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Links 9/8/2019: Sway 1.2 RC, digiKam 6.2.0

  • GNU/Linux

  • Leftovers

    • Science

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • HTTP Desync Attacks: Request Smuggling Reborn

        Building on research that has been overlooked for years, I've introduced new techniques to desynchronize servers and demonstrated novel ways to exploit the results using numerous real websites as case studies. Through this I've shown that request smuggling is a major threat to the web, that HTTP request parsing is a security-critical function, and that tolerating ambiguous messages is dangerous. I've also released a methodology and an open source toolkit to help people audit for request smuggling, prove the impact, and earn bounties with minimal risk.

      • Security bod uncovers 'severe' zero-day flaw in Steam's Windows client [iophk: not a zero-day, June 15th was 55 days ago, so this is a 55-day flaw]

        According to Kravets, he first reported the flaw to Valve Software, Steam developer, on 15 June via HackerOne, providing a "text description and a proof-of-concept as an executable file".

        The next day, Kravets got a message that the vulnerability reported by him was rejected as out-of-scope due to the reason that "attacks that require the ability to drop files in arbitrary locations on the user's filesystem".

      • Consumer Reports Finds Numerous Home Routers Lack Even Basic Security Protections

        For years now many hardware vendors have failed utterly to implement even basic security protections on most consumer-grade routers. D-Link, for example, just settled with the FTC after being sued for shipping routers with numerous vulnerabilities and default username/password combinations, despite advertising its products as "easy to secure" and replete with "advanced network security." Asus was similarly dinged by the FTC for shipping gear with numerous flaws and easily-guessed default username and password combinations.

        As such, it's not too surprising to see a new Consumer Reports study that found that a large number of mainstream residential routers lack even rudimentary security protections. 11 of the 26 major router brands examined by the organization came with flimsy password protection. 20 of the routers let users only change the password, but not the username of web-based router management clients. 20 of the routers also failed to protect users from repeated failed password login attempts, now commonplace on most apps, phones, and other services.

      • CNCF Completes Kubernetes Cybersecurity Audit

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) this week announced the results of its recent audit performed as part of its ongoing commitment to continuously improve Kubernetes security.

        CNCF CTO Chris Aniszczyk says as part of the effort, the CNCF later this year also plans to kick off a bounty program through which it will provide incentives to researchers who identify bugs and other cybersecurity flaws.

        Aniszczyk says all highly severe cybersecurity issues identified by the Security Audit Working Group funded by the CNCF have been addressed by the committee that oversees Kubernetes development. The auditors narrowed their focus on eight core Kubernetes components: Kube-apiserver, etcd, Kube-scheduler, Kube-controller-manager, cloud-controller-manager, Kubelet, Kube-proxy and container runtime.

      • Why Aren’t IoT Devices More Secure than They Currently Are [Ed: Pro-'IoT' site asking such a question when our politicians publicly mandate back doors in everything?]

        The growing popularity of IoT devices does not change the fact that they are also making news for the wrong reasons. From database leaks to the hacking of IoT cameras, to Amazon employees snooping on your Alexa conversations, it appears that many IoT device companies are struggling to build trust. Accordingly, we discuss in this article the top challenges that are impeding the security of smart devices.

      • How Buffer Overflow Attacks Work

        A computer program may be vulnerable to buffer overflow if it handles incoming data incorrectly. Anybody who can provide suitably crafted user input data can cause such a program to crash. Even worse, a vulnerable program may execute arbitrary code provided by an intruder and do something that the author did not intend it to do. Buffer overflow vulnerabilities are caused by programmer mistakes, which are easy to understand but not so easy to avoid or protect against.

      • AT&T Employees Took Bribes To Plant Malware On Company's Network

        The DOJ this week announced that AT&T employees have been paid more than $1 million in bribes to unlock millions of smartphones, and to install malware and unauthorized hardware on the company's network. According to the full DOJ complaint (pdf), Muhammad Fahd, a 34-year-old man from Pakistan and a (presumed dead) co-conspirator, Ghulam Jiwani, paid off AT&T employees at the company's Mobility Customer Care call center in Bothell, Washington. In return, from April 2012 until September 2017, the two men unlocked iPhones so they could be used on another carrier's network.

      • Andy Simpkins: paperwork [Ed: The situation described here by Debian's Andy Simpkins isn't even as bad as it gets; it's not unusual anymore. Far too much British government stuff has been outsourced to surveillance firms in another continent.]

        Well thats the first page anyway. Correctly addressed to the “Current Occupier”. So why am I posting about this?

        Phishing emails land in our inbox all the time (hopfully only a few because our spam filters eat the rest). These are unsolisitord emails trying to trick us into doing somthing, usually they look like somthing official and warn us about somthing that we should take action about, for example an email that looks like it has come from your bank warning about suspicious activity in your account, they then ask you to follow a link to the ‘banks website’ where you can login and confirm if the activity is genuine – obviously taking you through a ‘man in the middle’ website that harvests your account credentials.

        The govoment is justifiably concerned about this (as to are banks and other businesses that are impersonated in this way) and so run media campaigns to educate the public in the dangers of such scams and what to look out for.

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (postgresql-11, postgresql-9.4, and postgresql-9.6), Fedora (exiv2), openSUSE (python-Django and vlc), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (evince, nodejs10, python, and squid), and Ubuntu (postgresql-10, postgresql-11, postgresql-9.5).

      • Fixes for recent KDE desktop vulnerability [Ed: Anti-Linux tabloids badmouthed KDE by overhyping it]

        As you may have been made aware on some news articles, blogs, and social media posts, a vulnerability to the KDE Plasma desktop was recently disclosed publicly. This occurred without KDE developers/security team or distributions being informed of the discovered vulnerability, or being given any advance notice of the disclosure.


        The fixed packages are now in that PPA, so all is required is to update your system by your normal preferred method.

      • Whatsapp, Slack, Skype and apps based on popular Electron framework vulnerable to backdoor attacks

        This week at B-Sides LV, security researcher Pavel Tsakalidis presented his work on security defects in the Electron framework, a cross-platform development framework that combines Javascript with Node.js: apps built with Electron include Skype, Slack, Whatsapp, Visual Studio Code and others.

        Tsakalidis showed how the lack of basic encryption for Electron code leaves users vulnerable to hackers who inject back-door code into their sessions, which exposes their communications, filesystem, and cameras and mics to third parties.

        These changes are harder to make in Macos or GNU/Linux systems (where admin access is required), but Windows systems are wide open.

        To make things worse, Electron's team had previously rejected a user request for encryption to protect its files, and when Tsakalidis presented his work to them, they ignored him.

      • Windows Quietly Patches Bug That Could Reverse Meltdown, Spectre Fixes For Intel CPUs
      • Warning over new SWAPGS CPU security flaw that targets Intel's 'speculative execution' feature
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Chinese troops must stay off the streets of Hong Kong

        What began as a movement against an extradition bill, which would have let criminal suspects in Hong Kong be handed over for trial by party-controlled courts in mainland China, has evolved into the biggest challenge from dissenters since Tiananmen. Activists are renewing demands for greater democracy in the territory. Some even want Hong Kong’s independence from China. Still more striking is the sheer size and persistence of the mass of ordinary people. A general strike called for August 5th disrupted the city’s airport and mass-transit network. Tens of thousands of civil servants defied their bosses to stage a peaceful public protest saying that they serve the people, not the current leadership. A very large number of mainstream Hong Kongers are signalling that they have no confidence in their rulers.

    • Environment

      • We’re Eating This Planet to Death

        The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a dire report Thursday arguing that humanity can’t truly fight climate change without addressing the land problem—habitat degradation, deforestation, and soils beat to hell by agriculture. We now use nearly three-quarters of the world’s ice-free surface and waste a quarter of the food we produce, all while the global food system contributes up to 37 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.

        In short, we have to fundamentally rethink how we grow crops and raise livestock. There’s no panacea, and every potential fix is fraught with maddening complications. But if we can’t figure out how to feed our species in a more sustainable way, climate change will continue to accelerate, making it all the more difficult to grow enough food. Food systems will collapse, and people will die.

      • Ocean Heatwaves That Instantly Kill Coral Are Getting Worse, Scientists Warn

        A study published Thursday in Current Biology warns that extreme marine heatwaves present “a distinct biological phenomenon from bleaching events,” according to the study’s authors, led by William Leggat, a coral reef expert at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

        “Our study provides compelling evidence for the urgent need for society to execute global and local efforts to mitigate climate change for the protection of coral reef ecosystems,” the team said in the paper.

      • Tourists trampling World Heritage site in Denmark

        The UNESCO World Heritage site is hampered by visitors stomping around its vulnerable dunes, leaving dedicated paths and ignoring driving regulations, as well as letting their dogs barrel into sensitive habitats for migrating birds.

      • European Union helped to cool 2003 heatwave

        Of all the political plaudits or economic brickbats hurled at the European Union, this might be the least expected: simply because it existed, it somehow ameliorated or damped down the worst of the 2003 heatwave.

        This moment of extreme summer heat is believed to have caused an estimated 40,000 excess deaths and cost the European economy more than €13 billion in economic losses and infrastructure damage.

        And yet it could have been worse. Had what is now a 28-nation political and economic behemoth not been formed in 1993, the way the member nations used their land would not have changed, and the heatwave might have been more intense, more severe and more destructive still.

      • The Shocking Number of Environmentalists Murdered Each Year

        One year ago, on July 31, 2018, just after leaving home in the Ukrainian city of Kherson, Deputy Mayor Kateryna Gandziuk felt a splash of liquid across her head and face. An assailant had thrown a full liter of sulfuric acid on her, leaving her near death with burns across half her body. In the months leading up to the attack, she had accused several local politicians of illegal logging in the nearby Oleshky forest. She spent several painful months in the hospital, finally dying of her wounds on Nov. 4. After protests and international pressure, several suspects were arrested, but Gandziuk’s family and supporters allege a cover-up to protect the organizers of the assault that rises to the highest levels of the Ukrainian political elite.

        Kateryna Gandziuk’s brutal attack is just one of 164 murders of environmentalists and land and water defenders that occurred in 2018, cataloged in a new report titled “Enemies of the State? How governments and business silence land and environmental defenders.” Published by Global Witness, an international nonprofit organization that works to protect human rights and the environment by confronting corruption, the report notes that “the real figure is likely to be much higher, because cases are often not recorded and very rarely investigated.”

        The report is global in scale. Among the most dangerous places for land defenders in 2018 were the Philippines, Guatemala and Brazil. The pace of violence in Brazil has only accelerated since the right-wing, climate change-denying extremist Jair Bolsonaro assumed the presidency last January.

      • Energy

        • UN Climate Change Report Further Confirms Meat Production Has ‘Disproportionate Impact’ On Emissions

          A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of the United Nations, further confirms how meat consumption and production is fueling climate disruption.

          “Meat—sometimes specified as ruminant meat (mainly beef)—was consistently identified as the single food with the greatest impact on the environment, most often in terms of GHG [greenhouse] emissions and/or land use per unit commodity,” the report states.

          The IPCC’s report covered climate change and land, including the following issues: desertification, land degradation, land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluctuations in ecosystems.

          It was commissioned in April 2016, and the “author team” that produced the report consisted of 107 experts from 52 countries.

          As the report indicates, “The emissions intensities of red meat mean that its production has a disproportionate impact on total emissions. For example, in the U.S. four percent of food sold (by weight) is beef, which accounts for 36 percent of food-related emissions.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • BAN-boozled: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel the Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana

          Our new report BAN-BOOZLED: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana reveals how despite a comprehensive ban in place since March 2019, the dry forests and rural communities of Ghana are still the victims of rosewood plundering. EIA estimates that since 2012, over 540,000 tons of rosewood – the equivalent of 23,478 twenty-foot containers or approximately 6 million trees – were illegally harvested and imported into China from Ghana while bans on harvest and trade have been in place. EIA’s investigation documents a massive institutionalized timber trafficking scheme, enabled by high-level corruption and collusion.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Some election systems left online and at risk of hacking despite denials from officials

        These aren’t the first concerns over ES&S’s security practices: in 2018, the company disclosed that it installed remote-access software on some voting machines from 2000 to 2006. Neither report found evidence suggesting that systems or voting tallies were manipulated. Still, the undisclosed vulnerabilities raise new questions about the security of the US voting system.

      • Exclusive: Critical U.S. Election Systems Have Been Left Exposed Online Despite Official Denials

        The top voting machine company in the country insists that its election systems are never connected to the internet. But researchers found 35 of the systems have been connected to the internet for months and possibly years, including in some swing states.

      • When Bernie Sanders Did the Joe Rogan Show

        This week, Sanders repeated the strategy by appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience: a hugely popular but decidedly non-left-leaning podcast that features an eclectic buffet of guests ranging from fairly innocuous weirdos to overt reactionaries. In less than twenty-four hours, the episode has already garnered well over two and a half million views and, judging by its reception thus far, Sanders and his arguments proved a hit — even to those accustomed to getting their political bearings from the likes of Sam Harris and other dubious sources.

      • The Unanswerable Case

        Scots are now very significantly poorer than the Irish, the Norwegians, the Swedes, the Danes, the Icelanders or any of their obvious comparators. Every one of those nations is in the top 10 of the UN Human Development Index. The UK is not, and Scotland is below the mean for the UK. It is not because Scots are stupid or feckless, it not because of climate and it is certainly not a lack of natural resources. It is because of the draining away of human and physical resource by London over centuries.

        Against that fundamental fact, the cloud of stupid obfuscation around the minutiae of transition is a mere distraction, and a deliberate one at that. Countries which are far poorer than Scotland successfully run on their own currencies – scores of them. Why would people believe Scotland is unique among nations in being incapable of having a currency? Yet such pathetic shibboleths are pounded out by the media, and particularly the BBC, on a daily basis to make a significant number of Scots believe that what is possible for every nation that has tried it, is uniquely impossible to them.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Killing Free Speech in France, Germany and on the Internet

        The new agreement could signal the de-facto end of free speech on Facebook for French citizens. Self-censorship in Europe is already widespread: a recent survey in Germany showed that two thirds of Germans are "very careful" about what topics they discuss in public -- Islam and migrants being the most taboo. Knowing that a mere Facebook post could end you up in front of a judge in court is very likely to put a decisive damper on anyone's desire to speak freely.

      • White House Once Again Circulating A Draft Executive Order On Social Media Bias

        Since the White House is convinced social media companies are kicking conservatives off left and (mostly) right, it has decided to do something about it. What this "something" is remains about as vague as the accusations.

        Once you remove a handful of grifters and Nazi fans from the list, you're left with not that much to get upset about. But the few who fervently believe this is happening make a lot of noise and have the ears of powerful people, so stuff -- vague stuff -- is being set in motion while the First Amendment is set aside.

        A leaked copy of what was supposedly a draft executive order on social media bias appeared late last year. If the leak was legitimate, the White House's proposal would not have been Constitutional. It would have used the pretense of bias to allow the federal government to directly regulate speech on social media platforms.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • HTTPS Interception “Breaks” Slider Music Search Engine

        A resilient music search engine that's been operating for around nine years has given a very unusual reason for its system breaking down. According to the operator of, recent legal changes in Kazakhstan, where the site is hosted, means the government there now intercepts HTTPS traffic.

      • Facebook wants to be relevant in news again, and it’s willing to pay millions to bring back publishers

        According to the report, Facebook plans to include these articles as part of dedicated news section its launching sometime this fall. Publishers would sign deals lasting as long as three years in some cases, and they would get control over how articles appear on Facebook and whether readers would receive only snippets, like a headline and some text, before being sent to the publisher’s website. The proposed terms stand in contrast to Apple’s approach to Apple News Plus, its new, magazine-focused subscription service with a dubious revenue share and reportedly poor payout metrics that has had many in the media industry warning against Silicon Valley’s pledge to rescue the news business.

      • Facebook exploring deals with media outlets for news section: report

        People familiar with the matter told the Journal that Facebook is offering as much as $3 million a year to publishers to use their news articles, headlines and smaller snippets of stories.

      • Appeals court rules Facebook must face class-action lawsuit over facial recognition

        Facebook has to face a class-action lawsuit over whether it violated user privacy with its facial recognition tools, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

        The three-judge panel agreed that Facebook can be sued under an Illinois law that requires businesses to obtain consent before using people's biometric information, including their fingerprints or face scans.

      • Facebook could pay billions after losing facial recognition privacy appeal

        In 2015, Facebook was sued under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to make a public policy before collecting and storing biometric data, including faces scans, and to lay out how the data will be stored. Facebook has used the technology in its Tag Suggestions feature, which determines whether a photo includes a user’s friends.

        The plaintiffs brought suit, arguing that Facebook had failed to meet the requirements of the law. When a lower court certified the suit as a class action, Facebook appealed, arguing that the plaintiffs had failed to show concrete injury, and that the lower court overstepped its power by certifying the class.

      • Furore over TM30 forms

        Long-term foreign residents are also required to report their whereabouts if they spend more than 24 hours at places other than their registered addresses.

        Landlords and tenants who fail to comply face fines of between 800 to 2,000 baht, although the sum seems to differ across different immigration offices.

      • Monsanto ran a psy-ops war-room to discredit journalists and spy on Neil Young

        The memos reveal that the company spied on Canadian folk legend Neil Young and contemplated how they could neutralize his environmental activism, including an aborted plan to sue him. They also targeted the US nonprofit US Right to Know, with weekly reports for execs on the organization's activities.

      • Privacy Perspectives | TechSNAP 409

        We examine why it's so difficult to protect your privacy online and discuss browser fingerprinting, when to use a VPN, and the limits of private browsing.

        Plus Apple's blaring bluetooth beacons and Facebook's worrying plans for WhatsApp.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Detroit man who lived his life in the US dies after deportation to Iraq

        Aldaoud had never been to Iraq and did not speak Arabic. He was deported in June as part of a crackdown on Iraqi immigrants with criminal convictions.

      • 'Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration': A Detroit man died in Iraq after being deported in Trump's immigration-enforcement efforts

        Edward Bajoka, an immigration attorney who was close to Aldaoud's family, said in a Facebook post that Aldaoud had diabetes and most likely died because he could not get needed insulin. Bajoka said Aldaoud had never been to Iraq and didn't speak Arabic.

      • Beware Islamists Bearing Gifts

        As a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization, CAIR seems to have picked up a few tips from its Egyptian parent. While the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, however, works simply to buy political favor within the American democratic system, groups such as CAIR must work more intricately and more carefully to acquire and exploit political power. Consequently, CAIR’s activities are more complicated.

        For federal workers, CAIR is at once the benefactor and the protester — sometimes offering solidarity in the name of “justice” and “civil rights”; at other times crying injustice and persecution. In all cases, CAIR is working to legitimize its ideology by presenting itself falsely both as a voice for American Muslims and as a champion of the American worker. Government and the public at large should remember that all of these actions ultimately serve one theocratic agenda.

      • Aceh, love affairs contrary to sharia: 14 young men flogged in seven days

        Officials provided details only of the case of the only non-Muslim defendant, a Buddhist identified with the initials R.O. (photo). The police caught him inside a hotel room, with a woman who was not his wife. Usually, non-Muslims can choose whether to be punished or not under Islamic law, known in the region as Quanun. Therefore R.O. chose 27 lashes to avoid a lengthy judicial proceeding and imprisonment.

        The next day, Mayor Usman warned hotels and businesses: "We have warned hotels not to even think about breaking the rules by renting rooms to unmarried couples. Otherwise, we will revoke their licenses," he told reporters.

      • Remembering the First and Forgotten Armenian Genocide of 1019

        Ironically, most people, including most Armenians, are unaware that the first genocide of Christian Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks did not occur in the twentieth century; it began in 1019—exactly one-thousand years ago this year—when Turks first began to pour into and transform a then much larger Armenia into what it is today, the eastern portion of modern day Turkey.

      • ‘Museums Like the Whitney Are Accountable to the Communities They Claim to Serve’ - CounterSpin interview with Amin Husain on Whitney Museum protest

        Janine Jackson: Warren Kanders resigned from his position as vice chair of the board of the Whitney Museum July 25, saying he didn’t want to “play a role, however inadvertent, in [the museum’s] demise.”

        The advertent role that Kanders played was to fund his philanthropy with profits from Safariland, a company that makes tear gas canisters used against protesters around the world, and Sierra Bullets, that sells ammunition used against Palestinian civilians in Gaza; activists, artists and other humans objected.

        Kanders’ resignation doesn’t mean the end of the work of groups like Decolonize This Place, who organized around Kanders, as well as a planned event at New York’s Museum of Natural History involving fascist Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

        As long as cultural institutions are important sites of public conversation, but the public doesn’t have much to say on who gets to lead that conversation or the stories they tell, activists will be asking us to talk about what that means, and what it would mean to change it. That’s what we talked about a few months ago with Decolonize This Place core organizer Amin Husain.

      • Ruha Benjamin on Race After Technology

        Listeners may have heard about the electronic soap dispensers whose light sensors can’t detect black skin, Google and Flickr‘s automatic image-labeling that—oops— tagged photos of black people with “ape” and “gorilla.” An Asian-American blogger wrote about her Nikon digital camera that kept asking, “Did someone blink?” And you can, I’m afraid, imagine what turns up in search engine results for “3 black teenagers” vs. “3 white teenagers.” Some examples of discriminatory design are obvious—which doesn’t mean the reasons behind them are easy to fix. And then there are other questions around technology and bias—in policing, in housing, in banking—that require deeper questioning. That questioning is the heart of a new book, called Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. CounterSpin spoke with author Ruha Benjamin; she’s associate professor of African-American studies at Princeton University and author, also, of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Elizabeth Warren Unveils a Plan to Expand Broadband Access

        Even where broadband is available, many people can't afford it. According to a Pew Research Center report, 19 percent of people who don't use the [Internet] cited the cost of [Internet] service or the expense of owning a computer as the reason they aren't online.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber reports largest-ever loss at $5.2 billion

        But even when stripping out the stock awards, the company was down about $1.3 billion, more than twice the reported losses from the same period last year.

        Revenue rose just 14 percent compared with the same quarter last year, the slowest pace on record.

      • Uber lost over $5 billion in one quarter, but don’t worry, it gets worse

        Lyft, which reported its earnings Wednesday, fared better but still posted a loss of $644 million during the quarter. The numbers for both companies look a lot better when adjusted for things like amortization of intangible assets and stock-based compensation for employees post-IPO. Excluding those expenses, Uber lost $1.3 billion and Lyft lost $197 million.

      • Copyrights

        • Indian High Court Orders ISPs to Block 1,129 Sites to Protect One Movie From Piracy

          The High Court of Madras has handed down an injunction ordering dozens of ISPs to block 1,129 sites to protect a single movie that goes on worldwide release today. 'Nerkonda Paarvai' is marketed as a legal drama, which is perhaps fitting considering that the order handed down describes the respondents - the ISPs - as being involved in recording, camcording, and distributing content displayed in theaters.

        • Oops: Japan Anti-Piracy Proposals Probably Violate Its Constitution

          For over a year now, we've been discussing a worrying trend in Japan, where the government is looking to severely ramp up its anti-piracy efforts. The worry lies in the implications of these various proposed programs, including the censorship of internet sites supposedly used for piracy, the criminalization of pirating content, and how all of this is going to impact the public. One of the largest barriers to doing any of these expansions to copyright law is the Japanese constitution and legislation, which are fairly restrictive on matters of both censorship and the invasion of privacy. How the government thought it was going to route around those provisions is anyone's guess.

          But it seems there is confidence that it can do so, as every new proposal coming out looks to in some way violate Japan's constitution. The latest involves putting a system in place that would delivery popup warnings to anyone visiting a site that is deemed to be a "pirate site."

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