructure, certain key, determining factors should be kept in mind when selecting an operating system to host them.

          • Outdoors laptop (part 2)
            It has a touchscreen with stylus. (To use this under ubuntu 18.04 I had to install xserver-xorg-input-evdev and remove xserver-xorg-input-libinput. Note just installing evdev was not enough) I may look like a dweeb, but I prefer this to smudging my screen.

          • Ubuntu Advantage successfully passes MSPCV cloud certification process
            Canonical is pleased to share that it’s TechOps team has successfully completed the MSP Cloud Verify Program (MSPCV) certification process which recognises the quality of companies offering cloud and/or managed services. The MSPCV, conducted by the MSPAlliance, is based on the Unified Certification Standard (UCS) for Cloud and Managed Service Providers and developed by the International Association of Cloud and Managed Service Providers. It is the oldest certification program in this field and is a testament to the high standard that Canonical’s team provides to customers every day, in every region of the world.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Farewell, Glenn Rander-Pehrson
    Dear PNG users, developers and contributors,

    I am deeply saddened to inform you that Glenn Randers-Pehrson, our long-time group lead, passed away last weekend, following a long and painful illness.

    Glenn is one of the original designers of the PNG format, and a co-founder of the PNG Development Group, back in the mid-90's. He took good care of the PNG Specification, as a contributing author for PNG version 1.0, and as the main editor for all of the subsequent editions through PNG 1.1 and 1.2, until the current W3C/ISO/IEC standard PNG Specification, Second Edition. In addition, all of the related Specifications, i.e., the registered PNG extensions, and the companion MNG Specification version 1.0 and JNG Specification version 1.0, had Glenn at the front as the main editor and moderator-in-chief.

  • OSI Incubator Contributes to Success in STEM
    Siena College's Urban Scholars Program provides elementary and middle school students in the Albany, New York school district educational opportunities within STEM related feilds through active, hands-on workshops. Participants work closely with Siena student-mentors, in a small groups, that encourage critical thinking, teamwork, and persistance to never give up if something seems too hard. In 2015 the Urban Scholars prgram adopted the FLOSS Desktops for Kids program, and combined with other activities, has led to astonishing student outcomes: increased interest and greater success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses.

  • Best free and open source Microsoft Excel alternatives
    One staple that runs through businesses is spreadsheets. They are not exciting, but are unbelievably useful in almost every business setting.

    Most people opt for the convenience and familiar interface of Microsoft Excel, or more increasingly Google Sheets, but there are many free and open source alternatives giving these tech giants a run for their money.

    Often open source alternatives to big popular software are bare, offering sometimes limited functions. And using a stripped-back spreadsheet client isn't for everyone. Most people feel comfortable with Excel or Google because they know where everything is and how to perform common work tasks.

    But there is a lot to be said about using a bare-bones spreadsheet application. You aren't tied to a monthly subscription or big one off payment like you are with Microsoft and you can do tasks simply without over complicating the whole process.

    We've listed some of the top Microsoft Excel alternatives...

  • Xunlei pushes ThunderChain, promises more open-source projects
    Xunlei Ltd., a Shenzhen-based and NASDAQ-listed cloud network provider, is rolling out details of its proprietary blockchain platform, as part of the company’s push into blockchain.

    The company held a seminar in Hong Kong on October 25 that focused on ThunderChain Open Platform, which it describes as a high-performance blockchain infrastructure capable of processing more than one million transactions per second.

    Xunlei says ThunderChain will help third-party developers and companies, especially startups, build, migrate and manage decentralized applications, or dapps, in a cost-effective way. The product was officially launched in May.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Evergreen
    “The prototypes I wanted to develop would live outside of our Segment application and would have no access to the application codebase,” Ransijn wrote. “This means that I didn’t have access to the components already in the application — I had to create everything from scratch. Most advice online talks about starting with a UI audit or trying to get executive buy-in. Those are all part of the long journey of a design system, but there are many ways to get started. If you set out to solve all of the problems in your product, you might be taking on too much at once. Instead, build something small and useful, provide value quickly, and iterate on what works.”

    Ransijn explained that Segment chose React when designing Evergreen because the company already used the popular JavaScript library in its daily operations. By starting from the React UI Primitive level, that the Evergreen team was able to design UI-BOX, which exports a single React Box component “that allows you to use React props for CSS properties,” according to Ransijn.

  • Events

    • The NZ Open Source Awards winners announced!
      The winners of the 2018 New Zealand Open Source Awards were announced at a sold-out gala dinner held at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on Tuesday, October 23.

      The celebration was enjoyed by 200 people in Te Marae, including finalists, sponsors, judges and many guests.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • K Lars Lohn: Things Gateway - Running Web Thing API Applications in Python
        The Web Thing API is a remarkable framework for creating applications that can control smart home devices. Any language that can speak to a RESTful API or use Web Sockets can participate.

        In the last few months I've been exploring the use of the Web Thing API using the Python language. After lots of trial and error, I've made some abstractions to simplify interacting with my smart home devices. While I've been blogging about my explorations for quite a while, I've not made a concerted effort to make it easy for anyone else to follow in my foot steps. I'm correcting that today, though I fear I may fail on the "easy" part.

        This is a guide to help you accept my invitation to explore with me. However, I need to be clear, this is a journey for programmers familiar with the Python programming language and Linux development practices.

        Everyone has different needs and a different programming environment. It is easiest to work with my Python module, pywot if you have a second Linux machine on which to run the pywot scripts. However, if you only have the Things Gateway Raspberry Pi itself, you can still participate, it'll just be a longer task to setup.

      • WebRender newsletter #27: WebRender is in beta
        There are still a number of blocking bugs so WebRender will stay on beta for a few trains until it has received enough polish to hit the release population. This is an important milestone for everyone working on the project and the main piece of news outside of the bullet points below.

        I’m increasingly running out of ideas to write intros without repeating the same thing each week. So instead I’ll start the next few newsletter with a piece of WebRender history

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 10 Useful LibreOffice Tips to Boost Your Productivity
      LibreOffice is undoubtedly the most popular alternative to Microsoft Office among Linux users even though there are options like SoftMaker Office and FreeOffice.

      Whether you use it to create technical articles, reports, flowcharts, etc. there are steps you can take to boost your productivity and it is with pleasure that we bring you our list of 10.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Open Source Continues to Intimidate Many Developers [Ed: This makes no sense. The code being visible doesn't make things any harder. Than again, look who wrote this. It's a longtime Microsoft propagandist Nick Kolakowski. They just everything based on a repository of Microsoft]]
      The open-source community seems healthy (and expanding), but there are always developers who haven’t contributed so much as a single line of code to a Github repo. According to Digital Ocean, which surveyed more than 4,300 tech pros, the reasons those developers haven’t gotten more involved in open source are pretty straightforward: They’re often intimidated, and they don’t know where to start.

      Of those who hadn’t yet gotten involved in open source, 45 percent claimed it was difficult to get started, while 44 percent said they didn’t have the right skills to contribute to a codebase. Another 30 percent said their companies hadn’t given them time to contribute, and 28 percent cited the aforementioned intimidation factor.

    • Windows Phone Internals now Open Source [Ed: Misleading headline. All the internals are still proprietary, project name misleading.]
      Like any good hacker in that position, instead of just disappearing, he has made his project, WPInternals, open source, meaning any good developer can take over his work, to update, modify or bug fix.

    • Windows Phone Internals bootloader unlocking tool goes open source
    • Windows 10 Mobile's bootloader unlocker is now open source
    • Plume and Samsung Launch OpenSync Open Source Initiative [Ed: Openwashing of surveillance]

  • Funding

    • How one company's donation model could show us a sustainable future for open source
      Not everyone gets to be a One Percenter, but if Citus Data has its way, the Postgres community will get its 1%. As announced this week, Citus Data has committed to giving 1% of its equity to the two non-profit PostgreSQL organizations in the US and Europe. As with any startup, the value of that equity could one day be worth $0 or $1 billion. What's most interesting here is how Citus Data is responding to the constant questioning of how to ensure open source sustainability.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD18.10 RC2 is Available for testing
      This second release candidate of GhostBSD 18.10 is the second official release of GhostBSD with TrueOS under the hood. The official desktop of GhostBSD is MATE. However, in the future, there might be an XFCE community release, but for now, there is no community release yet.

    • OpenBSD with PlusNet VDSL

      So now I have an OpenBSD box as my home network’s gateway. I’ve configured dhcpd(8), ntpd(8) (using an nmea(4) GPS device as a time source) and a bunch of other things that may or may not become other blog posts. I’m expecting the replacement HG612 modem will arrive soon and then the Cisco box will probably find its way to eBay.


    • FSFE Newsletter - October 2018
      Historically, Microsoft has used software patents to slow down Free Software adoption in businesses and public administration, by claiming patent infringement of important Free Software components and...

  • Science

    • Someone paid $432K for art generated by an open-source neural network
      Google’s Ian Goodfellow, aka: the GANfather, aka: The Notorious G.A.N. (I made the second one up) is actually the person ultimately responsible for the work Obvious just sold. He invented the neural network that spits out the images.


      Obvious has made it clear, in statements, that it is grateful to Goodfellow and Barrat. It’s gone out of its way to give them both credit, in the wake of the uproar from the machine learning community.


      The best move, in my opinion, would be to donate all of the money it just made to Stanford’s computer science department. Barrat and Goodfellow both attended Stanford, afterall, so it would make sense. And, with Fei-Fei Li back in charge of the AI division there, Obvious can be certain the money would get put to good use.

    • Open-Source Artificial Pancreas Technology Lifts the Burden of Type 1 Diabetes

    • MixedEmotions: open-source toolbox for emotion analysis
      A European team of researchers, including Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, has developed an open-source toolbox to assess emotions in texts, audios and videos. MixedEmotions Toolkit is a set of open-source tools that analyzes emotions. This toolbox is the result of the research project MixedEmotions. The aim of this project is the automatic recognition of emotions through text, audio and video processing. Our actions are affected by both our mood and the way we perceive others. There is a growing demand for automatic analysis of emotions in different fields. The possible applications are wide, including call centers, smart environments, brand reputation analysis and assistive technology. First, analysis tools can be highly complex. Emotion detection may require age, gender or facial recognition. Second, the analysis also requires both prior knowledge and linguistic resources that are not always public, and third, these tools are usually designed in one language, generally in English.

  • Programming/Development

    • Announcing Rust 1.30
      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.30.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.


  • Microsoft promises a fix for Windows 10 zip file woes. In November
    A post by Microsoft on the software giant’s answers forum detailed the issue, which sees the OS silently skip files already in the destination while extracting from a zip archive. The problem only affects extraction using Windows’ own File Explorer.

    The advice is simple: “We recommend you fully extract the zip folder before you copy files to a new destination folder to avoid this issue.” It does, however, stop short of suggesting that a third party archive manager would be able to do the job or, heck, just uninstall the OS and have done with.

  • How to fix the broken Windows out-of-the-box experience
    How can we fix this? Here is an idea: give Satya Nadella and every single one of his direct reports a new machine each and every Friday. Not one carefully prepared by IT, but one right out of the warehouse. Wipe the old one immediately so that they have to go through the setup process every single week. How long will it take them to come up with a solution and kick it up on the priority list?

    That's a ridiculous proposition, right? But why is it? Is the time of a few highly compensated managers more valuable than that of millions of customers? Eat your own dogfood!

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Investing In New Antibiotic Research: Difficult Equation Discussed At World Investment Forum
      The diminishing arsenal of efficient antibiotics to fight bacteria is a threat denounced by many, but investment in research and development of new antibiotics is seen as lagging. As the danger of getting back to a pre-antibiotic age is increasing, alternative ways of financing new antibiotics are being discussed. At the World Investment Forum this week, a panel looked into innovative means of investment, and ways to attract private investors to this field.

    • Why a National Health System Is Needed to Slow the Opioid Crisis
      It is widely expected that by Election Day Donald Trump will sign the Support for Patients and Communities Act or opiate bill (H.R.6), that was finalized by Congress on October 3. There will surely be fanfare when the bipartisan bill — passed 99-1 in the Senate — is signed into law. The opioid crisis kills 115 people a day and has touched Americans everywhere. The Mayo Clinic calls it the “most important and most serious public health crisis” today. “We’ve stepped up to the plate,” boasted Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), seemingly pleased she could tell her voters that Congress took action.


      Methadone and buprenorphine are considered the most effective treatments for chronic opiate abuse disorder. The medications are “partial opiate agonists,” meaning they do, like any opiate, bind to opiate receptors. The medication does not, however, provide euphoric effects for opiate-tolerant individuals. It also binds so strongly to receptors that it serves to block or minimize the effect of full opiates like heroin or oxycodone.

    • Air pollution causes up to 33 million ER visits for asthma annually
      Air pollution is to blame for up to 33 million emergency room visits for asthma attacks around the world annually, according to a new study.

      While previous research has looked at the connection between air pollution and a number of other diseases, the new study, led by researchers at George Washington University and published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to quantify the global burden of asthma caused by unhealthy air.

      Asthma is the most prevalent chronic respiratory disease worldwide, affecting about 358 million people. In Pittsburgh, the region's long-term problems with air pollution and asthma persist: Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is situated, scored all F's on the American Lung Association's 2018 air quality report card, and recent research suggests that an estimated 22 percent of children in the most polluted parts of the city have asthma—as compared with the national average of 8 percent.

    • Half-Life
      The ‘90s would see two major strides for workers’ welfare within the nuclear weapons complex. In 1991, the Department of Energy began to draft new rules for how sites should protect workers, formalizing monitoring requirements for nuclear workers “likely” to be at risk and setting limits for the amount of radiation to which workers could be exposed. Then, in the late ‘90s, the Clinton administration acknowledged for the first time that the Department of Energy had failed to protect workers from radiation and chemical exposure at the laboratories and factories used to build the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Records had been destroyed or falsified. A multi-agency report on the prevalence of occupational diseases found current and former workers could be “at increased risk of illness” from these exposures and the “physical hazards associated with the production of nuclear weapons.” At Los Alamos, the report found a “statistically significant” increase in cancers of the esophagus, lungs, kidney and brain — as well as for lymphocytic leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma — among workers. The problems made national news, but Chad, working on a Navy ship in San Diego, didn’t see the headlines. The Clinton administration’s reforms were meant to take effect in 1996, and violations of these rules were punishable by civil and criminal penalties. Three years before Chad began his job, Los Alamos said it was complying.

  • Security

    • New security flaw impacts most Linux and BSD distros
      It can't be used to break into secure computers, but it is still useful to attackers because it can quickly turn simple intrusions into bad hacks.

      While the vulnerability is not in the redoubtable category of "as-bad-as-it-gets" flaws, the security flaw could not be ignored by the Linux and infosec communities once its existence was made public on Thursday.

    • This two-year-old give-me-root hole is so trivial to exploit, you can fit it in a single tweet, the X Window server used by various desktop Linux and BSD operating systems, has – depending on its configuration – a security vulnerability that can be exploited to gain root powers.

      If a vulnerable version of runs on a system as setuid root, it can be abused by normal logged-in users to gain administrator-level control over the machine. That would allow a miscreant to tamper with files, install spyware, and so on. Some Linux distros don't use with elevated privileges, or are otherwise immune – such as CentOS; check for security updates anyway.
    • The X hole
      In his role at in the security team, Matthieu says he became aware of this bug on the 11th.

      He did not tell any of us at OpenBSD.

      We were made aware bit more than 1 hour before public information went out.

      We were in the midst of an early OpenBSD release. If we had known, the OpenBSD 6.4 release could have been held back a week or two, till today. It would have been easy.

      Or even easier, we could have made a late decision to disable legacy drivers and lost the setuid bit. Which will probably happen in a commit later today.

      But we were not made aware, therefore OpenBSD 6.4 is also affected.

      As yet we don't have answers about why our X maintainer (on the X security team) and his team provided information to other projects (some who don't even ship with this new X server) but chose to not give us a heads-up which could have saved all the new 6.4 users a lot of grief.

      I don't understand how it happened.

      From my point of view we all share a goal of getting fixes and preventative methods out to the community as fast as possible. Here an artificial delay was created which left a trivial vulnerability *known to the upstream* on everyone's machine, in an operating system with a *well known and published release cycle*.

      I feel an abdication of the duty of care occured here.

      That is the first localhost root hole in quite a long time.

    • OpenBSD 6.4 Errata
      Patches for the OpenBSD base system are distributed as unified diffs. Each patch is cryptographically signed with the signify(1) tool and contains usage instructions. All the following patches are also available in one tar.gz file for convenience.

    • An X.Org security advisory

    • LTC Launches Cybersecurity “Citizen Clinic”

      The Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity has launched a new public interest cybersecurity clinic dedicated to providing services to politically vulnerable organizations—including media outlets, human rights groups, and non-government organizations—that are at risk of cyberattacks.

    • British Airways admits mega-breach hit additional 185,000 customers

      The firm originally said that the mega-breach, which was first made public at the beginning of September, saw [crackers] compromise the payment cards of at least 380,000 customers in a theft of data from the company's online booking systems.

      In an updated statement released on Thursday, BA admitted that a further 185,000 customers may have been affected by the breach.

    • The Next Chapter: From the Endpoint to the Cloud

      So, this month I’ve joined the Golem Project as a Chief Strategy Officer, also doubling as Chief Security Officer (conveniently, both roles have the same CSO acronym :) The double nature of my role emphasizes the close relationships among the long-term roadmap, technical architecture, as well as product- and operations-security in Golem.

      Why Golem? Because Golem is a very unique project. Golem has been on a mission to build a “decentralized computer” out of a heterogeneous network of third-party provided computers. Founded two years ago through a very successful crowdfunding campaign, it instantly gained an impressive amount of funding, which allowed it to build a strong development team (incidentally, mostly based in my favorite city – Warsaw).

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Forever Prisoners of the US’s Forever War
      November 2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War I, “the war to end all wars.” Meanwhile, this month, the 17th anniversary of the US-led war in Afghanistan came and went quietly, yet it far exceeds the combined length of the 20th century’s two World Wars, and the US government still uses the invasion of the country in its launch of the “global war on terror” to justify detaining hundreds of people without charge or trial.


      At the time of their transfer, these prisoners were referred to as “Taliban and al-Qaeda captives.” Years later, the truth started to emerge: Of the “worst of the worst,” only 8 percent “were characterized as al-Qaeda fighters” and 5 percent “were captured by United States forces.” Of the 86 percent captured by the Northern Alliance — a key US ally in Afghanistan at the time — or the Pakistani military, most were sold to the US for a bounty; former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf removed a reference from his biography stating that the US had paid millions of dollars in “prize money” for the handover of more than 300 prisoners.

      Guantánamo has been synonymous with arbitrary detention and torture for the past 17 years, and it appears that the “misguided experiment” is about to be expanded and repeated for a new generation.

    • Why Does the US Military Have Sky-High Approval Ratings During Endless Wars?
      As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen, Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger, and Somalia. Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran. (And given these last years, just how do you imagine that’s likely to turn out?) Honestly, isn’t it time Americans gave a little more thought to why their leaders persist in waging losing wars across significant parts of the planet? So consider the rest of this piece my attempt to do just that.

      Let’s face it: profits and power should be classified as perennial reasons why US leaders persist in waging such conflicts. War may be a racket, as General Smedley Butler claimed long ago, but who cares these days since business is booming? And let’s add to such profits a few other all-American motivations. Start with the fact that, in some curious sense, war is in the American bloodstream. As former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges once put it, “War is a force that gives us meaning.” Historically, we Americans are a violent people who have invested much in a self-image of toughness now being displayed across the “global battlespace.” (Hence all the talk in this country not about our soldiers but about our “warriors.”) As the bumper stickers I see regularly where I live say: “God, guns, & guts made America free.” To make the world freer, why not export all three?

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange Hearing Halted to Find Translator Fluent in ‘Australian'
      The first hearing in Julian Assange’s lawsuit against Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs Ministry was suspended as the WikiLeaks founder was unable to understand his translator, and the judge called for a replacement fluent in “Australian.”

      Speaking from Ecuador’s Embassy in London via Skype, Assange said the court-appointed translation service was “not good enough.” Judge Karina Martinez said that it was indispensable that Assange testify, and said the court had erred by appointing a translator who only spoke English, apparently under the impression that Australian dialect is unintelligible to other anglophones.

    • In the face of mounting threats, the working class must defend Julian Assange
      The fight to defend Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who is being pursued by Washington for daring to make public classified documents exposing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and the plots hatched by US officials and embassies around the world, is now at a critical juncture. The mobilization of militant and active solidarity on the part of workers and youth all over the world is of utmost importance. Assange is facing an escalating threat that he will be handed over to the British authorities and ultimately extradited to the United States to face trumped-up charges of espionage, punishable by life imprisonment and even the death penalty. He has spent the last six years as a de facto prisoner in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought asylum in 2012 to escape a conspiracy by the US, British and Swedish governments to have him arrested on fabricated charges of sexual molestation in order to pave the way for his extradition to the US. While Sweden has since dropped the groundless accusations against Assange, the British government is still seeking his arrest for violating the terms of his bail, when he entered the embassy to escape the clutches of the US government. The Ecuadorian government is now signaling ever more openly that it is dropping its defense of Assange and seeking to drive him out of its London embassy and into the hands of the waiting British political police. This position was spelled out Tuesday by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister José Valencia in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

    • UK said it won't extradite Assange: lawyer
      The UK told Ecuador in August that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be extradited if he left the country's London embassy, Ecuador's top government lawyer says.

    • UK said Assange would not be extradited: Ecuador's top attorney
      The United Kingdom told Ecuador in August that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be extradited if he left the country’s London embassy, where he has lived under asylum since 2012, Ecuador’s top government attorney said on Thursday.


      Salvador said Ecuador passed on the UK’s response to Assange’s lawyers, but noted that if Assange stayed in the embassy Ecuador would put new conditions on his stay.

      “Mr. Assange had a choice between turning himself in to British authorities with those assurances, or staying in the embassy of Ecuador, but given that the asylum had lasted six years with no signs of immediate resolution we were going to place certain rules,” Salvador said at a news conference.

      It was unclear if the UK’s assurances were still valid. Assange’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office referred to Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan’s June statement that Assange would be treated “humanely and properly” if he left the embassy.

  • Finance

    • The US-China trade war and Brazil
      As the world’s two largest economies began to impose tit-for-tat tariffs on a range of imports, China hit US soybeans. Since then, Chinese demand for Brazilian soy has spiked.
    • Why we should be wary of Brexiteers’ efforts to import more Australian meat
      Liam Fox, the secretary of state for International Trade, is keen to do a deal with Australia. He announced a bilateral trade working group with Australia two years ago (September 2016). The EU and UK Red Meat Market Access Taskforce has been established by the Australian live export industry with the aim of “favourably positioning Australia for positive outcomes in the EU free trade negotiations...and ensuring industry has a strategy for the UK Brexit process.”

      Jason Strong, the chairman of the taskforce, argues that Brexit is a “once in a generation” opportunity to undermine the “restrictive” EU market. He said industry wanted to export the “lowest potential value item in a burnt goat head” to Britain after it leaves the trading block.

      Mr Strong’s taskforce was set up by Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) which includes LiveCorp - a live exports industry association funded through statutory levies - among its most important “service providers”. LiveCorp in turn has loyally represented Emanuel Exports - which has been gripped by scandals about the welfare of the animals for decades.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook's political ad tool let us buy ads “paid for” by Mike Pence and ISIS

    • Facebook Lets You Run “Paid For” Ads From ISIS And Mike Pence, But Denies Hillary Clinton
      Since Facebook’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential Elections, the company is doing everything in its power to make it “safer.” However, a new VICE report suggests otherwise.

      Following up on the new ad tools on the Facebook platform, VICE News tried to test out the “Paid For” disclosure. In May, Facebook made this as a mandatory disclosure for any kind of ads that relate to politics.

    • Trump Lovers Are Already Claiming Explosive Devices Sent to Obama, Clinton and CNN Are 'False Flags'
      When the United States Secret Service announced, on October 24, that it was investigating explosive devices sent to CNN and the homes of former President Barack Obama and 2016 presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it was only a matter of time before far-right conspiracy theorists claimed that a “false flag” operation was being carried out by “leftists” and critics of President Donald Trump. And sure enough, right-wing conspiracy buffs are having a field day.

      The devices sent to Obama and Clinton come right after an explosive device arrived at the home of billionaire investor George Soros. It didn’t take long for alt-right wingnuts who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory to begin posting that Soros himself was behind the device—and Alex Jones’ Infowars has described the device sent to Soros’ home as a “false flag,” asserting that “patriots could be blamed before midterm elections.”

    • Nancy Altman on Social Security Myths
      This week on CounterSpin: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tipped a poorly hidden hand by saying that were it—you know—up to him, Congress, after the election, could be looking to “address” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which he called the “real drivers of the debt.” Media were quick to report Democrats’ outcry, but that reporting didn’t include any questioning of media’s own role in laying the groundwork for claims that Social Security is a “controversial” or “troubled” program in need of “addressing.” We’ll go over myths about Social Security, once more with feeling, with Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works, board chair at the Pension Rights Center, and author of, among other titles, The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble.

    • Trump Lawyers Claim He Was Forced to Buy $10,000 Portrait of Himself With Charity Money Because No One Else Would
      On Thursday, Manhattan Supreme Court judge Saliann Scarpulla heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by New York State, arguing that President Donald Trump's charitable foundation, which predates his presidency, was being used as a slush fund.

      One of the issues brought up during the hearing was a painting of Trump that was purchased with $10,000 in Trump Foundation money at a fundraising auction at Mar-a-Lago in 2014.

      But Trump's lawyers presented an incredible excuse for this: Trump had to buy the painting because no one else offered a bid on it.
    • I Bought Used Voting Machines on EBay fOR $100 Apiece. What I Found was Alarming.

      This year, I bought two more machines to see if security had improved. To my dismay, I discovered that the newer model machines—those that were used in the 2016 election—are running Windows CE and have USB ports, along with other components, that make them even easier to exploit than the older ones. Our voting machines, billed as “next generation,” and still in use today, are worse than they were before—dispersed, disorganized, and susceptible to manipulation.

    • Facebook-Cambridge Analytica: MEPs demand action to protect citizens’ privacy

      As follow-up action to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, MEPs call for a full audit on Facebook and new measures against election meddling.

    • UK fines Facebook €£500,000 for failing to protect user data

      The ICO announcement on Thursday upholds its initial decision in July. The fine, which represents a drop in the ocean for a company that brought in $40.7bn (€£31.5bn) in global revenue in 2017, was the maximum available to the regulator under old data protection legislation.

    • Facebook Fined Just $645,000 in UK Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Money It Makes in Less Than 10 Minutes

      Facebook has been fined €£500,000 ($645,000) by the United Kingdom today over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The miniscule fine was the most allowed under the law, but Facebook can probably find that kind of money in its couch cushions. Based on last year’s revenue, Facebook makes $645,000 in less than 9 minutes of operation.

    • Saudi Foreign Agents’ Political Donations Top $1.6 Million in 2018 Elections
      Political donations made by foreign agents hired to act on behalf of Saudi Arabian interests have exceeded $1.6 million in the 2018 election cycle, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

      Of the money flowing into US elections from lobbyists, political operatives, firms and other foreign agents who have disclosed contracts to represent the political interests of Saudi Arabia in the United States, political donations from operatives working for Saudi interests exceed half a million in 2018 elections while PACs affiliated with lobbying and public relations firms account for an additional $1.1 million this election cycle.

      The total amount of political donations made by Saudi foreign agents is a conservative estimate by CRP based on reported political contributions by individuals and firms registered as foreign agents of Saudi Arabia, excluding individual lobbyist or operative contributions to their firm’s affiliated PAC to ensure no funds are double-counted — meaning the total flow of money to politicians from lobbyists, firms and political operatives representing Saudi interests is likely much larger.

    • Pipe Bombs Point to How Trump’s Rhetoric Emboldens Violence
      Federal authorities have launched an investigation after pipe bombs were sent to a number of prominent Democrats, all critics of President Trump. The targets identified include President Obama, Hillary Clinton, George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Congressmember Maxine Waters and former CIA Director John Brennan. The packages listed Democratic Congressmember Debbie Wasserman Schultz as the return address. Police are also investigating a suspicious package sent to former Vice President Joe Biden and a suspicious package found today at actor Robert De Niro’s restaurant in New York. On Wednesday, CNN was forced to evacuate its New York office after it received what police described as a “live explosive device” along with a container of white powder. It came in a package addressed to Brennan. All of the targets have been vilified by President Trump in the past. Authorities said it remains unclear if the devices were operable bombs or designed to look like bombs. No one has been hurt by the devices. We speak to former FBI agent Mike German and Chapman University professor Pete Simi, who has studied political violence for decades.
    • GOP Congressman Used Funds From Holocaust Memorial Group to Meet With Austrian Party Founded By Nazi Officer
      According to the Washington Post, King met with leaders of FPÖ in Vienna immediatedly after concluding a five-day tour of Europe, and of the Nazi death camps in Poland, paid for by From the Depths, a nonprofit organization that educates politicians worldwide about the Holocaust. Four other GOP congressmen joined King and his wife on the trip, but they did not travel on to Austria after the conclusion of the tour.

      Questioned about this trip, King said it was a "very, very powerful experience" to get a "Polish perspective" on the Holocaust, and added that the Poles "don't know" whether Nazi or Soviet occupation of their country was worse. He also denied that FPÖ is an extremist party.
    • NC candidate and campaign manager accused of trying to intimidate voters
      A voter said Rep. Chris Malone asked her whether she was preparing to vote twice while she waited at an early-voting site this week, in an attempt to intimidate her.

      Another woman said she overheard a man connected to the Malone campaign ask much the same question of a voter on the first day of early voting last week. She did not know the man’s name but forwarded to the investigative news organization ProPublica a picture of Dennis Berwyn, Malone’s campaign manager, taken at the early-voting location that day.

      The News & Observer learned about the accusations through the Electionland project, a collaboration of newsrooms around the country tracking voting problems.
    • Mail-Bomb Scare: Why It’s Loathsome To Argue ‘Both Sides’ Are Responsible
      Several politicians in the United States reacted to news of a mail-bomb scare by accusing “both sides” of the political spectrum of violence and harassment that has made the climate “divisive.” But “both sides” are not fanning the flames of reactionary politics.

      Only President Donald Trump manufactures, fuels, and encourages fantasies or delusions of his far-right base, cheering violence as he denounces enemies. That kind of rhetoric from one of the most powerful people in the world incites supporters.

      At the moment, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters, and George Soros received suspicious packages. CNN received a suspicious package that was intended for John Brennan, a contributor.

      The day that suspected explosive devices were found in envelopes, Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared on CNN and pushed the notion that “both sides” deserved blame in truly loathsome fashion.

      Initially, Cuomo’s office was asked if they received any suspicious packages. The office said “no,” but shortly after, Cuomo announced to the press that a suspicious package was received. The FBI indicated a few hours later this was not true. Cuomo did not receive anything resembling a bomb.

      What Cuomo received was some literature from someone angry about the presence of the white supremacist group, the Proud Boys. Information was sent to Cuomo’s office to communicate why the Proud Boys pose a threat to the community.

    • UPDATE: Who Are The 75,000 People On Georgia’s ‘Pending’ List?
      The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says there are 75,000 total voter registration applications that are “pending” as of Oct. 17.

      That’s according to a full analysis the office did following an Oct. 9 report from the Associated Press about the list, one of many pieces of Georgia’s voting system that has been highlighted and litigated ahead of this November’s contentious race for governor between Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams.

      But of that 75,000, the secretary of state’s office says about 28,000 of those include applications with things like made up addresses or duplicate registrations, the applicant is too young to vote, or has correct information but is not a U.S. citizen.

      According to a records analysis the secretary of state’s office completed, that leaves 46,946 pending records that do not exactly match either the state Department of Driver Services database or the federal Social Security Administration database.

    • Georgia stalls voter registrations, from Jesus to new U.S. citizens
      When a Georgia voter registration form is filled out with the name “Jesus Christ” or “Badeye,” it’s pretty obvious why it wouldn’t be processed. Other registration applications stalled by state election officials might well be legitimate, such as those submitted by new U.S. citizens whose citizenship status hasn’t been updated in government computers.

      There are nearly 47,000 voter registrations pending in Georgia because of the state’s “exact match” law that flags a wide range of potential voters until they prove their eligibility, according to data the Secretary of State’s Office provided Wednesday. The number of pending registrations decreased from 53,000 last week after accounting for duplicate records.
    • New York Times Speculates the Secret Service May Murder Trump
      Yes, violence is bad, but if the NYT wants to give its readers a hard-on imaging the Secret Service murdering the president, I guess that’s ok nowadays. And where the stories aren’t violent porn, they are childish in making fun of Trump’s hair over and over, like a lounge lizard comic recycling bits he heard on Kimmel last week. The Russian assassin stays in a Trump hotel and we get this line of Pulitzer-prose: “The bar of soap had the hotel name stamped into both sides. He made sure to wash his ass with it.” Just what you expect now I guess from the “newspaper of record.”

      Because I know the Times is interested in always showing both sides to an issue, I’ve sent in my own fun stories for their consideration. One has Cory Booker and Kamala Harris lynched by the Secret Service after a white nationalist’s rope breaks. Another features Elizabeth Warren receiving fake DNA test data from her Chinese handlers, the same people who created the birth certificate making it look like Obama was born in Hawaii, “Operation Moana Pocahontas.” There’s a tale with Joe Biden, where he lusts after one of his sons (but not the dead one, there are limits!) The best story features Ed Snowden in possession of the actual video showing Hillary Clinton killing Vince Foster.

    • Republicans Release Ad Declaring George Soros a 'Radical' Just Days After He Received a Bomb in the Mail
      The National Republican Campaign Committee has already targeted Soros, who has become a boogeyman for on the right wing, often posited as the funder behind anything conservatives don't like — such as caravan of immigrants in Central America or anti-Trump protests — without any basis in fact.

      Wednesday's ad is an attack on Minnesota Democratic House candidate Dan Feehan.

      “Look at who finances Dan Feehan’s employer,” the ad says. “Radical George Soros, Wall Street’s biggest banks, a crooked lobbyist tied to Pelosi.”

    • Poland's left must offer a real alternative to break the right-wing deadlock
      The recent local government elections in Poland have further strengthened the polarisation of the country’s political scene between two parties from the right: the Law and Justice Party (PiS) and Citizens’ Platform (PO). While the latter made important gains in some major cities, PiS still managed to consolidate itself as the country’s leading political party. With the left remaining marginalised on the sidelines of Polish politics, the domination of these two right-wing parties seems set to continue.

      Depending on who you listen to, Polish democracy is either dying or flourishing. The standard critique, repeated in the mainstream western media, is that since winning the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015, PiS is attacking such institutions as the courts and public media; and leading Poland into Europe’s growing club of illiberal democracies. The PiS government is regarded as a threat to the values upon which the European Union (EU) has been constructed; as well rolling back many of the democratic gains of Poland’s transition from a Soviet-backed socialist state. PiS, of course, reject such claims. They point not just to their electoral victories but also to their continual high standing in the opinion-polls. They refer to the deep conviction in Polish society that institutions such as the courts are corrupt and that their reforms are required in order to create a more transparent and efficient legal system. PiS argue that they are implementing a popular programme of social reform, against the wishes of a corrupt elite.

      PiS have combined their encroachments on liberal democracy, with the promotion of nationalist and socially conservative policies, creating a political environment in which the far-right is emboldened. The party and government is structured around its leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, who has avoided the formal responsibilities of government while conducting proceedings from the sidelines. The left has to heed these warning signs and oppose the present moves towards authoritarianism and conservative nationalism. At the same time, however, it must offer an alternative to the liberal opposition, which seeks a return to the very economic and social order that spurred this right-wing conservative turn.

    • Sanders’ “Progressive International” Isn’t Very…International
      The alt-right, thanks in part to Steve Bannon, has formed an international network centered in Europe on the National Front in France and the Northern League in Italy. Authoritarian leaders from Vladimir Putin in Russia to Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel have formed an informal illiberal axis. Donald Trump is a useful idiot for these overlapping networks.

      Progressives, who have long prided themselves on their internationalism, seem suddenly parochial. The end of the Cold War has marginalized inter-governmental networks, like the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77. The World Social Forum continues to take place among representatives of civil society, but its political impact has diminished.

      Other networks exist on an issue-by-issue basis — climate change, refugees, LGBT — and they do great work. But a multi-issue global effort focused on an overall progressive agenda that can answer the populist right and serve as a conveyor belt between the grassroots and the left-wing policy arena? You’d have a better chance of finding a yeti.

    • Steve King and the Tipping Point for the Republican Party?
      Congressman Steve King (R-IA) is in the news for endorsing Canadian white nationalist Faith Goldy for mayor of Toronto. This is not the first time King has made headlines for his sympathy for far-right politicians, but Goldy is the first openly racist and anti-semitic candidate he has endorsed. Which leads to the question: What is the Republican Party going to do with Steve King?

      Until recently, the GOP remained silent about King despite his racially charged behavior. But they shouldn’t take his actions lightly. Faith Goldy is someone who makes a living promoting racist conspiracy theories. Goldy was fired from her job as a journalist for the far-right Canadian outlet The Rebel Media after she appeared on a podcast by The Daily Stormer, a well known neo-nazi website. She has a history of making racist statements like reciting “the 14 words,” a popular neo-nazi slogan, but she then backtracks or says she’s misunderstood. Yet if one studies her political trajectory, it becomes clear she is a white nationalist. While these facts were publicly known, Goldy still received King’s endorsement.

    • Trump’s Caravan: a Case of Journalistic Malpractice
      As the GOP’s fears of a progressive wave in November grow, Donald Trump has made it his personal mission to make everyone else afraid, too.

      Over the past few week’s he’s been telling evermore fantastical tales of dangerous riffraff inching their way up to the U.S. border.

      In reality, there is a caravan of Honduran migrants — fleeing violence and economic strife so bad that they’d risk our own horrific family separation policies — making its way through Mexico. Traveling in the thousands has helped protect the group from the usual dangers of border-crossing, like getting lost or robbed on the way.

      Meanwhile, the media has been reporting on Trump’s response.

      He’s called them “criminals.” They’re not. They’re desperate men, women, and children forced to flee their homes, many of whom have legally applied for asylum in Mexico.

      He’s accused them of being paid for by the Democrats, to increase votes in the midterm elections. They’re not. They’re people fleeing death who, when asked about this by a reporter following the caravan, said they didn’t even know what “the Democrats” meant. (Not to mention that non-citizens can’t vote.)

      And recently, he’s warned of “unknown Middle Easterners” in the group.

    • What We Learned From Letting a Mother and Her Son Tell Their Own Story
      We, as reporters, decided to mostly get out of the way and publish Aline’s journal with her permission. Of course, we still did all the reporting you would expect — getting documents, asking the right questions, confirming facts, building trust with sources — but we wanted her to tell her own story. We also asked her and her son, now 18, to annotate the text with their reflections today.


      The family was very much part of the process, so it was more collaborative than a typical story. I went out to their house maybe six times. The story was built around the mother’s photos and writings, so we decided it was important for her to see how we were presenting them. That’s atypical.

      While the story still relied on fundamental journalism techniques, it also depended on the family’s courage and willingness to open up their life. Other than asking us to protect their privacy by using their middle names, they didn’t request that anything else be excluded or changed.

      We spent days in a conference room doing what looked like an art project. We had transcripts of our interviews, scissors, Post-it notes, tape and large sheets of paper. We posted the sheets of paper around the room, cut out and taped up journal entries and placed the annotations next to them. We “wrote” much of the story that way.

    • When America Was Great, Savage White Un-Settlers Raped a Continent and Assaulted a Planet
      Where was one to begin in processing the untruth and affront embedded in Trump’s reflection on how “America” was once “great”?

      “Our ancestors”? I have a paternal grandfather who may have been descended from original 18th or even 17th century Scotch-Irish immigrants to North America, but my largest ethnic strain is Finnish, thanks to the Luhtala family’s “chain migration” to DeKalb, Illinois in the early 20th century, long after the closing of the western U.S. frontier. (The Luhtalas worked in barbed-wire plants to help the continent’s capitalist “tamers”/takers mark their territorial conquests off as private property.) Like hundreds of millions of other U.S-Americans, I have ancestors who came long after the nation’s original white and mostly English, Irish, and German “settlers.” (Currently, 14% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, the largest percentage since 1910, right after my Finnish great-grandparents arrived, when 15% of US-Americans were born in other countries.)

      These “ancestors…trounced an empire”? Not really. The U.S. merely broke off from the Western edge of the British Empire, which would go on to rule the world like no global hegemon until the post-World War II Pax Americana (more on that lovely formation below). The British Empire had a pretty damn good run from the end of the Napoleonic Wars through the rest of the 19th century.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • European Court Rejects Austrian's Case Over Prophet Slur
      The European Court of Human Rights says an Austrian woman's conviction for calling the prophet of Islam a pedophile didn't breach her freedom of speech.

      The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled Thursday that Austrian courts had "carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected."

      The woman in her late 40s, identified only as E.S., claimed during two public seminars in 2009 that the Prophet Muhammad's marriage to a young girl was akin to "pedophilia." A Vienna court convicted her in 2011 of disparaging religious doctrines, ordering her to pay a 480-euro ($547) fine, plus costs. The ruling was later upheld by an Austrian appeals court.

    • Closed-doors discussions to filter the internet continue

      On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the worst imaginable amendments to the copyright Directive proposal. After this disastrous vote, discussions moved behind closed doors, to the informal trilogues discussions, where the Council of the European Union (EU Member States), representatives of the Parliament and the European Commission (EC) are trying to reach an agreement on the two positions of the text (the Council proposal and the EP texts). Will they, soon? That’s less clear now.

    • Defaming Prophet Muhammed not free expression: ECHR

      Defaming the Prophet Muhammed “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate" and "could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace” and thus exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday, upholding a lower court decision.

      The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009, entitled “Basic Information on Islam,” in which she defamed the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage.

    • Insulting Prophet Muhammad not 'free speech,' ECtHR rules

      Defaming the Prophet Muhammad exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the European Court of Human Rights, upholding an Austrian court’s decision

    • Obituary: Jamal Khashoggi

      Saudi Arabia’s leading commentator was murdered on October 2nd, aged 59

    • Breitbart Snowflakes Threaten To Sue People Who Have Asked Advertisers To Stop Advertising On Breitbart
      As we pointed out in that article, if you're a journalist hiring such a firm -- and a bunch of the #MeToo journalists have done so -- to try to stifle stories from other publications, it would suggest you're an incredible hypocrite. Journalists thrive on the First Amendment. If you're a journalist threatening to stifle others' free speech, you're a hypocrite.

      Enter Breitbart. Because, of course it would be Breitbart. According to a Daily Beast article, Breitbart has hired Clare Locke to threaten a group of people who have been advocating for advertisers to drop their ads from Breitbart. I should say up front, that I think all of these attempts to push advertisers to drop ads is actually pretty silly. It's mostly symbolic and rarely has a real economic impact. It's just a silly game of tit for tat.

    • Corporate Speech Police Are Not the Answer to Online Hate
      A coalition of civil rights and public interest groups issued recommendations today on policies they believe Internet intermediaries should adopt to try to address hate online. While there’s much of value in these recommendations, EFF does not and cannot support the full document. Because we deeply respect these organizations, the work they do, and the work we often do together; and because we think the discussion over how to support online expression—including ensuring that some voices aren’t drowned out by harassment or threats—is an important one, we want to explain our position.

      We agree that online speech is not always pretty—sometimes it’s extremely ugly and causes real world harm. The effects of this kind of speech are often disproportionately felt by communities for whom the Internet has also provided invaluable tools to organize, educate, and connect. Systemic discrimination does not disappear and can even be amplified online. Given the paucity and inadequacy of tools for users themselves to push back, it’s no surprise that many would look to Internet intermediaries to do more.

      We also see many good ideas in this document, beginning with a right of appeal. There seems to be near universal agreement that intermediaries that choose to take down “unlawful” or “illegitimate” content will inevitably make mistakes. We know that both human content moderators and machine learning algorithms are prone to error, and that even low error rates can affect large swaths of users. As such, companies must, at a minimum, make sure there’s a process for appeal that is both rapid and fair, and not only for “hateful” speech, but for all speech.

      Another great idea: far more transparency. It’s very difficult for users and policymakers to comment on what intermediaries are doing if we don’t know the lay of the land. The model policy offers a pretty granular set of requirements that would provide a reasonable start. But we believe that transparency of this kind should apply to all types of speech.

    • Google app tested in Venezuela takes swipe at press censors
      Google has unveiled a tool meant to help fight press censorship around the world, testing it first in Venezuela, where journalists say they’re battling a government bent on burying online stories that expose corruption and human rights abuses.

      News junkies in Venezuela clicking on links to independent websites have been frustrated in recent years by messages on their screens saying the pages don’t exist — a problem most blame on government moves to block access to critical information.

      “It’s very hard to get news to the people,” said Melanio Escobar, a Venezuelan journalist and social activist who tested the Intra app on Google’s behalf before it was launched this month. “We promote this and other tools, but it’s not easy.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Belgium: Oi, Brits, explain why Belgacom hack IPs pointed at you and your GCHQ
      GCHQ’s rumoured hacking operation against Belgacom came back into the spotlight yesterday after a local newspaper revealed more tantalising snippets from a Belgian judicial investigation into the attack.

      Originally having come to light thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures from American spy agency files he swiped from the NSA, the UK's signals intelligence bods are said to have hacked into the Belgian telco in order to monitor private communications flowing over its networks.

      Belgian newspaper De Standaard reported yesterday that a judicial investigation had found proof that the hack, traces of which were found by Belgacom, “was the work of the GCHQ, an intelligence service of ally Great Britain”.

    • Why the NSA Called Me After Midnight and Requested My Source Code

      The story behind my top secret coffee cup
    • Apple is right about privacy, but wrong about freedom
      We agree with Apple that security is at the heart of all data privacy and privacy rights. Where we disagree is in who holds the keys. Your data isn’t truly private or secure, if someone else holds the keys. It’s true that Apple goes to great lengths to lock down their devices from attackers, but like with Google and other proprietary vendors, those locks also lock you out. These devices tightly restrict what applications can run on them in the name of security, but that restriction conveniently also means that the everyone has to get the vendor’s permission to install their software.

      More importantly, these locks mean that you don’t have freedom or control. In fact, some device vendors are paid to install applications by default that you aren’t allowed to remove. You only have to look at the underground market of sketchy software that promises to “root” your phone to see the lengths that people have to go to so they can try to wrench control of their hardware back from vendors.

    • “Information Fiduciaries” Must Protect Your Data Privacy
      The law of “fiduciaries” is hundreds of years old. It arises from economic relationships based on asymmetrical power, such as when ordinary people entrust their personal information to skilled professionals (doctors, lawyers, and accountants particularly). In exchange for this trust, such professionals owe their customers a duty of loyalty, meaning they cannot use their customers’ information against their customers’ interests. They also owe a duty of care, meaning they must act competently and diligently to avoid harm to their customers. These duties are enforced by government licensing boards, and by customer lawsuits against fiduciaries who do wrong.

      These long-established skilled professions have much in common with new kinds of online businesses that harvest and monetize their customers’ personal data. First, both have a direct contractual relationship with their customers. Second, both collect a great deal of personal information from their customers, which can be used against these customers. Third, both have one-sided power over their customers: online businesses can monitor their customers’ activities, but those customers don’t have reciprocal power.

      Accordingly, several law professors have proposed adapting these venerable fiduciary rules to apply to online companies that collect personal data from their customers. New laws would define such companies as “information fiduciaries.”

    • Last Chance To Opt Out Of #MyHealthRecord, Australians!
      Australia's controversial and clumsy rollout of its "My Health Record" program this summer didn't cause the "spill" -- what Australians call an abrupt turnover of party leadership in Parliament — that gave the country a new Prime Minister in August. But it didn't improve public trust in the government either. The program — which aims to create a massive nationally administered database of more or less every Australian's health care records — will pose massive privacy and security risks for the citizens it covers, with less-than-obvious benefits for patients, the medical establishment, and the government.

      Citizen participation in the new program isn't quite mandatory, but it's nearly so, thanks to the government's recent shift of the program from purely voluntary to "opt-out." Months before the planned rollout, which began June 16, at least one poll suggested that a sizable minority of Australians don't want the government to keep their health information in a centralized health-records database.

      In response to ongoing concern about the privacy impact of the program (check out #MyHealthRecord on Facebook and Twitter), the new government is pushing for legislative changes aimed at addressing the growing public criticism of the program. But many privacy advocates and health-policy experts say the proposed fixes, while representing some improvements on particular privacy issues, don't address the fundamental problem. Specifically, the My Health Record program, which originally was designed as a voluntary program, is becoming an all-but-mandatory health-record database for Australian citizens, held (and potentially exploited) by the government.

      Australia's shifting of its electronic-health-records program to "opt-out" — which means citizens are automatically included in the program unless they take advantage of a short-term "window" to halt automatic creation of their government-held health records — is a textbook example of how to further undermine trust in a government that already has trust issues when it comes to privacy. Every government that imposes record-keeping requirements that impact citizen privacy should view Australia's abrupt shift to "opt-out" health-care records as an example of What Not To Do.

    • The President's Phone OPSEC Continues To Be, Well, Crap
      By now the President's unwillingness to adhere to anything close to reasonable security when using his mobile phones has been made pretty clear. Whereas the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the NSA usually work in concert providing state leaders with "hardened" devices that are heavily encrypted, routinely updated, and frequently swapped out, Trump has refused to use these more secure DMCC-S devices (effectively a Samsung Galaxy S4 device utilizing Samsung's Knox security architecture), because it might infringe on his ability to Tweet.


      To let Trump's ego dictate his security practices is obviously still problematic, potentially even to the point of putting lives at risk. It's also incredibly ironic given all the time Trump spends complaining about potential Chinese spying habits, including the Trump-driven blacklist of all Huawei products in the United States. It's a blackballing that's not based on much in the way of evidence, but is certainly appreciated in a protectionist capacity by the U.S. networking and cell phone vendors who didn't want to have to compete with cheaper Chinese gear.

    • What Happens When Telecom Companies Search Your Home for Piracy

      One of the lawyers represented some of Canada’s most powerful telecommunications and media companies: Bell, Rogers, Vidéotron, and TVA. The other was there to be an independent observer on behalf of the court. Lackman was told that he was being sued for copyright infringement for operating TVAddons, a website that hosted user-created apps for streaming video over the internet. The crew was there with a civil court order allowing them to search the place.

      The search was only supposed to go from 8 AM to 8 PM but it ended at midnight. The team copied laptops, hard drives, and any other devices they found, and demanded logins and passwords. Lackman, who called a lawyer in to represent him, was questioned for nine hours by the opposing counsel. They presented him with a list of names of people suspected of being digital pirates in Canada and asked him to snitch. He didn’t recognize the names, he told me, and said nothing.

    • Why does one California county sheriff have the highest rate of stingray use?

      The lawsuit, Electronic Frontier Foundation v. County of San Bernardino et al., which was filed in county court on Tuesday, explains how a 2015 state law requires that law enforcement agencies in most cases seek a warrant to use the surveillance devices. Prior to the law's passage, Ars reported that since the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department (SBSD) acquired a stingray in late 2012, the agency has used it 303 times between January 1, 2014 and May 7, 2015, all without seeking a warrant.

    • AIIA says encryption bill may drive tech vendors out of Australia

      The Australian Information Industry Association has warned that the Federal Government's encryption bill would lead to overseas vendors withdrawing from the Australian market as they would not want their products to be caught in the government's dragnet.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Sex, lies and cover-ups: how Google rewards sexual harassers

    • Google Protected Android Creator Andy Rubin Despite Sexual Misconduct: Report
    • How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’

      Google could have fired Mr. Rubin and paid him little to nothing on the way out. Instead, the company handed him a $90 million exit package, paid in installments of about $2 million a month for four years, said two people with knowledge of the terms. The last payment is scheduled for next month.

    • Alphabet reports $33.7bn in revenue as sexual misconduct claims engulf Google

      Parent company’s results as a report says Google gave executive $90m payoff but kept sexual misconduct allegations quiet

    • ACTION ALERT: While Rangers Fight Wildfires, USA Today Fans Flames of Gun Paranoia
      Nothing in the language of the Second Amendment suggests that people have an unlimited right to shoot off guns wherever they want to, which is presumably why reporter Trevor Hughes doesn’t bring it up the Constitution in the context of park officials trying to balance public safety and gun recreation. But the editors who wrote the headlines, perhaps thinking that safety concerns over an outdoor sport won’t sell many newspapers or drive many clicks, shoehorned the story into the culture-war hot button of “gun rights.”

      The problem is that the people most likely to get excited about such headlines tend to take phrases like “under fire” and “under siege” very literally.

    • Harris County Clerk's office singles out three progressive groups for scrutiny at polls
      The Harris County Clerk’s office instructed poll workers to not allow individuals wearing shirts depicting the names of three progressive groups inside early voting locations to cast ballots this week.

    • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Office Invokes Terrorism To Keep Response Plan To Van Dyke Verdict Secret
      Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office refuses to release the plan it developed for the city’s response to a verdict in the trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.

      On October 5, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for every shot he fired into the body of McDonald.

      “Releasing this information could enable terrorists and criminals to know in advance where police, fire, and other valuable city resources will be,” the mayor’s office argued in its response to a public records request from Lucy Parsons Labs.

      The Illinois Freedom of Information Act exempts “vulnerability assessments, security measures, and response policies or plans that are designed to identify, prevent, or respond to potential attacks.”

      The mayor’s office contends that the “action plan can be applied to many types of public safety situations that may arise,” a possible effort to avoid comparing freedom of assembly to terrorism. Yet according to the city’s statement, the plan “was designed to respond to a potential attack upon the community’s population, and the release of this plan could allow persons with this information to effect a strategy in advance for undermining or otherwise targeting public safety efforts.”

    • What the map of U.S. hate groups reveals
      New research offers clues on how to stop the spread of organized hate groups in the U.S.

    • ‘Secretive, Dubious Partnerships': Harvard Quietly Keeps Strong Saudi Connections
      At noon on March 23, protesters gathered on MIT’s campus bearing red-and-black signs declaring “No Saudi War Criminal at MIT” and “End Saudi-MIT Collaboration.”

      The protest — organized by local advocacy group Massachusetts Peace Action — was meant to draw attention to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's March visit to MIT. Standing amid university police and barricades, members of the group called on MIT President L. Rafael Reif to disavow Prince Mohammed and to sever ties with the Saudi Arabian regime.

      In a statement she gave to MIT’s student newspaper following the visit, university spokesperson Kimberly Allen said that “Saudi Arabia and MIT have a longstanding collaborative relationship focused on subjects of mutual interest.” Allen added the partnerships bring female Saudi students to study in the United States and support “the development of sustainable energy.”

      The next day, March 24, Prince Mohammed visited Harvard. Roughly two miles away in Cambridge, there were no protests and no University press releases.

    • A look at some of the ties Harvard and MIT have with Saudi Arabia
      Harvard and MIT are reexamining their relationships with Saudi Arabia following the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

      Here’s a look at some of the ties the universities have with Saudi Arabia:

      â– $25 million: Money MIT has accepted from Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, since 2012. The money was used to launch the MIT Energy Initiative.

      â– $20 million: Money Harvard accepted from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the cousin of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, in 2005. The money launched the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program.

    • More Than Me Addresses Inaccurate Tax Returns, Loses 2 Board Members, Has Funds Suspended by Donor
      In the wake of a ProPublica investigation into More Than Me, the charity scrambled this week to answer questions about inaccuracies in its tax returns. One of its largest donors suspended funding, citing a violation of trust. And the charity confirmed another board member has resigned, as well as a member of its Liberian advisory board.

      The story and documentary showed how the American charity, which set out to save Liberian girls from sexual exploitation, missed opportunities to prevent the rape of its students by a key employee who had AIDS when he died. The charity has since said it will provide private, schoolwide HIV testing for students at its academy. Officials issued an apology, for the first time acknowledging they failed the girls who were raped, and announced two independent audits.

    • California Neo-Nazi Group Members Arrested for Role in Violence at Rallies
      The leader of California neo-Nazi gang the “Rise Above Movement” was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles. Robert Rundo faces charges of plotting riots and inciting violence for his role in a range of attacks in 2017, including the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville last August. Three other members of the group were charged alongside Rundo. Robert Boman and Tyler Laube were apprehended at their homes in Torrance and Redondo Beach. A fourth suspect, Aaron Eason, is still at large. The men are accused of participating in violent attacks, as well as using the internet to incite violence ahead of various events. The group publicly documented their attacks as a recruitment tool. We speak to former FBI agent Mike German and Chapman University professor Pete Simi, who has studied political violence for decades.

    • Victims' Rights Laws Being Abused To Hide The Identities Of Cops Involved In Use Of Force Incidents
      A law filled with good intentions and vague wording is, more often than not, a law named after the victim of a crime. So-called "Marsy's Laws" are being passed in states that grant crime victims extra rights, often at the expense of the accused's Constitutional rights. As Scott Greenfield explains, "Marsy's Laws" insert crime victims into a process that isn't theirs to be inserted into. Once a crime has been committed, the government takes over and it's between the prosecutor and the accused from that point forward. As harsh as it may sound, crime victims aren't in need of extra rights. Any effort made to "fix" this nonexistent problem only deprives others of their rights.

    • Why Voting for Immigration Reform Is Critical for Korean Americans
      When he was 7 years old, Jin Park emigrated with his family from South Korea to the United States under the sponsorship of his mother’s employer. The family settled in Queens, New York, home to a growing Korean immigrant community. As a teenager, Park learned that he was undocumented; unbeknownst to the family, his mother’s original employer was not qualified to sponsor immigrants. He applied for and received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and attended Harvard University, graduating in 2018.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ICANN Frees .Amazon Domain For Company Delegation
      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has lifted the stop on delegating the .amazon top-level domain, effectively handing it to the company over the South American region, depending on agreement with states in the Amazon region.


      The concerns on the side of the Amazon countries nevertheless remain according to the communique of ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). Governments there took note of Colombia’s letters to ICANN expressing its objection to a “delegation without consent by the ACTO member.” A “mutually acceptable solution” for the Amazon countries still has to be worked out, according to the GAC.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Case in Brief: Johnstech Int’l Corp. v. JF Microtechnology SDN BHD
      In 2009, Malaysian manufacturer JFM offered to make integrated circuits test contactors for Johnstech.


      In its post-verdict decision, the court supported the jury verdict of nonobviousness by giving deference to “the jury’s presumed factual findings” –holding particularly that the presumed finding that “Rathburn is not relevant prior art” was not “contrary to the clear weight of the evidence.”

      The infringement verdict here appears based upon a doctrine of equivalents finding for several claim elements. In its post-verdict decision, the District Court again supported the jury verdict – finding that the presumed DOE verdict was supported substantial evidence.

      The case is subject to pending cross appeals at the Federal Circuit and so we will look for more guidance going forward.

    • CJEU shows red card to SPCs for medical devices in Boston Scientific (C-527/17)
      The SPC system was introduced in the European Union in 1992 to compensate for the heavy penalties imposed on pharmaceutical research due to the curtailment in effective patent term resulting from time-consuming and costly regulatory review. As expressly noted in the Explanatory Memorandum to the original SPC Regulation (COM(90) 101 final-SYN 255), the legislative intent was that the SPC system should be applicable to all pharmaceutical research without discrimination, provided that it leads to a new invention that can be patented.

      Nevertheless, as set out in Article 2 of the SPC Regulation (EC) 469/2009, a product is only eligible for SPC protection if it has been approved in accordance with the Medicinal Products Directives, i.e. Directive 2001/83/EC or 2001/82/EC.

    • Qualcomm hijacks EU Commission expert group on licensing and valuation of standard-essential patents
      Last December this blog commented very favorably on the European Commission's "approach to standard-essential patents" document. Unfortunately, the implementation of one item--the creation of a group of "experts on the licensing and valuation of standard-essential patents (SEPs)"--is now going in the totally wrong direction.


      Economist Justus Baron is a researched at Northwestern University's Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, which announced in 2013 that it received $2 million from Qualcomm for "patent research." The press release describes Qualcomm as a "visionary company."

      Another economist, Jorge Padilla, heads Compass Lexecon Europe. Qualcomm is one of his firm's major clients (possibly the primary client), and he has written various papers on SEPs, habitually denying that hold-up and patent stacking are actual issues (actually, even this blog here has provided numerous examples over the years that those concerns are well-founded).

      Ruud Peters used to head the IP department of Philips from 1999 to 2013, then became a part-time adviser. If I recall correctly, I crossed paths with him at an EIF (European Internet Forum) event in 2004. In any event, Philips is very active in SEP monetization.

      Bowman Heiden of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden co-authored a paper last year on "patent holdout" that was sponsored by 4iP Council, an organization that is in turn sponsored by Qualcomm, Philips, InterDigital, and the Qualcomm's two primary allies, Nokia and Ericsson (though both at different points in time complained about Qualcomm's aggressive leveraging of SEPs).

      Qualcomm's allies simply outnumber potential voices of reason such as Audi's Chief Licensing Officer, Mathias Schneider.

    • Qualcomm gets tentative approval to pursue trade secret lawsuit against Apple

    • Patent advisers pressured by in-house strategy changes [Ed: Truly ridiculous piece from a front group of the litigation 'industry'. All these people want is lawsuits (legal bills)...]

    • Trademarks

      • The Craft Beer UK Market Saw A 20% Increase In Trademark Registrations In 2017
        Regular readers here will know that we have been sounding the alarm on how trademarks are being handled in the enormously explosive craft beer industries. With the explosion of trademark applications in the industry, it's no surprise that a cottage industry for legal intellectual property services specifically for beer brands has sprouted up. We've already begun to see the fallout from the a once-friendly and fraternal industry devolving into protectionism, but the only sane read on the data is that it's going to get a lot worse in short order.

        But, lest you think this is some uniquely American problem, a report out of the UK shows that things are going to be equally insane there, too. We have previously discussed UK intellectual property law firm RPC's noting that trademark applications in the UK had doubled over the past decade, with a 20% uptick in applications in 2017 alone. A new report puts some reason to those numbers and it's likely not what you're imagining. Far from this being a result purely of the growth in new breweries entering the market, this has more to do with established breweries looking to expand trademark portfolios for everything they produce.

    • Copyrights

      • AG opinion: military records should not be copyrightable
        A top adviser to the Court of Justice of the EU has advised the court to rule that a simple military report cannot be protected by copyright

        In a new development in the copyright v freedom of expression debate, a top EU adviser recommended today that simple military reports should not enjoy copyright protection under harmonised EU law.
      • AG Szpunar advises CJEU to rule that copyright cannot subsist in military report in important fundamental rights case
        The reference was made in the context of litigation between the German Government and German newspaper WAZ over the unauthorized publication by the latter of the so called 'Afghanistan Papers', ie confidential military reports on the operations of German armed forces in that region in the period 2005-2012.

        The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) stayed the proceedings, and asked the CJEU to clarify whether and to what extent the assessment of prima facie copyright infringement and the applicability of the exceptions in favour of the press (Article 5(3)(c) of the InfoSoc Directive) and for quotation (Article 5(3)(d) of the same directive) is informed by a fundamental rights analysis.
      • Civilised societies don’t call it censorship, but copyright
        With the approval in the European Parliament of the final text of the Copyright Directive, which will be definitely put to the vote in a very few months’, the European Union has lost a historic opportunity to produce copyright legislation adapted for the Internet in the twenty-first century. What the European Parliament will finally vote on is a technophobic text, tailor-made for the interests of the copyright monopolies which, moreover, doesn’t guarantee the right of authors to have a reasonable standard of living as a result of their work.

        If the law is eventually passed, it will be used for wholesale curtailment of freedoms and more censorship, in keeping with the bizarre idea that anything that doesn’t produce hard cash for the major players – which doesn’t mean authors! – has to be prohibited and eliminated.
      • EU Copyright Directive Update: Fresh (But Slim) Hope Of Stopping Link Taxes And Upload Filters
        Since this is a completely new proposal, it's not clear how the European Parliament will respond. As Reda writes, the European Parliament ought to insist that any copyright exception that is legal under existing EU copyright law remains legal under the new Directive, once passed. Otherwise the exercise of "making copyright fit for the digital age" -- the supposed justification for the new law -- will have been even more of a fiasco than it currently it is.

        There are two other pieces of good news. Yet another proposed extension of EU copyright, this time to create a special new form of copyright for sporting events, seems to have zero support among the EU's Member States, and thus is likely to be dropped. Reda also notes that Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia and the Czech Republic are in favor of expanding the scope of the proposed copyright exception for text and data mining to include businesses. That's something that the AI industry in Europe desperately needs if it is to keep up with the US and China in using massive text and data stores to train AI systems.

      • Court Orders “ZemTV” Kodi Addon Developer to Pay $650,000 Piracy Damages

        American satellite and broadcast provider Dish Network has won a default judgment of $650,000 against the man behind the defunct third-party Kodi-addon ZemTV. UK-based developer "Shani" is liable for copyright infringement because his addon, which was distributed via TVAddons, retransmitted Dish's content.

      • Rightsholders Slammed, Even as Aussie Anti-Piracy Proposals Get Full Support

        As tough new anti-piracy laws are quickly pushed through by the Australian parliament, rightsholders still aren't doing enough to tackle to the problem. During the bill's second reading yesterday, Labor MP Ed Husic said that "bloated, greedy, resistant-to-change rights holders" are using copyright reform "to shield themselves from the modern era" while warning that a ban on VPNs could be next.

      • EFF tells EU 'get rid off Article 13, or if not, at least fix it'

        In the letter, the Foundation reemphasises its grave misgivings about both Article 13 and Article 11, which will require linking to news sites to be under a paid licence scheme.

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Aggressive Efforts (and Threats) for Those Who Speak About What Happened in the Balkans
Acting in this way in an effort to censor people typically results in a second scandal on top of the original scandal
How Kosovo won DebConf21
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Video] How the Media Blamed SSH and Linux (for Nearly a Whole Fortnight!) Instead of Microsoft's GitHub and Systemd
Microsoft-connected sites have said a whole bunch of lies
Anzacathon: a hackathon for Anzac day at home
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 10, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, April 10, 2024
On Julian Assange, Now 5 Years in Belmarsh Prison: The Good News, the Bad News, and Ugly Noise
Some time this spring (or summer) we'll revisit the Appelbaum case