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10.19.17

Links 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

Posted in News Roundup at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • NVIDIA ups Competition Using Open Source Collaboration

    Let’s imagine that you are a company with a very successful if nuanced product. Graphics accelerator chips, for example.

    Hypothetically speaking, imagine that you find an interesting use for your chip in a rising market defined by a burgeoning technology. If you need an example, just use deep learning AI software.

    Now, let’s say this proves to be a massive windfall for your company, raising its stock prices tenfold in just three short years.

    What do you do with this fortunate turn of events?

    Do you start designing your own AI chips based on your original design and remain one of the top competitors in this new market, or do you go open source and give your chip architecture designs to the public?

  • Open Source Initiative Welcomes Cumulus Networks As Premium Sponsor

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the internationally recognized home of the open source software movement working to raise awareness and adoption of open source software, announced today the generous sponsorship of Cumulus Networks. Cumulus joins OSI’s growing community of corporations that recognize the importance of not only investing in open source software projects and development, but also building a diverse ecosystem that promotes collaboration, enables innovation, and ensures quality.

    Cumulus Networks has a strong tradition of internally-driven development of original open source software, including most notably, contributions to the Linux kernel that complete the data center feature set for Linux such as Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF), MPLS, MLAG infrastructure, multicast routing features, etc. Cumulus’ most recent open source effort is FRRouting, co-developed by a group of contributing companies in the open networking space, to enhance routing protocols. Cumulus Networks has also been a key driving member of the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE) with contributions to the Open Compute Project, Prescriptive Topology Manager–which simplifies the deployment of large L3 networks–and ifupdown2, a rewrite of Debian’s tool for configuring networks that greatly simplifies large, complicated networking configurations.

  • Let’s dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

    There’s never been a better opportunity for the world to start untangling itself from the giant Silicon Valley data harvesters than now. Last week, we revealed a plan to embed open-source chat into three quarters of the world’s IMAP servers.

    And this may be an important development. Maybe.

    Google, Yahoo!, Apple and Microsoft handle around half the world’s email, some 2.5 billion users, while open-source IMAP servers handle the rest, around 2.5-3 billion. Of these the Dovecot open-source server, part of the German business Open Xchange, is installed on 75 per cent of boxes. Quietly drop IM into the mix, and you’ve given the world a reason to leave WhatsApp.

  • Open source, agility powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task, writes Quentin Barnard, lead architect at redPanda Software.
    While analysts, business leaders and policymakers have certainly made wise predictions, businesses and individuals have to remain agile, responsive and open-minded to a wide possibility of outcomes and developments. It is also helpful, however, to reflect on key trends that have emerged in recent times — and to use this information to prepare for the years ahead.
    For software developers and development houses, several prominent themes emerged in 2017.

  • Events

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Copyleft is Dead. Long live Copyleft!

      As you may have noticed, we recently re-licensed mgmt from the AGPL (Affero General Public License) to the regular GPL. This is a post explaining the decision and which hopefully includes some insights at the intersection of technology and legal issues.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Crowdsourcing the way to a more flexible strategic plan

      Trust the community. Opening a feedback platform to anyone on campus seems risky, but in hindsight I’d do it again in a heartbeat. The responses we received were very constructive; in fact, I rarely received negative and unproductive remarks. When people learned about our honest efforts at improving the community, they responded with kindness and support. By giving the community a voice—by really democratizing the effort—we achieved a surprising amount of campus-wide buy-in in a short period of time.

      Transparency is best. By keeping as many of our efforts as public as possible, we demonstrated that we were truly listening to our customers and understanding the effects of the outdated technology policies and decisions that were keeping them from doing their best work. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that everyone is an agent of innovation; we just needed a tool that allowed everyone to make suggestions.

      Iterate, iterate, iterate. Crowdsourcing our first-year IT initiatives helped us create the most flexible and customer-centric plan we possibly could. The pressure to move quickly and lay down a comprehensive strategic plan is very real; however, by delaying that work and focusing on the evolving set of data flowing from our community, we were actually able to better demonstrate our commitment to our customers. That helped us build critical reputational capital, which paid off when we did eventually present a long-term strategic plan—because people already knew we could achieve results. It also helped us recruit strong allies and learn who we could trust to advance more complicated initiatives.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • MakerBot Labs: new experimental 3D printing platform is MakerBot’s olive branch to open source community

        New York 3D printing company MakerBot has launched MakerBot Labs, an experimental platform with open APIs, custom print modes, and an online resource-sharing site. The platform purportedly allows users to “push the limits” of 3D printing.

      • MakerBot attempts to embrace the open-source community with its new Labs platform

        The topic of open source has been a touchy one for MakerBot over the past decade. The one-time 3D-printing darling was the subject of some serious smack talk among the maker community when it stopped disclosing machine design in 2012 — a departure from the company’s roots as in the open-source Rep-Rap community.

        Announced this week, MakerBot Labs doesn’t mark a full return to those roots, but it does find the company carving out a niche for the DIY community that was once a driving force in its rapid growth.

        “I understand the history,” CEO Nadav Goshen told TechCrunch during a phone call this week, “This is one step in the direction. It’s a step to understand that there are limitations to openness. Openness for us doesn’t mean we have to compromise on quality or ease of use. We’re trying to take responsibility for both.”

      • Reform is a DIY, modular, portable computer (work in progress)

        Want a fully functional laptop that works out of the box? There are plenty to choose from. Want a model that you can upgrade? That’s a bit tougher to find: some modern laptops don’t even let you replace the RAM.

        Then there’s the Reform. It’s a new DIY, modular laptop that’s designed to be easy to upgrade and modify. The CAD designs will even be available if you want to 3D print your own parts rather than buying a kit.

        You can’t buy a Reform computer yet. But developer Lukas Hartmann and designer Ana Dantes have developed a prototype and are soliciting feedback on the concept.

  • Programming/Development

    • New neural network teaches itself Go, spanks the pros

      While artificial intelligence software has made huge strides recently, in many cases, it has only been automating things that humans already do well. If you want an AI to identify the Higgs boson in a spray of particles, for example, you have to train it on collisions that humans have already identified as containing a Higgs. If you want it to identify pictures of cats, you have to train it on a database of photos in which the cats have already been identified.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • C-sections might be relaxing the evolutionary pressure against big babies

      Theoretical biologist Philipp Mitteröcker is intrigued by the puzzle of dangerous human childbirth. Unlike other species, human babies are often too big for the birth canal, leading to dangerous—and possibly fatal—obstructed labor. Last year, Mitteröcker and his colleagues published a mathematical model that showed how the mixture of evolutionary pressures acting on humans would inevitably lead to an ongoing risk of obstructed labor in our species.

      The model also suggested that C-sections are changing the rules of the game by increasing the likelihood that large babies and their mothers survive childbirth and pass on genes that promote this head/pelvis mismatch. The model predicted that we’d see an increasing risk of obstructed labor (and need for C-sections) over generations—but there was no real-world evidence of that happening.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • President Trump admits he’s trying to kill Obamacare. That’s illegal.

      Modern American history has never seen as full-scale an effort to sabotage a valid law as we have with President Trump and the Affordable Care Act — a law whose legality has been upheld twice by the US Supreme Court.

      The president has a legal obligation, under Article II of the US Constitution, to “take Care that the laws be faithfully executed.” That means he must make sure that our laws are implemented in good faith and that he uses his executive discretion reasonably toward that end.

    • Insects Are In Serious Trouble

      The bottles were getting emptier: That was the first sign that something awful was happening.

      Since 1989, scientists from the Entomological Society Krefeld had been collecting insects in the nature reserves and protected areas of western Germany. They set up malaise traps—large tents that funnel any incoming insect upward through a cone of fabric and into a bottle of alcohol. These traps are used by entomologists to collect specimens of local insects, for research or education. “But over the years, [the Krefeld team] realized that the bottles were getting emptier and emptier,” says Caspar Hallmann, from Radboud University.

      By analyzing the Krefeld data—1,503 traps, and 27 years of work—Hallmann and his colleagues have shown that most of the flying insects in this part of Germany are flying no more. Between 1989 and 2016, the average weight of insects that were caught between May and October fell by an astonishing 77 percent. Over the same period, the weight of insects caught in the height of summer, when these creatures should be at their buzziest, fell by 82 percent.

    • Herbal remedies embraced by naturopaths, alt med widely linked to liver cancers

      Naturopaths and other gurus of “alternative medicine” love to tout the benefits of traditional herbal medicines. For instance, Aviva Romm—a Yale-educated doctor who publicly defended Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop then later called it a “caricature of everything alternative health for women”—sells her own line of unproven herbal remedies. Billionaire Susan Samueli—who donated $200 million dollars alongside her husband so the University of California, Irvine, could open an “integrative” medicine program—promotes homeopathy, naturopathy, and runs an active consulting practice versed in Chinese herbs.

      Herbal remedies are often seen as harmless, soothing treatments that tap into the ancient wisdom of traditional healing. While that may be the case for some, there are also those that cause cancer—and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to tell one from the other.

  • Security

    • Google and Apple yet to fix Wi-Fi hole in a billion devices

      The WPA2 security protocol has been a mandatory requirement for all devices using the Wi-Fi protocol since 2006, which translates into billions of laptops, mobiles and routers. The weakness identified by Mathy Vanhoef, a digital security researcher at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) in Belgium, lies in the way devices running WPA2 encrypt information.

    • The Flawed System Behind the Krack Wi-Fi Meltdown

      No software is perfect. Bugs are inevitable now and then. But experts say that software standards that impact millions of devices are too often developed behind closed doors, making it difficult for the broader security community to assess potential flaws and vulnerabilities early on. They can lack full documentation even months or years after their release.

    • Factorization Flaw in TPM Chips Makes Attacks on RSA Private Keys Feasible

      Security experts say the bug has been present since 2012 and found specifically in the Infineon’s Trusted Platform Module used on a large number of business-class HP, Lenovo and Fijitsu computers, Google Chromebooks as well as routers and IoT devices.

    • ROCA: RSA encryption key flaw puts ‘millions’ of devices at risk

      This results in cyber criminals computing the private part of an RSA key and affects chips manufactured from 2012 onwards, which are now commonplace in the industry.

    • Infineon RSA Key Generation Issue

      Yubico estimates that approximately 2% of YubiKey customers utilize the functionality affected by this issue. We have addressed this issue in all shipments of YubiKey 4, YubiKey 4 Nano, and YubiKey 4C, since June 6, 2017.

    • Microsoft remains tight-lipped about 2013 internal database hack [sic]

      A secretive internal database used by Microsoft to track bugs in its software was compromised by hackers [sic] in 2013.

    • Exclusive: Microsoft responded quietly after detecting secret database hack in 2013

      Microsoft Corp’s secret internal database for tracking bugs in its own software was broken into by a highly sophisticated hacking [sic] group more than four years ago, according to five former employees, in only the second known breach of such a corporate database.

    • WPA2 flaw’s worst impact on Android, Linux devices

      The flaw in the WPA2 wireless protocol revealed recently has a critical impact on Android phones running version 6.0 of the mobile operating system and Linux devices, a security researcher says.

    • Why the Krack Wi-Fi Mess Will Take Decades to Clean Up

      But given the millions of routers and other IoT devices that will likely never see a fix, the true cost of Krack could play out for years.

    • ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers

      WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken by Belgian researchers, highlighting potential for internet traffic to be exposed

    • Kids’ smartwatches can be ‘easily’ hacked, says watchdog

      Smartwatches bought for children who do not necessarily need them can be hacked [sic], according to a warning out of Norway and its local Consumer Council (NCC).

    • John Lewis pulls children’s smartwatch from sale over spying fears

      The Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) revealed that several brands of children’s smartwatch, have such poor security controls that hackers [sic] could easily follow their movements and eavesdrop on conversations.

    • Google’s ‘Advanced Protection’ Locks Down Accounts Like Never Before

      Google hasn’t shared the details of what that process entails. But the CDT’s Hall, whom Google briefed on the details, says it will include a “cooling-off” period that will lock the account for a period of time while the user proves his or her identity via several other factors. That slowed-down, intensive check is designed to make the account-recovery process a far less appealing backdoor into victims’ data.

    • NSA won’t say if it knew about KRACK, but don’t look to this leaked doc for answers

      Given how involved the NSA has been with remote and local exploitation of networks, systems, devices, and even individuals, many put two and two together and assumed the worst.

      What compounded the matter was that some were pointing to a 2010-dated top secret NSA document leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, which detailed a hacking tool called BADDECISION, an “802.11 CNE tool” — essentially an exploit designed to target wireless networks by using a man-in-the-middle attack within range of the network. It then uses a frame injection technique to redirect targets to one of the NSA’s own servers, which acts as a “matchmaker” to supply the best malware for the target device to ensure it’s compromised for the long-term. The slide said the hacking tool “works for WPA/WPA2,” suggesting that BADDECISION could bypass the encryption.

      Cue the conspiracy theories. No wonder some thought the hacking tool was an early NSA-only version of KRACK.

    • You’re doing open source wrong, Microsoft tsk-tsk-tsks at Google: Chrome security fixes made public too early [Ed: Says the company that gives back doors to the NSA and attacks FOSS with patents, lobbying etc.]
    • Why Open Source Security Matters for Healthcare Orgs [Ed: marketing slant for firms that spread FUD]

      Open source software can help healthcare organizations remain flexible as they adopt new IT solutions, but if entities lack open source security measures it can lead to larger cybersecurity issues. A recent survey found that organizations in numerous industries might not be paying enough attention to potential open source risk factors.

      Half of all code used in commercial and Internet of Things (IoT) software products is open source, but only 37 percent of organizations have an open source acquisition or usage policy, according to a recent Flexera report.

      More than 400 commercial software suppliers and in-house software development teams were interviewed, with respondent roles including software developers, DevOps, IT, engineering, legal, and security.

    • Focusing on Healthcare Open Source Security Awareness [Ed: More Flexera marketing in the form of scare-mongering]
    • Adobe patches zero-day vulnerability used to plant gov’t spying software

      Adobe has patched a zero-day vulnerability used by the BlackOasis APT to plant surveillance software developed by Gamma International.

      On Monday, researchers from Kaspersky Lab revealed the new, previously unknown vulnerability, which has been actively used in the wild by advanced persistent threat (APT) group BlackOasis.

    • IoT Cybersecurity: What’s Plan B?

      In August, four US Senators introduced a bill designed to improve Internet of Things (IoT) security. The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017 is a modest piece of legislation. It doesn’t regulate the IoT market. It doesn’t single out any industries for particular attention, or force any companies to do anything. It doesn’t even modify the liability laws for embedded software. Companies can continue to sell IoT devices with whatever lousy security they want.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Abuse of RESTEasy Default Providers in JBoss EAP

      Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) is a commonly used host for Restful webservices. A powerful but potentially dangerous feature of Restful webservices on JBoss EAP is the ability to accept any media type. If not configured to accept only a specific media type, JBoss EAP will dynamically process the request with the default provider matching the Content-Type HTTP Header which the client specifies. Some of the default providers where found to have vulnerabilities which have now been removed from JBoss EAP and it’s upstream Restful webservice project, RESTEasy.

    • “Security concerns” lead to LTE service shutdown on Chinese Apple Watches
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Saudi Airstrike Kills Entire Family In Yemen, Including Children

      The latest in a long line of disastrous airstrikes by Saudi warplanes across Yemen, officials reported an airstrike on Tuesday night in the northern Jawf Province, destroying a single civilian home, killing six civilians and critically wounded another.

      The civilians killed were an entire family. The slain included the parents and four of their daughters. The lone survivor, who was injured, was their only son. Saudi officials gave no indication why the house was destroyed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chinese Army Documents Leak Set To Embarrass Beijing

      For centuries, sinologists have struggled with the question of authentification of documents.

    • The death of a crusading journalist rocks Malta
    • Insider Threat Program Training and Trump’s War on Leaks: A Chilling Combination for Whistleblowers

      The Trump administration has declared a war on media leaks and called for the U.S. federal workforce and contractors to receive “anti-leak” training. The centerpiece of Trump’s anti-leak campaign, aside from early morning tweet-storms railing against leakers and media, is the National Insider Threat Taskforce.

      The Insider Threat Program is not Trump-era creation. In then-secret testimony to Congress in 2012, Directorate of National Intelligence official Robert Litt touted the original Insider Threat Program as a highlight in administrative efforts to “sanction and deter” leaks. In the past, Insider Threat Program training has improperly included “WANTED”-style images of whistleblowers pictured alongside actual spies and mass murderers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Funding for War vs. Natural Disasters

      I have an aunt who lives in paradise – Paradise, California, that is. But in 2017 it has been anything but, as the communities surrounding Paradise have been evacuated on two separate occasions due to natural disasters and crumbling infrastructure. In February, torrential downpours caused the Oroville Dam to fail, washing out homes, businesses, memories and lives. And now they are dealing with devastating wildfires that have killed dozens, displaced thousands, and are being fought by firefighters, some of whom are only making minimum wage and working 70 straight hours.

      The fires in California are just the latest natural disaster to inflict suffering on Americans, as the people in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas can attest, following massive hurricanes over the summer.

    • Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spew Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

      Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

      Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

      While at a much smaller scale than the nation’s worst accidental oil spill, the Delta House floating production facility, located about 40 miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, released between 7,950 to 9,350 barrels starting from Wednesday to Thursday due to a fractured pipeline.

    • First floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, delivers electricity

      The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

      The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company’s experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

      Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid. Now, all that’s left is for Statoil and its partner company Masdar to install a 1MWh lithium-ion battery, charmingly called “Batwind,” on shore. Batwind will help the offshore system regulate power delivery and optimize output.

  • Finance

    • Brexit might not happen and would leave us poorer and weaker, says ex-MI6 chief

      Brexit might not happen, Britain’s former spymaster has claimed.

      Ex-MI6 chief Sir John Sawers made the bombshell casual remark at a public meeting in Parliament.

      Brexit, he warned, could leave Britain “poorer and weaker” and cost us influence over sanctions on states like North Korea – “assuming it goes ahead”.

      Sir John, who as ‘C’ was the public face of MI6 from 2009 to 2014, told a House of Lords EU Committee: “The vehicle through which we have conducted sanctions regimes for the last 20 or so years has been the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ditch neoliberalism to win again, Jeremy Corbyn tells Europe’s centre-left parties

      Jeremy Corbyn has warned centre-left parties across Europe that they must follow his lead and abandon the neoliberal economics of the imagined “centre ground” if they want to start winning elections again.

      The Labour leader was given a hero’s welcome at the Europe Together conference of centre-left parties in Brussels, where he was introduced as “the new Prime Minister of Britain” and received two standing ovations from a packed auditorium.

      Continental centre-left leaders are looking to Mr Corbyn’s Labour as a model to reinvigorate their movement. Across Europe from France to Germany, Austria to Netherlands, and Spain to Greece, once powerful social-democratic parties have been reduced to a shadow of their former selves – with Labour a notable exception.

    • ‘Where hatred of the media can lead’ — Jonathan Freedland warns that Corbynistas could murder journalists

      Of course, when it comes to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters, we’ve come to expect nothing but stupid smears from Freedland. This is the man who has played a leading role in whipping up hysteria over the wave of antisemitism that has supposedly swept over the Labour Party since Corbyn’s election as leader. Freedland’s Guardian comment piece on last month’s party conference (“Labour’s denial of antisemitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place”) was a typical exercise in political dishonesty which has been thoroughly demolished by Jamie Stern-Weiner (“Labour Conference or Nuremberg Rally?). Now, not content with slandering the left as Jew-haters, he wants to portray us as potential murderers too.

    • LEAKED MEMO REVEALS WHITE HOUSE WISH LIST

      Since federal courts first enjoined President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, lawyers for his administration have been at pains to insist that anti-Muslim animus is not a driving force of policymaking in his government.

      But an internal White House document, obtained exclusively by Crooked Media, suggests that the reach of Islamophobia among Trump administration aides and advisers stretches far beyond the four corners of the travel ban, into the budget-writing process, where the White House’s full agenda comes together. The document also reflects the extent to which White House policymaking process, conducted in the shadow of the media circus around Trump himself—from family planning to federal hiring to nutritional assistance—is defined by ideological extremism, and tempered by incompetence.

      Policymakers in Trump’s White House argue that the U.S. should refrain from influencing curricula and “other touchier-feelier programs” at foreign institutions that receive federal funds to educate young girls—except in “muslim countries, where we need to do a check of the curricula at the schools we’re supporting to weed out jihadism.”

    • Republican fight against municipal broadband heats up in Michigan

      A state lawmaker in Michigan wants to prevent cities and towns from using any government funding to provide Internet service. Michigan Rep. Michele Hoitenga, a Republican from Manton, last week submitted a bill that says cities and towns “shall not use any federal, state, or local funds or loans to pay for the cost of providing qualified Internet service.”

    • Trump Just Graded His Response To Puerto Rico Disaster

      President Trump is on track to repeat some of the greatest scandals of his predecessors, but with far less tact and competence. The investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is looking more and more like a possible Watergate, the deaths of four American soldiers in Niger is increasingly being referred to as Trump’s Benghazi, and the damage inflicted on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria and the president’s subsequent botched response is clearly his Hurricane Katrina.

      Trump failed to properly stock the island territory with adequate supplies and personnel and then dragged his feet sending more after the hurricane struck. He failed to immediately waive the Jones Act, causing a bottleneck that choked off relief to the island, because he was more worried about the business interests of shipping conglomerates than suffering Americans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Incentivizing Better Speech, Rather Than Censoring ‘Bad’ Speech

      This has gone on for a while, but in the last year especially, the complaints about “bad” speech online have gotten louder and louder. While we have serious concerns with the idea so-called “hate speech” should be illegal — in large part because any such laws are almost inevitably used against those the government wishes to silence — that doesn’t mean that we condone and support speech designed to intimidate, harass or abuse people. We recognize that some speech can, indeed, create negative outcomes, and even chill the speech of others. However, we’re increasingly concerned that people think the only possible way to respond to such speech is through outright censorship (often to the point of requiring online services, like Facebook and Twitter to silence any speech that is deemed “bad”).

      As we’ve discussed before, we believe that there are alternatives. Sometimes that involves counterspeech — including a wide spectrum of ideas from making jokes, to community shaming, to simple point-for-point factual refutation. But that’s on the community side. On the platform side — for some reason — many people seem to think there are only two options: censorship or free for all. That’s simply not true, and focusing on just those two solutions (neither of which tend to be that effective) shows a real failure of imagination, and often leads to unproductive conversations.

    • UK Gov’t Considering Redefining Social Media Services As Publishers To Make It Easier To Control Them

      Like seemingly every other government on the planet, the UK government wants internet companies like Google and Facebook to do more. Everyone has an axe to grind, whether it’s not enough censorship, or the wrong kind of censorship, or the innate desire to hold companies accountable for the actions of their users. The voluntary moderation efforts made by these platforms always fall short of politicians’ ideals. These legislators believe — without evidence — that perfectly moderated services are just a couple of button pushes away.

      Because the things governments complain about are actually the words and deeds of users — rather than the companies themselves — pushes for “more” have limited effect. This doesn’t make governments happy. This is a “problem” that needs “solving,” apparently. And officials in the UK think they have an answer. They’ll just arbitrarily redefine services until they’re more easily pushed around.

    • Twitter further tightens abuse rules in attempt to prove it cares

      Company updates rules on hate speech, revenge porn and violent groups to counter perceptions social network is not doing enough to protect users

    • Engineer/hero/entrepreneur Limor “ladyada” Fried was kicked off Facebook and no one will tell her why

      Fried, who was the first woman engineer to appear on the cover of Wired Magazine, discovered that her account had been terminated when she tried to login and got a cryptic error message. After contacting the company and privately messaging Facebook’s CTO, Fried still has not been told why she was banned.

    • Facebook bans @adafruit ‘s Ladyada… @facebook @finkd

      Facebook banned our founder Ladyada. Nothing public, just trying to log in and manage our company page. We reached out to the people including the CTO, no reply, so that’s that.

    • Civility or censorship? Candidates bash Dayton schools’ request

      Eight candidates are running for four seats on Dayton’s seven-member school board.

      Dayton Public Schools is facing criticism for trying to steer tonight’s school board candidate forum away from “bashing” of Superintendent Rhonda Corr, current school board members or fellow candidates.

      DPS spokeswoman Marsha Bonhart sent an email Sunday night to the eight candidates running for four seats on the school board. It was a follow-up on earlier communications about the Dayton Education Council candidate forum scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. today at DPS’ Ponitz Career Technology Center.

    • Watercooler Wednesday: #MeToo, censorship in the classroom

      Plus, a Mississippi school will not longer require students to read the classic novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The book was recently pulled after complaints about the language, which includes racial slurs, but should it have been?

    • Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

      Matt Ridley’s fine recent Times column was hardly the first to raise the alarm about the pseudo-Soviet intolerance of the left emerging from university campuses. Yet he began with arresting statistics: ‘38 per cent of Britons and 70 per cent of Germans think the government should be able to prevent speech that is offensive to minorities.’ Given that any populace can be subdivided into a veritably infinite number of minorities, with equally infinite sensitivities, the perceived bruising of which we only encourage, pretty soon none of us may be allowed to say an ever-loving thing.

      We won’t rehash the whole trigger warning/safe spaces nonsense. But I am baffled by what seems a broad millennial distrust in, if not militant opposition to, freedom of speech — now disastrously disparaged as a dastardly ploy of the far right, which has happily co-opted the battle cry. Let’s not let Milo Yiannopoulos own it.

    • Privatix: Fighting Internet Censorship with a Fully Autonomous Network.

      Governments today are targeting our basic freedom of expression on the internet. It seems like the only way to squash civil unrest is by cutting off the country from internet access. Government censorship in China has prompted a sizeable number of the Chinese population to switch to Virtual Private Networks. It is unclear for how long this cat and mouse game will go on. The same can be said for cryptocurrencies. The Chinese government is tightening the screw on cryptocurrencies. The only way they will be allowed to operate in the Chinese mainland is through government regulations and licensing. Given the nature of a majority of cryptocurrencies today, it is no secret that a number will fail to meet the requirements to be licensed.

      It’s only a matter of time before other countries follow this Chinese trend, if they are not doing it already. Such a situation will influence people to migrate to VPN services and overcome government-imposed discipline and rein over the internet. Since the general public can’t tell whether a VPN service is made up of sub-standard encryption codes at face value, they are compelled to abide by government restrictions.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Wireless Carriers Again Busted Collecting, Selling User Data Without Consent Or Opt Out Tools

      A few years ago, Verizon and AT&T were busted for covertly modifying wireless user data packets in order to track users around the internet. Verizon used the technology to track browsing behavior for two years before the practice was even discovered by security researchers. It took another six months of public shaming before Verizon was even willing to offer opt out tools. And while the FCC ultimately gave Verizon a $1.3 million wrist slap, it highlighted how we don’t really understand the privacy implications of what mobile carriers are up to, much less have real standards in place to protect us from abuse in the modern mobile era.

      While notably different in scope and application, these same companies were again caught this week collecting and selling user information without user consent or working opt out tools.

    • Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case Involving US Demands For Emails Stored Overseas

      The Supreme Court has granted the government’s request for review of Second Circuit Appeals Court’s decision finding Microsoft did not have to turn over communications stored overseas in response to US-issued warrants.

    • Canada’s ‘super secret spy agency’ is releasing a malware-fighting tool to the public [Ed: let's pretend that crackers are actually defenders -- a classic reversal of narratives]

      The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) rarely goes into detail about its activities — both offensive and defensive — and much of what is known about the agency’s activities have come from leaked documents obtained by U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in recent years.

    • The government is snooping into our lives more than we thought, making privacy hard to come by
    • UK spy agencies share social media data with foreign governments, say critics
    • Safeguards permit GCHQ to share huge databases on public, court hears
    • On Butter and Triangulation

      At the end of May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect in Europe. It creates a whole set of new responsibilities that are causing concern for businesses across the EU. It has effects outside Europe as well, because it will control the way businesses located in Europe can share data across borders, both within their company and with other companies.

      While businesses are complaining about the new bureaucratic burden the Regulation creates, some privacy activists think it offers an absolute minimum level of protection in the emerging meshed society. This is not necessarily because of the way obviously confidential information is stored and used.

      It seems obvious why we should be concerned about big chunks of personal data, but why should we care about protecting small details such as our date of birth, parents’ names, postal code and so on? Why does it matter when we’re asked for them by someone with no need to know them?

    • Are you sharing the same IP address as a criminal? Law enforcement call for the end of Carrier Grade NAT (CGN) to increase accountability online

      On 13 October 2017, the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Europol held a workshop attended by 35 EU policy-makers and law enforcement officials, to address the increasing problem of non-crime attribution associated with the widespread use of Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGN) technologies by companies that provide access to the internet. The workshop was supported by experts from Europol’s partners: Proximus, CISCO, ISOC, the IPv6 Company, and the European Commission.

    • Powerful and pervasive artificial intelligence is coming: now is the time to talk about its impact on privacy

      An exception is work from Privacy International (PI), in the form of a response to an inquiry about AI carried out by a specialist group within the UK’s Parliament. Although the word “privacy” occurs nine times in the 77-page document published by the committee, the references are depressingly superficial, and there is no attempt to explore the complex privacy issues that AI raises. Privacy International’s submission is more concrete. It singles out four specific problems for privacy that the widespread use of AI will bring: [...]

    • It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone’s Location With Mobile Ads

      A team of security-focused researchers from the University of Washington has demonstrated just how deeply even someone with modest resources can exploit mobile advertising networks. An advertising-savvy spy, they’ve shown, can spend just a grand to track a target’s location with disturbing precision, learn details [...]

    • How to stop your mobile phone number and location from being sold

      Smartphone users are becoming aware that their phone number and location isn’t private when they use the internet on their data plans thanks to the selling of your mobile advertising id (MAID). According to Wired’s Andy Greenberg, it only costs $1,000 to track someone online. When you visit a website on your smartphone, both the site itself and advertisers on the site can view your mobile IP address which they can then tie to your mobike advertising id. Since the IP address is given by your telecom from the cell tower, your IP address when you’re using 4G or 3G will always be tied back to your billing information. [...]

    • In Facebook We Antitrust
    • WhatsApp now lets you stalk your friends in real-time
    • Opinion : In Quest of Privacy in the Digital Age
    • EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: First review shows it works but implementation can be improved

      The report will be sent to the European Parliament, the Council, the Article 29 Working Party of Data Protection Authorities and to the U.S. authorities. The Commission will work with the U.S. authorities on the follow-up of its recommendations in the coming months. The Commission will continue to closely monitor the functioning of Privacy Shield framework, including the U.S. authorities’ compliance with their commitments.

    • First Annual Review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

      Officials from across the United States Government, the European Commission, and EU data protection authorities gathered in Washington D.C. to conduct the first annual review on 18 and 19 September 2017.

      The report reflects the Commission’s findings on the implementation and enforcement of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework in its first year of operation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • USCIRF delegation pays visit to American pastor imprisoned in Turkey

      Two delegates from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) paid a visit to American Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey last week, almost a year to the day when he was detained by the authorities over allegations of terrorism and espionage.

      USCIRF Vice Chairwomen Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga went to Kiriklar Prison in Izmir, Turkey last week to visit Brunson, who has been imprisoned since Oct. 7, 2016 over his alleged links to the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is being blamed for organizing a 2016 attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.

      “The government of Turkey has fabricated charges against Pastor Brunson, largely based on purported ‘secret testimony.’ He should be released immediately.” Arriaga contended.

    • Overnight Tech: Senate bill expands disclosure rules for online political ads | Sex trafficking bill faces resistance from Silicon Valley | Twitter to crack down on harassment, abuse | Privacy shield passes annual review
    • Gabriel Fernandez: Mother’s boyfriend beat eight-year-old to death because he thought he was gay, court told

      An eight-year-old boy endured unimaginable abuse before his death including being forced to eat cat litter and being bound and gagged, a court heard.

      Gabriel Fernandez’s mother Pearl and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre allegedly tortured the child in the months leading up to his death in 2013.

      Gabriel was sprayed with pepper spray, forced to eat cat faeces and regularly gagged, bound and beaten, according to testimony from Gabriel’s older brother Ezequiel, who was 12 when his brother was killed.

    • These wealthy institutions are quietly financing white nationalism

      The connection between Breitbart, a far-right website, and the white nationalist movement was hardly a secret. Steve Bannon, who served as Executive Chairman of the publication before and after serving as Trump’s chief strategist, called Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right,” a euphemism for white nationalists and their sympathizers. These extreme, bigoted viewpoints are frequently reflected in the site’s writing, which has included anti-immigrant screeds, sensationalized reporting of “black crime,” and other fringe viewpoints and conspiracy theories.

      But a recent exposé published by BuzzFeed News revealed in stunning detail Breitbart’s deep connection and collaboration with white nationalists.

    • Use A Landline To Talk About Criminal Activity? The Government Can Seize The House Around It

      The Intercept has obtained a leaked asset forfeiture guide for seizures performed by ICE. (It has, unfortunately, chosen not to share the original document. Then again, the last non-Snowden leak it published appears to have helped out the document’s source.)

      For those familiar with the process of civil asset forfeiture, the contents of the guide are mostly unsurprising. Despite the document dating back to 2010, ICE did confirm the version seen by The Intercept is its most recent guidance. ICE is allowed to seize property without bringing charges or securing convictions — something still permitted by federal law (your state laws may vary) and greatly encouraged by the new head of the DOJ, Jeff Sessions.

    • Viral video of man being dragged from United flight gets officers fired

      Two aviation security officers involved in the April incident in which a 69-year-old doctor was violently removed from a United Airlines flight have been fired. The doctor, David Dao, suffered a broken nose, the loss of two teeth, and a concussion in an event that went viral on the Internet after it was captured by passengers’ mobile phones.

    • Judge shocked to learn NYPD’s cash forfeiture database has no backup

      As part of an ongoing legal battle to get the New York City Police Department to track money police have grabbed in cash forfeitures, an attorney for the city told a Manhattan judge on October 17 that part of the reason the NYPD can’t comply with such requests is that the department’s evidence database has no backup. If the database servers that power NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS)—designed and installed by Capgemini under a $25.5 million contract between 2009 and 2012—were to fail, all data on stored evidence would simply cease to exist.

    • Ex-workers: Supervisors at Tesla factory routinely called us the n-word

      In a new lawsuit, three former Tesla workers claim that they were routinely harassed and subjected to racial epithets during their time at the Fremont, California, factory.

      The men, who are all African-American, allege that shortly after they began work in 2015, their co-workers and superiors began taunting them and called them “n****r” on a regular basis.

    • The Muslim Ban Loses in Court Again

      Another day, another pair of court losses for President Trump’s outrageous and illegal Muslim Ban.

      Yesterday, federal courts in Maryland and Hawaii rejected the latest iteration of the ban the president promised as a candidate and has been trying to put in place ever since. Just like its predecessors, Muslim Ban 3.0 violates the Constitution, federal statutes, and our bedrock values of religious neutrality and tolerance.

    • Home Office issues visa to stranded Royal Navy pilot’s wife

      The Home Office has issued a visa and apologised to the wife of a Royal Navy pilot left stranded in the US while her husband serves in the UK.

      Marianne Rawlins, 34, has been granted a UK visa to join her husband, Lt Simon Rawlins, after the UK Visa and Immigration department initially ruled her application was not straightforward and required extra information.

      The American said she had been sleeping on friends’ couches and spent thousands of dollars on rental accommodation and business costs in the US after she packed up her life and belongings in the expectation of joining him.

      The Home Office announced on Thursday evening that it had approved her visa application and apologised for the disruption. Mrs Rawlins said: “I am pleased that our ordeal has come to an end and am hopeful this process will help other families in the future.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Big ISPs Lobby To Kill Attempts At More Accurate Broadband Mapping

      For years, the FCC’s “Form 477″ data collection program has required that ISPs provide data on where they provide broadband service. Said data then helps determine the pace of broadband deployment and level of competition in key markets, informing FCC policy and broadband subsidy application. Unfortunately, this data collection process relies heavily on census block data, which doesn’t always clarify which specific addresses in these large segments can actually get service. This has proven handy for ISPs looking to obfuscate their refusal to upgrade broadband networks in many areas.

    • FCC delays Sinclair-Tribune review to allow for more public input

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is allowing more time for the public to weigh in on the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

    • The Cable Industry’s Ingenious ‘Solution’ To TV Cord Cutting? Raise Broadband Rates

      In a healthy, competitive market, cable providers would respond to the growing threat of streaming video competition by lowering prices, improving their historically awful customer service, and giving consumers more flexible cable bundles.

      But because these same cable operators enjoy a growing monopoly over the uncompetitive broadband market — they don’t have to do that. Instead, they’ve found that the easiest response to added competition on the TV front is to impose a relentless array of rate hikes on captive broadband customers. There’s a myriad of ways they accomplish this, ranging from misleading hidden fees that jack up the advertised price (something they’re being sued for), to usage caps and overage fees (which let them not only charge more money for the same service, but hamstring streaming competitors via tricks like zero rating).

    • Charter accuses its employees of cutting cables 125 times during strike

      Charter Communications last week sued a workers’ union, alleging that its members have repeatedly sabotaged Charter’s network in New York City during a strike that began in March.

      “On over 125 occasions, Charter cables, including both coaxial and fiber optic cables in both secured and unsecured locations at sites throughout New York City, have been deliberately cut or damaged, thereby denying thousands of subscribers access to cable, Internet, and voice service and interfering with their ability to contact emergency services, and forcing Charter to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to investigating and repairing its property,” Charter alleged in its complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court.

  • DRM

    • Denuvo’s DRM now being cracked within hours of release

      When we last checked in on the state of Denuvo copy protection in PC games, the latest version of the best-in-class DRM provider had provided about a month’s worth of usable piracy prevention for survival-horror title 2Dark. Fast forward to the current holiday season, and major Denuvo releases are being publicly cracked within a day of their launch. We’re certainly a long way away from the days when major cracking groups were publicly musing that Denuvo-style DRM might soon become unbeatable.

      This week’s release of South Park: The Fractured but Whole is the latest to see its protections broken less than 24 hours after its release, but it’s not alone. Middle Earth: Shadow of War was broken within a day last week, and last month saw cracks for Total War: Warhammer 2 and FIFA 18 the very same day as their public release. Then there’s The Evil Within 2, which reportedly used Denuvo in prerelease review copies but then launched without that protection last week, effectively ceding the game to immediate potential piracy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Adidas Opposes Turner Broadcasting’s ELEAGUE Logo Trademark Because Of Lines

        eSports, the once fledgling video game competition industry, has undergone several milestones in rapid succession as it grows into a true entertainment player. Once relegated to online streaming broadcasts, mostly run out of a few Asian and Pacific Island countries, eSports is now regularly broadcast on American television, including by ESPN. From there, it was a fairly natural progression for universities to take notice and begin organizing school eSports teams, as well as offering scholarships for eAthletes.

    • Copyrights

      • New Copyright Trolling Operation Lowers The Settlement Demands And Calls Them Fines To Improve Conversion Rate

        As much more attention has been brought to copyright trolls and the unethical manner in which they operate, it was inevitable that the tactics of the trolls would begin to shift. For some of us, it was immediately obvious what a PR problem these trolling operations faced. It all comes down to the “settlements” offered in a copyright troll’s letters. The amounts, while designed to look small compared with the threat of a lawsuit, still tend to be quite high. Certainly the amounts make no sense when compared with the costs of simply viewing a movie or television show, which is the natural standard that lay person is likely to set. For that reason, some trolls, such as RightsCorp, have already started down the path of lowering settlement offers to levels that are more likely to cause the accused to simply pay up. Also, the fact that these letters, with all of their threatening language, even refer to the offers as “settlements” rings much closer to extra-judicial extortion than anything resembling justice.

        Well, it seems that one copyright troll is attempting to correct against both of these concerns. Rights Enforcement, contracted by the studio behind the movie The Hitman’s Bodyguard, is sending out letters to those it claims pirated the film with a much-reduced amount of money requested. And these requests are being called “fines” as opposed to “settlements.”

      • THE JUDGE’S CODE

        On May 18th, 2012, attorneys for Oracle and Google were battling over nine lines of code in a hearing before Judge William H. Alsup of the northern district of California. The first jury trial in Oracle v. Google, the fight over whether Google had hijacked code from Oracle for its Android system, was wrapping up.

      • Recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform

        Together with a group of scholars active in copyright issues, Professor Martin Senftleben (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) has published a Recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform.

      • Google Asked to Remove 3 Billion “Pirate” Search Results

        Copyright holders have now asked Google to remove more than 3,000,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine results since it began publishing records. A new milestone for sure, but not one celebrated anywhere. While Google sees it as confirmation that the DMCA process is working, copyright holders still have plenty of work to do.

      • Movie industry orders Google to ‘delist’ piracy websites in France

        Google has been ordered to delist all of them them, while four ISPs have been told to block user access, like ISPs do in this country. Those ISPs are Free, Numericable, Bouygues Telecom, and Orange. While the Google name is thrown around casually, also-rans like Bing don’t get a look in.

      • Google Asked to Delist Pirate Movie Sites, ISPs Asked to Block Them

        Google and several French ISPs are being asked by the movie industry to take action against four ‘pirate’ sites. Among them is a massively successful clone of Zone-Telechargement, France’s largest pirate site before it was shut down in 2016. While the ISPs are being asked to block access to the platforms, Google is required to delist them from search results.

10.18.17

Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blockchain and the Web Are Coming Together, Says Berners-Lee

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee is a famous computer scientist and academic who invented the World Wide Web in 1989—so when he talks about new technologies it’s worth paying attention.

    Today, one of the topics on his mind is blockchain, a revolutionary way of creating permanent, tamper-proof records across a disparate network of computers.

    Blockchain is most famously associated with the digital currency bitcoin but the technology is increasingly being used for record keeping by banks and retailers. It will also come to be used by more ordinary citizens in the near future, says Berners-Lee.

  • GMO Internet introduces open source KYC as blockchain project enters fifth phase
  • Eclipse Science Advances Open Source Technology for Scientific Research

    The Eclipse Science Working Group, a working group of the Eclipse Foundation, today announced the new releases of five open source projects used by the scientific research community to advance and simplify the software used by science projects, like genomic, astrophysics, nuclear simulations, etc. The new project releases are part of an annual release train that is managed by the Science WG.

  • Dmark East Africa to develop open source IT applications

    We have an operation around the region; in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda. And this has exposed us to different levels of talent across the region. As a result, we have come to a conclusion that Uganda has special talents in the area of information technology, specifically, product development or software engineering.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla brings Microsoft, Google, the W3C, Samsung together to create cross-browser documentation on MDN

        Community contributions are at the core of MDN’s success. Thousands of volunteers have helped build and refine MDN over the past 12 years. In this year alone, 8,021 users made 76,203 edits, greatly increasing the scope and quality of the content. Cross-browser documentation contributions include input from writers at Google and Microsoft; Microsoft writers have made more than 5,000 edits so far in 2017. This cross-browser collaboration adds valuable content on browser compatibility and new features of the web platform. Going forward, Microsoft writers will focus their Web API documentation efforts on MDN and will redirect relevant pages from Microsoft Developer Network to MDN.

      • A Week-Long Festival for Internet Health

        Says Mark Surman, Mozilla’s Executive Director: “The Internet is layered into our lives like we never could have imagined. Access is no longer a luxury — it’s a fundamental part of 21st century life. A virus is no longer a nuisance consigned to a single terminal — it’s an existential threat that can disrupt hospitals, governments and entire cities.”

        But much of the Internet’s best nature is flourishing, too. Each day, new communities form despite members being separated by whole continents. Start-ups and artists have access to a global stage. And open-source projects put innovation and inclusion ahead of profit.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Arrives Late January 2018, First Bug Hunting Session Starts Soon

      Now that the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event is over, it’s time for The Document Foundation to start the bug hunting sessions, and the first one was set for the end of the week, October 20, 2017, for the first Alpha release of the LibreOffice 6.0 office suite.

      Work on LibreOffice 6.0, the next big release of the popular open-source and cross-platform office suite for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating system, begun this week with a focus on revamping the user interface as well as various of its core components, including Writer, Calc, Draw, Impress, Base, and Math.

    • Coming up on Friday: first Bug Hunting Session for LibreOffice 6.0 Alpha 1

      The LibreOffice community has returned from a great conference in Rome (more on that later this week), and we’re now working eagerly on LibreOffice 6.0, which is due to be released at the end of January 2018. This version will include a large number of new features – and those already implemented are summarised on the release notes page.

    • LibreOffice Is Getting New Look for KDE’s Plasma Desktop Thanks to LiMux Project

      During the LibreOffice Conference 2017 event that took place in Rome, Italy, from October 10 to October 13, there were talks about the status the Qt 5 port of LibreOffice’s VCL plugin for KDE Plasma.

      Every year, The Document Foundation plans and organizes a LibreOffice Conference event where developers, contributors, sponsors, users, and other members of the LibreOffice community can gather to talk about the future of the Open Souce office suite.

      And this year they planned the new features of the next major release of the cross-platform office suite, LibreOffice 6.0, which will arrive in late January 2018 with a new look for the KDE Plasma desktop environment, work that will be sponsored by the LiMux project.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Eclipse Public License version 2.0 added to license list

      We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 (EPL).

      In terms of GPL compatibility, the Eclipse Public License version 2.0 is essentially equivalent to version 1.0. The only change is that it explicitly offers the option of designating the GNU GPL version 2 or later as a “secondary license” for a certain piece of code.

    • Linux kernel community tries to castrate GPL copyright troll

      Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman and several other senior Linux figures have published a “Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement” to be included in future Linux documentation, in order to ensure contributions to the kernel don’t fall foul of copyright claims that have already seen a single developer win “at least a few million Euros.”

      In a post released on Monday, October 16th, Kroah-Hartman explained the Statement’s needed because not everyone who contributes to the kernel understands the obligations the GNU Public Licence 2.0 (GPL 2.0), and the licence has “ambiguities … that no one in our community has ever considered part of compliance.”

    • Fiduciary License Agreement 2.0

      After many years of working on it, it is with immense pleasure to see the FLA-2.0 – the full rewrite of the Fiduciary License Agreement – officially launch.

    • Control Or Consensus?

      In a recent conversation on the Apache Legal mailing list, a participant opined that “any license can be Open Source. OSI doesn’t ‘own’ the term.” He went on to explain “I could clone the Apache License and call it ‘Greg’s License’ and it would be an open source license.”

      As long as the only people involved in the conversation are the speaker and people who defer to his authority, this might be OK. But as soon as there are others involved, it’s not. For the vast majority of people, the term “open source license” is not a personal conclusion resulting from considered evaluation, but rather a term of art applied to the consensus of the community. Individuals are obviously free to use words however they wish, just like Humpty Dumpty. But the power of the open source movement over two decades has arisen from a different approach.

      The world before open source left every developer to make their own decision about whether software was under a license that delivers the liberty to use, improve and share code without seeking the permission of a rights holder. Inevitably that meant either uncertainty or seeking advice from a lawyer about the presence of software freedom. The introduction of the open source concept around the turn of the millennium solved that using the crystalisation of consensus to empower developers.

      By holding a public discussion of each license around the Open Source Definition, a consensus emerged that could then by crystalised by the OSI Board. Once crystalised into “OSI Approval”, the community then has no need to revisit the discussion and the individual developer has no need to guess (or to buy advice) on the compatibility of a given license with software freedom. That in turn means proceeding with innovation or deployment without delay.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • UK Startup Lifebit Builds on Popular Nextflow Open-Source Genomics Platform
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Makerbot Labs Is One Step Toward Open Source 3D Printing

        3D printing feels a bit stuck. At the dawn of the 2010s, the device seemed destined to reimagine the creative process, putting the power of additive manufacturing within anyone’s grasp. But trend has gone cold since reaching its popular zenith in 2013. While people continue to create amazing things with 3D printing, the “one in every household” promise has been put on temporary—or possibly permanent—hold.

        But the leader of the once great 3D printing revolution hasn’t gone away quietly. In fact, it’s done the opposite. Makerbot, the Brooklyn-based startup that sold its first printers back in 2009, is launching a brand new platform, Makerbot Labs, to help turn its 3D printing community into super-users, able to access parts of the printer that were otherwise inaccessible. Makerbot describes this new platform as a place, built for creators, who want to experiment with 3D printing but still have the bedrock of the platform to fall back on if need be.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • IEEE to develop standard for automotive Ethernet of over 1 Gbps

      Industry body IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced the formation of a task force to develop IEEE P802.3ch—Standard for Ethernet physical layer specifications and management parameters for greater than 1 Gbps automotive Ethernet. The new standards development project aims to meet the demand for higher speed Ethernet in the automotive environment to support ongoing technological developments, such as connected cars, advanced driver assisted systems and infotainment systems.

Leftovers

  • Smartphones Are Killing Americans, But Nobody’s Counting
  • Meet Bill Pollock, founder of No Starch Press

    If you’re a geek, a do-it-yourselfer, a maker, or just plain curious, you need to get your hands on some reading material from No Starch Press, which bills itself as “The Finest in Geek Entertainment.” I have used its books as reference materials when teaching students about the Linux operating system and helping them learn to code.

    I recently chatted over email with Bill Pollock, owner of No Starch Press, which he founded in 1994. Bill didn’t set out to be a book publisher; he enrolled at Amherst College to study biology, with the goal of becoming a medical doctor, but became fascinated by his political science coursework and, in 1983, earned his bachelor’s degree in that discipline. Even so, he put his interest in medical science to use in his first editorial job, with Springer-Verlag Publishing, where he edited medical books for fun. While there, he tried (and sometimes failed) to teach others how to use the new personal computer in the office.

  • Science

    • The Supreme Court Is Allergic To Math

      For decades, the court has struggled with quantitative evidence of all kinds in a wide variety of cases. Sometimes justices ignore this evidence. Sometimes they misinterpret it. And sometimes they cast it aside in order to hold on to more traditional legal arguments. (And, yes, sometimes they also listen to the numbers.) Yet the world itself is becoming more computationally driven, and some of those computations will need to be adjudicated before long. Some major artificial intelligence case will likely come across the court’s desk in the next decade, for example. By voicing an unwillingness to engage with data-driven empiricism, justices — and thus the court — are at risk of making decisions without fully grappling with the evidence.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Trumpcare for Veterans? VA Outsourcing Will Create Healthcare Industry Bonanza

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) which operates the largest healthcare system in the country.

      Yet Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

      Union activists believe that the resulting understaffing is designed to generate patient complaints and negative publicity that will cause veterans and their families to lose faith in VA-provided care.

    • A nurse’s aide plays video games while a Vietnam veteran dies at Bedford VA Medical Center
    • Honey tests reveal global contamination by bee-harming pesticides

      Honey from across the world is contaminated with potent pesticides known to harm bees, new research shows, clearly revealing the global exposure of vital pollinators for the first time.

      Almost 200 samples of honey were analysed for neonicotinoid insecticides and 75% contained the chemicals, with most contaminated with multiple types. Bees range over many kilometres to collect nectar and pollen, making the honey they produce an excellent indicator of the pesticide pollution across their local landscape.

      Bees and other pollinators are vital to three-quarters of the world’s food crops but have been in serious decline in recent decades. The destruction of wild habitats, disease and widespread pesticide use are all important factors. Scientists responding to the new work say a crackdown on the industrial-scale use of the nerve agents is urgently needed.

  • Security

    • Microsoft never disclosed 2013 hack of secret vulnerability database

      Hackers broke into Microsoft’s secret, internal bug-tracking database and stole information related to vulnerabilities that were exploited in later attacks. But the software developer never disclosed the breach, Reuters reported, citing former company employees.

      In an article published Tuesday, Reuters said Microsoft’s decision not to disclose details came after an internal review concluded the exploits used in later attacks could have been discovered elsewhere. That investigation relied, in part, on automated reports Microsoft receives when its software crashes. The problem with that approach, Reuters pointed out, is that advanced computer attacks are written so carefully they rarely cause crashes.

      Reuters said Microsoft discovered the database breach in early 2013, after a still-unknown hacking group broke into computers belonging to a raft of companies. Besides Microsoft, the affected companies included Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. As reported at the time, the hackers infected a website frequented by software developers with attack code that exploited a zero-day vulnerability in Oracle’s Java software framework. When employees of the targeted companies visited the site, they became infected, too.

    • Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and elementary OS All Patched Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      As you are aware, there’s a major WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) security vulnerability in the wild, affecting virtually any device or operating system that uses the security protocol, including all GNU/Linux distributions.

    • Fedora Dev Teaches Users How to Protect Their Wi-Fi Against WPA2 KRACK Bug

      Former Fedora Project leader Paul W. Frields talks today about how to protect your Fedora computers from the dangerous WPA2 KRACK security vulnerability that affects virtually any device using the security protocol to connect to the Internet.

    • WPA2 was kracked because it was based on a closed standard that you needed to pay to read

      How did a bug like krack fester in WPA2, the 13-year-old wifi standard whose flaws have rendered hundreds of millions of devices insecure, some of them permanently so?

      Thank the IEEE’s business model. The IEEE is the standards body that developed WPA2, and they fund their operations by charging hundreds of dollars to review the WPA2 standard, and hundreds more for each of the standards it builds upon, so that would-be auditors of the protocol have to shell out thousands just to start looking.

      It’s an issue that Carl Mamamud, Public Resource and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting hard on for years, ensuring that the standards that undergird public safety and vital infrastructure are available for anyone to review, audit and criticize.

    • Patch Available for Linux Kernel Privilege Escalation

      The issue — tracked as CVE-2017-15265 — is a use-after-free memory corruption issue that affects ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), a software framework included in the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers.

    • ​Linus Torvalds says targeted fuzzing is improving Linux security

      Announcing the fifth release candidate for the Linux kernel version 4.14, Linus Torvalds has revealed that fuzzing is producing a steady stream of security fixes.

      Fuzzing involves stress testing a system by generating random code to induce errors, which in turn may help identify potential security flaws. Fuzzing is helping software developers catch bugs before shipping software to users.

    • Devsecops: Add security to complete your devops process [Ed: more silly buzzwords]
    • Companies overlook risks in open source software [Ed: marketing disguised as "news" (and which is actually FUD)]
    • Q&A: Does blockchain alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?

      According to some, blockchain is one of the hottest and most intriguing technologies currently in the market. Similar to the rising of the internet, blockchain could potentially disrupt multiple industries, including financial services. This Thursday, October 19 at Sibos in Toronto, Hyperledger’s Security Maven Dave Huseby will be moderating a panel “Does Blockchain technology alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?” During this session, experts will explore whether the shared nature of blockchain helps or hinders security.

    • ACME Support in Apache HTTP Server Project

      We’re excited that support for getting and managing TLS certificates via the ACME protocol is coming to the Apache HTTP Server Project (httpd). ACME is the protocol used by Let’s Encrypt, and hopefully other Certificate Authorities in the future. We anticipate this feature will significantly aid the adoption of HTTPS for new and existing websites.

      We created Let’s Encrypt in order to make getting and managing TLS certificates as simple as possible. For Let’s Encrypt subscribers, this usually means obtaining an ACME client and executing some simple commands. Ultimately though, we’d like for most Let’s Encrypt subscribers to have ACME clients built in to their server software so that obtaining an additional piece of software is not necessary. The less work people have to do to deploy HTTPS the better!

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google now offers special security program for high-risk users
    • Chrome 62 rolling out to Mac, Windows, and Linux w/ increased ‘Not secure’ HTTP warnings

      Chrome 62 is now rolling out to desktops in the stable channel with a number of new features for developers, as well as some changed security behaviors as Google continues to encourage HTTPS adoption.

    • DHS orders federal agencies to bolster cybersecurity with HTTPS, email authentication

      The US Department of Homeland Security will require federal agencies to use web and email encryption practices to enhance their security posture.

    • Adobe warns that hackers are exploiting its Flash software

      Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) warned on Monday that hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities in its Flash multimedia software platform in web browsers, and the company urged users to quickly patch their systems to prevent such attacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Deadly Overconfidence: Trump Thinks Missile Defenses Work Against North Korea, and That Should Scare You

      Could a president’s overconfidence in U.S. defensive systems lead to deadly miscalculation and nuclear armageddon? Yes. Yes, it could. Last Wednesday, referring to potential American responses to North Korea’s missile and nuclear program, President Donald Trump told Sean Hannity “We have missiles that can knock out a missile in the air 97 percent of the time, and if you send two of them it’s gonna get knocked out.” If Trump believes — or is being told — that American missile defenses are that accurate, not only is he factually wrong, he is also very dangerously wrong. This misperception could be enough to lead the United States into a costly war with devastating consequences.

      Here’s why: If Trump believes U.S. missile defenses work this effectively, he might actually think a first strike attempt to disarm North Korea of its missile and nuclear forces would successfully spare U.S. cities from North Korean nuclear retaliation. They probably wouldn’t. Believing that each ground-based midcourse missile defense (GMD) interceptor can provide anything close to a 97 percent interception rate against retaliation raises the temptation to attempt a so-called “splendid first strike” based on the assumption that missile defenses can successfully intercept any leftover missiles North Korea could then fire at the United States.

    • Mogadishu Massacre: Hospitals Run Out of Blood, Antibiotics for Victims in Mass Bombing Killing 300+

      Rescue operations continue in Mogadishu, Somalia, after two massive truck bombs exploded Saturday, killing at least 300 in the country’s deadliest attack since the rise of the al-Shabab militant group a decade ago. The disaster is being referred to as the “Mogadishu massacre,” and some are calling it “the 9/11 of the Somali people.” The explosions came after the Trump administration stepped up a U.S. campaign against al-Shabab in Somalia. We speak with Somali scholar Abdi Samatar and journalist Amanda Sperber, who splits her time between Nairobi, Kenya, and Mogadishu, Somalia.

    • “Tell Me How This Ends?”

      It was March 2003, the invasion of Iraq was underway, and Major General David Petraeus was in command of the 101st Airborne Division heading for the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Rick Atkinson, Washington Post journalist and military historian, was accompanying him. Six days into a lightning campaign, his division suddenly found itself stopped 30 miles southwest of the city of Najaf by terrible weather, including a blinding dust storm, and the unexpectedly “fanatical” attacks of Iraqi irregulars. At that moment, Atkinson reported,

      [...]

      So as American air power in places like Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan is ramped up yet again, as the latest mini-surge of troops arrives in Afghanistan, as Niger enters the war, it’s time to put generals David Petraeus, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly in context. It’s time to call them what they truly are: Nixon’s children.

    • The CIA Is Playing Coy About Trump’s First Raid In Yemen

      The CIA’s attempt to use Glomar to keep the public in the dark about its role in the Yemen raid is absurd.

      Just days after Donald Trump assumed the powers of the presidency, he convened a group of top intelligence and military officials for dinner at the White House. The group included Secretary of Defense James Mattis and CIA Director Michael Pompeo. Presumably they were not there for the steak.

      Instead, they were there to discuss and sign off on an intelligence-gathering raid in al Ghayil, Yemen — the first of its kind under the Trump presidency, though planning for it had commenced under his predecessor. Days later, Navy SEAL Team 6 carried out the raid, but early reports were that the raid went awry. One service member and multiple Yemeni civilians — the exact number remains disputed — were killed.

      Still, the White House defended the raid as a success. From the White House podium, then–Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that “the goal of the raid was intelligence-gathering. And that’s what we received, and that’s what we got. That’s why we can deem it a success.”

      But criticism continued, and reports surfaced that prior to the raid, President Trump had exempted the area of Yemen in which the raid took place from rules governing the United States’ use of lethal force outside of war zones. Those rules were put in place by President Obama and were intended — however flawed they were — to limit civilian casualties.

    • Iran Doesn’t Have a Nuclear Weapons Program. Why Do Media Keep Saying It Does?

      The problem with all of these excerpts: Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. It has a civilian nuclear energy program, but not one designed to build weapons. Over 30 countries have civilian nuclear programs; only a handful—including, of course, the US and Israel—have nuclear weapons programs. One is used to power cities, one is used to level them.

      If you are skeptical, just refer to a 2007 assessment by all 16 US intelligences agencies (yes, those 16 US intelligence agencies), which found Iran had “halted” its nuclear weapons program. Or look at the same National Intelligence Estimate in 2012, which concluded again that there “is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.” Or we can listen to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, which concurred with the US intelligence assessment (Haaretz, 3/18/12).

      The “Iran Deal,” formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is built on curbing Iran’s civilian nuclear program, out of fear—fair or not—that it could one day morph into a nuclear weapons program. But at present, there is no evidence, much less a consensus, that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. JCPOA cannot be used as per se evidence such a program exists today; indeed, it is specifically designed to prevent such a program from developing down the road.

    • In 3-1 vote, LA Police Commission approves drones for LAPD

      The Los Angeles Police Department, one of the nation’s largest municipal police forces, approved a one-year pilot program for drones—making it the largest city in the nation to undertake such an evaluation.

      According to the Los Angeles Times, the LA Police Commission approved a set of policies that limits “their use to a handful of tactical situations, searches or natural disasters.” Each drone flight must also be signed off by a “high-ranking officer on a case-by-case basis.” The drones are also not to be weaponized. The decision, which was announced Tuesday, was made despite vociferous protest.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Police sergeant suspended after Facebook comments celebrating Caruana Galizia murder

      A police sergeant who yesterday celebrated the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has been suspended, with the Office of the Prime Minister describing his remarks on Facebook as ‘reprehensible’.
      He will be investigated by the Public Service Commission.
      The shadow minister for justice, Jason Azzopardi, the Malta Police Association and the Police Officers’ Union all condemned the comments.
      The post, by Ramon Mifsud, was uploaded yesterday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pentagon accidentally included reporter in Puerto Rico spin talks

      Officials at the Department of Defense and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accidentally included a Bloomberg climate reporter on an internal email distribution list that included discussions on how to present Puerto Rico recovery efforts to the media.

      Bloomberg’s Christopher Flavelle said he repeatedly alerted officials at the Pentagon to the error but kept receiving emails for five days.

      “Those messages, each of which was marked ‘unclassified,’ offer a glimpse into the federal government’s struggle to convince the public that the response effort was going well. That struggle was compounded by the commander-in-chief, and eased only when public attention was pulled to a very different disaster,” writes Flavelle in a Bloomberg story published Friday.

    • NOAA Marks 45th Anniversary of the Coastal Zone Management Act

      The hurricanes of 2017 affected many coastal areas. Guided by the CZMA over the past 45 years, the coastal programs have gained the experience, scientific information, and policies needed to address reconstruction and recovery needs. As a result, coastal communities stand a better chance of weathering future storms and day-by-day challenges. Two examples illustrate this approach.

  • Finance

    • What is technical debt? And why does almost every startup have it?

      Technical debt is no different. It allows companies to create software faster, with the understanding that they will slow down software development in the future. Companies will eventually be forced to spend more time fixing the debt than the amount of time it took them to produce the best solution at the beginning.

    • Austerity, Macron-Style

      When French President Emmanuel Macron’s secured his sweeping majority of the Elysee Palace and parliament in May and June, it was said that only the unions had a chance of checking his power. So this week’s show of unity and strength by public sector unions – after months of squabbling – will have him worried.

      For the first time a decade all nine unions representing 5.4 million public workers protested in the streets of France on Tuesday. At issue are Macron’s plans to axe 120,000 public sector jobs, to reduce sick leave compensation and freeze public sector pay. Workers in health, education, local government, air traffic controllers and train drivers are among those who went on strike.

    • No-deal Brexit requires a general election, Carwyn Jones says

      Carwyn Jones has argued there would have to be a general election in 2019 if Theresa May failed to secure a Brexit deal by that deadline.
      Talks at securing a deal with the other 27 EU states on trade and on any remaining budget payments have stalled.
      Some MPs have backed a “no deal” Brexit while others warn of economic chaos.
      The first minister told S4C’s O’r Senedd programme the UK government had an unrealistic view of Britain’s influence in the world.

    • After five rounds of Brexit talks, David Davis runs out of bluster

      Same time, same place, same speech. The humiliation is now almost complete. Five times David Davis has come back to the Commons to report on the progress of his talks with Michel Barnier, and on each occasion the Brexit secretary has had little to say. In the early days, he used to claim that the lack of progress was a sign of how much progress had been made, but now he has lost the will to even bluster. The former SAS man has barely got the strength to fight his way out of a paper bag.

      Throughout his five-minute statement, Davis could barely bring himself to raise his eyes towards the opposition benches. The contempt he could have taken. But it was the pity that got him every time. Some important steps had been made, he said in a barely audible mumble. He couldn’t say exactly what they were but they had been made. The negotiations were being conducted in a good spirit. As in, no one had actually walked out yet. But he was reaching the limits of what was possible.

    • Verhofstadt condemns ‘witch hunt’ by David Davis against British MEPs

      The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, criticized David Davis for conducting a “witch hunt” against British MEPs who voted to delay trade talks.

      Davis has called for 18 Labour MEPs and one from the Liberal Democrats to be sacked “in the national interest” for supporting a European Parliament resolution critical of the British government’s approach to the negotiations.

    • Government rejects calls from OECD to reverse Brexit for the sake of the economy

      The Government has rejected calls to reverse Brexit after economic experts said a second referendum would have a significant, positive effect on the economy.

      The decision to leave the EU has “raised uncertainty and dented business investment” in the UK, a new report warned.

      Real wages are being stripped back amid soaring inflation despite low unemployment, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

      Its 140-page annual report outlines the state of Britain’s economy 16 months after last year’s EU Leave vote.

    • Reverse Brexit with second referendum to save your economy, OECD tells UK

      Economic experts have made an explosive suggestion of a further referendum to reverse Brexit, to avoid the crippling of the British economy.

      The influential Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the deadlock in the exit talks now threatened a “disorderly Brexit”, with severe consequences.

      Its report controversially puts the case for a dramatic rethink on the agenda – suggesting halting EU withdrawal is a route to avoiding that fate.

    • Brexit poses an ‘extreme risk’ to Britain’s food security. Don’t ignore the warnings

      Global food security — its availability, affordability, quality and safety — is beginning to slip for the first time in half a decade. Britain, being far from self sufficient in its food production, is taking a massive risk in quitting the safety of the single market.

      In response to concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on food prices and the UK’s food security, Brexiteer Chris Grayling suggested recently that British farmers will just have to grow more food.

      Alongside this ‘Dig For Victory’ bravado was the suggestion that we should also increase imports from across the world: two diametrically opposed food and farming policies in one breath.

      Such ‘solutions’ come easily if you’ve never had to think deeply about where food comes from; if all it has ever meant is a stroll to the nearest supermarket.

    • Trapped in an immigration nightmare: How a single Home Office error threw a couple’s life into chaos

      Somewhere out there is the immigration officer who made the decision. As a result of what they did, my husband and I were locked in a legal ordeal for seven months, separated for four, lived in rural Sweden for three, and spent over £10,000. What we went through provides an instructive lesson in the failures and mean-spiritedness of the Home Office.

    • Who’s to blame for Brexit’s fantasy politics? The experts, of course

      Politics, runs the cliche, is the art of the possible. The compromise. The curbed expectation.

      Not any more. Not in the age of Brexit and Trump. In 2017, politics is the art of the impossible. Of writing blank cheques and scattering them to the wind. Of peddling fantasies and promising the voters they will be made flesh by tomorrow.

    • Report Reveals ‘Staggering’ Scale Of Foodbank Demand In Britain

      Growing numbers of foodbanks are distributing emergency parcels amid problems with the roll out of universal credit, a new report reveals.

      More than 2,000 foodbanks are now recorded as operating in Britain, with around 700 independent and 1,235 Trussell Trust centres, figures up slightly on earlier this year.

      The report highlights problems with the roll out of the welfare reform as a reason for recent “dramatic increases” in demand, the Press Association reported.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump gives his own performance a Trump-sized endorsement

      Friends say President Donald Trump has grown frustrated that his greatness is not widely understood, that his critics are fierce and on TV every morning, that his poll numbers are both low and “fake,” and that his White House is caricatured as adrift.

      So on Monday, the consummate salesman — who has spent his life selling his business acumen, golf courses, sexual prowess, luxury properties and, above all, his last name — gave the Trump White House a Trump-sized dose of brand enhancement.

      With both the Roosevelt Room and the Rose Garden as backdrops, he mixed facts and mirage, praise and perfidy in two head-spinning, sometimes contradictory performances designed to convince supporters and detractors alike that everything’s terrific, moving ahead of schedule and getting even better. His opponents were cast as misguided, deluded or even unpatriotic.

    • Trump’s alternative reality

      President Trump “goes there, on just about every topic imaginable,” as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, during a pair of Q&As, two hours apart yesterday — one in the Cabinet Room and one with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Rose Garden.

      Why it matters: It’s almost impossible for the media to cover these press conferences — or for Republicans to discern what he wants and how he plans to get it — because Trump spreads fake news while calling real news fake. This isn’t new. And, yes, 35% of voters don’t seem to care. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.

    • Trump Falsely Claims Obama Didn’t Contact Gold Star Families

      President Donald Trump broke his silence Monday over the deaths of four U.S. Army Green Berets who died in an ambush in Niger two weeks ago, saying he would contact the families of the soldiers—while falsely claiming that President Barack Obama did not reach out after U.S. troops were killed in combat. Trump’s comments came only after he was questioned over his silence by reporters during a press conference at the White House with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.

    • Is the BBC hideously middle class?

      A panel at the Royal Television Society Convention in Cambridge this year revealed a broad range of concerns regarding class in television. Ofcom released a report coincident with the Convention reporting on diversity and equal opportunities in television. While Ofcom focused on race, gender and disability, it also reported on broadcasters’ initiatives to promote social mobility. Ofcom added that it will explore what new information can be provided on social background.

      Broadcasters, including the BBC, have recently begun to address social class in terms of diversity. Undoubtedly, this has been aided by existing initiatives on diversity with reference principally to gender, race, disability, age and sexual orientation. Much of this engagement with class seems tentative and in development. Some commentators are concerned variously with ‘class’, ‘socioeconomic background’, or ‘social mobility’. Different variables are proposed to measure class. Proponents tend to rely exclusively on a metrics-based approach.

      At this stage, key issues must be addressed: what is the problem against which these initiatives are directed? Is ‘class’ a valid category for analysis and, if so, how might class be monitored? If class is insufficient as a category to address the diagnosed problem, what other categories and interventions might be warranted? I will explore these questions with particular reference to the BBC. I do so in part because the BBC is a public service broadcaster whose duties raise distinctive issues regarding class.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Q&A with Professor Xaioxing Xi, Victim of Unjust Surveillance
    • California Governor Signs Bill to Defend Against Religious Registries

      On the last day to act on legislation in 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill creating a firewall between the state’s data and any attempt by the federal government to create lists, registries, or databases based on a person’s religion, nationality, or ethnicity.

      S.B. 31 was one of the earliest bills introduced by the legislature to oppose discriminatory policies floated by Pres. Donald Trump and his surrogates during the 2016 campaign. S.B. 31, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, was a direct response to Trump’s and his surrogates’ support of a so-called “Muslim Registry.” Although the bill places California at odds with the White House, both parties in the California Senate unanimously approved the bill, as did an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Assembly.

    • Risk & Repeat: Kaspersky antivirus scans implicated in NSA breach

      Kaspersky antivirus scans were further implicated in the NSA breach by reports last week from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal; anonymous sources claimed Israeli intelligence officers hacked into Kaspersky’s network in 2015 and observed Russian hackers using the company’s antivirus software to search millions of computers around the world for classified government documents. The reports also claimed the U.S. government determined that Kaspersky antivirus scans were specifically designed to search for classified U.S. data.

    • Regressive group finally out of debate on our ePrivacy!
    • UK spies using social media data for mass surveillance
    • UK intelligence agencies ‘unlawfully’ sharing sensitive personal data, court hears
    • British spies are collecting and sharing datasets of people’s social media activities

      Well. The latest revelations from the UK’s crusading Privacy International show not only that the GCHQ spy agency has been assembling databases of people’s social media data by gaining access to private companies’ own troves of data, but also that the agencies shared their databases with foreign governments and their law enforcement agencies – without the knowledge of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the supposed provider of oversight.

    • British intelligence agencies may have been collecting and sharing your social media data
    • UK spy agency GCHQ is monitoring social media accounts of millions of people
    • British intelligence allegedly using social media for mass surveillance
    • UK spy agencies are unlawfully collecting social media data on ‘millions’ of people
    • British government accused of spying on millions of social media accounts
    • UK spy agencies may be circumventing data-sharing law, tribunal told

      MI5 and MI6 may be circumventing legal safeguards when they share bulk datasets with foreign intelligence services and commercial partners, a court has been told.

      Most of the bulk personal datasets relate to UK citizens who are not of “legitimate intelligence interest”, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) heard.

    • Internet giants contest proposed privacy laws

      Internet giants Comcast and Verizon have brought along some friends to their fight against three local towns considering adopting online privacy ordinances.

      Representatives of the two companies have partnered with four national lobbying groups to convince officials in Falls, Lower Makefield and Middletown not to pass laws that would prohibit internet service providers from sharing customers’ “personally identifiable information” with advertisers without the customers’ permission.

      The information could include web search activities, medical and financial information, and video viewing habits

    • Garmin teamed up with Amazon to make a tiny Echo Dot for your car [Ed: The scariest thing is, there are enough gullible people who will think it's "cool" to have listening device in car]
    • The Cyber World Is Falling Apart And The DOJ Is Calling For Weakened Encryption

      It seemed like the (mostly) one-man War on Encryption had reached a ceasefire agreement when “Going Dark” theorist James Comey was unceremoniously ejected from office for failing to pledge allegiance to the new king president. But it had barely had time to be relegated to the “Tired” heap before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resurrected it.

      Rosenstein has been going from cybersecurity conference to cybersecurity conference raising arguments for encryption before dismissing them entirely. His remarks have opened with the generally awful state of cybersecurity at both the public and private levels. He says encryption is important, especially when there are so many active security threats. Then he undermines his own arguments by calling for “responsible encryption” — a euphemism for weakened encryption that provides law enforcement access to locked devices and communications on secured platforms.

      Considering recent events, this isn’t the direction the DOJ should be pushing. Russian hackers used a popular antivirus software to liberate NSA exploits from a contractor’s computer. Equifax exposed the data of millions of US citizens who never asked to be tracked by the service in the first place. Yahoo just admitted everyone who ever signed up for its email service was affected by a years-old security breach. Ransomware based on NSA malware wreaked havoc all over the world. These are all issues Rosenstein has touched on during his remarks. But they’re swiftly forgotten by the Deputy Attorney General when his focus shifts to what he personally — representing US law enforcement — can’t access because of encryption.

    • Article 13 Open letter – Monitoring and Filtering of Internet Content is Unacceptable
    • How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy

      In August, New York University and the Library Freedom Project – an organization that trains librarians on using privacy tools to protect intellectual freedom – received a $250,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency. Its purpose: to train librarians to implement secure protocols on their own web services, and to teach members of the community to evade the prying eyes of governments, corporations, and criminal hackers. According to the Library Freedom Project’s website, the group aims to create what it calls “a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.”

    • ShadowBrokers’ Kiss of Death

      Forgive me for being an ingrate, but I’m trying to engage seriously on Section 702 reform. Surveillance boosters are already fighting this fight primarily by waging ad hominem attacks. Having TSB call me out really makes it easy for surveillance boosters to suggest I’m not operating in the good faith I’ve spent 10 years doing.

    • Details Emerge Of World’s Biggest Facial Recognition Surveillance System, Aiming To Identify Any Chinese Citizen In Three Seconds

      The article says that the system will use cloud computing facilities to process images from the millions of CCTV cameras located across the country. The company involved is Isvision, which has been using facial recognition with CCTV cameras since 2003. The earliest deployments were in the highly-sensitive Tiananmen Square area. Other hotspots where its technology has been installed are Tibet and Xinjiang, where surveillance has been at a high level for many years.

      However, the report also cautions that the project is encountering “many difficulties” due to the technical limits of facial recognition and the sheer size of the database involved. A Chinese researcher is quoted as saying that some totally unrelated people in China have faces so alike that even their parents cannot tell them apart. Another issue is managing the biometric data, which is around 13 terabytes for the facial information, and 90 terabytes for the full dataset, which includes additional personal details on everyone in China.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ICE Now Calling Aiding Unaccompanied Minors ‘Human Trafficking’ To Bypass Sanctuary City Laws

      In the name of fighting sex trafficking, legislators are willing to make the internet mostly worthless. Punching a hole in Section 230 protections will encourage incumbents to limit user participation and prevent startups from ever making it off the ground. Proponents claim it’s narrowly-targeted and abuse-proof, but the language would allow any service provider to be held accountable for the criminal actions of users. If traffickers can’t use Facebook or Google thanks to heavier moderation, they’ll move onto other websites and services until those too are rendered useless by government action.

      Part of the problem with legislation like this is mission creep. It may start with sex trafficking, but it will inevitably be expanded to cover other illicit content. And sex trafficking itself is its own dodge. All the government has to do is claim something is trafficking and the hammer begins to fall.

      This is because the term leaves no room for intelligent conversations. Proponents know people aren’t likely to speak up against efforts to fight sex trafficking, especially when they point out this sometimes includes children. It becomes a governmental blank check for enforcement action — something that deters questioning of the government’s activities, much in the way the term “national security” has limited legislative and judicial discussion about surveillance overreach.

    • Wife of stroke victim who needs 24hr care must leave UK while he cares for children

      A British stroke victim who uses a wheelchair, requires 24-hour supervision to keep him alive and cannot speak, write or reliably understand what is said to him, has been told by the Home Office that he must become the sole carer for his two young British children while his wife travels to the Philippines to apply for a visa to care for the family.

      Simon Waterman was living with his Filipino wife, Leah, and their children Kimi and Bryce, aged 10 and seven, in the Philippines when he had a severe stroke in September 2015. The family moved back to Abergavenny in South Wales in December so Simon could be near his family. When they applied for a visa for Leah to remain in the country, however, they were told there were “no exceptional circumstances” preventing her following the conventional route of applying for her visa from outside the UK.

    • Whistleblower Protections in USA Liberty Act Not Enough

      The USA Liberty Act fails to safeguard whistleblowers—both as federal employees and contractors—because of a total lack of protection from criminal prosecution. These shortcomings—which exist in other whistleblower protection laws—shine a light on much-needed Espionage Act reform, a law that has been used to stifle anti-war speech and punish political dissent.

      Inside the recent House bill, which seeks reauthorization for a massive government surveillance tool, authors have extended whistleblower protections to contract employees, a group that, today, has no such protection.

      The Liberty Act attempts to bring parity between intelligence community employees and contract employees by amending Section 1104 of the National Security Act of 1947.

      According to the act, employees for the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office are protected from certain types of employer retaliation when reporting evidence of “a violation of any federal law, rule, or regulation,” or “mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.” Employees working at agencies the President deems have a “primary function” of conducting foreign intelligence or counterintelligence are also covered by these protections.

    • New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro Breaks the Law to Enforce It. We’re Holding Him Accountable.

      Cannizzaro and elected district attorneys like him must answer to the communities that elect them.

      Renata Singleton was the victim in a criminal case and served five days in jail. That’s right, the victim. And Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro is to blame.

      In the fall of 2014, Renata Singleton and her boyfriend got into an argument at her apartment. He took her phone and slammed it on her porch. She wanted him out of the house, so she called the police, and they took him away. A criminal case was brought against her boyfriend. After Singleton told the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office that she had resolved things with him and wanted to move on, Cannizzaro’s office didn’t listen. Instead, agents left two “subpoenas” at her door demanding she appear at its office for a private interview.

      Only they were not subpoenas at all.

    • As the Weinstein Scandal Sinks in, Where Do We Go From Here?

      Here’s how to start making workplace sexual misconduct and discrimination a thing of the past.

      In the wake of bombshell reports by the The New York Times and The New Yorker detailing three decades of sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the revelations keep coming. So do the questions: How did such flagrant misconduct stay an “open secret” for so long? Just how many women were harmed? And how do we make sure that such an egregious abuse of power never happens again?

      Sexual harassment that is “severe or pervasive” was deemed by the Supreme Court to be illegal sex discrimination more than 30 years ago, when Mechelle Vinson, a bank employee in Washington, D.C., challenged her manager’s three-year campaign of abuse, including rape. And it’s been nearly a quarter-century since the court clarified that conduct becomes illegal harassment at the point that a “reasonable person” would find it abusive, even if it never gets physical.

    • Fired Cop’s Attorney Argues His Client Is Being Punished Unfairly Because The Public Got To See His Misconduct

      A little over a month ago, body cam footage of a police officer trying to bully a nurse into breaking the law went viral. Salt Lake City police detective Jeff Payne wrapped up his failed intimidation attempt by arresting nurse Alex Wubbels for following her hospital’s policy on blood draws. If there are no exigent circumstances and the person not suspected of criminal activity, police need a warrant to draw blood.

      None of those factors were present when Detective Payne demanded the hospital draw blood from an accident victim. The victim was, in fact, a reserve police officer from an Idaho law enforcement agency, who had been hit head-on by a fleeing suspect. This officer later died from his injuries. He was in a coma when Detective Payne began demanding the hospital hand over some blood, obviously in no condition to consent to the search.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • GAO Will Investigate The FCC’s Dubious DDoS Attack Claims

      You might recall that when HBO comedian John Oliver originally tackled net neutrality on his show in 2014, the FCC website crashed under the load of concerned consumers eager to support the creation of net neutrality rules. When Oliver revisited the topic last May to discuss FCC boss Ajit Pai’s myopic plan to kill those same rules, the FCC website crashed under the load a second time. That’s not particularly surprising; the FCC’s website has long been seen as an outdated relic from the wayback times of Netscape hit counters and awful MIDI music.

    • Six days later, FCC chair says Trump can’t order FCC to revoke TV licenses

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai initially resisted calls to tell President Trump that the FCC won’t revoke broadcast licenses from stations whose news coverage Trump dislikes.

      But today, six days after Trump first said that NBC and other networks should have their licenses challenged, Pai said the FCC won’t pull licenses based on the content of news reports.

    • FCC Chair Finally Says Agency Won’t Censor Trump’s Enemies

      Last Wednesday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to suggest the government should challenge broadcasting licenses for stations that air “fake news.”

    • AT&T Spent Hundreds Of Billions On Mergers And All It Got Was A Big Pile Of Cord Cutters

      Over the last few years AT&T and Verizon have been desperately trying to pivot from stodgy, protectionist old telcos — to sexy new Millennial media juggernauts. And while this pivot attempt has been notably expensive, the net result has been somewhat underwhelming. Verizon, for example, spent billions to gobble up AOL and Yahoo, but its lack of savvy in the space has so far culminated in a privacy scandal, a major hacking scandal, a quickly shuttered website where reporters couldn’t write about controversial subjects, and a fairly shitty Millennial streaming service even Verizon’s own media partners have called a “dud.”

      AT&T’s efforts have been notably more expensive, but just as underwhelming. The company first decided to shell out $70 billion for a satellite TV provider (DirecTV) on the eve of the cord cutting revolution. And the company’s putting the finishing touches on shelling out another $89 billion for Time Warner in a quest to gain broader media and advertising relevance. That was paired with the launch of a new streaming service, DirecTV Now, which the company hoped would help it beat back the tide of cord cutting.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Disney: The Only Fun Allowed At Children’s Birthday Parties Is Properly Licensed Fun

        For that reason, Characters For Hire is claiming that both the copyright and trademark claims from Disney aren’t valid. The characters are altered and renamed in an effort to gain protection from the idea/expression dichotomy, with those same changes and the disclaimer making it clear to the public that the company has no affiliation with the IP owners of the original characters from which these generics are inspired.
        That said… yeah, but no. The point made in the disclaimer that the likenesses are strictly coincidental is laughable at best. It’s very likely that the copyright portion of Disney’s claims will hold up in court. The trademark claims have less a chance of success, as it’s abundantly clear that these are not licensed characters or associated in any way with companies like Disney. But, still, the so-called generic characters of Characters For Hire appear to be more than merely “inspired” by the originals and are instead near identical characters with alterations made only to get around copyright law.
        But the larger point is: hey, Disney, why? Given that the copyright claims are the most substantive, there was nothing requiring Disney to take this action. Certainly it is laughable for Disney to claim any serious harm from a copyright perspective due to Characters For Hire’s actions. All this is really doing is keeping some fun, if unoriginal, characters from entertaining kids and people at birthdays and related events. Is giving up the stated aim to make children happy really worth smacking around a relatively small company that works these sorts of parties?

      • Digital Rights Groups Demand Deletion of Unlawful Filtering Mandate From Proposed EU Copyright Law

        The upload filtering mandate in Article 13 isn’t the only provision of the proposed Directive that concerns us. Another provision of concern, Article 11, would impose a new “link tax” payable to news publishers on websites that publish small snippets of news articles to contextualize links to those articles. Since we last wrote about this, an interesting new report has come out providing evidence that European publishers—who are the supposed beneficiaries of the link tax—actually oppose it.

      • Abandon Proactive Copyright Filters, Huge Coalition Tells EU Heavyweights

        Dozens of influential civil rights groups have called on EU decision-makers to abandon proposals for compulsory proactive copyright filters. Their open letter, addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and colleagues, warns that monitoring citizens’ Internet traffic would restrict fundamental rights while running counter to the Electronic Commerce Directive.

      • Over 50 Academics Slam Censorship Filter & Join Calls to Stop © Madness

        On 17 October, 56 respected academics co-signed a recommendation on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the Open Internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform. This effort is a reaction to the multiple questions regarding the legality of the so-called censorship filter (Article 13 and its Recitals) that were raised by seven Member States, including Germany (see here and here).

      • New ‘Coalition Against Piracy’ Will Crack Down on Pirate Streaming Boxes

        A newly announced coalition of major entertainment companies including Disney, Fox, HBO, NBCUniversal and BBC Worldwide has set its eye on pirate streaming boxes. The Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) will coordinate local enforcement efforts in Asia, hoping to disrupt the “criminal syndicates” behind these devices.

10.17.17

Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

Posted in News Roundup at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 20 Most Promising Open Source Solution Providers – 2017

    Open source has become an imperative part of every developer’s arsenal. The potential to gather assistance from the community and the capacity to link into a range of systems and solutions make open source incredibly powerful. As open source software becomes ubiquitous, and used by the vast majority of enterprises throughout the world, 2017 is all set for vendors of application delivery controller (ADC) to start providing improved and tighter integration packages for various open source projects, especially surrounding ADC-generated telemetry. Companies have been extensively using their analytics and machine learning capabilities for quite some time to identify actionable patterns from the collected data. With the rising demand for business intelligence, this year is foreseen to be the year of information superiority with businesses, leveraging data as a key differentiator. In the past couple of years, containers have been emerging as an imminent trend. As the business focus starkly shifts on rightsizing of resources, containers are expected to become a common phenomenon, giving businesses the ability to leverage highly portable assets and make the move into micro services much simpler. Adjacently, automation has become essential now. Mostly intensified by DevOps adoption, the automation of software delivery and infrastructure changes have freed developers to spend more time creating and less time worrying about infrastructure.

  • DevOps pros and open source: Culturally connected

    Like chocolate and peanut butter, DevOps and open source are two great tastes that taste great together. For many DevOps pros, it’s the perfect cultural and technical match.

  • Interoperability: A Case For Open Source – GC@PCI Commentary

    He continues: “An open source model allows companies to see the assumptions behind the calculation and lowers the cost of entry into the cat modeling business. More importantly, the standardized and interoperable hazard, vulnerability and financial modules included in a true open source model facilitate the collaboration of data from insurers, reinsurers, entrepreneurs, scientists, computer programmers and individuals, all of which may result in a new generation of cat models.”

  • DevOps Skills Are Key to Collaboration within Organizations

    DevOps is one of the most highly sought skills employers are seeking to fill among 57 percent of respondents in the 2017 Open Source Jobs Report, from Dice and The Linux Foundation. Specifically, firms are looking for developers (73 percent) and DevOps engineers (60 percent).

  • The origin and evolution of FreeDOS

    Over the years, developers have shared with me how they use FreeDOS to run embedded systems. My all-time favorite example is a developer who used FreeDOS to power a pinball machine. FreeDOS ran an application that controlled the board, tallied the score, and updated the back display. I don’t know exactly how it was built, but one way such a system could work is to have every bumper register a “key” on a keyboard bus and the application simply read from that input. I thought it was cool.

    People sometimes forget about legacy software, but it pops up in unexpected places. I used to be campus CIO of a small university, and once a faculty member brought in some floppy disks with old research data on them. The data wasn’t stored in plaintext files, rather as DOS application data. None of our modern systems would read the old data files, so we booted a spare PC with FreeDOS, downloaded a shareware DOS program that could read the application data, and exported the data to plaintext.

  • Uber Open Sources AthenaX, Its Streaming Analytics Platform
  • Bloomberg’s big move on machine learning and open source

    With its orange text on black interface and colour coded keyboard, the Bloomberg professional services terminal – known simply as ‘The Terminal’ – doesn’t appear to have changed much since it was launched in the early ’80s.

    But behind the retro (Bloomberg prefers ‘modern icon’) stylings, its delivery of financial markets data news, and trading tools has advanced rapidly.

    The terminal’s 315,000 subscribers globally are now able to leverage on machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing techniques developed by the company, as they seek an edge in their investment decisions. Bloomberg is also applying those same techniques to its internal processes.

    Leading the company’s efforts in the area is Bloomberg’s head of data science Gideon Mann, who spoke with CIO Australia earlier this month.

    [...]

    Behind much of Bloomberg’s recent builds has been an open source ethic. Mann says there has been a sea change within the company about open source.

    “When the company started in 1981 and there really wasn’t a whole lot of open source. And so there was a mentality of you know if it’s not invented here we’re not interested,” Mann says.

    [...]

    The organisation took some convincing, but, championed by the CTO, there has been a “huge culture change” towards open source.

    “There are two groups you got to convince: you’ve got to convince management that using open source is going to be safe and lead to better software, and then you also have to convince engineers that using open source is going to increase their skillset, will lead to software that’s easier to maintain and is less buggy and it’s going to be a more beautiful system. Once you can kind of convince those two then you’re set,” Mann says.

    The company is an active contributor to projects including Solr, Hadoop, Apache Spark and Open Stack.

  • OSIsoft to Collaborate with Dianomic as Part of Edge and Open Source Strategy
  • How open source and agility are powering enterprise IT

    Looking back over the past decade, history has certainly demonstrated that trying to predict the pace and nature of technology development is a near impossible task.

  • Events

    • Join The Linux Foundation at Open Source Summit EU for Booth Swag, Project Updates, and More

      Going to Open Source Summit EU in Prague? While you’re there, be sure stop by The Linux Foundation training booth for fun giveaways and a chance to win one of three Raspberry Pi kits.

    • Japanese TeX User Meeting 2017

      Last saturday the Japanese TeX User Meeting took place in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. For those who have been at the TUG 2013 in Tokyo you will remember that the Japanese TeX community is quite big and vibrant. On Saturday about 50 users and developers gathered for a set of talks on a variety of topics.

      The first talk was by Keiichiro Shikano (鹿野 桂一郎) on using Markup text to generate (La)TeX and HTML. He presented a variety of markup formats, including his own tool xml2tex.

    • Who knew we still had low-hanging fruits?

      We had the opportunity of explaining how we at Collabora cooperated with igalians to implemented and optimise a Wayland nested compositor for WebKit2 to share buffers between processes in an efficient way even on broken drivers. Most of the discussions and some of the work that led to this was done in previous hackfests, by the way!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57 – Trick or Treat?

        The best way to describe Firefox 57 is too little, too late, but better later than never. In a way, it’s a pointless release, because it brings us back roughly where Firefox was and should have been years ago. Only all this time in between was wasted losing user base.

        WebExtensions will be the thing that makes or breaks the browser, and with insufficient quality in the available replacements for those that don’t make the culling list, there will be no real incentive for people to stay around. Firefox 57 is better than earlier versions in terms of looks and performance, but that’s like saying you get 50% discount on a price that is twice what it should be. Ultimately unnecessary, just like graduating from university by the age of 68. There aren’t any major advantages over Chrome. This is essentially a Firefox that sucks less.

        So yes, on the positive side, if you do want to continue using Firefox, version 57 makes much more sense than the previous 53 releases. It has an almost normal look, some of the sorely needed security & privacy addons are available, and it offers a passable user experience in terms of speed and responsiveness. Bottom line, I will stick with Firefox for now. As long as my extensions keep working. Take care.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Promises To Open Source Oracle JDK And Improve Java EE

      Oracle had already announced it would be moving Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation, and the announcements at JavaOne move the language further to a more vendor-neutral future. It’s worth noting that the keynote was preceded by a Safe Harbor disclaimer in which Oracle said it could not be held to plans made during the speech, so nothing is actually certain.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • U.S. makes renewable energy software open source

      As a longtime proponent of open source solar photovoltaic development, I am happy that the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) has shared all the source code for System Advisor Model (SAM), its most powerful renewable energy economic analysis software.

      SAM is now SAM Open Source. It is a performance and financial model designed to help make decisions about renewable energy. This is perfect timing, as the costs of solar have dropped so far that the levelized cost of electricity for solar power is less than what you are probably paying for electricity from your utility.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Conservancy Applauds Linux Community’s Promotion of Principled Copyleft Enforcement

      Software Freedom Conservancy congratulates the Linux community for taking steps today to promote principled, community-minded copyleft enforcement by publishing the Linux Kernel Enforcement Statement. The Statement includes an additional permission under Linux’s license, the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 (GPLv2). The additional permission, to which copyright holders may voluntarily opt-in, changes the license of their copyrights to allow reliance on the copyright license termination provisions from the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3) for some cases 1.

      Conservancy also commends the Linux community’s Statement for reaffirming that legal action should be last resort for resolving a GPL violation, and for inviting noncompliant companies who work their way back into compliance to become active participants in the community. By bringing clarity to GPLv2 enforcement efforts, companies can adopt software with the assurance that these parties will work in a reasonable, community-centric way to resolve compliance issues.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement FAQ

      Based on the recent Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement and the article describing the background and what it means , here are some Questions/Answers to help clear things up. These are based on questions that came up when the statement was discussed among the initial round of over 200 different kernel developers.

    • Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement
    • Linux Kernel Gets An “Enforcement Statement” To Deal With Copyright Trolls

      Greg Kroah-Hartman on the behalf of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has today announced the Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement. This statement is designed to better fend off copyright trolls.

      Among the copyright troll concerns is how a Netfilter developer has been trying to enforce his personal copyright claims against companies for “in secret and for large sums of money by threatening or engaging in litigation.”

    • An enforcement clarification from the kernel community

      The Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory board, in response to concerns about exploitative license enforcement around the kernel, has put together this patch adding a document to the kernel describing its view of license enforcement. This document has been signed or acknowledged by a long list of kernel developers. In particular, it seeks to reduce the effect of the “GPLv2 death penalty” by stating that a violator’s license to the software will be reinstated upon a timely return to compliance.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Senator Elizabeth Warren: Attacks on Birth Control Access Are Attacks on Women’s Freedom

      If anyone told a young woman today that she was expected to quit school after eighth grade or leave her job once she got married, most Americans would be outraged. Not fair! Women should have the same range of economic choices as men.

      Through the years, one door after another has opened, as women have become astronauts and neurosurgeons, run Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations, and started their own businesses. Sure, there’s still a lot of ground to make up, but the country has headed in the direction of greater equality for decades now.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • “Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen”: Rep. Ro Khanna on Growing Opposition to U.S.-Backed War

      The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war and naval blockade in Yemen has sparked a cholera epidemic that has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern world history. There are expected to be a million cases of cholera in Yemen by the end of the year, with at least 600,000 children likely to be affected. The U.S. has been a major backer of the Saudi-led war. But in Washington, opposition to the U.S. support for the Saudi-led war is growing. Lawmakers recently introduced a constitutional resolution to withdraw all U.S. support for the war. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Congressmembers Ro Khanna, Walter Jones and Mark Pocan wrote that they introduced the resolution “in order to help put an end to the suffering of a country approaching ‘a famine of biblical proportions.’ … We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.” We speak with Ro Khanna, Democratic congressmember from California.

    • Jesus Campos, Vegas security guard shot before rampage, appears to have vanished

      The story seemed straightforward: The unarmed security guard approached Stephen Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, distracting the gunman and potentially saving lives.

      With a gunshot wound to his leg, he helped point officers to the gunman’s location and stayed behind to evacuate hotel guests.

      He was hailed a hero by many, even as the story changed. Twice.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hillary Clinton Just Told Five Blatant Lies About WikiLeaks

      As part of her ongoing “Thank God You Didn’t Elect Me” tour, Hillary Clinton made her debut on Australian television last night in an interview with the ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Though she didn’t repeat her infamous “17 intelligence agencies” lie, which she’d continued to regurgitate long after that claim had been conclusively debunked, there were still plenty of whoppers to be heard.
      From her ridiculous claim that the aggressively protested DNC convention was “very positive” to her completely baseless assertion that Bernie Sanders “couldn’t explain his programs” during the primaries, Clinton did a fine job of reminding us all why the average American finds her about as trustworthy as a hungry crocodile. But while she has blamed her loss on James Comey and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and self-hating women and the media and uninformed voters and voter suppression and her campaign staff and the DNC and campaign finance laws and Jill Stein and the Electoral College and Anthony Weiner and sexism and Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton reserved the lion’s share of her deceit for the organization she hates most of all: WikiLeaks.

    • Leading Maltese political journalist killed by car bomb

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, a leading Maltese journalist who had reported extensively on government corruption, was killed in a car bombing Monday, according to TVM, the country’s public broadcaster.

      The explosion took place near her home in Bidnija at approximately 2:30 p.m., minutes after her last blog post was published.

      Caruana Galizia, 53, had spent the last year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies. The story first came to light in the Panama Papers scandal — a leak in April 2016 of more than 11 million documents from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    • Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in car blast

      Daphne Caruana Galizia, one of Malta’s best known investigative journalists, was killed after a powerful blast blew up her car, local media reported Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Get Ready For A New Chernobyl In Ukraine

      According to analysts from Energy Research & Social Science (ERSS), there is an 80% probability of a “serious accident” at one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants before the year 2020. This is due both to the increased burden on the nuclear plants caused by the widespread shutdowns of Ukraine’s thermal power plants (the raw material they consumed – coal from the Donbass – is in critically short supply) and also because of the severe physical deterioration of their Soviet-era nuclear equipment and the catastrophic underfunding of this industry.

    • Ophelia became a major hurricane where no storm had before

      The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.”

    • London’s sky turns red Monday, but we can’t blame pollution

      Residents of England awoke on Monday morning to a sky that looked very much like a scene from the movie Blade Runner—red and hazy. Fortunately this isn’t science fiction—or even pollution. Rather, it’s a combination of the rare, powerful ex-hurricane Ophelia’s winds and African dust.

      The large, extra-tropical cyclone that brought high winds and damaging seas to Ireland on Monday also produced a huge swath of powerful southerly winds that brought Saharan dust from the West Coast of Africa all the way north across the Atlantic and Western Europe into the United Kingdom.

    • More than 4,000MW of coal power slated for retirement in Texas. But why?

      Late last week, power company Vistra Energy announced that it would close two of its Texas coal plants by early 2018. In a press release, the company blamed “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an oversupplied renewable generation market, and low natural gas prices, along with other factors.”

  • Finance

    • EU commission obscures growing impacts multilateral investment court

      The European Commission published an impact assessment of a multilateral reform of investment dispute resolution. The current supranational system is known as investor-to-state dispute settlement or ISDS. ISDS gives multinationals far reaching supranational privileges to challenge government decisions.

    • You fired your top talent. I hope you’re happy.

      Instead, they played Rick like a fiddle, burned out all of his talent and skill, and once Rick was considered damaged goods, kicked his ass to the curb for the good of the company’s productivity. How brave! How heroic!

    • Russia Plans To Launch Its National Cryptocurrency Called “CryptoRuble”

      Slowly, but yes, governments across the world are giving cryptocurrencies a place in their economy. Earlier, we heard about India in talks to launch their cryptocurrency called LakshmiCoin. Soon, there might be a Russian digital money called CryptoRuble as well.

    • Financial regulator warns of growing debt among young people

      In an interview with the BBC, Andrew Bailey said the young were having to borrow for basic living costs.

      The regulator also said he “did not like” some high-cost lending schemes.

      He said consumers, and institutions that lend to them, should be aware that interest rates may rise in the future and that credit should be “affordable”.

    • Centrist MPs could save us from hard Brexit – but they’ve gone silent

      The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The Labour and Conservative conferences were proof positive that the moderates no longer hold sway. The cheers were for the zealots, whether that was John McDonnell or Jacob Rees-Mogg. And, whether from front or back benches, it is they who rule the roost when it comes to leaving the EU. So where have the centrists (and I acknowledge, as Helen Lewis has underlined, that the term is imprecise and potentially misleading, but I can think of no better one) gone? And how should they react?

    • The Koch brothers (and their friends) want President Trump’s tax cut. Very badly.

      The message from the billionaire-led Koch network of donors to President Trump and the Republican Congress it helped to shape couldn’t be more clear: Pass a tax overhaul, or else.

      As the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the St. Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, just a block south from Trump Tower, it came up again. And again. And again.

      “It’s the most significant federal effort we’ve ever taken on,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-aligned group with offices in 36 states. “The stakes for the Republicans, I’ve never seen them this high.”

    • I work for the DWP as a universal credit case manager – and what I’ve seen is shocking

      I work with many compassionate and thoughtful employees, who try their hardest every day to help vulnerable claimants. However, we can only act within the remit of strict guidelines which don’t offer us the flexibility we sometimes need to prevent unnecessary suffering.

      The problem is compounded by employees’ lack of knowledge about the universal credit regulations which can have an especially devastating impact on care leavers, the disabled and those with mental health conditions. It is not uncommon for charities and support workers to inform case managers – the ones whose job it is to assess people for universal credit and other benefits – of the law, rather than the other way round.

    • May’s Brexit gambit leaves Brussels mystified

      At least there was an agreement about no leaks.

      When U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last shared an intimate dinner focused on Brexit, it was a debacle. Leaks from the Brussels side claiming May was “deluded” about Brexit infuriated London, sparking condemnation on the steps of Downing Street by the PM.

    • Mystery deepens over secret source of Brexit ‘dark money’

      A number of major political donors have denied they are the source of a controversial £435,000 donation to the DUP’s Brexit campaign, openDemocracy can reveal today – with only one person refusing to distance themself from the secret donation.

      openDemocracy has investigated a list of key figures in relation to the donation, and all apart from one have either denied involvement or have made public statements indicating opposition to Brexit. The only person we contacted who has told us he will not comment is Henry Angest, a banker and longstanding Conservative party donor, who is known to be a supporter of Brexit.

    • Turns out Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought

      Britain is £490 billion poorer than everyone thought.

      The Office for National Statistics has revised its assessment of the country’s accounts, and decided Britain has overestimated its international assets.

      And we owe far more to foreign investors than previously thought.

      Overall it amounts a quarter of the UK’s Gross Domestic Product.

      It comes just six weeks ahead of Philip Hammond’s first Autumn budget – and Treasury officials are reportedly braced for “gloomy” forecasts.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump

      Metaphorically anyway, Trump supporters like Goril were right. Not one of these career politicians had the gumption to be frank with this crowd about what had happened to their party. Instead, the strategy seemed to be to pretend none of it had happened, and to hide behind piles of the same worn clichés that had driven these voters to rebel in the first place.

      The party schism burst open in the middle of a speech by Wisconsin’s speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos. Vos is the Billy Mays of state budget hawks. He’s a mean-spirited little ball of energy who leaped onto the stage reminding the crowd that he wanted to eliminate the office of the treasurer to SAVE YOU MONEY!

      Paul Ryan speaks at the Wisconsin Fall Fast, avoiding the the topic of Donald Trump.

      Vos went on to brag about having wiped out tenure for University of Wisconsin professors, before dismounting with yet another superawkward Trumpless call for Republicans to turn out to vote.
      “I have no doubt that with all of you standing behind us,” he shouted, “and with the fantastic record of achievement that we have, we’re going to go on to an even bigger and better victory than before!”

      There was scattered applause, then someone from the crowd called out:

      “You uninvited Donald Trump!”

      Boos and catcalls, both for and against Vos and the Republicans. Most in the crowd were Trump supporters, but others were angry with Trump for perhaps saddling them with four years of Hillary Clinton. These camps now battled it out across the field. A competing chant of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” started on the opposite end of the stands, only to be met by chants from the pro-Trumpers.

    • Puerto Rico Is a Symptom of America’s Rotting Democracy

      Ferocious hurricanes and other climate-fueled disasters are nature’s stress tests. They expose faulty infrastructure and systemic inequalities, to say nothing of incompetent leadership. With payments on its massive debt to Wall Street long prioritized over safe electricity, Puerto Rico’s archaic power grid was already prone to blink out in a windstorm. Then Maria hit. Help has been grudging; President Trump took eight days just to waive shipping restrictions.

    • Trump’s dumbfounding, expansive press conference with Mitch McConnell, annotated
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Australia’s National Rape Hotline Run By Insurance Company, Who Demands All Sorts Of Private Info

      Australia is providing a fairly stunning case study in how not to set up a national hotline for sexual assault, rape, domestic abuse and other such situations. It has a service, called 1800Respect, which lets people call in and be connected to trained counselors from a variety of different call centers around the country. However, as Asher Wolf informs us, a change in how the system will be managed has created quite a shit storm, and leading one of the major providers of counselors to the program to remove itself from the program — meaning that it will likely lose government funding and may go out of business entirely.

      The issues here are a bit convoluted, but since its inception, 1800Respect has actually been run by a private insurance company, Medibank Health Solutions, who partners with organizations who can provide qualified counselors. One of the big ones is Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDSVA). While it already seems somewhat troubling that a private insurance company runs the “national” rape and domestic violence hotline — it’s even more troubling when you find out that the company views the service as a profit center:

    • Big Data is watching you

      This week, MEPs on the Civil Rights Committee will vote on the ePrivacy regulation, which will determine how secure our data is when we are online. For the past 16 months, industry lobbies, including all those who collect or use citizens’ personal online data for advertising purposes, have been vigorously opposing new proposals on ePrivacy. On the other side of the debate, digital rights campaigners demand that citizens should enjoy optimum data privacy when online.

    • USA Liberty Act Won’t Fix What’s Most Broken with NSA Internet Surveillance

      A key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance.

    • Here’s What Might Come of NSA’s Surveillance Powers

      As the deadline to renew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance powers looms, proposed bills and speculations of bills drive the conversation on national security versus privacy.

      Senate Republicans led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill in June to completely renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without any changes or sunset provision. Section 702, which expires at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect data from foreign nationals without obtaining a warrant.

      Proponents of Section 702 said that it would be impossible for the NSA to protect the country effectively without the law, because of the backlog that would be created by having to go to the FISA court every time the agency wanted to spy on suspicious foreign activity.

      “This program has provided our national security agencies vital intelligence that has saved American lives and provided insights into some of the hardest intelligence targets,” said Cotton. “Section 702 also includes extensive privacy protections for American citizens. We can’t handcuff our national security officials when they’re fighting against such a vicious enemy. We’ve got to reauthorize this program in full and for good, so we can put our enemies back on their heels and keep American lives safe from harm.”

    • Surveillance “Reform”: The Fourth Amendment’s Long, Slow, Goodbye

      Over 16 years after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent repeated passage or renewal of draconian “temporary” but “emergency” domestic surveillance laws in response, it’s fair to ask: Have we officially abandoned the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

      With the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) less than three months away, now is a good time to review the effects of these surveillance laws in the seemingly endless “War on Terror.” But first, a quick recap of America’s embrace of mass surveillance in the post-9/11 era.

      Within six weeks of the terrorist attacks in 2001, and with virtually no serious debate, Congress passed the behemoth PATRIOT Act. The law created vast new government surveillance powers that abandoned the Fourth Amendment’s across-the-board probable cause warrant requirement. In an October 11, 2001 speech discussing the Senate version of the legislation, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) assured terrified civil libertarians that the PATRIOT Act’s five-year “sunset” clause governing 15 of the bill’s provisions would serve “as a valuable check on the potential abuse of the new powers granted in the bill.”

    • The search for painless Internet privacy gets another boost with InvizBox 2

      InvizBox, a small Irish company focused on building Wi-Fi routers with built-in Internet privacy, has successfully crowdfunded the next generation of its eponymous privacy platform. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox 2 Pro are more than an evolution from the team’s original product, which was an open source modification of the OpenWRT router code focused on use of the Tor anonymizing network. These new devices are more powerful and faster, and they focus more on usable networking that avoids ISPs’ prying eyes (and defeating geo-blocking of online content) rather than striving to avoid the long arm of state surveillance.

      The InvizBox team is doing a livestream event today, despite the arrival in Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia—which has caused widespread closures of businesses in the country. But the project is already fully funded, which bodes well for delivery based on the team’s previous track record. Working with an industrial design team in China, InvizBox has created a much more attractive privacy tool, both aesthetically and practically.

      The original InvizBox launched two years ago in response to the somewhat poorly conceived crowdfunding launch of another product aimed at Internet privacy. Ars tested InvizBox (and its competitor, Anonabox) in 2015. An open source Wi-Fi router with built-in support for the Tor anonymizing network, InvizBox was a good implementation of an idea with some major roadblocks to wide adoption—the most obvious one being the limitations of Tor itself. Then InvizBox followed up with the InvizBox Go, which shifted the focus away from Tor and toward a more consumer-friendly and mobile-friendly form of privacy. This was a battery-powered Wi-Fi router that could act as a protected bridge to public Wi-Fi networks.

    • Supreme Court to decide if US has right to data on world’s servers [Ed: Microsoft has given NSA et al access to everything. This is a PR stunt.]

      The US government appealed, contending it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world’s servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored.

    • Microsoft’s fight with the feds over foreign servers is headed to Supreme Court

      The current state of the law doesn’t mean that US law enforcement has no access to data stored on foreign servers. If domestic disclosure warrants cannot be served on the foreign servers of US companies, US law enforcement can lean on treaties with the country that the servers are based in.

    • DOJ Continues Its Push For Encryption Backdoors With Even Worse Arguments

      Early last week, the Deputy Attorney General (Rod Rosenstein) picked up the recently-departed James Comey’s Torch of Encroaching Darkness +1 and delivered one of the worst speeches against encryption ever delivered outside of the UK.

      Rosenstein apparently has decided UK government officials shouldn’t have a monopoly on horrendous anti-encryption arguments. Saddling up his one-trick pony, the DAG dumped out a whole lot of nonsensical words in front of a slightly more receptive audience. Speaking at the Global Cyber Security Summit in London, Rosenstein continued his crusade against encryption using counterintuitive arguments.

      After name-dropping his newly-minted term — responsible encryption™ — Rosenstein stepped back to assess the overall cybersecurity situation. In short, it is awful. Worse, perhaps, than Rosenstein’s own arguments. Between the inadvertently NSA-backed WannaCry ransomware, the Kehlios botnet, dozens of ill-mannered state actors, and everything else happening seemingly all at once, the world’s computer users could obviously use all the security they can get.

    • White House Cyber Security Boss Also Wants Encryption Backdoors He Refuses To Call Backdoors

      Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently pitched a new form of backdoor for encryption: “responsible encryption.” The DAG said encryption was very, very important to the security of the nation and its citizens, but not so important it should ever prevent warrants from being executed.

      According to Rosenstein, this is the first time in American history law enforcement officers haven’t been able to collect all the evidence they seek with warrants. And that’s all the fault of tech companies and their perverse interest in profits. Rosenstein thinks the smart people building flying cars or whatever should be able to make secure backdoors, but even if they can’t, maybe they could just leave the encryption off their end of the end-to-end so cops can have a look-see.

      This is the furtherance of former FBI director James Comey’s “going dark” dogma. It’s being practiced by more government agencies than just the DOJ. Calls for backdoors echo across Europe, with every government official making them claiming they’re not talking about backdoors. These officials all want the same thing: a hole in encryption. All that’s really happening is the development of new euphemisms.

    • Facebook looks to hire people with national security clearances amid backlash over Russian meddling

      Earlier, security clearances were deactivated once an official or intelligence worker left their government job. Now, they can be carried over to private sector jobs so long as the position still requires access to classified information.

    • Facebook Is Looking for Employees With National Security Clearances

      Workers with such clearance can access information classified by the U.S. government. Facebook plans to use these people — and their ability to receive government information about potential threats — to search more proactively for questionable social media campaigns ahead of elections, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is sensitive. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment.

    • Visiting websites with your smartphone on mobile data can reveal your full name, phone number, address, and even location

      With just your mobile IP address, a website can find out all of your billing information, and even your precise location. This has been going on for years, largely behind the scenes – but recently the issue has been re-highlighted and the benefits of hiding your IP address are super clear.

    • Facebook is testing a CV upload feature as it chases LinkedIn (again)

      Facebook has been trying to push into the enterprise space for some time with Facebook at Work (now known as Workplace), and if confirmed, this would see the social network going head to head with LinkedIn owner Microsoft in the same space.

    • PureVPN Explains How it Helped the FBI Catch a Cyberstalker

      After several days of radio silence, VPN provider PureVPN has responded to criticism that it provided information which helped the FBI catch a cyberstalker. In a fairly lengthy post, the company reiterates that it never logs user activity. What it does do, however, is log the IP addresses of users accessing its service.

    • Bizarre: Swedish Minister of Justice shames ISP in public for NOT doing illegal wiretapping

      Something quite bizarre just happened on Twitter: the Swedish Minister of Justice went out of his way to lash out at the ISP most known for privacy in Sweden, criticizing the ISP for following the direct orders of the European Court of Justice instead of agreeing to covert illegal wiretapping. The Minister of Justice criticized the ISP for “not helping investigations against severe cases of child pornography”. The CEO of the ISP responded in the only way possible: “we cooperate with the police, but we also follow the law and due process”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • COINTELPRO 2? FBI Targets “Black Identity Extremists” Despite Surge in White Supremacist Violence

      A leaked FBI counterterrorism memo claims that so-called black identity extremists pose a threat to law enforcement. That’s according to Foreign Policy magazine, which obtained the document written by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit. The memo was dated August 3, 2017—only days before the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists, Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis killed one anti-racist protester, Heather Heyer, and injured dozens more. But the report is not concerned with the violent threat of white supremacists. Instead, the memo reads: “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence.” Civil liberties groups have slammed the FBI report, warning the “black identity extremists” designation threatens the rights of protesters with Black Lives Matter and other groups. Many have also compared the memo to the FBI’s covert COINTELPRO program of the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, which targeted the civil rights movement. We speak with Malkia Cyril, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice as well as a Black Lives Matter Bay Area activist.

    • Week 6: Guide To NFL Players Who Protested During National Anthem

      Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the movement of taking a knee during the anthem, filed a “grievance” against the National Football League. He alleged owners colluded to prevent him from playing another NFL game because he engaged in protest.

      “If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished,” one of his attorneys, Mark Geragos, said in a posted statement. “And athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the executive branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation.”

    • Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

      The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed on Monday in a car bomb near her home.

      Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car, a Peugeot 108, was destroyed by a powerful explosive device which blew the car into several pieces and threw the debris into a nearby field.

      A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her blogs were a thorn in the side of both the establishment and underworld figures that hold sway in Europe’s smallest member state.

      Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.

    • Utah Senator Wants To Revive The State’s ‘Porn Czar’ Office To Combat The Threat Of Women’s Magazines

      Todd Weiler, a state Senator in Utah, has appeared on our pages before. When last we checked in with the good senator, he was quite oddly attempting to purge his notoriously prudish state from the dire threat of pornography. His plan was more than a bit heavy-handed in that it centered on mandating porn-filtering software on all smartphones under his stated theory that “A cell phone is basically a vending machine for pornography.” This tragic misunderstanding by a sitting state senator of what a phone is and exactly what its primary functions are aside, government mandates that infringe on free and legal expression are kind of a no-no in these here secular United States. Even setting constitutional questions aside, attempts like these are immediately confronted by the obstreperous demands from the public for a definition of exactly what constitutes “pornography.”

    • New York Considers Barring Agreements Barring Victims From Speaking

      In the wake of the news about Harvey Weinstein’s apparently serial abuse of women, and the news that several of his victims were unable to tell anyone about it due to a non-disclosure agreement, the New York legislature is considering a bill to prevent such NDAs from being enforceable in New York state. According to the Buzzfeed article the bill as currently proposed still allows a settlement agreement to demand that the recipient of a settlement not disclose how much they settled for, but it can’t put the recipient of a settlement in jeopardy of needing to compensate their abuser if they choose to talk about what happened to them.

      It’s not the first time a state has imposed limits on the things that people can contract for. California, for example, has a law that generally makes non-compete agreements invalid. Even Congress has now passed a law banning contracts that limit consumers’ ability to complain about merchants. Although, as we learn in law school, there are some Constitutional disputes about how unfettered the freedom to contract should be in the United States, there has also always been the notion that some contractual demands are inherently “void as against public policy.” In other words, go ahead and write whatever contractual clause you want, but they aren’t all going to be enforceable against the people you want to force to comply with them.

    • Only Nonviolent Resistance Will Destroy the Corporate State

      The encampments by Native Americans at Standing Rock, N.D., from April 2016 to February 2017 to block construction of the Dakota Access pipeline provided the template for future resistance movements. The action was nonviolent. It was sustained. It was highly organized. It was grounded in spiritual, intellectual and communal traditions. And it lit the conscience of the nation.

      Native American communities—more than 200 were represented at the Standing Rock encampments, which at times contained up to 10,000 people—called themselves “water protectors.” Day after day, week after week, month after month, the demonstrators endured assaults carried out with armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, stun guns, tear gas, cannons that shot water laced with chemicals, and sound cannons that can cause permanent hearing loss. Drones hovered overhead. Attack dogs were unleashed on the crowds. Hundreds were arrested, roughed up and held in dank, overcrowded cells. Many were charged with felonies. The press, or at least the press that attempted to report honestly, was harassed and censored, and often reporters were detained or arrested. And mixed in with the water protectors was a small army of infiltrators, spies and agents provocateurs, who often initiated vandalism and rock throwing at law enforcement and singled out anti-pipeline leaders for arrest.

    • The refuge system at breaking point

      In a small office in the Midlands the telephone rings every half hour or so. On the line are women desperate for help, trying to flee domestic violence. But there is no space in the refuge, there is almost never any space.

      “Last week”, says a volunteer, “we had a lady call; she had four children, and the closest space we could find for her was the Orkney Islands.” They do not know if the woman took the 600 miles trip to safety; she did not call back.

      An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found domestic violence refuges across England struggling under huge budget cuts. More than a thousand vulnerable women and children have been turned away from refuges in just six months.

    • Black members of Congress push for more diversity in Silicon Valley hires

      Days after two leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus got Facebook to commit to hiring a black member to its board of directors, they again pressed major tech firms to diversify the hiring of executives and rank-and-file employees.

      In brief remarks before dozens of assembled employees at the downtown offices of Hustle, a texting startup, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-North Carolina) said Monday morning that they have been meeting with companies including Uber and Salesforce to improve on a longstanding issue of underrepresented minorities in Silicon Valley.

    • Court Tells Sheriff’s Dept. Shackling Kids Above The Elbows Is Excessive Force

      The ruling [PDF] restates common sense, albeit in 33 pages of legalese. It is excessive force to restrain preteens who weigh less than 60 lbs. with handcuffs meant to keep full-grown adults from moving their arms. The procedural history notes school personnel are forbidden from using mechanical restraints on students by state law. This law, however, does not forbid law enforcement officers from using handcuffs on students.

      In both cases, the students cuffed by a sheriff’s deputy had been combative. School personnel turned both students over to the SRO once it became obvious they would not be able to calm the students down. The combativeness didn’t stop once the deputy entered the picture. These would appear to be arguments in the deputy’s favor but only if other factors weren’t considered — like the students’ ages and sizes. Both children also suffered from behavioral disorders.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Google Bombs Are Our New Normal
    • FCC’s DDoS claims will be investigated by government

      The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) will investigate DDoS attacks that allegedly targeted the Federal Communications Commission’s system for accepting public comments on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back net neutrality rules.

      Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested the investigation in August, and the GAO recently confirmed that it accepted the Schatz/Pallone request.

      [...]

      The FCC’s public comment website suffered an outage on May 8, just as the commission was receiving an influx of pro-net neutrality comments spurred by comedian John Oliver’s HBO segment on the topic.

      The FCC attributed the downtime solely to “multiple” DDoS attacks and said the attacks were “deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host.”

  • DRM

    • Linux Users Discuss DRM – Unleaded Hangout

      Today my Patreons and I discuss encrypted media extensions, digital rights management and our freedom on the Linux desktop.

    • The European Parliament Should Be Talking About DRM, Right Now!

      [Teresa Nobre, Communia Association, Link (CC-0)] The European Union is currently discussing a reform of its copyright system, including making mandatory certain copyright exceptions, in order to introduce a balance into the system. However, no one, except Julia Reda, is paying any attention to one of the biggest obstacles to the enforcement of copyright exceptions in the digital age: technological protection measures (TPM), including digital rights management (DRM). In this blogpost we will present the reasons why the European Parliament should not lose this opportunity to discuss a reform of the EU anti-circumvention rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Supreme Court refuses to hear case questioning Google’s trademark

        The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a petition asserting that the term “google” has become too generic and therefore unqualified for trademark protection.

        Without comment, the justices set aside a legal challenge claiming that Google had fallen victim to “genericide” and should no longer be trademarked. A lawsuit claimed the word “google” had become synonymous with the term “search the Internet” and therefore could no longer sustain a trademark. For the moment, Google will keep its trademark—unlike the manufacturers of the teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape. They were once trademarked but lost that status after they were deemed too generic.

      • JPO Issues First Decision To Register Sound Trademark Consisting Solely Of Sound Element

        On 26 September, the Japan Patent Office (JPO) announced, for the first time ever, the grant of protection to three sound trademarks consisting solely of a sound element.

    • Copyrights

      • Neighbor Sues For $2.5 Million After Renovation Looks Too Much Like Their Own House

        Copyright on home design has always been a really sketchy idea. Earlier this year, we wrote about a disturbing trend of housing copyright trolls and have had some other similar stories over time. For reasons that are beyond me, the Berne Convention requires copyright on architecture, and that creates silly situations, such as the one in Australia, where a homeowner was forced to modify their home due to “infringement.”

        And this nonsense has spread to Canada. The Toronto Star has the story of a couple, Jason and Jodi Chapnik, living in Forest Hill, Toronto (one of the “most affluent neighborhoods” in Toronto), who sued their neighbors for $2.5 million for the horrific faux pas of renovating their house to look too much like the Chapniks.

      • Over 50 Human Rights & Media Freedom NGOs ask EU to Delete Censorship Filter & to Stop © Madness

        On 16 October, over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom (see the full list below) sent an open letter to the European Commission President, the European Parliament (EP) and the Council asking them to delete the censorship filter proposal (Article 13), as it would “would violate the freedom of expression set out in (…) the Charter of Fundamental Rights” and “provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications“. It is especially striking that organisations such as Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch, which are known to intervene for the protection of human rights in less democratic countries, have now been moved to the point where they felt the need to voice their concerns in this matter to ensure that EU citizens are safeguarded from the EU’s copyright agenda crushing their fundamental rights.

      • 56 Groups Call For Deletion Of Internet Filtering Provision In EU Copyright Proposal

        Today a range of civil society organisations sent an open letter to European Union policymakers calling for the removal of a provision they say would violate citizens’ rights by forcing monitoring and filtering of copyrighted materials.

      • 57 rights groups back anti-Article 13 letter to the European Parliament

        “The European Commission tabled a proposal that would force [I]nternet companies that share and store user-generated content, such as video or photo-sharing platforms or even creative writing websites, to filter uploads to their services,” said the group in a note to interested parties.

        “The signatories argue that the proposal would lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content, while at the same time constantly monitoring users’ activity online. These conditions would violate freedom of expression, freedom of information and also privacy. Therefore, the organisations are asking Members of the European Parliament to delete Article 13 from the proposal”.

      • Pirate Bay’s Iconic .SE Domain has Expired (Updated)

        The Pirate Bay’s iconic .SE domain name has expired and will be deactivated soon if no action is taken. This means that thepiratebay.se, which played a central part in the site’s history, is no longer redirecting to the most current Pirate Bay domain.

      • Spinrilla Wants RIAA Case Thrown Out Over ‘Lies’ About ‘Hidden’ Piracy Data

        In its continuing legal battle, popular hip-hop mixtape site and app Spinrilla is striking back against the major record labels. The company accuses the labels of maliciously hiding crucial piracy data, which puts it at a severe disadvantage. Spinrilla now wants to see the entire case dismissed.

10.16.17

Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Microsoft faces Dutch crunch over Windows 10 private data slurp

      Yet another European nation is turning up the heat on Microsoft for extracting heaps and heaps of telemetry and other intelligence from Windows 10 PCs.

      This time, it’s privacy authorities in the Netherlands who are calling out Redmond for its hog-wild harvesting of data from machines that run Windows 10 Home and Pro. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said on Friday it will impose sanctions on Microsoft should the American tech giant fail to make changes to its software.

    • Dutch slam Windows 10 for breaking privacy laws

      Dutch authorities claim Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system is violating data protection and privacy laws, and warned they may impose fines on the US technology giant.

      “Microsoft breaches the Dutch data protection law by processing personal data of people that use the Windows 10 operating system on their computers,” the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) said in a statement late Friday.

      The company fails to “clearly inform” users of Windows 10 that it “continuously collects personal data about the usage of apps and web surfing behavior through its web browser Edge, when the default settings are used,” the DPA said.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 based laptop features DIY hacking bay

      Pi-top has revised its RPi based laptop with a 14-inch HD screen and a slide-off keyboard that reveals a cooling unit and DIY space for a breadboard kit.

      Pi-top’s Raspberry Pi driven laptop has received a major upgrade with a new model with a slightly larger 14-inch, HD screen and a 6 to 8 hour battery. The 2017 edition of the education-focused Pi-top features a modular design with a larger keyboard that slides forward to reveal a Raspberry Pi 3 with a new heatsink. It also includes an empty bay for DIY hacking, which can be filled with components from a free Inventor’s Kit. This DIY kit includes a breadboard, a motion sensor, LEDs, and a microphone, all mounted on a magnetic sliding rail.

    • Pi-Top: This Raspberry Pi And Linux-powered Laptop Is For New

      In late 2014, Pi-Top, U.K.’s education startup raised about $200,000 on Indiegogo to fund its first DIY laptop. It was followed by pi-topCEED, a cheap desktop computer that’s powered by Raspberry Pi.

      Their latest offering, the new Pi-Top, is a new tinkering machine that you can assemble on your own using modular approach. Compared to the past offerings, the number of steps needed to assemble the computer and start working are much less.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.13.7

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.7 kernel.

      All users of the 4.13 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 4.13.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.13.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Linux 4.15 Is Shaping Up To be An Exciting Kernel, Especially For AMD Users

      There still is a few weeks to go until the Linux 4.14 kernel will be released, but following that the Linux 4.15 kernel is shaping up to be a very exciting cycle.

    • F2FS Tools 1.9 Released With Encryption & More

      An updated version of the user-space F2FS (Flash Friendly File-System) utilities was quietly released a few weeks back.

      The f2fs-tools 1.9 update is a fairly big update for adding the bits for recent additions to the F2FS kernel driver. Now handled by f2fs-tools is dealing with encryption support, sparse support, inode checksum support, no-heap allocation is enabled by default, and support for the CP_TRIMMED_FLAG.

    • Improvements in the block layer

      Jens Axboe is the maintainer of the block layer of the kernel. In this capacity, he spoke at Kernel Recipes 2017 on what’s new in the storage world for Linux, with a particular focus on the new block-multiqueue subsystem: the degree to which it’s been adopted, a number of optimizations that have recently been made, and a bit of speculation about how it will further improve in the future.

      Back in 2011, Intel published a Linux driver for NVM Express (or NVMe, where NVM is the Non-Volatile Memory Host Controller Interface), which was its new bus for accessing solid-state storage devices (SSDs). This driver was incorporated into the mainline kernel in 2012, first appearing in 3.3. It allowed new, fast SSD devices to be run at speed, but that gave no improvement if the block subsystem continued to treat them as pedestrian hard drives. So a new, scalable block layer known as blk-mq (for block-multiqueue) was developed to take better advantage of these fast devices; it was merged for 3.13 in 2014. It was introduced with the understanding that all of the old drivers would be ported to blk-mq over time; this continues, even though most of the mainstream block storage devices have by now been successfully ported. Axboe’s first focus was a status update on this process.

    • Kernel prepatch 4.14-rc5
    • Linux 4.14-rc5 Released

      Linus Torvalds has just issued the Linux 4.14-rc5 kernel update.

      With this release out today, we’re three to four weeks out from seeing the official Linux 4.14 kernel release. Linux 4.14 has overall been a big cycle with the possibility of going up to a Linux 4.14-rc8 test release prior to declaring the stable release, but we’ll have to see Torvalds’ reactions in the weeks ahead.

    • Linux 4.14-rc5

      Things seem to be finally starting to calm down for 4.14.

      We’ve certainly had smaller rc5′s, but we’ve had bigger ones too, and
      this week finally felt fairly normal in a release that has up until
      now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.

      So assuming this trend holds, we’re all good. Knock wood.

      So what do we have here? A little bit of everything, but what might be
      most noticeable is some more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB handling
      due to the ASID changes that came in this release. Some of the lazy
      TLB handling changes caused problems on a few AMD chips with
      particular settings, because it was all a little bit *too* lazy in
      flushing the TLB. Even when TLB entries aren’t used (and will be
      flushed before any possible use), the TLB may be speculatively filled,
      and that can cause problems if we’ve already free’d the page tables
      that the speculative fill ends up looking up.

      The other thing perhaps worth mentioning is how much random fuzzing
      people are doing, and it’s finding things. We’ve always done fuzzing
      (who remembers the old “crashme” program that just generated random
      code and jumped to it? We used to do that quite actively very early
      on), but people have been doing some nice targeted fuzzing of driver
      subsystems etc, and there’s been various fixes (not just this last
      week either) coming out of those efforts. Very nice to see.

      Anyway, rc5 is out, and things look normal. We’ve got arch updates
      (mostly x86and poweerpc, but some mips), drivers (gpu, networking,
      usb, sound, misc), some core kernel (lockdep fixes, networking, mm)
      and some tooling (perf, selftests).

      Go out and test,

      Linus

    • Linus Torvalds lauds fuzzing for improving Linux security

      Linus Torvalds release notification for Linux 4.14′s fifth release candidate contains an interesting aside: the Linux Lord says fuzzing is making a big difference to the open source operating system.

      Torvalds’ announcement says Linux kernel 4.14 is coming along nicely, with this week’s release candidate pleasingly small and “fairly normal in a release that has up until now felt a bit messier than it perhaps should have been.”

      This week’s most prominent changes concern “… more fixes for the whole new x86 TLB [translation lookaside buffer – Ed] handling due to the ASID [address space ID - Ed] changes that came in this release.”

  • Applications

    • Catching up with RawTherapee 5.x

      Free-software raw photo editor RawTherapee released a major new revision earlier this year, followed by a string of incremental updates. The 5.x series, released at a rapid pace, marks a significant improvement in the RawTherapee’s development tempo — the project’s preceding update had landed in 2014. Regardless of the speed of the releases themselves, however, the improved RawTherapee offers users a lot of added functionality and may shake up the raw-photo-processing workflow for many photographers.

      It has been quite some time since we last examined the program during the run-up to the 3.0 series in 2010. In the intervening years, the scope of the project has grown considerably: macOS is now supported in addition to Windows and various flavors of Linux, and the application has seen substantial additions to the tool set it provides.

      The competitive landscape that RawTherapee inhabits has also changed; 2010-era competitors Rawstudio and UFRaw are not seeing much active development these days (not to mention the death of proprietary competitors like Apple’s Aperture), while darktable has amassed a significant following — particularly among photographers interested in a rich set of effects and retouching tools. At the other end of the spectrum, raw-file support improved in the “consumer” desktop photo-management tools (such as Shotwell) in the same time period, thus offering casual users some options with a less intimidating learning curve than darktable’s. Where RawTherapee sits amid all of the current offerings can be a bit hard to define.

      The 5.0 release landed on January 22, 5.1 then arrived on May 15, and 5.2 was unleashed (in the words of the announcement) on July 23. The project also migrated its source-code repository and issue tracking to GitHub, launched a new discussion forum, and has assembled a wiki-style documentation site called RawPedia.

    • psdash – System And Process Monitoring Web Dashboard For Linux

      psdash is a system monitoring and information web dashboard for Linux written in python using psutils and flask. The GUI is pretty much straight forward and clean. All the data is updated automatically, no need to refresh.

      psutils (process and system utilities) is a cross-platform library for retrieving information on running processes and system utilization (CPU, memory, disks, network, sensors) in Python.

    • Tiling Terminal Emulator Tilix 1.7.0 Released with Minor Improvements

      Tilix, the modern tiling terminal emulator for Linux desktops, scored an update at the weekend.

      Although a modest release, Tilix 1.7.0 brings some timely bug fixes and feature improvements to the app formerly known as Terminix.

      This includes support for using tabs instead of a sidebar, a feature Tilix dev Gerald Nunn says was a frequent user request.

      There’s also preliminary Flatpak support, though there’s no specific information on how to text or make use of the Tilix Flatpak. It’d be great to see the app added to the (awesome) Flathub Flatpak app store.

    • Oceanaudio An Audio Editor For Linux

      Audios are an integral part of life. Playing our best songs, having a party or a special function, we require audio everywhere. That is why audio editors are there too to help us make the best of an audio file. When I say audio editor, many of you will just think of audacity. Sure that is a pretty cool software but I think it’s a bit complicated for the inexperienced one.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 2.19 Supports 32-Bit Float Audio on Android, Has iTunes 11.1.x Improvements

        The bi-weekly release of Wine is here today with a new development release, versioned 2.19, which adds a few new features and fixes a total of 16 bugs in multiple Windows apps and games.

        Let’s start with the new features and improvements, as the Wine 2.19 release introduces support for 32-bit float audio on Android, support for a new Microsoft root certificate, the ability for the Wine server to fully handle named pipes, a bunch of optimizations to heap allocation, as well as an extra layer of transform fixes in GdiPlus.

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Celebrates 21st Anniversary with New Updates of KDE Applications, Frameworks

        Today, the KDE Project celebrates the 21st anniversary of the well-known and widely used desktop environment for GNU/Linux and UNIX-like operating systems with new releases of its KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications software stacks.

        KDE recently unveiled KDE Plasma 5.11 as the latest and most advanced version of the KDE desktop environment, and today they released KDE Applications 17.08.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, which are now available to download for users of the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environments, as well as GNU/Linux distros that use the KDE Stack.

      • Replacing Audacity with KWave

        KWave has been developed since 1998, yet few have heard of it. I only recently heard of it myself from writer and podcaster Marcel Gagné while I was setting up to do how-to-videos. Part of the reason for its obscurity might be that, despite its name, it only recently become an official KDE project in the last release. However, the major reason for its obscurity is probably that it has been overshadowed by the better-known Audacity — which is a pity, because in most ways, KWave is every bit as useful as an audio editor.

        Why would anyone want an Audacity substitute? For one thing, while Audacity is cross-platform, it is not well-integrated into Linux. Audacity handles its own resources, as you can tell by its lengthy load time. Often, Audacity frequently gives confusing options for input and playback sources, giving several names to the same device and offering irrelevant front and back options for mono devices, so that users can only find the one they need through trial and error. Sometimes, the necessary option for a particular source can change for no apparent each time Audacity starts.

      • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) final RC images now available

        Artful Aardvark (17.10) final Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

        The Kubuntu team will be releasing 17.10 on October 19, 2017.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • There’s One Week Left To Apply For Outreachy Round 15

        There’s one week left for women and other under-represented groups in the open-source world to apply for Outreachy Round 15 for a winter internship to work on various projects.

        Outreachy applications are due 23 October and accepted participants are announced in early November for this $5500 USD internship period that runs from December to March. This round is open to: “internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people. Internships are also open to residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.”

      • retro-gtk: Renaissance

        This is the second article in a small series about retro-gtk, I recommend you to read the first one, retro-gtk: Postmortem, before this one.

        In the previous article I listed some problems I encountered while developing and using retro-gtk; in this one I will present some solutions I implemented to fix them! All that is presented in this article is part of the newly-released retro-gtk 0.13.1, which is the first version of the 0.14 development cycle.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Linux Mint 18.2 “Sonya” Xfce

        The mission for a swap Linux conveyance for Linux Mint 13 LTS “Maya” Xfce proceeds. With this post comes a review of the most recent MATE version of Linux Mint. Particularly for consistent perusers of this blog, I will simply say that with the most recent point discharge, it appears like the designers have put cleaner into the conveyance, including their new arrangement of “X-applications” intended to work crosswise over MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce, and GNOME, keeping away from the entanglements of more DE-particular applications. I need to perceive what has changed since my last review and to see whether this would be reasonable for the establishment and everyday use on my portable workstation. With that in mind, I made a live USB framework (once more, on my new SanDisk Cruzer USB streak drive) utilizing the “dd” order. Take after the bounce to perceive what it resembles. Note that I’ll often refer to past review, noticing just changes and general imperative focuses as required.

      • Star 1.0.1 – lightweight desktops on a Devuan base

        On the whole, I like the ideas presented in Star’s design. The distribution is basically Devuan and pulls packages from Devuan’s software repositories, but the live media and lightweight environments are great for testing the distribution and for breathing life into older computers. While this approach of starting light and adding only what we need is a solid concept, and proved to be very forgiving on resources, there are some rough edges in the implementation. The missing manual pages, for example, and the media player issues I ran into posed problems.

        A few programs I used flashed warning messages letting me know PulseAudio was not available as Star uses the ALSA sound system by default. Strictly speaking, PulseAudio is not required most of the time and, if we do run into a situation where it is needed, we can install PulseAudio easily enough by rerunning Star’s welcome script.

        The default JWM environment is very plain and empty, which suited me. My only complaint was the constantly updating Conky status panel at the bottom of the screen. I was able to disable Conky, but it required digging into JWM’s configuration files. Which brings me to another point: many users will probably prefer to try heavier editions of Star (like Xfce) to gain access to more user friendly configuration tools. The JWM edition is intentionally bare bones and probably best suited to more experienced users.

        One last observation I had while using Star is that it is based on Devuan 1.0.0, which presents us with software that is about three years old (or more) at this point. This means some packages, like LibreOffice, are notably behind upstream versions. Since Star is best suited for older computers, this may not be an issue for most users, but it is worth keeping in mind that Star’s software repository is a few years old at this point.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sakaki’s EFI Install Guide/Disabling the Intel Management Engine

        The Intel Management Engine (‘IME’ or ‘ME’) is an out-of-band co-processor integrated in all post-2006 Intel-CPU-based PCs. It has full network and memory access and runs proprietary, signed, closed-source software at ring -3,[1][2][3][4] independently of the BIOS, main CPU and platform operating system[5][6] — a fact which many regard as an unacceptable security risk (particularly given that at least one remotely exploitable security hole has already been reported[7][8]).

    • Slackware Family

      • October updates for the Slackware Plasma5 desktop

        There’s been updates to all the major components of the KDE Software Collection (I know they stopped using that name but I think it is still fitting). So I tasked my build box to compile hundreds of new packages and today I have for you the October ’17 set of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware 14.2 and -current. KDE 5_17.10 contains: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Plasma 5.11.0 and Applications 17.08.2. All based on Qt 5.9.2 for Slackware-current and Qt 5.7.1 for Slackware 14.2.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat software and services land on Alibaba Cloud

        With that in mind, Alibaba Cloud, which is the cloud computing arm of eCommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said today that it’s partnering with the open-source software company Red Hat Inc. The alliance sees Alibaba Cloud join the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, which makes it possible for it to offer a range of popular Red Hat products to its customers. These will include the company’s flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, which will soon be made available via a pay-as-you-go pricing model in the Alibaba Cloud Marketplace.

      • Fedora

        • Korora 26 Bloat – More is less or less is more?

          Korora 26 Bloat is a noble concept, but it does not solve the fundamental problem it aims to solve: make Fedora usable. It tries to minimize the wreck that is Fedora 26 and fails to do so. Additionally, it introduces problems that the original did not have, making an even bigger mess.
          Korora comes with a slew of ergonomics issues, flaking hardware support, too much actual bloat, tons of niggles and issues that are technically Fedora’s legacy, and then the horrible Nvidia support that is just embarrassing in 2017. To answer my own question, more is less in this case, and there isn’t a justifiable reason why you should prefer Korora over Fedora, nor why you should use it against the likes of Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Mint. Alas, this is not a good release, 2/10. Unusable, which is a shame, because I did like what Korora managed to do in the past. But it just shows how fragile the Linux world is. Proper distro release QA is a joke, regressions are nothing but a silent excuse to move on and churn out more bad code, almost like industrial protein, and this is so depressing I sometimes wonder why I even bother.

          Anyway, to sum it up, Fedora 26 is worse than its predecessors, and Korora 26 is both worse than its own forefathers and the original article it seeks to tame, with appalling support for proprietary graphics drivers and other distros in a multi-boot setup that I really cannot recommend it. The cosmetic issues are also important, but in the end, the real deal breaker is the hardware side. Waiting for Korora 27. Peace.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 9.2.1 is out
      • A New Debian/Ubuntu Kernel Build With The Latest AMDGPU DC Patches

        For those wanting to run the very latest bleeding-edge AMDGPU DC display code on an Ubuntu/Debian-based box, here is a fresh x86_64 kernel build of the latest DC kernel patches as of today.

        It was on Friday that more AMDGPU DC patches were pushed out as AMD works to have this code all tidied up and prepped for the upcoming Linux 4.15 cycle.

      • Debian Installer git repository

        While dealing with d-i’s translation last month in FOSScamp, I was kinda surprised it’s still on SVN. While reviewing PO files from others, I couldn’t select specific parts to commit.

        Debian does have a git server, and many DDs (Debian Developers) use it for their Debian work, but it’s not as public as I wish it to be. Meaning I lack the pull / merge request abilities as well as the review process.

      • Free software log (September 2017)

        I said that I was going to start writing these regularly, so I’m going to stick to it, even when the results are rather underwhelming. One of the goals is to make the time for more free software work, and I do better at doing things that I record.

        The only piece of free software work for September was that I made rra-c-util compile cleanly with the Clang static analyzer. This was fairly tedious work that mostly involved unconfusing the compiler or converting (semi-intentional) crashes into explicit asserts, but it unblocks using the Clang static analyzer as part of the automated test suite of my other projects that are downstream of rra-c-util.

        One of the semantic changes I made was that the vector utilities in rra-c-util (which maintain a resizable array of strings) now always allocate room for at least one string pointer. This wastes a small amount of memory for empty vectors that are never used, but ensures that the strings struct member is always valid. This isn’t, strictly speaking, a correctness fix, since all the checks were correct, but after some thought, I decided that humans might have the same problem that the static analyzer had. It’s a lot easier to reason about a field that’s never NULL. Similarly, the replacement function for a missing reallocarray now does an allocation of size 1 if given a size of 0, just to avoid edge case behavior. (I’m sure the behavior of a realloc with size 0 is defined somewhere in the C standard, but if I have to look it up, I’d rather not make a human reason about it.)

      • Free Software Efforts (2017W41)

        The issue that was preventing the migration of the Tasktools Packaging Team’s mailing list from Alioth to Savannah has now been resolved.

        Ana’s chkservice package that I sponsored last week has been ACCEPTED into unstable and since MIGRATED to testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Newbie’s Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 2

            This is Part 2 of the newbie’s guide to operate Ubuntu 17.10. Here you’ll learn how to operate the Nautilus File Manager. You’ll do most of daily activities in Nautilus because it is your file manager, like Finder in Mac OS X or Explorer in Windows. You’ll learn basic skills such as selecting & navigating, creating & deleting, searching & sorting files/folders, and also basic knowledge for keyboard shortcuts and the user interface. I wish this article helps you best to run Ubuntu 17.10 easily and happily.

          • Do You Plan to Upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10? [Poll]

            Ubuntu 17.10 is set to be released on Thursday October 19 — which, if you haven’t been paying attention to the nearest calendar, is less than a week away!

            Having spent the past 6 months in development chances are you’ve some inclination as to whether or not you will upgrade to Ubuntu 17.10.

          • Kubuntu Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial RC images now available

            Artful Aardvark (17.10) initial Release Candidate (RC) images are now available for testing. Help us make 17.10 the best release yet!

          • Please get to testing Artful RCs (20171015)
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to define a metrics strategy for your community

    Data sets are everywhere, and because open source communities produce plenty of information in addition to source code, most community infrastructures require tools to support the software development process. Examples include bug-reporting systems such as Jira and Bugzilla, versioning systems such as Git, and code review tools like Gerrit. Although communication also takes place through these tools, most is done through mailing lists, IRC, supporting systems like Discourse, and even Twitter and other social channels (especially for marketing and announcements). In fact, most open source communities utilize at least five or ten tools, if not more.

  • Events

    • LibreOffice Conference 2017

      This week the annual LibreOffice conference was held in Rome and I had the pleasure to attend. The city of Rome is migrating their IT infrastructure to open software and standards and the city council was kind enough to provide the awesome venue for the event, the Campidoglio.

    • More from the testing and fuzzing microconference

      A lot was discussed and presented in the three hours allotted to the Testing and Fuzzing microconference at this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC), but some spilled out of that slot. We have already looked at some discussions on kernel testing that occurred both before and during the microconference. Much of the rest of the discussion will be summarized below. As it turns out, a discussion on the efforts by Intel to do continuous-integration (CI) testing of graphics hardware and drivers continued several hundred miles north the following week at the X.Org Developers Conference (XDC); that will be covered in a separate article.

    • Opensource.com Lightning Talks at All Things Open 2017

      Join the Opensource.com community for a set of amazing lightning talks you won’t want to miss during the All Things Open conference in Raleigh, NC. Speakers have five minutes to enlighten the audience about an open source topic they are passionate about. We’ve got everything from DevOps and Kubernetes, to wearables, cloud, and more. Grab your lunch, find a seat, warm up your Twitter fingers, and get ready for the fastest hour at All Things Open 2017. Share your favorite thoughts using hashtage #ATO2017.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • 4 website maintenance mistakes to avoid

      Maintenance is a good idea for every website, but it’s a requirement for websites using open source code. The upside of open source is that everyone can participate. The downside is that means keeping up with everyone’s changes. Code gets patched, which causes other code to stop working and need patches in turn. Exploits are found and then blocked. Fancy new features are developed, and your users want them. All of this means you need to keep up! The most important weapon to combat these forces is maintenance. Maintenance is a simple process, but there are basic mistakes that many people make at least once. Avoid these and you’ll be well on your way to a safer, cleaner website that isn’t a huge pain to keep running.

      [...]

      Even if you could do better, are you being paid to rewrite something that’s already mostly working? If you’re frustrated enough to take it on as a hobby project, is that what you want to spend your weekend on? GitHub is chock full of not-all-that-unique content management systems (CMSes) and static site builders. Most of them are abandoned, clones of more popular systems, or both. Don’t be yet another one.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Open-source mapping being used to help first responders in Puerto Rico

        Satellite images of rural towns, sprawling woodlands and grooved mountainsides fill the computer screens as homeowners and students scroll across digital maps.

        This group of a few dozen people gathered on Friday at the Perry Castenada Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus for a four-hour disaster relief mapathon to bolster humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico, where 91 percent of the island is still without electricity, and Mexico, which was ravaged by a 6.1 earthquake.

  • Programming/Development

    • Kotlin Programming Language Will Surpass Java On Android Next Year

      At Google I/O 2017, Google announced the newly added support for Kotlin programming language in Android, along with the existing languages Java and C++. As per the experts, Kotlin came as a breath of fresh air in Android development ecosystem to make “Android development faster and more fun. But, what about the numbers? How many developers are making a shift to Kotlin? Let’s find out.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Progress Being Made On New “WebGPU” Web Graphics API

      There continues to be progress made on the new Apple/W3C backed web graphics API dubbed “WebGPU” that has the backing of major stakeholders.

      Separate from the work being done by The Khronos Group on “WebGL-Next” there is the “WebGPU” initiative being organized by the W3C.

Leftovers

  • How China Has Built Major Roads In Doklam: Exclusive

    India backs Bhutan’s claim to the Doklam Plateau, which lies North of the “Chicken’s Neck” – a narrow strip that links India to its northeastern states. Any roads in or around this area are a cause of concern for Delhi because they could give Beijing access to this strategically sensitive terrain.

  • Car accidents killed 37,000 people last year — it’s time to act
  • Finnish military grants athlete status to e-sports conscripts

    Young people pursuing a career in the increasingly-lucrative field of e-sports will be able to serve their compulsory service in the Finnish Defence Forces as an athlete in future. The Finnish Defence Forces will allow the e-sports players to serve with the same status as elite sportspeople, giving them special privileges as they undertake their compulsory service.

    Conscripts meeting the requirements will be assessed as part of the special forces selection associated with every round of call-ups. The Finnish E-sports Federation will assist in the assessment of possible candidates.

    “By completing their military service in the Sports School, e-sports professionals will have enough time to practice and compete,” the federation’s director Joonas Kapiainen said in a press release.

  • Outlook, Office 2007 slowly taken behind the shed, shots heard

    A decade after their release, Microsoft Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 today fell out of extended support. Gaze teary-eyed at your installation discs. The software has entered the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul.

    The cutoff has been coming for some time, of course, but if you’re of a nostalgic bent, the Outlook 2007 epitaph is here, and the somewhat longer (with more dates to absorb) Office 2007 farewell is here.

    With extended support ending for both 2007-era families, no new features, bug fixes, security patches, nor support, will be available in future for the programs.

  • Catalonia and the ‘Europe of Regions’

    One of the solutions that emerged was to promote the notion of a “Europe of Regions,” i.e. along with the centralization of power on certain matters at the supranational level, there would also be a devolution of powers towards local authorities in other fields. The idea of emphasizing regional characteristics on an ethnic basis was not new, but it received renewed attention in the 1990s as avenues were sought to advance E.U. integration.

  • Science

    • Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone
    • Studying human tumors in mice may end up being misleading

      Cancer is, unfortunately, governed by the same evolutionary rules that drive life itself. Cells in tumors are essentially competing to see which can divide the fastest. This competition drives them to pick up new mutations that can help them divide faster, survive immune attack, resist drugs, and expand to new areas of the body.

      We can tell this by looking at the genetic changes that occur as tumors progress. Over time, we can trace the appearance of new mutations that confer abilities that are, from cancer’s perspective, useful for tumor cells.

      Now, a new study suggests that an unfortunate side effect of these evolutionary changes is that human tumors are really difficult to study. Whether the tumor cells are put in a culture dish or grown in mice, they evolve changes that help them grow in this new environment. And some of these changes influence how the tumor cells respond to drugs.

  • Hardware

    • The impossible dream of USB-C

      I love the idea of USB-C: one port and one cable that can replace all other ports and cables. It sounds so simple, straightforward, and unified.

      In practice, it’s not even close.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Labor’s Stake in the Fight for Veterans’ Health Care

      In January President Trump delivered on his promise to shrink the federal government: he announced a hiring freeze, despite thousands of federal job vacancies.

      As a candidate, Trump campaigned as a great friend of veterans. He pledged to make big improvements in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the arm of the Veterans Administration (VA) that operates the largest health care system in the country.

      But Trump’s hiring freeze deepened an already existing staffing crisis at VHA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., where there are 49,000 vacant positions.

    • Vulnerable people left to suffer chronic loneliness as services ‘underfunded and overwhelmed’, Labour warns

      Vulnerable people are being left to suffer chronic loneliness as nearly half of all local authorities are spending nothing on specialist social isolation services, new figures suggest.

      A probe by Labour found crucial services had been left “underfunded and overwhelmed” as dedicated spending fell by around £1m in two years amid a squeeze on town hall budgets.

      It comes as the leader of Britain’s GPs warned that being lonely could be as harmful to older people’s health as a chronic long-term condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, with around 1.1 million elderly people believed to be affected.

    • Finnish police weigh criminal probe into tobacco industry

      Police will decide by the end of October whether to launch a pre-trial investigation into allegations that Finnish tobacco executives should be held personally liable for misleading marketing of “light” cigarettes, with the terminology banned 15 years ago. Experts estimate that the products led to some 60,000 deaths in Finland.

    • Early Medicaid Expansion Associated With Reduced Payday Borrowing In California

      The early Medicaid expansion was associated with an 11 percent reduction in the number of loans taken out each month. It also reduced the number of unique borrowers each month and the amount of payday loan debt.

    • Why Do Republicans (and Some Democrats) Vilify Single Payer?

      Unfortunately, very bad ideas never die in a corrupted political process. It’s all about bottom lines: for billionaire campaign donors and for the powerful recipients of those campaign donations.

    • Your Boss Shouldn’t Get to Have ‘Religious’ Objections to Your Health Care

      When Obamacare — aka, the Affordable Care Act — became law in 2010, it mandated coverage of birth control without co-payments.

      Some employers didn’t like the rule, and Hobby Lobby hated it so much that the company filed a lawsuit to stop it. Company owners said they didn’t believe in contraception and claimed that covering it for female employees violated their religious freedom.

      Understand, the Obama administration went to great lengths to exempt churches and church-related institutions from the rule, while still guaranteeing their female employees the right to birth control if they wanted it.

    • NHS chiefs spend £100,000 on failed bid to stop whistleblowing doctor having his day in court

      NHS chiefs spent more than £100,000 on a failed bid to stop a whistleblowing junior doctor having his day in court.

      Dr Chris Day, 32, said his career was “destroyed” after he raised fears over a short-staffed intensive care unit in Woolwich, London.

      Yet he was blocked from taking his claims to an employment tribunal after Health Education England (HEE) argued it wasn’t his employer.

    • Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent

      The evidence has been mounting for years that the world’s most widely used pesticides, neonicotinoids, harm bees and other pollinating insects. Now it seems the problem isn’t limited to Europe and North America, where the alarm was first sounded. It’s everywhere.

    • Bad news for bees: three-quarters of all honey on Earth has pesticides in it

      Scientists analyzed 198 honey samples from all continents, except Antarctica, for five types of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are known to harm bees. They found at least one of the five compounds in most samples, with the highest contamination in North America, Asia, and Europe. The results are published today in the journal Science.

    • Did Monsanto Ignore Evidence Linking Its Weed Killer to Cancer?

      But the future of the ubiquitous herbicide is in question. Monsanto is currently fighting allegations that glyphosate might not be as safe as advertised, particularly when combined with other chemicals in Roundup. In 2015, an international science committee ruled that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, countering previous determinations by regulatory agencies in the United States and other countries. Soon after, more than 200 people sued Monsanto in a federal case now centralized in California, claiming that Roundup caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a common blood cancer. Over 1,000 people have filed similar suits against the company in state courts in Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska, and elsewhere.

    • Multi-State Suit Targets Trump’s “Reckless Assault” on Healthcare as Anger Flows

      Warning of the decision’s “great human cost,” 19 attorneys general on Friday filed suit in a federal court to stop President Donald Trump’s decision to cut off key Obamacare cost-sharing subsidies, as outrage from advocacy groups continued to pour in.

      “Taking these legally required subsidies away from working families’ health plans and forcing them to choose between paying rent or their medical bills is completely reckless. This is sabotage, plain and simple,” said California Attorney Xavier General Becerra, who’s leading the coalition of states.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who’s also a party to the suit, called it “a reckless assault on the healthcare of thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans,” which is part of a “partisan campaign to sabotage our healthcare system.”

  • Security

    • N. Korea stole cyber tools from NSA, carried out WannaCry ransomware attack – Microsoft chief [Ed: Microsoft's Brad Smith is a liar who blackmails with patents. He's now trying to blame the Norks for Microsoft giving back doors to the NSA. No shame!]
    • North Korea behind devastating ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack that hit NHS and systems across US, says Microsoft head [Ed: Microsoft will say anything to distract from and deflect from the fact it gives the NSA back doors. The NHS ‘attacked’ itself by installing on its system an OS which it knew had back doors. Kaspersky showed that Microsoft lied about Wannacry and that Windows XP was hardly targeted. Now watch how US media treats Kaspersky. Microsoft blaming North Korea rather than itself and the NSA (for back doors) is basically high-fiving the Trump administration for agenda.]

      North Korea was behind the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack that temporarily crippled dozens of NHS trusts, the president of Microsoft has said.

    • Kaspersky asks for proof of claims made in American media

      Under pressure after a series of articles in the US press made various claims about its links to Russian state authorities this week, security firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be reluctant to dismiss the allegations out of hand.

    • Google, IBM, and Others Introduce Grafeas Open Source API
    • My Blogging

      Blog regulars will notice that I haven’t been posting as much lately as I have in the past. There are two reasons. One, it feels harder to find things to write about. So often it’s the same stories over and over. I don’t like repeating myself. Two, I am busy writing a book.

    • Sexual assault allegations levied against high profile security researcher and activist
    • Let MalwareTech Surf! Status Report
    • 500 million PCs are being used for stealth cryptocurrency mining online

      A month or so ago, torrent search website The Pirate Bay raised concern among the community as visitors noticed their CPU usage surged whenever a page was opened.

    • Using Elliptic Curve Cryptography with TPM2

      One of the most significant advances going from TPM1.2 to TPM2 was the addition of algorithm agility: The ability of TPM2 to work with arbitrary symmetric and asymmetric encryption schemes. In practice, in spite of this much vaunted agile encryption capability, most actual TPM2 chips I’ve seen only support a small number of asymmetric encryption schemes, usually RSA2048 and a couple of Elliptic Curves. However, the ability to support any Elliptic Curve at all is a step up from TPM1.2. This blog post will detail how elliptic curve schemes can be integrated into existing cryptographic systems using TPM2. However, before we start on the practice, we need at least a tiny swing through the theory of Elliptic Curves.

    • Linux vulnerable to privilege escalation

      An advisory from Cisco issued last Friday, October 13th, gave us the heads-up on a local privilege escalation vulnerability in the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA).

      The bug is designated CVE-2017-15265, but its Mitre entry was still marked “reserved” at the time of writing. Cisco, however, had this to say about it before release:

    • Pizza Hut was hacked, company says

      According to a customer notice emailed from the pizza chain, those who placed an order on its website or mobile app between the morning of Oct. 1 and midday Oct. 2 might have had their information exposed.

      The “temporary security intrusion” lasted for about 28 hours, the notice said, and it’s believed that names, billing ZIP codes, delivery addresses, email addresses and payment card information — meaning account number, expiration date and CVV number — were compromised.

    • Want to see something crazy? Open this link on your phone with WiFi turned off

      These services are using your mobile phone’s IP address to look up your phone number, your billing information and possibly your phone’s current location as provided by cell phone towers (no GPS or phone location services required). These services are doing this with the assistance of the telco providers.

    • Telcos “selling realtime ability to associate web browsing with name & address”
    • Severe flaw in WPA2 protocol leaves Wi-Fi traffic open to eavesdropping

      An air of unease set into the security circles on Sunday as they prepared for the disclosure of high-severity vulnerabilities in the Wi-Fi Protected Access II protocol that make it possible for attackers to eavesdrop Wi-Fi traffic passing between computers and access points.

    • WiFi Security Is Borked – We’re All Screwed… Maybe

      KRACK – or the Key Reinstallation AttaCK – looks like the new infosec word we all need to know. According to the authors of a paper that will be presented at conference in a couple of weeks, Mathy Vanhoef of KU Leuven and Frank Piessens say they have found a way to circumvent WPA2 security – one of the key tools used for protecting wireless networks. If KRACk proves to be true, all bets are off when it comes to stopping eavesdroppers from listening in to your wireless network.

    • Your Wifi router could be hiding a scary vulnerability

      Anybody that has a WiFi router might want to be sure to have their login details close at hand throughout the course of today.

      That’s because later today security researcher Mathy Vanhoef will reveal a potentially disastrous vulnerability in the WPA2 protocol.

      The Wifi Protected Access protocol appears to have been cracked by Vanhoef according to Gizmodo which took a look at the source code of the researcher’s website Krack Attacks and found this throw forward.

    • Wi-Fi WPA2 encryption possibly cracked

      Just to add on to your Monday morning blues, WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access Version 2) which is the de-facto encryption method used by the majority of Wi-Fi routers is rumored to have been cracked.

    • Researchers Reveal Critical KRACK Flaws in WPA WiFi Security

      The WPA2 protocol which is widely used to secure WiFi traffic is at risk from multiple vulnerabilities, collectively referred to as “KRACK Attacks” that were publicly disclosed on Oct. 16

      “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted,” the vulnerability disclosure warns.”The attack works against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks.”

      KRACK is an acronym for Key Reinstallation Attacks, which were discovered by security research Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens working at Belgian University KU Leuven. The researchers have disclosed the details of the KRACK attack in a research paper and plan on discussing it further in talks at the Computer and Communications Security (CCS) and Black Hat Europe conferences later this year.

    • The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.
  • Defence/Aggression

    • When Cities Fall

      Recovery, as in other parts of formerly IS-held cities, appears a near impossibility. All the military and political plans aimed at driving Islamic State out seem to take little account of the aftermath.

    • Trump’s North Korea Delusions

      A combination of ignorance and rashness is making President Trump a particularly dangerous leader as he crashes ahead with a possible preemptive war on North Korea, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • How Trump’s Iran Decision Invites War

      By decertifying the Iran-nuke deal, President Trump opts for another Mideast war of choice, but war on Iran is really the choice of Israel and Saudi Arabia wanting the U.S. to do the killing and dying, as Trita Parsi explains.

    • Police investigate blast in Malmö apartment block

      A large explosion caused severe damage to an apartment building in the southern Swedish city of Malmö early on Friday morning, which police believe was caused by dynamite.
      “It’s lucky that no one was in the area because it clearly would have been fatal,” said regional police officer Hans Nilsson.

    • Marseille attack: Two young women stabbed to death
    • West Papua petition: Australia made a human rights promise that’s about to be tested

      Many Australians wouldn’t think twice about putting their name to a petition to support a cause close to their hearts, but in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces, where free speech is routinely and severely curtailed, “acts of treason” such as supporting calls for independence can land you in jail for 15 years.

      So it is truly remarkable that 1.8 million Papuans (about 70 per cent of the population) have signed a petition — specifically banned by the Indonesian Government — calling on the United Nations to conduct a free vote about independence.

    • Rockin’ for West Papua Peace Concerts held around the world!

      Free West Papua music and the West Papuan flag are outlawed by the Indonesian government in occupied West Papua but Rockin’ For West Papua; organised by the Free West Papua Campaign and the music collaborative Rize Of The Morning Star brought people together from across the world to play Free West Papua music and raise the West Papuan flag!

    • ‘Soldier of Allah’ avoids terror charge due to Facebook settings

      However, he could not be charged under the Terrorism Act because his profile was set to private, meaning he was jailed for just 18 weeks.

    • Ex-Taliban hostage says group killed infant daughter, raped wife
    • From estate agent to IS recruiter: How woman became ‘different person’ & kidnapped her son
    • Migrant Crisis: As Rule of Law Crumbles, Denmark Deploys Army, Depleting its Capacity to Fulfill NATO Obligations

      Skyrocketing terror and crime following increased numbers of migrants and refugees from Islamic countries has seriously depleted police resources. Yet another EU country will see a decrease in its ability to fulfill international military obligations as a result of domestic instability.

    • Death toll rises to 276 in Somalia truck bomb attack

      The death toll from the single deadliest attack in Somalia’s history rose to 276 Sunday as emergency workers feverishly dug through the rubble of a Mogadishu bomb blast that collapsed buildings and set nearby cars ablaze.

      About 300 people were injured when the truck explosion rocked a crowded shopping district Saturday. On Sunday, Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed issued a plea for residents and businesses that owned earth-moving equipment to bring it to the blast site to help the desperate search for survivors — and bodies.

    • Union rep for hero Las Vegas security guard addresses ‘highly unusual’ disappearance

      The Mandalay Bay security guard shot in the moments leading up to the Las Vegas massacre checked into a “quick clinic” instead of appearing in a series of previously scheduled interviews, but his union representative does not know his exact condition or location.

    • Macron: ‘I told Trump not to tear up Iran deal’

      French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday he told U.S. President Donald Trump not to tear up a nuclear arms deal with Iran, as doing so could lead to a similar standoff as the one with North Korea.

      “What I told him was not to tear up the deal,” Macron told TF1 and LCI in his first live TV interview since taking office. “After that I told him, let’s have a demanding dialogue, let’s continue to conduct checks, but let’s be much more demanding with Iran on its ballistic activity.”

    • Trump Ignores Israeli/Saudi Abuses

      By offering a propagandistic tirade on Iran’s role in the Mideast – a classic neocon screed – President Trump has demonstrated his inability to bring any fresh or honest thinking to the regional crises, as Kathy Kelly explains.

      Mordechai Vanunu was imprisoned in Israel for 18 years because he blew the whistle on Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He felt he had “an obligation to tell the people of Israel what was going on behind their backs” at a supposed nuclear research facility which was actually producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. His punishment for breaking the silence about Israel’s capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons included 11 years of solitary confinement.

      [...]

      Vanunu, designated by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg as the “the pre-eminent hero of the nuclear era,” helped many people envision nations in the region making progress toward a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.

      In fact, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jawad Zarif, spoke eloquently about just that possibility, in 2015, holding that “if the Vienna deal is to mean anything, the whole of the Middle East must rid itself of weapons of mass destruction.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn’s minister for peace calls for arms embargo on Yemen coalition

      A Labour government would ban exports of British-made weapons to all members of the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for peace has told Middle East Eye.

      “We should not be selling weapons to any state that uses, or could potentially use, weapons we supply for internal repression or for foreign wars,” said Fabian Hamilton MP in his first major interview since he was appointed shadow minister for peace and the Middle East last year.

      Hamilton said that the Labour leader’s recent calls to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its bombardment of Yemen would be widened to include all nations involved in the bloody conflict.

    • Why North Korea Wants Nuke Deterrence

      In September 2016, North Korean cyber-defense forces hacked into South Korean military computers and downloaded 235 gigabytes of documents. The BBC has revealed that the documents included detailed U.S. plans to assassinate North Korea’s president, Kim Jong Un, and launch an all-out war on North Korea. The BBC’s main source for this story is Rhee Cheol-Hee, a member of the Defense Committee of the South Korean National Assembly.

      These plans for aggressive war have actually been long in the making. In 2003, the U.S. scrapped an agreement signed in 1994 under which North Korea suspended its nuclear program and the U.S. agreed to build two light water reactors in North Korea. The two countries also agreed to a step-by-step normalization of relations. Even after the U.S. scrapped the 1994 Agreed Framework in 2003, North Korea did not restart work on the two reactors frozen under that agreement, which could by now be producing enough plutonium to make several nuclear weapons every year.

    • History Blinded by Anti Socialism: Ken Burns’ Vietnam

      It’s not surprising that an Americana-obsessed filmmaker botched a history of the Vietnam War. National pride doesn’t mesh with the Empire’s lost war. And though Ken Burns’ Vietnam is worth the watch for its footage alone, Vietnam war experts such as John Pilger and Nick Turse have offered blistering critiques that, when combined, allow for accusations of “whitewash” to be levied against the film.

      Why does Burns make such glaring mistakes of analysis? He did his best to be objective, but ultimately Burns made yet another film “about America” for an American audience, which colors the entire film in red, white and blue. But there’s also a deeper bias that further distorts the history he’s trying to tell.

    • Profiting from America’s Longest War: Trump Seeks to Exploit Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan

      In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

      October 7th marked sixteen years since the start of the US War in Afghanistan – America’s longest war. In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a plan to have US companies extract minerals from resource-rich Afghanistan.

      Afghanistan’s deposits of iron, copper, zinc, gold, silver, lithium and other rare-earth metals are estimated to be worth roughly $1 trillion, a price tag which has intrigued the business mogul-turned-President Trump.

      Afghan President Ashraf Ghani brought up the matter in one of his first conversations with Trump, suggesting it would be a great opportunity for US businesses.

    • EU vows to save Iran deal, fears for North Korea mediation

      The European Union vowed on Monday to defend a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and urged U.S. lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions after President Donald Trump chose not to certify Tehran’s compliance with the accord.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Talvivaara: Finland’s biggest environmental crime case returns to court [iophk: "actually Europe's biggest case. more such cases probably on the way in coming years given the huge burst of mining activity by foreign firms."]

      Under scrutiny in the trial are the construction and use of Talvivaara’s gypsum waste pond, alleged scheduled and uncontrolled dumping of effluents into nature, as well as issues surrounding the handling and placement of the mine’s various waste components.

    • The defenders: recording the deaths of environmental defenders around the world

      This year, in collaboration with Global Witness, the Guardian will attempt to record the deaths of all these people, whether they be wildlife rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or indigenous land rights activists in Brazil. At this current rate, chances are that four environmental defenders will be killed this week somewhere on the planet.

    • Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

      More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

    • A Final Fight for the Keystone Pipeline

      Kleeb is already organizing for an intensified struggle in the event that the Keystone XL survives the PSC’s decision. “We have two years of eminent-domain lawsuits” mixed with direct action and civil disobedience of the type seen at Standing Rock, she says. It is all part of Bold’s larger legacy: a new environmentalism, galvanized by a lack of access to clean water in ever more places, that has taken root in rural America. In 2014, Art got “so pissed off at TransCanada” that he installed an array of solar panels by his barn – “It’s the only crop I made money on last year,” he says – and now rolls to the town coffee shop in a Chevy Volt. “It’s good,” Helen says, “to feel like part of the solution.” If the bulldozers come, they say, TransCanada will meet massive resistance. “Money’s nice, but it’s not important,” Art tells me. “If one of your grandchildren drinks a drop of benzene, that’s important. If our grandchildren decide not to have children because they’re worried about the planet they’ll grow up on, that’s important.”

    • The Sioux Lost a Key Battle in Their Struggle Against the DAPL

      A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) may continue to operate, keeping the oil flowing while the government completes a court-ordered environmental review.

    • MLPs: Careful What You Wish For

      The Dakota Access Pipeline is cannibalizing other pipelines, creating new winners and losers in the Bakken Region, says AB Bernstein.

    • The Grain That Tastes Like Wheat, but Grows Like a Prairie Grass

      For 12,000 years, human agriculture has cultivated grains that are replanted every year, at enormous environmental cost. Kernza represents a new way forward.

    • Why Rick Perry’s proposed subsidies for coal fail Economics 101

      In a controversial proposal, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has asked federal regulators to effectively subsidize coal and nuclear power plants at ratepayers’ expense. Under Perry’s proposal, plants that operate in deregulated electricity markets – where generators normally compete to provide power at the lowest cost – would be guaranteed positive profits so long as they stockpile 90 days’ worth of fuel on site.

      To rationalize this proposal, which a former Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has dubbed “the antithesis of good economics,” Secretary Perry points to uncompensated benefits generated by coal and nuclear plants.

      As energy economists, when we think about coal-fired electricity generation, what usually comes to mind are unaccounted-for costs – not benefits. This emerging pro-coal narrative is worth unpacking.

  • Finance

    • British MPs want to force Theresa May to sign soft Brexit deal

      A cross-party group of British lawmakers is trying to make it impossible for Prime Minister Theresa May to withdraw from the EU without soft transition and trade deals, the Guardian reported.

      The group, which includes several former Tory and Labour ministers and other prominent parliamentarians, wants to write a transition deal — including acceptance of EU rules — into the U.K.’s withdrawal bill. If such a transition does not happen, one tabled amendment to the bill says, Britain should not be allowed to leave the EU.

    • Britain’s missing billions: Revised figures reveal UK is £490bn poorer than previously thought

      Global banks and international bond strategists have been left stunned by revised ONS figures showing that Britain is £490bn poorer than had been ­assumed and no longer has any reserve of net foreign assets, depriving the country of its safety margin as Brexit talks reach a crucial juncture.

      A massive write-down in the UK balance of payments data shows that Britain’s stock of wealth – the net international investment position – has collapsed from a surplus of £469bn to a net deficit of £22bn. This transforms the outlook for sterling and the gilts markets.

    • Beloved local restauranteur can’t sell coffee or tea because Starbucks strongarmed the landlord

      But when they applied for a liquor license, they revealed a curious circumstance: the Arepa Lady wanted a license to sell beer, wine and spirits because their landlords wouldn’t let them sell coffee.

      That’s because their landlord has also rented a storefront to a Starbucks cafe, and Starbucks insisted on a clause in their lease that banned the landlord from renting to anyone who competed with them to sell coffee or tea.

    • Tories to give private firms like G4S and Serco POWERS TO ARREST people in shocking 290m privatisation deal

      That’s right, Serco and G4S – the same two companies who were stripped of contracts for tagging prisoners because a Serious Fraud Office investigation revealed they were charging for tagging people who didn’t exist – are going to be trusted with the handcuffs by the Tory government.

    • China’s 1 percenters are now worth as much as the GDP of the United Kingdom

      China’s latest rich-list of 2,030 people controlling fortunes of $300M or more now totals $2.6 trillion, as much as the UK GDP.

    • I’m a working class woman. The British Dream is unachievable for me

      Let’s assume it means owning your own home, progressing well in your chosen career and feeling financially comfortable – and that all of this is achievable no matter what your background. If that’s the case, as a working class woman, nothing about the ‘British Dream’ feels achievable for me.

    • Detroit evictions: Crackdown could worsen issues

      “It got pretty bad,” Garner said. “The investors would belly up the money to do a rehab on a property. We’d go in and put new cabinets in, carpet, paint and show up the next day to finish up a project, and someone would have broken into the property and steal everything out, including the carpet, toilet and cabinets. We’d be starting all over again.”

    • When Growing Old Means Living in Your Car, Working in an Amazon Warehouse
    • Five things to know about Trump and NAFTA

      A fourth round of talks is taking place this week in Washington, and the negotiations seem surrounded by angst and gloom for those with the most invested in the pact’s future.

    • Tesla Fires Underperforming Workers After Annual Evaluation
    • Tesla fires hundreds of workers

      Tesla has a reputation as a demanding place to work, and the company lived up to its reputation this week when it fired hundreds of workers. The San Jose Mercury News estimates that between 400 and 700 workers were let go, based on employee reports.

    • Tesla fires hundreds after company-wide performance reviews

      Tesla fired hundreds of workers this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers, even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line.

    • How to Wipe Out Puerto Rico’s Debt Without Hurting Bondholders

      How did the president plan to pull this off? Pam Martens and Russ Martens, writing in Wall Street on Parade, note that the U.S. municipal bond market holds $3.8 trillion in debt, and it is not just owned by Wall Street banks. Mom and pop retail investors are exposed to billions of dollars of potential losses through their holdings of Puerto Rican municipal bonds, either directly or in mutual funds. Wiping out Puerto Rico’s debt, they warned, could undermine confidence in the municipal bond market, causing bond interest rates to rise, imposing an additional burden on already-struggling states and municipalities across the country.

    • Yanis Varoufakis: ‘I would like to live in a world where we’re all privileged’
    • The British right’s propaganda is an affront to democracy

      It’s easy to dismiss the Tory right as stupid: too easy if you wish to stop Brexit or limit the damage it will cause. As insults go, it is mild. The right has no plan beyond a desire to turn Britain into a Randian dystopia where regulations vanish and the state withers. It has no policy beyond a nostalgic hope that Britain will sail across the wide blue oceans and conquer new markets as our imperial ancestors conquered them before.

      The right offers religion, not politics. Its faith is without blemish, the gospel runs. If Brexit fails, that is not because the faith is false but because heretical traitors, judges, civil servants and EU governments have schemed to defeat it. “He that doubteth is damned,” said St Paul. “For whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Boris Johnson agrees.

      Thatcherism, Britain’s last revolt of the right, was preceded by years of hard planning in the Centre for Policy Studies and Institute of Economic Affairs. If you were around in the 1970s, you might have loved or loathed it. But you could not deny the right had built a programme for government. Today, there is no plan, no programme, no nothing. Instead of being populated by serious thinkers, Brexit’s thinktanks are filled with propagandists, tabloid hacks and tax-exile newspaper proprietors. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are columnists turned politicians. The Sun, Telegraph, Mail and Express do not just cheer on the cause while the grown-ups make the real decisions, as they did in Margaret Thatcher’s day. They are what brains the Brexit campaign possesses.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why the 25th Amendment Won’t Save Us

      This may only be a minor accent in the vast symphony of outrage we are confronted with on a daily basis, but it is worthy of note. You are aware, I’m sure, of the ongoing shouting match Donald Trump is having with the NFL over players standing for the national anthem. Well, Trump found himself last week at the Air National Guard Base in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with Fox fiend Sean Hannity. By tradition, “Retreat” was bugled on the base as the flag was lowered for the day.

      The same tradition requires all military personnel and civilian leadership to stand at attention out of respect for the flag. Neither Trump nor Hannity stood, flouting that tradition. Laughing as the bugle call filled the air, Trump asked Hannity, “Are they playing that for you or for me?” Referring to Hannity’s show, Trump then addressed the crowd with, “They’re playing that in honor of his ratings.”

    • 5 of the Biggest Corporate Media Disasters This Week
    • On what should happen if the unthinkable happens

      This “if” has got to be specified very precisely. The question is not whether Trump obstructed justice, or is guilty of tax evasion, or has violated the Emoluments Clause or done any other act justifying impeachment. The “if” here is quite specific: It relates explicitly to the validity of the election. The question I’m asking here is what should happen if Trump conspired with a foreign government to get elected? If he did that, then what should happen.

    • It’s the One-Year Anniversary of the Leak of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” Tapes About Sexual Assault
    • What happened: Hillary’s view

      There are many lessons Clinton learned. There is extraordinary wisdom and insight that her book teaches us. But I fear that this point is still lost on too many on our side. That blindness leaves the field wide open for the party of no — no taxes, no immigration, no health care, no (more) social security, no protection for privacy, no network neutrality, no family planning, no dreamers.

    • It’s What Bob Corker Does Next That Counts

      For reporters, there is a logical extension from the opening Corker has given. Get Mitch McConnell, get Paul Ryan, get John Thune and John Barrasso and John Cornyn, get Kevin McCarthy, get every Republican in a position of responsibility to answer: Do you agree with your colleague that Donald Trump is a danger to the country and the world? Who’s right here: Your comrade who is the veteran chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee? Or a president who can’t stop tweet-threatening “Little Rocket Man”? And what about Corker’s claim that the White House is a daily battleground to keep the incumbent under control? Are you going to call one of your own a liar? Or is he right about Trump?

    • ‘It’s a Shame the White House Has Become an Adult Day Care Center’
    • Mike Pence’s NFL Walkout Was a Cheap, Transparent Stunt

      It’s not what happened. It’s how it happened. This was staged: a taxpayer subsidized stunt aimed at attacking dissenting black athletes. It was revealed in record time to be yet another toxic effort by this administration to divide people along racial lines and distract us from a train wreck of an administration, described by Senator Bob Corker as “an adult day care center” that looks after a big orange baby.

    • Noam Chomsky Diagnoses the Trump Era

      The president has abetted the collapse of a decaying system; Chomsky explains how.

    • Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it

      For many of these self-described “value voters,” Trump was a walking contradiction of nearly everything they claim to believe in — a vulgar, thrice-married real estate tycoon whose brand is built on money, women, and debauchery.

    • Were Trump Voters Irrational?

      I am afraid that my Democratic friends are just going to have to reconcile themselves to the conclusion that the cognitive science of rationality does not support their judgment of the Trump voters. You can say whatever you want about the rationality or irrationality of Trump himself, but cognitive science does not support the claim that his voters were irrational—or, more specifically, that they were any less rational than the Clinton voters. Politics is not the place to look for objective rightness or wrongness—and that is what judgments about the rationality of voting entail. Our judgments in this domain are uniquely susceptible to myside bias.

    • What Justice Kennedy’s Silence Means For The Future Of Gerrymandering
    • The Media Needs To Stop Rationalizing President Trump’s Behavior

      His outburst on Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico shows that not everything is a clever ploy to rally his base.

    • Hustler Magazine founder offers $10 million for info to help impeach Trump

      Flynt cites several reasons he believes Trump should be impeached in the ad, including Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. The adult magazine founder also ripped Trump for his “unconscionable defense of the KKK and neo-Nazis after the Charlottesville riots,” and argued that Trump’s “worrisome” ability to “trigger a nuclear world war” is one of the more “horrifying” reasons Trump should be impeached.

      “Impeachment would be a messy, contentious affair, but the alternative – three more years of destabilizing dysfunction – is worse,” Flynt writes in the ad. “Both good Democrats and good Republicans who put country over party did it before with Watergate.”

    • Harvey Weinstein and the Trump children show why the US shouldn’t have elected prosecutors

      Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr is a Democrat who has been New York County’s chief prosecutor since 2008. He is also, at the moment, a very controversial figure.

      On Oct. 4, the New Yorker (paywall) revealed that Vance had ordered his prosecutors to drop an investigation into Donald Trump’s children, Ivanka and Donald Jr, for allegedly inflating the worth of a property in New York to prospective buyers. Just a few days later, the same magazine (paywall) revealed that he had decided not to press sexual abuse charges against Harvey Weinstein, the high-powered Hollywood producer, after listening to a police tape of Weinstein aggressively propositioning a model, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. Weinstein has now been accused of sexual harassment and rape by a host of women.

      What links these two cases is that in both of them, Vance received hefty campaign donations from lawyers for the people involved. Donald Trump’s lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, had given $25,000 to Vance’s campaign, the New Yorker reported. Vance had returned the money after Kasowitz asked him to intercede on the Trump children’s behalf—as is customary with people involved in investigations. But a few months after deciding not to prosecute them, Vance accepted another, larger donation and fundraising help from Kasowitz, worth a total of about $50,000. Similarly, a few months after Vance decided to drop the case against Weinstein, the producer’s attorney, David Boies, donated $10,000 to the prosecutor’s campaign.

    • Germany’s Dangerous Lean: What the Far-Right Victory Means for the Rest of Europe

      The German election last month once again secured Chancellor Angela Merkel and her centrist Christian Democratic Union’s position in government, but it also heralded the dramatic rise of Germany’s populist far-right party, Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), the country’s first right extremist group to enter the Bundestag since World War II.

      In an unprecedented turn, the AfD – which was founded in 2013 primarily as a Eurosceptic party, before its deeper xenophobic message took hold – garnered nearly 13 percent of the national vote, placing third after the CDU and the Social Democratic Party. The bulk of its supporters hailed from formerly Communist-occupied parts of East Germany; according to voters in AfD strongholds, the “Revenge of the East” resulted from Merkel’s “lack of respect” for Germans in the region, who accused her CDU of wasting money on immigrants while their local economies crumbled.

    • Trump and Weinstein

      Trump is actively assaulting women in other ways. The Trump administration’s Education Department has moved to make it harder for women at universities to prove sexual harassment. Trump’s Health and Human Services Department has made it harder for women to get contraceptives. Trump has nominated 32 men and just one woman to become U.S. Attorneys. Trump’s 2018 budget calls for a 93 percent cut in funding for federal programs that aid survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

    • Is Trump Unraveling?

      Last week, Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview with the New York Times that Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”

      Corker said he was concerned about Trump. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation,” Corker said, adding that “the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here … the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”

      Corker’s interview was followed by a report from Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, who wrote that the situation has gotten so out of control that Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have discussed ways to stop Trump should he order a nuclear attack. Kelly has tried to keep Trump focused by intercepting outside phone calls to the White House and restricting access to the Oval Office. Many of Trump’s advisors believe he is “unstable” and “unravelling” quickly.

    • Trump and Pence’s War on Black Athletes Has Nothing to Do With Sports

      Like his boss Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence is a lazy racist. Trump’s public demands nothing more because they are easily satisfied by the thought of humiliating black and brown people. Last Sunday, Pence spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to fly from Las Vegas to an NFL game in Indiana. His plan? To stage a political stunt where he showed his displeasure towards “uppity” black football players who are protesting police brutality and social injustice in America.

    • Promise the Moon? Easy for Trump. But Now Comes the Reckoning.
    • California secessionists think their path to independence is easier than Catalonia’s

      The world has been watching the play-by-play of Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain, but one group is tuning in more closely than most: California secessionists.

      The California Freedom Coalition, the campaign that has taken the lead in the effort to break California off from the United States, sees similarities with Catalonia’s secessionist movement. But there’s an important caveat: they believe California has more legal tools at its disposal, creating an easier path to secession – if that’s what Californians decide they want.

      “There are definitely similarities in the fiscal situation – we both give more than we get back,” said Dave Marin, director of research and policy for the California Freedom Coalition. “But there’s more flexibility in the U.S. Constitution for secession than there is in the Spanish one. California has more tools available to it.”

    • Where’s the Beef? The Senate Intel Committee and Russia

      The Senate Intelligence Committee has made it clear that it is not conducting an open and independent investigation of alleged Russian hacking, but making a determined effort to support a theory that was presented in the January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment.

    • The Bizarre Story of How Trump Won’t Stop Claiming a Fake Renoir Painting He Owns Is Real

      Biographer Tim O’Brien told Vanity Fair an amazing anecdote about how President Donald Trump owns a Renoir print and straight-up refuses to acknowledge it’s not the original painting.

      O’Brien spotted the print on Trump’s plane and asked him if it was an original, apparently to see if he’d lie.

      Trump told O’Brien it was. The biographer responded, “No, it’s not Donald.” Instead of letting it go, Trump argued with him.

      “I grew up in Chicago, that Renoir is called Two Sisters on the Terrace, and it’s hanging on a wall at the Art Institute of Chicago,” O’Brien countered. “That’s not an original.” The conversation was eventually dropped.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Learn the ins and outs of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    • How Facebook Outs Sex Workers

      Leila has two identities, but Facebook is only supposed to know about one of them.

      Leila is a sex worker. She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).

      Her “real identity”—the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics—joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila (a name I’m using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

    • DreamHost Wins Challenge Against DOJ’s Overbroad Data Demands

      DreamHost has been fighting the DOJ and its breathtakingly-broad demand for information on all visitors to an anti-Trump website. This has gone on for a few months now, but the origin of the DOJ’s interest in the DreamHosted disruptj20.org site traces all the way back to protests during Trump’s inauguration.

    • Strategies for offline PGP key storage

      While the adoption of OpenPGP by the general population is marginal at best, it is a critical component for the security community and particularly for Linux distributions. For example, every package uploaded into Debian is verified by the central repository using the maintainer’s OpenPGP keys and the repository itself is, in turn, signed using a separate key. If upstream packages also use such signatures, this creates a complete trust path from the original upstream developer to users. Beyond that, pull requests for the Linux kernel are verified using signatures as well. Therefore, the stakes are high: a compromise of the release key, or even of a single maintainer’s key, could enable devastating attacks against many machines.

      That has led the Debian community to develop a good grasp of best practices for cryptographic signatures (which are typically handled using GNU Privacy Guard, also known as GnuPG or GPG). For example, weak (less than 2048 bits) and vulnerable PGPv3 keys were removed from the keyring in 2015, and there is a strong culture of cross-signing keys between Debian members at in-person meetings. Yet even Debian developers (DDs) do not seem to have established practices on how to actually store critical private key material, as we can see in this discussion on the debian-project mailing list. That email boiled down to a simple request: can I have a “key dongles for dummies” tutorial? Key dongles, or keycards as we’ll call them here, are small devices that allow users to store keys on an offline device and provide one possible solution for protecting private key material. In this article, I hope to use my experience in this domain to clarify the issue of how to store those precious private keys that, if compromised, could enable arbitrary code execution on millions of machines all over the world.

    • Intel leaders urge Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program [Ed: Intel leaders urge Congress to give “Intel leaders” more money and power]

      FBI Director Christopher Wray said Friday that members of Congress who are trying to restrict the bureau’s access to information obtained through the monitoring of foreign nationals are jeopardizing national security.

      The Section 702 program, first amended to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012, allows intelligence agencies to legally monitor emails and phone calls of foreign nationals outside of the US and is set to expire at the end of the year.

    • Policing in the future involves citizen detectives and a Pokémon Go-like app

      A loose translation of what Akerboom described is that citizens would photograph license plates to find out if the car is stolen via the Pokémon-inspired app Automon. If it is, then the citizen-turned-detective scores points. And if a vehicle is reported stolen, citizens in that neighborhood might also be tasked to search for that specific license plate. The more you find, the higher your score.

    • Someone Created a Tor Hidden Service to Phish my Tor Hidden Service

      SMS Privacy is available as a Tor hidden service, and it turns out ~10% of users actually use it that way. This post details what I found when somebody created a phishing site of my Tor hidden service.

    • Judge Limits DOJ’s Warrant For Records From Anti-Trump Site

      The judge’s new order instructs DreamHost to redact identifying information of “innocent persons” who visited the website before providing the records to the government. It also dictates a protocol for incorporating procedural safeguards to comply with “First Amendment and Fourth Amendment considerations.” Among other stipulations, the government must submit to the court its plan for permanently deleting from its possession all information not within the scope of the warrant.

      [...]

      The company says it does not intend to appeal the court’s ruling.

    • French intelligence texts jihadist by mistake, inadvertently warning of surveillance operation

      A French intelligence agent sent a text message by mistake to the mobile phone of a jihadist, inadvertently warning him that he was under surveillance and undermining an investigation, it emerged on Friday.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After Harvey, Texas Inmates Were Left in Flooded Prisons Without Adequate Water or Food

      The treatment allegedly follows a pattern of neglect set during previous years’ hurricanes.

    • Turkey sentences Wall Street Journal journalist to jail in absentia: WSJ

      Ayla Albayrak, a Wall Street Journal reporter with dual Turkish and Finnish citizenship, was sentenced over a 2015 story about ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

    • Outrageous charges against jailed Amnesty staff in Turkey must be rejected
    • Dalit Girl Raped by Muslim Man in MP, Act Recorded on Mobile by Accused’s Female Relative

      Such instances of Muslim women facilitating rape or sexual grooming of non-Muslim girls are disturbingly common. In January, we had reported on the case of a Bengaluru teen who was gang-raped, confined & tortured for 40 days by a Muslim family (including women of the family).

    • Dalit woman raped, video uploaded on net in MP’s Agar-Malwa dist

      The act was recorded by a woman who facilitated the crime and put on online platforms to shame the girl. The matter came to fore when the 18-year-old girl approached the police [...]

    • Turkey Issues Arrest Warrant For Second US Consulate Worker, Lira Plunge Accelerates

      One day after an escalating diplomatic spat, in which both the US and Turkey halted the issuance of non-immigrant visas to each other’s citizens following last week’s arrest by Turkey of a US consulate worker, on Monday Turkey issued another detention warrant for a second US consulate employee, Ahaber newspaper reports.

    • Turkish prosecutors demand up to 15 years in prison for Amnesty International activists

      Turkish prosecutors have demanded up to 15 years in prison on charges of backing a terror group for 11 activists, most of whom were detained in a raid on a workshop led by Amnesty International, a report said on Sunday.

    • Jammu and Kashmir clerics of Majlis-e-Shura issue fatwa banning women from travelling alone

      According to Times Now, the religious conglomerate issued a list of diktats imposing restrictions on women in the state. According to the diktat, women can’t go to markets and public events alone, they must not interact with men on the streets and there will be separate classrooms for boys and girls in schools as co-education is ‘un-Islamic’.

    • Malaysia’s moderate Muslim nation image dented?

      The Economist says what happened to prominent Turkish intellectual Mustafa Akyol sends sombre message about Islam and the current situation in Malaysia.

    • I’m on Probation and It’s Like Another Form of Incarceration
    • He was 20 and unarmed. A police shooting brings Seattle’s Vietnamese Americans into the world of activism
    • Trump Thinks Protest Is a Worse Offense Than Treason

      There are at least two grave legal implications to what the president has been urging—one of private law, the other constitutional.

    • Pakistan is “mainstreaming” misogynist tribal justice

      Instead of trying to stamp out jirgas, however, the government has decided to integrate them into the formal justice system. Earlier this year it won parliamentary approval for a law that gives their rulings force, subject to certain reforms. The government will appoint “neutral arbitrators” to each jirga, who must approve their verdicts—a measure it hopes will eliminate misogynist horrors.

    • Girls wearing mini-skirts made me convert to Islam- Bishop
    • Less judgement, more action is needed on female genital mutilation
    • ‘FGM Should Be Everybody’s Business’ – We Spoke to a FGM Activist About the Lifelong Impact of Cutting

      Due to the secrecy that surrounds FGM, the true extent of the practise in Western countries isn’t known. We spoke to the director of No FGM Australia, the Human Rights Award-winning charity that works to abolish FGM and supports those at risk.

    • Campaign Tackles Baby-killing Ritual in Nigeria
    • Cameroon palm oil campaigner arrested in crackdown on activists

      Nasako Besingi has been jailed after opposing a US-funded palm-oil plantation and supporters say this is linked to Cameroon’s ‘anglophone crisis’

    • On-duty NYPD officers admit handcuffing teenage girl, putting her in van, and having sex with her, but say it wasn’t rape
    • Is the Republican Party a Threat to the Constitution?

      Anti-Constitution politics is an opposition to democracy as both practice and ideal. This is different from being against effective campaign-finance reform or for spurious voter-fraud measures. Elite dominance of national politics long precedes PACs and dark money. And the poor and people of color have been excluded from polling stations as long as ballots have been in the United States. However pernicious, these are retail assaults on constitutional democracy—all serious, but nonfatal to the enterprise as a whole. A full-scale version of the same attack requires more. If the movement accepts elections, it does so only if they serve as rituals to sanctify what is already known to be the true voice of the people.

    • The burden of reform and why we do it

      As patriarchal misogyny slowly dawned on us, we realised it was institutional and these lives being revealed before us were either vocal, aggressive cries for help or the last moment breaking of silences in shared confidences by those who elected to stay mute for years. The inner harem of our homes where women turned to women for help, advice, a shoulder to cry on, we girls had front seats to the sadness and tragedy permeating Muslim society because of laws that were unjust and biased towards us.

    • Unholy Alliance: Why do left-wing Americans support right-wing Muslims?

      Now, try to imagine the shock, betrayal and sadness I feel seeing fellow liberals celebrating right-wing, conservative aspects of Islam. On February 1, I was so upset over World Hijab Day that I spent the day in bed with a migraine. Hijab Day? Would it make sense to have Wings Day to celebrate the garment that women in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ are forced to wear? Is there a Mormon underwear day? What about a chastity belt day? I risked my life, and my daughter’s life, to escape from the darkness into the light — only to find the light celebrating and fetishising darkness.

    • Love jihad a fact in Kerala: Yogi Adityanath
    • Pakistani Christian On Death Row Among Nominees For Sakharov Prize

      She was convicted and sentenced to hang after an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water. Her supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a personal dispute.

      Under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam can be sentenced to death. Rights groups say blasphemy laws are often abused to carry out personal vendettas, mainly against minority Christians.

    • Chess player banned by Iran for not wearing a hijab switches to US

      A chess player banned from the Iranian national women’s team for attending an international competition without wearing an Islamic headscarf has joined the US team.

    • Donald Trump is letting Turkey hold an American citizen hostage

      Erdogan, a frequent recipient of Trump’s praise, has refused to release an American citizen being held hostage

    • The Quiet Islamic Conquest of Spain

      The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Cordoba TV, as did Iran.

    • A Proposal for Islam

      “We heard that you will speak about commonalities between Islam, Judaism and Christianity,” one officer said. “We don’t like that kind of stuff.” Then they left.

    • A one-way wall on the border?

      Do the people in USA supporting this wall really believe it is a one way wall, only keeping people on the outside from getting in, while not keeping people in the inside from getting out?

    • Justice for José Antonio, a 16-Year-Old Boy Killed By U.S. Border Patrol

      There is no Constitution-free zone where border patrol agents can kill unarmed civilians, no matter their country.

      If a U.S. Border Patrol agent uses excessive and unnecessary force to kill a noncitizen in a foreign country, are there consequences under the U.S. Constitution? The answer might seem to be obviously “yes” to most people. Unfortunately, our own government believes the answer is “no.”

      On October 10, 2012, José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year old boy, was shot and killed on Calle Internacional, a street in his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent. He was four blocks away from his home.

    • Changing the Politics of Mass Incarceration

      It’s been almost 50 years since President Richard Nixon played the law-and-order card to help him win the presidency. Decades later Donald Trump has adopted the same playbook, telling his own version of the forgotten American who is at the mercy of a crime wave. It didn’t matter that facts didn’t support candidate Trump’s arguments. Politically speaking, it worked.

      Nixon’s tough on crime political playbook, used by generations of American politicians after him, including Bill Clinton during the introduction and passage of the 1994 crime bill, has resulted in a mass incarceration crisis. On any given day, 2.3 million people are locked up, more than in any other nation. This mass incarceration crisis has devastated families and communities, particularly low income communities of color.

    • Louise Godbold: “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma”

      We continue our look at two shocking investigations by The New Yorker and The New York Times, which revealed a slew of rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. We speak with Louise Godbold, who recently wrote a blog post titled “My Encounter with Harvey Weinstein and What It Tells Us About Trauma.” Now executive director of Echo Parenting & Education, Godbold calls on others to believe and support survivors of sexual assault and harassment, saying, “We need to educate everyone about trauma.”

    • 5 Shocking Failures Of Criminal Justice You’ve Never Heard

      The legal system isn’t run by all-knowing super-robots (yet), so we’re stuck with regular old law enforcement officers, who are human beings. Ones who are going to make mistakes. Sometimes authorities make the right call. Sometimes they make honest mistakes. But then there are the times you get stories like…

    • These Muslim Students Built an App to Document Islamophobia on Campus

      In the aftermath of the Chapel Hill shooting in February 2015—when Deah Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, were killed by their 44-year-old neighbor—police hesitated to call the shooting a hate crime. After Craig Hicks’s arrest, Chapel Hill police announced that the ruthless killings were “motivated by an ongoing neighbor dispute over parking.” But for many in the Muslim community, the Chapel Hill shooting wasn’t an isolated event. It was just one of many instances of Islamophobia that Muslims in America experience on a regular basis.

      “After the shooting, I remember going on YikYak, and the hate speech was just blowing my mind,” said Ayesha Faisal, current president of the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill’s Muslim Student Association. “It was hours after the shooting. Out of nowhere there were people saying…‘It was justified because Muslims are terrorists.’”

    • If Ahmadis want equal status, they should stop pretending to be Muslims: Sanaullah

      Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan on Friday said the Ahmadi minority community should stop declaring themselves as Muslims if they want to be treated in the same manner as other religious minority groups in Pakistan.

      Addressing a press conference organised to ‘clear his position’ on the issue, Rana Sanaullah said that some media outfits had quoted his statement on Ahmadis out of context.

      “I said that Ahmadis pretend to be Muslims as they quote Quranic verses and perform religious rituals just like us in a bid to propagate their faith. But let me state it very clearly that, according to Islam and Pakistan’s constitution, those who do not believe in Khatam-e-Nabuwwat (finality of Prophethood) are not Muslims,” he said.

    • ‘I was not aware of what I was doing at the time,’ says UBC attempted murder suspect

      When asked by Sgt. Jeffrey why he might have attacked Mary Hare with a knife Almestadi said, “I started listening to the Koran and understanding the meanings differently.”

      “If you read something and your mind is thinking something else, you understand differently.”

      Almestadi — who was 18 at the time of the incident — said he even began seeing things that weren’t real.

      “At that point I thought Mary was the devil,” he said.

    • Judge rules Kentucky county liable for handcuffed children

      A federal judge says it was unreasonable for a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy to handcuff two unruly elementary school students and says the county government is liable for the officer’s conduct.

      The lawsuit was filed by the parents of two children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, identified in court documents only by their initials. In 2014, both children were handcuffed in separate incidents at separate schools after officials called for assistance from Kevin Sumner, a Kenton County Sheriff’s deputy and a school resource officer.

      The lawsuit and an accompanying video uploaded to YouTube by the ACLU ignited a nationwide debate about school discipline. The video, captured by a teacher, showed the boy handcuffed above his elbows and squirming in a chair with his arms behind his back while crying that he was in pain.

    • Utah police officer who dragged screaming nurse is fired

      A Salt Lake City Police spokesman told the AP that police chief Mike Brown decided to fire the officer on Tuesday after an investigation into the incident.

    • BREAKING: Utah officer fired after nurse’s arrest caught on video

      Authorities say a Utah police officer who was caught on video roughly handcuffing a nurse because she refused to allow a blood draw has been fired.

    • QB Colin Kaepernick files grievance for collusion against NFL owners

      Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the latest collective bargaining agreement against NFL owners for collusion, according to his attorney, Mark Geragos.

      Kaepernick is not going through the NFL Players Association but has instead hired Geragos, who has represented several high-profile clients, including Michael Jackson, former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield and musician Chris Brown.

    • California Police and Civil Liberties Groups Agreed on a Simple Transparency Measure. Gov. Brown Vetoed It Anyway.

      California Gov. Jerry Brown used the weekend to veto one of 2017′s last remaining bills to shine light on police practices.

      S.B. 345 was pretty straightforward: every law enforcement agency would have to upload its policies and training materials to its public website—but only documents that would be available anyway under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). The bill had uncommon support from both law enforcement associations and civil liberties organizations, like EFF and the ACLU of California.

    • Russia’s anti-corruption protests: detentions, detentions, detentions

      On 7 October, supporters of Alexey Navalny held events in 79 Russian cities. Jointly with Meduza, we have made an interactive map of the protests. According to our data, between 2,560 and 21,520 people took part in the various protests. In total, the number of those detained was 321 in 30 cities; some of the activists were detained before the start of the protests.

      The interactive map shows how many people took part in the protests, whether the rallies had official permission or not, how many people were detained, and in addition the various specifics of how each rally was held. You can tell the story of your own detention by using the form on our website (click on the megaphone in the top righthand corner) or add to the information about detentions on the map if we have missed something.

    • No evidence torture produces reliable info: former investigator

      Torture is not only immoral and illegal, it is also counterproductive to effective intelligence gathering, an independent international security consultant has said.

      Mark Fallon spent more than three decades with the US Government, mainly as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
      Since the 1990s he has been working in counter-terrorism operations, particularly related to Al-Qaeda, and is the author of a forthcoming book on torture.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How Many “Parts” (or “Labels”) Does A Domain Name Typically Have?

      Summarizing that graph, 99.98% of all unique RRnames seen have 10 or fewer labels, and 78.36% have just 1, 2 or 3 labels

    • TV Stocks Tumble After AT&T Cord-Cutting Disclosure

      The research firm eMarketer says that by the end of last year 16.7 million U.S. adults had already cut the cord and that by the end of this year it will be 22 million.

    • Google Fiber Gives Up On Traditional TV, And Won’t Be The Last Company To Do So

      While Google Fiber was initially hailed as the be-all-end-all of broadband disruption, the bloom has come off the rose in recent months. Last fall, Google executives began to have doubts about the high cost and slow pace of the project, resulting in a not-yet cooked pivot to wireless and the departure of two CEOs in less than a year. Company PR reps seem unable to answer basic questions about cancelled installations and the unsteady direction of the project, which has also faced more than a few obstacles erected by incumbent ISPs unhappy about the added competition.

      But Google Fiber has another problem: the slow but steady death of traditional television.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Monster Energy Loses Trademark Bid To Push Around Japanese Software Company

        There must be something about using the word “monster” in one’s business that turns that business into a true monster from a trademark bully perspective. Readers of this site will be familiar with the two largest offenders along these lines, Monster Cable and Monster Energy Corporation. It’s the latter that has continued its prolific trademark bullying ways to date, as recently as earlier this year, when it threatened a root beer company with the word “beast” in its name, claiming that this was too close to “monster” for the purposes of trademark law.

    • Copyrights

      • EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the “Link Tax”

        Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament representing Germany, writes about a EU study which finds that even publishers oppose the proposed “link tax” which is currently up for consideration by legislators. Interestingly, the report also finds that many journalists are afraid to cover the issue. Several publications declined to comment giving various reasons, including differences of view between the online editions and their parent publications. In other words, the subject is being silenced.

      • Popular Zer0day Torrent Tracker Taken Offline By Mass Copyright Complaint

        A popular content-neutral torrent tracker has been forced offline following pressure from an anti-piracy outfit. Zer0day was tracking more than five million peers earlier this month but a mass complaint from SCPP, an outfit that represents Warner, Universal, Sony and thousands of others, caused its host to terminate service.

      • Netflix Expands Content Protection Team to Reduce Piracy

        Netflix-type streaming services are among the best and most convenient alternatives to piracy but they have failed to make unauthorized consumption a thing of the past. Netflix understands this and by continuing to expand its content protection team, the company hopes to reduce piracy to a fringe activity.

      • ‘Pirate’ EBook Site Refuses Point Blank to Cooperate With BREIN

        A site focusing on eBooks is being pressured by Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. Among other things, Eboek.info says it provides digital versions of comics to people who’ve already bought a physical copy but BREIN insists this is illegal. The site says it won’t be giving in to BREIN’s demands, adding that Cloudflare’s services offer no protection against copyright groups.

10.14.17

Links 14/10/2017: Windows Breaks Dutch Law, Wine 2.19 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Haiku OS Is Still Chugging Along To Get Its First Official Release Out

    The BeOS-inspired Haiku OS has been around since 2002 and its alpha release came out five years ago while the beta and first “R1″ stable release are still being pursued.

    This week the open-source operating system project published a new report entitled Where is Haiku R1?

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4 BSD Operating System Debuts with New Installer, Drops 32-Bit Images

      Rubicon Communications’ Jim Pingle announced the release of the pfSense 2.4.0 operating system, a major release that introduces support for new devices, new features, and numerous improvements.

      Based on the latest FreeBSD 11.1 operating system, the pfSense 2.4 release comes with an all-new installer based on bsdinstall and featuring support for the ZFS file system, UEFI machines, as well as multiple types of partition layouts, including the widely used GPT and BIOS.

    • Coda revival

      Coda is a distributed file system developed as a research project at Carnegie Mellon University, descended from a older version of the Andrew File System. It got dropped from FreeBSD some five years ago, due to not having been adopted for a MPSAFE world. The focus for this current project is to bring it back into sufficiently workable shape that it could return to the kernel. It is currently in a working condition. Work is underway to test it better, fix whatever issues are found, and commit it to 12-CURRENT.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GLib tools rewrite

      If you’re still stuck with Autotools, though, you may also want to consider dropping glib-genmarshal, and use the FFI-based generic marshaller in your signal definitions — which comes at a small performance cost, but if you’re putting signal emission inside a performance-critical path you should just be ashamed of yourself.

      For enumerations, you could use something like this macro, which I tend to employ in all my projects with just few, small enumeration types, and where involving a whole separate pass at parsing C files is kind of overkill. Ideally, GLib would ship its own version, so maybe it’ll be replaced in a new version.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Fashion Needs an Open-Source Sustainability Solution

      Fashion brands are treating sustainability with new seriousness, but only an open source approach will move the entire industry forward.

    • Open Data

      • ‘Need open-source data platforms to curb corruption’

        Gandhi delivering a lecture on political reforms at NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad on Friday.
        BJP MP Varun Gandhi delivers a lecture at NALSAR University of Law

        Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi steered clear of the Jay Shah controversy when asked about it at NALSAR University of Law here on Friday.

        Mr. Gandhi was asked his views by a student, following a lecture on political reforms, on the response of the Indian government to a media story that alluded to an alleged connection between the profits made by businesses of Jay Shah, son of BJP national president Amit Shah, and the government. Without naming Jay Shah, the 37-year-old parliamentarian said nobody can be held guilty just by pointing a finger.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • How do you dump the firmware from a “secure” voting machine? With a $15 open source hardware board

        One of the highlights of this year’s Defcon conference in Vegas was the Voting Machine Hacking Village, where security researchers tore apart the “secure” voting machines America trusts its democracy to.

        The Voting Machine Hacking Village just released its master report on the vulnerabilities they found, and the participants are talking about it on Twitter, including Joe Fitz’s note that he dumped the firmware off a Accuvote TSX with one of Adafruit’s $15 open source hardware FT232h breakout boards.

  • Programming/Development

    • Google’s Learning Software Learns to Write Learning Software

      In a project called AutoML, Google’s researchers have taught machine-learning software to build machine-learning software. In some instances, what it comes up with is more powerful and efficient than the best systems the researchers themselves can design. Google says the system recently scored a record 82 percent at categorizing images by their content. On the harder task of marking the location of multiple objects in an image, an important task for augmented reality and autonomous robots, the auto-generated system scored 43 percent. The best human-built system scored 39 percent.

    • Intel Begins Working On “Knights Mill” Support For LLVM/Clang

      Intel compiler engineers have begun mainlining “Knights Mill” enablement within the LLVM compiler stack.

      Knights Mill is the codename for an upcoming Xeon Phi expected for release later this quarter. Details on Knights Mill are relatively light but it will cater to deep learning / AI use-cases and more efficient than Knights Landing (KNL).

      Intel has previously said Knights Mill is capable of twice the performance of Knights Landing for floating point operations per cycle and there are also new/optimized instructions for 8-bit and 16-bit arithmetic.

Leftovers

  • Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak launches his own online tech education platform

    Woz U also offers access to tech companies interested in using the tools and resources provided to recruit and train employees. The platform will be available to students K-12 through partnerships with school districts too. Down the line, Woz U wants to offer one-on-one instruction to students and, later on, to offer its own accelerator program for prospective startup founders. The overall goal is to increase interest in what Woz U calls STEAM careers, or science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, with the addition of arts presumably a nod to Wozniak’s role at Apple and fellow co-founder Steve Jobs’ lifelong mission to blend technology with the humanities.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Jeremy Hunt considers banning patients from walking up to A&Es
    • ‘Sadistic’ Sabotage: Uproar After Trump Declares End of Healthcare Subsidies

      Just hours after signing a widely denounced executive order that is expected to drive up insurance costs for sick Americans, President Donald Trump took what critics called another “absolutely despicable” step toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA) late Thursday by cutting off cost-sharing subsidies that help low-income individuals and families afford out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.

    • White House Attempting to Railroad Obamacare Repeal Through Executive Order, After Congressional Embarrassment

      President Trump is attempting to relax healthcare rules by fiat after failing repeatedly to pass an Obamacare-rollback law through Congress.

      The President signed an executive order on Thursday in an effort to allow the propagation of health insurance plans without key requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

      “Every congressional Democrat has blocked the efforts to save Americans from Obamacare along with a very small, frankly, handful of Republicans,” Trump said.

      The White House rolled out its decree at a ceremony featuring an introduction from one of those Republicans–Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

  • Security

    • Australian defense firm was hacked and F-35 data stolen, DOD confirms

      The Australian Cyber Security Centre noted in its just-issued 2017 Threat Report that a small Australian defense company “with contracting links to national security projects” had been the victim of a cyber-espionage attack detected last November. “ACSC analysis confirmed that the adversary had sustained access to the network for an extended period of time and had stolen a significant amount of data,” the ACSC report stated. “The adversary remained active on the network at the time.”

      More details of the breach were revealed on Wednesday at an IT conference in Sydney. ASD Incident Response Manager Mitchell Clarke said, “The compromise was extensive and extreme.” The attacker behind the breach has been internally referred to at the Australian Signals Directorate as “APT Alf” (named for a character in Australia’s long-running television show Home and Away, not the US television furry alien). Alf stole approximately 30 gigabytes of data, including data related to Australia’s involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, as well as data on the P-8 Poseidon patrol plane, planned future Australian Navy ships, the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb. The breach began in July of 2016.

    • IRS changes its mind about giving Equifax $7.5m to fight fraud (for now)

      Weeks after Equifax announced its worst-in-world-history breach, the IRS awarded the company a $7.5 million no-bid contract to prevent fraud.

      The announcement attracted incredulity and derision, but the IRS pressed ahead…until this week, when it was revealed that Equifax had been hacked again and was serving malware to people who were trying to correct errors in their credit records.

      That, finally, was the bridge too far for the tax-man. The IRS has (temporarily) yanked the contract. My guess is that they will try to quietly reinstate the contract later, with the tiniest, most obfuscated notice in the Federal Register. After all, the IRS single-sourced this contract because they said that Equifax is literally the only company in America with the data and skills to do the task they say they want done, so either the IRS pays another company a lot more to develop the capabilities, gives up on the project, or just waits until the heat is off and cuts a $7.5m check to the muppets at Equifax.

    • After second bungle, IRS suspends Equifax’s “taxpayer identity” contract

      The tax-collecting agency is now temporarily suspending the contract because of another Equifax snafu. The Equifax site was maliciously manipulated again, this time to deliver fraudulent Adobe Flash updates, which, when clicked, infected visitors’ computers with adware that was detected by just three of 65 antivirus providers. The development means that at least for now, taxpayers cannot open new Secure Access accounts with the IRS. Secure Access allows taxpayers to retrieve various online tax records and provides other “tax account tools” to those who have signed up.

    • Google, IBM Partner to Tighten Container Security
    • Grafeas, new open-source API for the software supply chain, released
    • Senior U.S. legal official meeting UK leaders to tackle online security issues

      “The approach taken in the recent past – negotiating with technology companies and hoping that they eventually will assist law enforcement out of a sense of civic duty – is unlikely to work,” he said at the U.S. Naval Academy on Tuesday.

    • Over 500 Million PCs Are Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency, Researchers Reveal

      Research by ad blocking firm AdGuard found 220 popular websites with an aggregated audience of half a billion people use so-called crypto-mining scripts when a user opens their main page.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Mass hysteria may explain ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba, say top neurologists

      Senior neurologists have suggested that a spate of mysterious ailments among US diplomats in Cuba – which has caused a diplomat rift between the two countries – could have been caused by a form of “mass hysteria” rather than sonic attacks.

      The unexplained incidents have prompted the US to withdraw most of its embassy staff from Havana and expel the majority of Cuban diplomats from Washington.

      The neurologists who talked to the Guardian cautioned that no proper diagnosis is possible without far more information and access to the 22 US victims, who have suffered a range of symptoms including hearing loss, tinnitus, headaches and dizziness.

    • Desensitised to Tragedy

      Islamophobia has become so insidious, so all-pervasive, and so powerful in media culture that there is virtually no concern expressed at the probable killing in a US drone strike of a 12 year old British child, Jojo Jones, whose short life was so spectacularly horrid through absolutely no fault of his own. Child soldiers in conflict are a dreadful problem. I tried in The Catholic Orangemen of Togo to convey the extremely powerful emotions I experienced when faced very directly with those who had seen atrocities and themselves been forced to kill at primary school age.

      But nobody in their right mind thinks that the answer to child soldiers is to kill them. If it is correct young Jojo is killed, I mourn him, the childhood he hardly knew and the potential for realising the dreams of normality such children always have.

      But Jojo is one of many thousands of children killed by the US in its “war on terror”, including the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is only the dehumanising of Muslims that causes the near total lack of visible western empathy for the nine young kids under 13 killed this year in one US raid in Yemen alone.

    • How Chicago Gets Its Guns

      John Thomas set up the deal the way he had arranged nearly two dozen others. A friend said he wanted to buy as many guns as he could, so Thomas got in touch with someone he knew who had guns to sell.

      The three of them met in the parking lot of an LA Fitness in south suburban Lansing at noon on Aug. 6, 2014. Larry McIntosh, whom Thomas had met in his South Shore neighborhood, took two semi-automatic rifles and a shotgun from his car and put them in the buyer’s car. He handed over a plastic shopping bag with four handguns.

    • The House of Saud Bows to the House of Putin

      The House of Saud was horrified by Russia’s successful campaign to prevent regime change in Syria. Moscow was solidifying its alliance with Tehran. Hawks in the Obama administration were imposing on Saudi Arabia a strategy of keeping oil prices down to hurt the Russian economy.

    • Trump’s Mendacious Speech on Iran

      Donald Trump’s speech on Iran is the latest chapter in his struggle to reconcile his overriding impulse to denigrate and destroy any significant achievements of his predecessor with the fact that the most salient of those achievements in foreign policy— the Iran nuclear agreement or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — is working.

    • How the CIA Staged Sham Academic Conferences to Thwart Iran’s Nuclear Program

      The CIA agent tapped softly on the hotel room door. After the keynote speeches, panel discussions and dinner, the conference attendees had retired for the night. Audio and visual surveillance of the room showed that the nuclear scientist’s minders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sleeping but he was still awake. Sure enough, he opened the door, alone.

      According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign institution of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-on-one. A last-minute snag had almost derailed the plans: The target switched hotels because the conference’s preferred hotel cost $75 more than his superiors in Iran were willing to spend.

      To show his sincerity and goodwill, the agent put his hand over his heart. “Salam habibi,” he said. “I’m from the CIA, and I want you to board a plane with me to the United States.” The agent could read the Iranian’s reactions on his face: a mix of shock, fear and curiosity. From prior experience with defectors, he knew the thousand questions flooding the scientist’s mind: What about my family? How will you protect me? Where will I live? How will I support myself? How do I get a visa? Do I have time to pack? What happens if I say no?

    • Sanders Responds to Trump’s Iran Deal Announcement

      “President Trump’s speech today was the latest in a series of rash and reckless moves that make Americans less safe. By refusing to re-certify the Iran nuclear agreement, President Trump ignored the public statements of his own national security officials. Last week, Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford and Secretary of Defense Mattis affirmed to the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran is meeting its commitments under the agreement and that staying in the agreement is in the national security interests of the United States.

      “Trump’s decision also isolates the United States from some of its most important allies. France, the U.K. and Germany all continue to support the agreement and have consistently said that it is in their own national security interests.

    • Trump’s Scary Nuclear Doctrine

      Pleasing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and terrifying almost everybody else, President Trump is threatening nuclear war against North Korea and, by implication, war with Iran, as ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke explains.

    • Trump’s Speech Against Iran Deal a National Disgrace

      Trump’s speech today was a national disgrace. This isn’t an effort to stiff a contractor over a real estate project, it’s a matter of war and peace. Donald Trump is in way over his head.

      Contrary to the reporting, Donald Trump is killing the deal – not in one move, but in several moves. First, Congress will attempt to kill it through deal-killing legislation from Sen. Tom Cotton. If that is blocked, Trump has vowed to kill it himself. Either way, the deal will get killed by this process triggered by Trump.

    • We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us

      It is not America’s gun laws that are the issue when it comes to the mass shootings which occur with banal regularity in the land of the free, it is the gun culture that underpins those laws – a culture symptomatic of the moral sickness the country is suffering from, and for which in 2017 there appears no sign of a cure.

      In the wake of the latest mass shooting to erupt in the US, this one at an open-air music festival in Las Vegas – during which 59 people were killed and hundreds more wounded by lone gunman Stephen Paddock, spraying automatic gunfire into the crowd from the window of a room overlooking the event at the Mandalay Bay Hotel – the same debate over America’s notorious gun laws has ensued, involving the usual parade of fulminating defenders of the country’s ‘sacred’ Second Amendment of the US Constitution, enshrining the right of citizens to bear arms.

      Said supporters of this provision within the country’s constitution, adopted and ratified in 1791 at a time when automatic and semi-automatic weapons were still centuries away from being invented, have in time honoured fashion been extending themselves in arguing that freedom in America means the freedom to be able to walk into a gun store on any given day and procure enough firepower to wipe out a herd of elephants.

      But as mentioned, the question is not over the rights or wrongs of the Second Amendment; the question is the culture of violence married to the near total lack of social cohesion that pervades in a country suffocating under the weight of its own nauseating hypocrisy. This culture and this lack of social cohesion are the underlying causes of the mass shootings and massacres that are so ubiquitous in America that they have become part of the cultural fabric, just like the Superbowl and Kim Kardashian’s tits.

      [...]

      The gun culture in America is also central to law enforcement. The inordinate number of people killed by cops across the country on a regular basis is less to do with trigger-happy police officers in fear of their lives committing catastrophic and fatal errors, and more to do with an ethos of vigilantism born of the dehumanization of the poor and/or of minorities, who make up the vast majority of victims of cop violence across the country. Indeed, in this respect, things have got to the point where within US law enforcement it seems that executing young black males, regardless of whether they happened to be armed or unarmed, has become more acceptable than ‘protecting and serving’.

    • A Peace Prize That Means Something: ICAN’s Nobel

      In the mid-1980s, there were 70,000 nuclear weapons in the world. Today there are just under 15,000. ICAN’s goal and NAPF’s goal is a world with zero nuclear weapons. This must also become the goal of all humanity. The great hope in the Nobel Peace Prize going to ICAN is that it will help draw global attention and concern to the ongoing threats posed by nuclear weapons and tip the scales toward ending the nuclear weapons era with its abundant dangers to all humanity.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Media coverage of climate negotiations greeted with indifference

      As the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement demonstrates, the agreement is not a binding contract requiring countries to act on climate change. In fact, given the fact that the emissions pledges in the agreement were voluntary, political and civic engagement will play an important role in ensuring that governments keep to their pledges.

      So, did the widespread media coverage of COP21 negotiations in Paris make any headway toward achieving this kind of civic engagement with climate policy? According to a paper in this week’s Nature Climate Change, it seems as though coverage may have done the opposite. People’s understanding of the issues at stake improved slightly over the course of the conference, but not much changed in their sense of personal or national responsibility. If anything, the authors write, “this global media event had a modest appeasing rather than mobilizing effect.”

    • Tail end of Hurricane Ophelia to bring rain, wind and warmth to UK

      As Hurricane Ophelia approached the UK on Friday night, forecasters were warning of heavy rain and gusts of up to 80mph, while some areas were set to enjoy a balmy 25C (77F).

      The Met Office issued severe weather alerts, warning of potential power cuts, damage to buildings and disruption to transport and mobile phone signals.

      The storm, which was losing force as it crossed the Atlantic, was forecast to reach the UK on Monday.

    • Trump Lies as Global Warming’s Victims Die

      Legendary independent journalist I.F. “Izzy” Stone often cautioned, “All governments lie.” But even Izzy would have been dizzy with the deluge of lies pouring out of the Trump administration, including President Donald Trump’s claim that human-induced climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to hurt the U.S. economy. Global warming has exacerbated recent catastrophic events from Houston to Miami to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and, now, to raging fires sweeping across California. The corporate TV weather reporting aids and abets Trump’s misinformation by consistently ignoring the role of climate change in this string of disasters.

    • Trump’s War for Coal Raises Risks

      President Trump’s war for coal is threatening progress on alternative energy while creating hazards both in the weather effects from global warming and in health risks from breathing dirty air, writes Jonathan Marshall.

    • Rep. Luis Gutiérrez: Trump Wants to Own Puerto Rico But Not Help Those Dying After the Hurricane

      As President Trump threatens to withdraw federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, home to 3.5 million U.S. citizens, residents of the island and their supporters respond with outrage and disbelief. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz called Trump the “hater-in-chief.” We get response from Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez.

    • As Trump Fumes, Puerto Rico Struggles

      Some three weeks after Hurricane Maria shredded Puerto Rico, the situation on the U.S. island territory remains grave with only about 10 percent of Puerto Rico’s residents having electricity, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Meanwhile, thousands of people remain in packed shelters in San Juan.

    • Robert Jay Lifton on the Apocalyptic Twins of Nuclear and Climate Threats & Reflections on Survival

      We spend the bulk of the hour with Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, a leading American psychiatrist and author of more than 20 books about the effects of nuclear war, terrorism and genocide. As NBC News reports President Trump has called for a nearly tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal, and as he threatens to attack North Korea and decertify the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Lifton examines what he calls the “apocalyptic twins: nuclear and climate threats.” His new book is titled “The Climate Swerve: Reflections on Mind, Hope, and Survival.”

  • Finance

    • Taxing the Wealthy to Pay for Universal Home Care

      Maine is developing a well-deserved reputation for cutting-edge progressive ballot initiatives. In 2016, voters approved proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage, raise taxes on the wealthy to fund education, introduce ranked choice voting, and legalize marijuana.

      The key force behind the state’s progressive ballot initiatives, the Maine People’s Alliance, has just launched a campaign to put another landmark issue on the 2018 ballot: universal home care for the elderly and disabled.

      There’s no question that such services are sorely needed — particularly in Maine, the state with the country’s highest median age. Caring for this rapidly aging population is extremely costly. The median annual cost for home care is now more than $50,000. That’s about on par with Maine’s median income for an entire household.

      Medicare does not cover the costs of in-home care and Medicaid reimbursement rates are so low that employers have difficulty finding workers willing to do this tough work for the meager wages they offer.

      Universal home care would be a huge relief for family members facing impossible choices between paying bills for basic needs versus covering the exorbitant cost of services for their loved ones.

    • Tax Cuts for the Rich, Paid for with Your Health Care
    • Trump administration’s zeal to peel back regulations is leading us to another era of robber barons

      The late 19th century in the United States was the heyday of robber barons – John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould and many others – who secured exorbitant wealth by building unregulated monopolies. They controlled the country’s oil, steel and railroads, and they used their wealth to bankrupt competitors, buy off politicians and fleece consumers. They manipulated a growing market economy that had weak rules and even weaker legal enforcement.

    • Digital Trade Agreements Failing to Reflect Internet Community Input: UNCTAD

      A hallmark of the new generation of trade agreements under negotiation, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), is the inclusion of chapters on e-commerce or digital trade. But interest in using trade agreements to address issues such as data localization, disclosure of software source code, and platform safe harbors, isn’t restricted to these regional trade negotiations.

      The same issues have also been raised at the international level at bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Economic Forum (WEF). Recent reports from some of these bodies highlight some serious shortcomings in the way that these digital issues are being shoehorned into new trade agreements without adequate transparency and consultation.

    • Corporate Media Have Few Apologies for Getting IRS Scandal Backwards

      Back in May 2013, corporate media outlets expressed alarm at a report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that suggested that from 2004 through 2013, the IRS had applied extra scrutiny to groups applying for tax-exempt status with conservative-sounding names. The report, “based on concerns expressed by members of Congress,” said that 96 groups applying for 501(c)(4) exemptions had been targeted for heightened questioning because of terms like “Tea Party” and “Patriots” in their names.

    • Britain’s top Brexit negotiator faces legal threat for withholding secret research

      Brexit Secretary David Davis has been threatened with legal action over his refusal to publish 50 secret studies commissioned on the impact of Britain leaving the EU.

    • This is why we’re taking David Davis to court over Brexit

      There have been letters, Freedom of Information requests, Parliamentary questions and, earlier this week, a letter signed by 120 cross-party MPs – all demanding that the government release studies they are sitting on about the economic impacts of Brexit.

      But David Davis has remained bullish, refusing to publish the findings.

      So, I have teamed up with Jolyon Maugham QC, a barrister and director of the The Good Law Project, to demand the Government release these studies within 14 days or face legal action. If the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) and the Treasury fail to do so, we will issue judicial review proceedings before the High Court, which would seek to compel the Government to release them.

    • Colorado’s Alamosa Municipal Court Tramples on the Rights of Poor People

      Municipal judges have incredible power over the lives of the people who enter their courtrooms. When these judges refuse to follow the law and instead run their courtrooms like fiefdoms, they can ruin lives. This is starkly true for people already living in poverty who must appear in Colorado’s Alamosa Municipal Court.

      In our new investigative report, “Justice Derailed,” we examine Alamosa’s local court, which operates under the sole leadership of Judge Daniel Powell. This court stands out for the frequency and seriousness of its constitutional abuses, which most often affect low-income individuals. The striking inequity in treatment between defendants with means and those without reveals the unfairness of a system that is supposed to be just, but which is actually the opposite.

      While Alamosa is the focus of this report, it is not alone in its abuses. Colorado has more than 200 local city courts that deal mostly with low-level offenses, which are often tied to drug addiction and poverty.

      For six years, the ACLU of Colorado has been investigating injustices in municipal courts. We have challenged debtors’ prison practices through letters sent to several municipalities and settlements reached in Colorado Springs and Aurora. We also brought evidence to the state capitol resulting in legislation to address debtors’ prisons, the lack of counsel in municipal courts, and lengthy waits in jail to see a municipal judge when an individual cannot afford to post bond.

    • Seattle Teacher: Dear Betsy DeVos, You’re Not Welcome Here

      There will be students there questioning your qualifications to serve as Secretary of Education, given that they have more experience with the public schools than you. They might point out that you never attended public schools and neither did any of your four children.

      There will be black people and civil rights organizations because you refused to say if the federal government would bar funding for private schools that discriminate. These anti-racist activists will protest your claim that Historically Black Colleges and Universities are “pioneers of school choice” as a way to promote privatizing public education—as if the segregation that forced African Americans to start their own colleges was a magnificent choice.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Internet Mocks Donald Trump for Not Knowing He Is the President of the Virgin Islands
    • Twitter Is Crawling With Bots and Lacks Incentive to Expel Them

      Despite all the recent attention, the exact dimensions of Twitter’s bot community remains opaque. Academics have asked Twitter to collaborate on research, to no avail, Ferrara, the USC professor, said. He said without internal Twitter data, he cannot figure out the origin and controller of the bots he has uncovered that posted politically-motivated Tweets. The last time he was in contact with Twitter was after the French elections to follow up on his research and ask the company about how bots were used during the election.

    • Lessig wants to fix the electoral college

      Writing in USA Today, Lawrence Lessig and Richard Painter compare the disenfranchisement of the electoral college to the much more hotly debated disenfranchisement due to gerrymadnering, and float a tantalizing idea for fixing it.

    • Let’s fix Electoral College. It’ll be easy compared to gerrymandering: Lessig & Painter

      The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that “one person, one vote” principle applies to the “presidential selection process” too. That was the basis of its judgment in Bush v. Gore (2000). But the court has never considered directly whether the state imposed rule of winner-take-all is consistent with that fundamental federal principle of equality.

      It’s time that it did. [...]

    • Getting the Fairness Doctrine Wrong–Again

      Actually, the Fairness Doctrine did not require equal time (Extra!, 1–2/05). Fisher is making a common error, confusing the Doctrine with the FCC’s Equal Time rule, which is still in force, but applies solely to political campaigns and candidates.

      Additionally, opinionated talk radio was not “a relatively new concept” in 1989 (Extra!, 1–2/07). Indeed, opinionated talk radio, which was always dominated by right-wing personalities, was born in 1960, and flourished in local markets under the Fairness Doctrine, which wasn’t jettisoned until 1987. By taking callers with contrasting views, talk radio was actually seen as comporting with the Fairness Doctrine.

      Fisher is not alone in these errors. Over the years, liberals and conservatives have respectively blamed and credited the demise of the Fairness Doctrine for the rapid growth of right-wing talk radio in 1980s and 1990s.

    • Xi Jinping has more clout than Donald Trump. The world should be wary

      AMERICAN presidents have a habit of describing their Chinese counterparts in terms of awe. A fawning Richard Nixon said to Mao Zedong that the chairman’s writings had “changed the world”. To Jimmy Carter, Deng Xiaoping was a string of flattering adjectives: “smart, tough, intelligent, frank, courageous, personable, self-assured, friendly”. Bill Clinton described China’s then president, Jiang Zemin, as a “visionary” and “a man of extraordinary intellect”. Donald Trump is no less wowed. The Washington Post quotes him as saying that China’s current leader, Xi Jinping, is “probably the most powerful” China has had in a century.

    • ‘He is failing’: Trump strikes out solo as friends worry and enemies circle

      Donald Trump’s decision to go it alone with rapid fire announcements on healthcare and Iran reflects his boiling frustration with the limits of presidential power, analysts say.

      The US president made a brazen move on Thursday night to halt payments to insurers under Barack Obama’s healthcare law. Democrats accused him of a “temper tantrum” and spiteful attempt to sabotage legislation he promised but failed to replace. Less than 24 hours later, he condemned the “fanatical” government of Iran as he decertified his predecessor’s nuclear deal, defying his own cabinet and disquieting European allies.

      The one-two punch showed Trump straining to assail Obama’s legacy but stopping short of terminating either the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, or the Iran nuclear accord. Both are back in the hands of Congress, a source of constant exasperation for the property tycoon turned novice politician, who finds himself isolated and lashing out.

    • ‘Partisan’ Gerrymandering Is Still About Race

      The Wisconsin voting rights case before the Supreme Court has been cast as the definitive test of whether partisan gerrymandering is permitted by the Constitution. But a closer look at the case and others like it shows that race remains an integral element of redistricting disputes, even when the intent of those involved was to give one party an advantage.

      Consider Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin case that was argued last week before the nation’s highest court.

      During its journey through the legal system, the case has turned on whether Republicans secured an impermissible advantage over Democrats in the way Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature redrew district lines after the 2010 census.

      But because of the deep racial divides that pervade American politics, the story is not that simple.

      Wisconsin’s Democratic Party includes a substantial number of African-American and Latino voters, particularly in cities like Milwaukee. When you look more closely at redistricting plans drawn in Wisconsin and elsewhere, you see that both parties have improved their statewide prospects by diminishing the political power of minority voters.

    • On Being Unable to Discharge the Powers and Duties of His Office

      The catastrophes pile up, from large – Iran, Obamacare, immigration, Puerto Rico, North Korea, women’s rights, the atrocity of a serial sexual predator lecturing about “values” at a hate-filled “summit” – to small, like rhyming Tanzania with mania, confusing the national debt with the stock market, and not knowing that he, himself, Little Man-Child Donny, is in fact the president of the Virgin Islands, who he says he just talked to. Amidst such chaos, opposition is slowly, slowly mounting: A GOP lawmaker argues his moves on health care will do the opposite of what he says, Pelosi insists everything he does represents violence – “He’s saying, ‘Stop the world,’ because he doesn’t know how to deal with it” – and questions about fitness repeatedly arise: Is he just a moron, or also mentally ill?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Tech Giants Protest Looming US Pirate Site Blocking Order

      The CCIA, which represents global tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, is protesting a looming injunction that would require search engines, ISPs and hosting companies to stop linking to or offering services to several “pirate” sites. The injunction requested by — is overbroad, the tech giants warn.

    • Angered by gun control, this lawmaker drafted a bill to require licenses for journalists

      The measure would require journalists — defined as anyone writing or broadcasting news for a newspaper, magazine, website or television or radio station — to be registered and fingerprinted by the police and vetted for their “character and reputation.”

    • Donald Trump Thinks the Freedom of the Press Is ‘Disgusting’

      Donald Trump has pledged to defend the Constitution — even an article that doesn’t exist — but he can’t seem to lay off that pesky First Amendment.

    • Statute Of Limitations Has Run Out On Trump’s Bogus Promise To Sue The NY Times

      A year ago, we wrote in great detail about just how ridiculous it was that then Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lawyers had threatened to sue the NY Times over a story about two women who claimed that Trump had groped them inappropriately. Trump insisted to the NY Times that none of it happened, and one of his favorite lawyers, Marc Kasowitz sent a letter calling the story “reckless, defamatory, and constitutes libel per se.” It also demanded the article be removed from the Times’ website and that a “full and immediate retraction and apology” be posted instead. The letter insisted that “failure to do so will leave my client with no option but to pursue all available actions and remedies.”

    • Another Ridiculous Lawsuit Hopes To Hold Social Media Companies Responsible For Terrorist Attacks

      Yet another lawsuit has been filed against social media companies hoping to hold them responsible for terrorist acts. The family of an American victim of a terrorist attack in Europe is suing Twitter, Facebook, and Google for providing material support to terrorists. [h/t Eric Goldman]

      The lawsuit [PDF] is long and detailed, describing the rise of ISIS and use of social media by the terrorist group. It may be an interesting history lesson, but it’s all meant to steer judges towards finding violations of anti-terrorism laws rather than recognize the obvious immunity given to third party platforms by Section 230.

      When it does finally get around to discussing the issue, the complaint from 1-800-LAW-FIRM (not its first Twitter terrorism rodeo…) attacks immunity from an unsurprising angle. The suit attempts to portray the placement of ads on alleged terrorist content as somehow being equivalent to Google, Twitter, et al creating the terrorist content themselves.

    • Trump’s threats against NBC aren’t empty — look at the damage done by Nixon

      The right-wing war against the mainstream media goes back at least as far as Nixon — and it’s effective

    • Trump May Not Be Serious About His NBC Threats… But He May Have Violated The First Amendment

      By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about President Trump’s multiple tweet attack on NBC for having a story he didn’t like. A few times, Trump has suggested that NBC should “lose its license” because he doesn’t like the company’s reporting.

    • Turkey: Artistic freedom or self-censorship

      The motto of this year’s Istanbul Biennial is ‘A good neighbor’. But what do you do when your neighbors turn away, and your government grows increasingly autocratic? Some have cricized the event for being too apolitical.

    • Copyright Isn’t a Tool for Removing Negative Reviews

      At EFF, we see endless attempts to misuse copyright law in order to silence content that a person dislikes. Copyright law is sadly less protective of speech than other speech regulations like defamation, so plaintiffs are motivated to find ways to turn many kinds of disputes into issues of copyright law. Yesterday, a federal appeals court rejected one such ploy: an attempt to use copyright to get rid of a negative review.

      The website Ripoff Report hosts criticism of a variety of professionals and companies, who doubtless would prefer that those critiques not exist. In order to protect platforms for speech like Ripoff Report, federal law sets a very high bar for private litigants to collect damages or obtain censorship orders against them. The gaping exception to this protection is intellectual property claims, including copyright, for which a lesser protection applies.

      One aggrieved professional named Goren (and his company) went to court to get a negative review taken down from Ripoff Report. If Goren had relied on a defamation claim alone, the strong protection of CDA 230 would protect Ripoff Report. But Goren sought to circumvent that protection by getting a court order seizing ownership of the copyright from its author for himself, then suing Ripoff Report’s owner for copyright infringement. We filed a brief explaining several reasons why his claims should fail, and urging the court to prevent the use of copyright as a pretense for suppressing speech.

    • Corporations Have Utterly Failed to Protect Speech

      Let us take stock of how the private companies that manage two of the largest communication platforms in the world—Facebook and Twitter—have managed people’s speech in the last week alone:

      Rapper Lil B was temporarily banned from Facebook for “hate speech” after calling out gun-loving white people (calling them “violent”) in the wake of a deadly shooting in Las Vegas committed by a white retiree; actress Rose McGowan was briefly suspended from Twitter after speaking out about those who enabled her own abuse at the hands of Harvey Weinstein; and Twitter first blocked but then allowed US congresswoman Marsha Blackburn to run an ad promoting a far-right conspiracy theory about Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts, which has been thoroughly debunked.

    • NBC Reportedly Axed the Harvey Weinstein Story as Hollywood Made Rape Survivors the Butt of Jokes

      As part of a roundtable discussion on the rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, we speak with journalist Irin Carmon, who wrote an essay titled “Women shouldn’t trust the men who call themselves allies.” We are also joined by two women who are survivors of assaults by Weinstein: Tomi-Ann Roberts, professor of psychology at Colorado College, and Louise Godbold, executive director of Echo Parenting & Education.

    • A lighter, softer censorship in Vietnam

      Vietnam’s first ever licensed nude photography exhibition took place last month in Ho Chi Minh City, a collection of portraits entitled Tao Tac, which translates loosely to “subtle pieces making a whole when put together.”

      Hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association Headquarters, the show collated over four years of shoots, editing and planning by Vietnamese photographer Hao Nhien.

    • China’s Internet censors know how to block Russian interference
    • Great Firewall of China
    • President Xi Nails Shut Chinese Internet’s Coffin
    • Here are the Reasons Why China’s Digital Media Landscape is Dominated by Local Players
    • China’s Great Firewall Grows Higher Ahead of Party Congress
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Kaspersky asks for proof of claims made in American media

      Under pressure after a series of articles in the US press made various claims about its links to Russian state authorities this week, security firm Kaspersky Lab appears to be reluctant to dismiss the allegations out of hand.

    • US government calls for ‘reasonable’, er, breakable encryption

      “I wouldn’t describe my goal is to put pressure on the tech industry…Regulation is a potential option”.

    • Facial Recognition for Porn Stars Is a Privacy Nightmare Waiting to Happen

      The underlying tech being used by Pornhub could one day be used by more nefarious actors to identify amateur and unwitting porn models.

    • How Facebook Outs Sex Workers

      Her “real identity”—the public one, who lives in California, uses an academic email address, and posts about politics—joined Facebook in 2011. Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name. Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila (a name I’m using using in place of either of the names she uses) was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.

    • US Congress mulls first ‘hack back’ revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it’ll let people do

      Two members of the US House of Representatives today introduced a law bill that would allow hacking victims to seek revenge and hack the hackers who hacked them.

      The Active Cyber Defense Certainty Act (ACDC) [PDF] amends the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to make limited retaliatory strikes against cyber-miscreants legal in America for the first time. The bill would allow hacked organizations to venture outside their networks to identify an intruder and infiltrate their systems, destroy any data that had been stolen, and deploy “beaconing technology” to trace the physical location of the attacker.

      “While it doesn’t solve every problem, ACDC brings some light into the dark places where cybercriminals operate,” said co-sponsor Representative Tom Graves (R-GA).

      “The certainty the bill provides will empower individuals and companies use new defenses against cybercriminals. I also hope it spurs a new generation of tools and methods to level the lopsided cyber battlefield, if not give an edge to cyber defenders. We must continue working toward the day when it’s the norm – not the exception – for criminal hackers to be identified and prosecuted.”

    • Congress wants to tie the intelligence community’s hands for no reason

      What happens when you start with panicky civil libertarians, sprinkle in some right-wing conspiracy theories about “unmasking” intelligence, and polish it off with a healthy dose of congressional dysfunction and a self-imposed legislative deadline? You get bad surveillance policy in the name of reform. Don’t look now, but that’s what’s shaping up in Congress at this moment.

    • FBI director warns against restricting controversial NSA surveillance program

      FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Friday that changing the rules of a soon-to-expire surveillance program could create new barriers to preventing terrorist attacks, similar to those that existed before 2001.

      In defending his agency’s information-sharing program with the National Security Agency — which civil liberties groups have criticized as a threat to privacy — Wray said his agents get just a small piece of the NSA’s intelligence gathering.

    • Pass the Protecting Data at the Border Act

      The federal government sees the U.S. border as a Constitution-free zone. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims that border officers—from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—can freely ransack travelers’ smartphones and laptops and the massive troves of highly personal information they contain. This practice is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and free speech rights. Congress can and should fix this problem by enacting the bipartisan Protecting Data at the Border Act (S. 823 and H.R. 1899).

      The need for reform is urgent. In the last two years, DHS more than tripled the number of border device searches. It conducted about 8,500 in fiscal year 2015, about 19,000 in fiscal year 2016, and is on track to conduct 30,000 in fiscal year 2017. DHS’s written policies specify that border officers may search electronic devices “with or without individualized suspicion.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Victory! California Just Reformed Its Gang Databases and Made Them More Accountable

      Gov. Jerry Brown has signed A.B. 90, a bill that EFF advocated for to bring additional accountability and transparency to the various shared gang databases maintained by the State of California. With a campaign organized by a broad coalition of civil liberties organizations—such as Youth Justice Coalition, National Immigration Law Center, Urban Peace Institute, among others—the much needed reform was passed.

    • Narrow path walked by the non-religious just got narrower

      Lately, the non-religious are in the news for all the wrong reasons : from Malaysia’s minister denouncing atheists and wanting them tracked down; to Singapore’s former top civil servant insinuating atheists to be the potential cause in Singapore’s imminent demise; to Amos Yee’s release from a Chicago immigration jail and vowing to ply his old tricks. I feel the non-religious community in Singapore is very much misunderstood by people with religion, and hence marginalised by the politics of majority.

    • The 6 Agencies Where Employee Morale Has Declined the Most

      A number of agencies with fewer than 1,000 employees saw much worse declines, although organizations with smaller workforces often see more drastic changes from year to year.

      The African Development Fund saw the worst drop-off in employee happiness, reversing some of its landmark gains from the previous year. The agency jumped from a satisfaction index of 18 in 2015 up to 62 last year. But in 2017, it fell again to 47.

    • Muslim Ban 3.0 Is Heading to Court — Here’s What You Need to Know Right Now

      This Monday, we are back in court, fighting to block Muslim Ban 3.0 before it can go into effect on October 18, 2017. President Trump’s latest proclamation is largely the same as his first two bans, in terms of who will suffer, but worse — because it has no end date.

    • How Trump’s Threats Against the NFL Could Violate the First Amendment

      Official threats of retaliation can chill speech, with or without actual punishment.

      Across the country, African-American athletes have been taking a knee or raising a fist during the national anthem. They are protesting the killings of Black men and women by law enforcement officers and the systemic failure to hold anyone accountable for those killings. They have put their lives and livelihoods on the line for doing so.

    • Can We Call Trump a Fascist Now?

      He has contempt for democratic norms and procedures, and has repeated undermined them;
      He has threatened violence against his political enemies;
      He espouses militant nationalism;
      He is patriarchal, hyper-masculine and misogynist;
      He uses racism, ethnocentrism and bigotry to advance his political goals;
      He lies compulsively in order to twist reality to his will and keep supporters enthralled;
      He stokes a sense of racial grievance and victimhood among his voters;
      He acts with contempt and utter disregard for the law;
      He uses his position as president to personally enrich himself, his family and his political allies;
      He openly admires authoritarian leaders from other countries;
      Through voter purges and other means, he is trying to ensure a permanent Republican majority and de facto one-party state;
      He believes in “blood and soil” racism;
      He is trying to remove any regulations or other types of restrictions on corporations;
      He appears to be a malignant narcissist who believes he is above the law;
      He grants pardons to his political allies;
      He has utter contempt for freedom of the press and the concept of “checks and balances”;
      He encourages police and other paramilitary forces to abuse racial and ethnic minorities;
      He has been acclaimed by white supremacist and other right-wing fascist groups as their leader.

    • We Don’t Think an 8-Year-Old Boy Should Be Put in Handcuffs. A Judge Finally Agreed With Us.

      A federal judge just put a small crack in the school to prison pipeline.

      In the fall of 2014, “SR,” a little 8-year-old boy in Kenton County, Kentucky, had a terrible day at school. The assistant principal put him in a restraint hold after he yelled at kids who were mean to him. And then she confined him to her office, where he kicked and screamed to be let out because he needed to go to the bathroom.

      But then it got worse.

      The assistant principal called the local deputy sheriff who served as a school resource officer (SRO). By the time Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner arrived, SR had calmed down. He had spoken to his mother, and the assistant principal had told him he could go to the bathroom when the deputy arrived. When they returned from the bathroom, the deputy sheriff said SR — all 54 pounds of him — swung an elbow at him. The deputy sheriff’s response was to clap him in handcuffs.

      Really. We could barely believe it either, but the assistant principal video-taped it. So the Disability Rights Program of the National ACLU filed suit, along with the ACLU of Kentucky, the Children’s Law Center of Cincinnati, and the law firm of Dinsmore Shohl.

    • I am in Guantánamo Bay. The US Government is Starving Me to Death

      I haven’t had food in my stomach for 23 days. The 20 September was the day they told us they would no longer feed us. They have decided to leave us to waste away and die instead.

      I am in so much pain every minute that I know it can’t go on much longer. Now as each night comes, I wonder if I will wake up in the morning. When will my organs fail? When will my heart stop? I am slowly slipping away and no one notices.

      There is a man who is in charge of all the medical staff. I don’t know his name but they call him the senior medical officer. He was the one who called us all in and told us they would stop feeding us. As soon as he took over I knew he was bad news and now he has decided to end our lives.

    • We’re Suing the Government for Violating the Rights of Passengers on Delta Airlines 1583 in Police-State Fashion

      CBP agents detained every passenger on a domestic flight and forced them to show their papers before deplaning.

      On February 22, 2017, Delta Airlines Flight 1583 departed San Francisco and headed for John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. As the plane was landing, passengers heard a strange announcement.

      Speaking over the intercom, a flight attendant announced that everyone would have to show their documents in order to get off the plane. After passengers expressed their consternation, the flight attendant repeated her announcement, stating that officers would be meeting the plane and every passenger would have to show government-issued ID to deplane.

      The announcement immediately unsettled Kelley Amadei, who was traveling with her wife and 7-year-old son. Kelley flies frequently for work, both internationally and domestically, and she knew this did not feel right. Around her, other passengers wondered aloud how the government had the authority to prevent them from leaving the plane and requiring them to show identification again.

    • Congress Can’t Keep Letting The White House Enforce Secret Laws

      Intelligence agency leaders are waging an all-out public relations campaign in support of their favored surveillance authority, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which expires at the end of this year. But at the same time they demand Congress renew this far-reaching spying power, officials are refusing to tell Americans how the government interprets this authority to sweep up and search their phone calls, emails, and other communications, all without a warrant.

    • Think You Have a Constitutional Right to an Attorney? Not in Many South Carolina Courts

      Municipal courts in South Carolina are treating the right to counsel as a luxury the poor cannot afford.

      Imagine getting arrested, charged with a crime, prosecuted, convicted, and hauled off to jail. Imagine that happening without ever being represented by a lawyer. Not in America, right? Wrong. This injustice happens with shocking regularity to people in South Carolina in the city of Beaufort and town of Bluffton.

      Take the case of Tina Bairefoot, whose constitutional rights were trampled upon in Beaufort.

      Ms. Bairefoot was arrested for shoplifting at Walmart and charged with a misdemeanor in Beaufort municipal court. She pleaded not guilty. Despite the fact that she was facing criminal charges and possible incarceration if convicted, Bairefoot was never even advised of her right to have a court-appointed lawyer if she could not afford to pay for one.

      In fact, not only was she on her own to defend herself, but it was the police officer who arrested her who then acted as the prosecutor in court. After a “trial” that took a matter of minutes, Ms. Bairefoot was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail without counsel by her side.

    • Psychologists are facing consequences for helping with torture. It’s not enough.
    • Guantánamo’s USS Cole death-penalty case in limbo after key defense lawyer quits

      It also comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear an appeal brought by Nashiri’s Pentagon lawyers that asks the justices to intervene in the war court case.

      Nashiri, 52, is accused of orchestrating al-Qaida’s Oct. 12, 2000 suicide bombing of the warship off Yemen. His lawyers say his years of torture in CIA custody merits pre-trial review of the case. The Supreme Court could announce Monday whether it will accept the challenge.

    • Trump Becomes First Sitting President to Speak at Hate-Filled ‘Values Voter Summit’

      Advocates of LGBT rights and religious freedom denounced President Donald Trump as he became the first sitting president to address the Values Voter Summit on Friday. In his speech, Trump assured his supporters that Judeo-Christian religious values would be protected by his administration and pushed the narrative that social conservatives have been under attack in the U.S.

    • Our Fight to Stop Discriminatory Screening Practices at AmeriCorps

      The program’s intrusive health screening forms and guidelines discriminate against people with disabilities.

      Has your employer, school, or volunteer program ever required you to disclose all the medications you are taking – including birth control and antidepressants? Have you been asked if you saw a counselor or if you visited a hospital in the last five years?

      Shockingly, AmeriCorps requires this information – and many more medical details – of all applicants to the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), the federal service program for young people ages 18 to 24. Even worse, it rescinds offers it has given based on the information it receives, even when the applicant is qualified to serve.

      This is what happened to Susie Balcom, who applied to join AmeriCorps NCCC during her last year of college. With a 4.0 GPA, two successful terms with the state AmeriCorps program, and a demonstrated commitment to public service, she received multiple offers from AmeriCorps in April 2017. She accepted a one-year position to serve as a Support Team Leader, which would require her to coordinate logistics and trainings for corps members from the AmeriCorps office in Mississippi, starting in June. Thrilled to be able to serve her country, she made plans to move and postponed the start of her graduate studies.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

10.13.17

Links 13/10/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.5, pfSense 2.4, Final Stages of Ubuntu 17.10

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Olimex ships open spec Linux laptop and tips new COM format

      Olimex has launched its open source, Alwinner A64 based Teres-A64 laptop kit for $284, and unveiled a SOM204 form factor that will debut on an A20 COM.

      Back in February, Bulgaria-based Olimex, which is known for its open spec OLinuXino SBCs like the Allwinner A64 based A64-OLinuXino, announced an open source laptop kit based on the same quad-core, Cortex-A53 SoC called the Teres-1. The Ubuntu Mate-supported laptop kit took longer than expected, but it’s finally here as the Teres-A64, selling for 240 Euros ($284) instead of 225 Euros.

    • Olimex Teres DIY open source laptop kit now available for $284

      The Olimex Teres I is a small laptop designed to run open source software… and which features open source hardware as well. We reported on the Teres I when the hardware design was finalized earlier this year. Now the laptop is available for purchase for 240 Euros (about $284).

    • Microsoft Fixes Windows Blue Screen Error After Patch Tuesday Update

      As a part of their monthly routine, Microsoft released the Patch Tuesday update on October 10. But other than the necessary security patches and bug fixes, it also brought BSODs to some Windows users.

  • Server

    • 5 traits of good systems architecture

      Two books helped me come to some sort of understanding about the art of being an architect. I read them a long time ago, but I still dip into them from time to time: 97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know, by Richard Monson-Haefel; and Beautiful Architecture: Leading Thinkers Reveal the Hidden Beauty in Software Design, by Diomidis Spinellis and Georgios Gousios.

      What’s interesting about them is that they both have multiple points of view expressed in them: some contradictory—even within each book. And this rather reflects the fact that I believe that being a systems architect is an art or a discipline. Different practitioners will have different views about it. You can talk about computer science being a hard science, and there are parts of it that are, but much of software engineering (lower case intentional) goes beyond that.

      The same, I think, is even more true for systems architecture: you may be able to grok what it is once you know it, but it’s very difficult to point to something—even a set of principles—and say, “that is systems architecture.” Sometimes, the easiest way to define something is by defining what it’s not: e.g., search for “I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

    • Kubernetes the not so easy way

      The simplest method to deploy and operate Kubernetes on Ubuntu is with conjure-up. Whether the substrate is a public cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc) private virtualized environments (VMware) or bare metal, conjure-up will allow you to quickly deploy a fully functional, production-grade Kubernetes.

    • Puppet and Google Partner on Cloud On-Ramp
  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • S10E32 – Possessive Open Chicken

      This week we’ve been playing Wifiwars, discuss what happened at the Ubuntu Rally in New York, serve up some command line lurve and go over your feedback.

  • Kernel Space

    • Four new stable kernels

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of the 4.13.6, 4.9.55, 4.4.92, and 3.18.75 stable kernels. As usual, they contain fixes throughout the tree, so users should upgrade.

    • Linux 4.13.6

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.13.6 kernel.

    • Linux 4.9.55
    • Linux 4.4.92
    • Linux 3.18.75
    • Etnaviv Landing Performance Counters For Linux 4.15

      Lucas Stach has sent in the Etnaviv DRM driver changes to DRM-Next for the Linux 4.15 kernel. This is one of the bigger pull requests for this reverse-engineered, open-source Vivante graphics driver.

      This community-driven Vivante graphics driver continues to become more capable and feature complete with each kernel cycle. For Linux 4.15 the new work includes landing GPU performance counter support, which is important for developers in being able to analyze/tune the performance. They’ve been reverse engineering the Vivante performance counters for a while and now it’s ready to go for Linux 4.15. There are experimental patches currently for libdrm in making use of the new API.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 17.3 Will Be Branching Soon For Releasing In Mid-November

        Feature development for Mesa 17.3 will be over soon in order to get this quarterly update to Mesa3D shipping next month.

        Release manager Emil Velikov is planning to issue the feature freeze and first release candidate next Friday, 20 October. That will mark the deadline for getting major features/improvements into Mesa 17.3, after which point it will be reserved for bug fixes.

      • xorg-server 1.19.5

        One regression fix since 1.19.4 (mea culpa), and fixes for CVEs 2017- 12176 through 2017-12187. C is a terrible language, please stop writing code in it.

      • X.Org Server 1.19.5 Released To Fix Another Handful Of Security Vulnerabilities

        Ouch, so basically a lot of potential for buffer overflows. Sadly, this is not the first time we have seen a big batch of X.Org Security vulnerabilities and security researchers in the past have generally characterized X.Org security as even worse than it looks.

      • Intel Is Prepping A Final Batch Of Feature Changes For Linux 4.15 DRM

        Intel has been sending in feature updates for their Direct Rendering Manager driver of new material that will debut in Linux 4.15. A third and final feature update is expected next week for DRM-Next.

    • Benchmarks

      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Comparison On The Intel Core i7 8700K

        Our latest benchmarking of Intel’s 8th Gen Core “Coffee Lake” processors entailed seeing how well the i7-8700K performs on a variety of modern Linux distributions. Tested for this comparison was Ubuntu 17.10, Antergos 17.10, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux, Debian Testing, Solus 3, and Fedora 26.

        With these seven GNU/Linux distributions they were tested out-of-the-box following a clean install on the i7-8700K setup. Some highlights from these distributions include:

        The Arch-based Antergos 17.10 rolling distribution has Linux 4.13.5, GNOME Shell, Mesa 17.2.2, GCC 7.2.0, and EXT4 by default.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Here’s 10 Best Linux Desktop Environments

      A desktop environment is a suite of tools which make it easier for you to use your computer. Linux users have a choice of many different desktop environments, all with their own styles and strengths. Here, we’ve created a list of the 10 best linux desktop environments.

    • Dedoimedo interviews: Xfce team

      Hi, I’m Sean! I’m an Xfce core developer, Xubuntu Technical Lead, and long-time Linux user. I love solving problems … and maintaining a desktop environment means there’s no shortage of those.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.11 Release Party in Heidelberg
      • My first patch on Kate: Signals&Slots
      • KDE Neon 5.11 Linux Distro Released With Latest Plasma Release

        couple of days ago, the much awaited Plasma 5.11 desktop was released by KDE developers. The major features of this release were better notifications, redesigned settings app, improved task manager, and new Vault app. Soon after this release, KDE Neon developers also shipped their brand new release, i.e., KDE Neon 5.11.

        On a side note, we recently published our list of most beautiful Linux distributions, which features KDE Neon at #5. Do check it out.

      • KDE Powers up the Qt World Summit

        We also wanted to make it easy for visitors to power up their devices, so we placed plugs and USB charging stations all over our booth. Our visitors came, sat, chatted, re-charged their bodies, minds and devices, while at the same time finding out why KDE is the driving force behind many a software project. This turned out to be winning idea. A lot of people came by the “Power up!” space, and the buzz gave us the chance to demonstrate exactly how KDE could also power up their software and hardware projects. Many still perceive KDE exclusively as the creator of a desktop, but, at the ripe age of twenty, KDE is much more than that.

      • KDE Edu Sprint 2017

        Two weeks, two posts. Lets see how long I can keep up with this!

        Last weekend I was part of the KDE Edu Sprint 2017 in the Endocode offices in Berlin, just a couple of days before the Qt World Summit, which was actually my first KDE Edu sprint (if you do not count Randa 2014). It was great as always to meet other KDE developers working on educational projects and I think we got a lot of work done.

        While my primary focus going into the sprint was to work on macro support in Kig (there were many open bugs regarding macros), Aleix Pol’s initial remarks helped me realize it was better to “take advantage of the fact that we were all at one place, and work on things you cannot do back home” so I decided to see what others were doing and try to help with that as well. Since Sandro Andrade was working on testing KDE Edu builds in Windows using Craft and I had been working on generating Craft recipes from Portage ebuilds, I finished a script that translates portage ebuilds from Gentoo’s Portage tree into Craft recipes. This will automate low-hanging fruits like applications that basically only depend on KDE frameworks and Qt5 libraries. I committed this script to the development scripts repository in case someone finds them useful. It is a very experimental script so you are welcome to improve it!

  • Distributions

    • The developers of Solus are hoping to improve Linux gaming with snaps and their Linux Steam Integration

      The Solus distribution [Official Site] developers are a clever bunch, with their Linux Steam Integration [GitHub] software package and snaps, they are hoping to “relieve the pressure on distributions for supporting gaming”.

      When I say snaps, I’m talking the snap package system, specifically from version 2.28 onwards which supports something called “base” snaps. You can read more about the idea behind base snaps here.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Linux listed RethinkDB’s website

        The rethinkdb‘s website has (finally) been updated and Gentoo Linux is now listed on the installation page!

        Meanwhile, we have bumped the ebuild to version 2.3.6 with fixes for building on gcc-6 thanks to Peter Levine who kindly proposed a nice PR on github.

    • Slackware Family

      • Updates for LibreOffice, Pale Moon, Flash

        The LibreOffice packages were uploaded to my repository last Friday, so you probably already have that installed. Never hurts to mention it for those people who did not subscribe to my RSS feed.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Alibaba Cloud, Red Hat look to boost flexibility with open source

        Alibaba Cloud customers will soon be able to harness the power and flexibility of Red Hat’s open source solutions following a tie-up between the two companies.

        The tie-up will see Alibaba Cloud join the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider program, joining a host of other big name tech companies who offer Red Hat-tested and validated solutions.

      • Alibaba Cloud to offer, host Red Hat software

        Chinese internet giant has joined Red Hat’s cloud partner ecosystem and will offer the latter’s open source products to Alibaba Cloud customers as well as host Red Hat customers on its cloud platform.

      • Alibaba Cloud to offer Red Hat open source

        Alibaba Cloud has joined the Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Provider Program, the tech giant has announced. Through the partnership, Alibaba cloud will offer Red Hat open source solutions to Alibaba’s global customer base.

      • China’s Alibaba and U.S.-Based Red Hat Ink Global Software Deal

        Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce and cloud computing giant, will start selling Red Hat’s business software globally, the two companies said late Wednesday.

        Many Fortune 500 companies run Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating systems on their own servers. They may also opt to run it on third-party cloud data centers run by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft msft , or Google goog because Red Hat already has formal ties to those three companies. Now, Red Hat is also allied with Alibaba and its Aliyun cloud.

        Red Hat rht Linux and other Red Hat business software will be available from Alibaba’s cloud within months, the two companies said. The news was announced at an Alibaba tech conference in Hangzhou, China.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • What’s New Going To Be In Fedora 27

          ​To the delight of its users, the team of developers in charge of the Fedora project officially announced the availability of the beta version of Fedora 27. This new version, which incorporates several important innovations, is distinguished mainly by the absence of an alpha version. However, the Fedora team points out that significant efforts have been made to make this intermediate step unnecessary and to provide a quality product.

        • AAC support will be available in Fedora Workstation 27!

          So I am really happy to announce another major codec addition to Fedora Workstation 27 namely the addition of the codec called AAC. As you might have seen from Tom Callaways announcement this has just been cleared for inclusion in Fedora.

          For those not well versed in the arcane lore of audio codecs AAC is the codec used for things like iTunes and is found in a lot of general media files online. AAC stands for Advanced Audio Coding and was created by the MPEG working group as the successor to mp3. Especially due to Apple embracing the format there is a lot of files out there using it and thus we wanted to support it in Fedora too.

        • Fedora Linux Can Finally Offer AAC Audio Codec Support

          Fedora is now able to bundle and offer a specific AAC audio codec implementation as a package for its Linux distribution.

          With Fedora always striving for free software and ensuring its legal state is in order due to Red Hat’s control, it was only earlier this year Fedora was legally allowed to begin offering full MP3 support for both decode/encode along with AC3 support while last year it received H.264 support. The latest multimedia expansion for Fedora is now being able to distribute an AAC codec.

        • Fedora 27 bekommt Support für AAC [Ed: in German]
        • Taking Stock, Making Plans.

          When I got started contributing to open source communities it was with the Fedora Project and specifically the Docs team. I have not been anywhere near as active with Fedora lately and I miss it. I still consider myself an active Ambassador with each class I teach but I have not really contributed through content or formal activities lately. I am actually looking for a new challenge though, rather than returning to an old stomping ground, and probably with a smaller project. I dabbled in an Apache Hadoop ecosystem project for a bit and I still follow that mailing list but I never really got into that community. Melding open source and security is ideal, though I have really enjoyed the past year where I jumped into automation with Ansible and containers with OpenShift. The search continues.

        • PHP version 7.0.25RC1 and 7.1.11RC1
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • ExTiX 17.8 “The Ultimate Linux System” Is First Distro Based on Ubuntu 17.10

          GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton recently released a new version of his ExTiX Linux distro, which he dubs as “the Ultimate Linux System,” based on Ubuntu 17.10 and Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch.”

          Tagged as Build 171012, ExTiX 17.8 is the most recent update of the GNU/Linux distribution, which appears to be the first to be based on Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, but also borrowing some packages from the repositories of Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” OS.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Enters Final Freeze — Final Release On October 19th

            The last big milestone in Ubuntu 17.10 development process was the release of Beta 2 that witnessed the participation of Ubuntu’s flagship edition which now ships with GNOME desktop environment. In a way, it was the first chance to try the new and polished features.

            “Adam Conrad, on behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce that artful has entered the Final Freeze period in preparation for the final release of Ubuntu 17.10 next week,” the Ubuntu Fridge announcement reads.

          • Artful Aardvark (17.10) Final Freeze

            Adam Conrad, on behalf of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce that artful has entered the Final Freeze period in preparation for the final release of Ubuntu 17.10 next week.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Is Now in Final Freeze, Launches October 19

            The Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) GNU/Linux operating system is only six days apart and, according to the release schedule, it just entered Final Freeze development stage on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

            Work on Ubuntu 17.10 begun six months ago, on April 20, when the toolchain was uploaded to the repository, with the main goal of replacing our beloved Unity user interface with the latest GNOME 3 desktop environment. Two Alpha and Beta milestones later, Ubuntu 17.10 is now officially in Final Freeze stage.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged i.MX6 touch-panel has optional Nimbelink and supercap backup

      Technologic’s open-source, 7-inch “TS-TPC-7990” panel PC runs Linux on an i.MX6, and offers optional WiFi, BT, Nimbelink, supercap, and cabinet.

      The TS-TPC-7990 touch panel is designed for HMI applications like industrial automation, medical, automotive, self-service kiosks, and retail point-of-sale terminals. The panel PC is built around NXP’s tried-and-true i.MX6 SoC in either single-core Solo or quad-core Quad Cortex-A9 models. It uses a custom mainboard instead of Technologic’s new i.MX6 based TS-7970 SBC or TS-4900 COM.

    • New SODIMM-style COM standard to debut on an Allwinner A20 based module

      Olimex unveiled a new “SOM204” form factor for computer-on-modules and previewed an open spec, Allwinner A20 based “A20-SOM204” COM built in the new format.

      Last week Olimex announced it was standardizing all future computer-on-modules on a new “SOM204” form factor with an 204-pin SODIMM edge connector. It also previewed the first SOM204 module: the “A20-SOM204,” based on the Allwinner A20 SoC. The module will ship in November with an evaluation board at prices comparable to that of the company’s earlier A20-SOM, says Olimex. Schematics for the A20-SOM204 COM and A20-EVB204 carrier board are already available for free download.

    • A new nerd phone promises true, open Linux and security

      Like the computer the new smartphone, called Librem 5, runs PureOS, a Linux-based operating system. Purism markets the phone as the truly pure GNU+Linux-based smartphone product.

      While Android is based on Linux too, PureOS is based on GNU free software and Debian Linux distribution and is entirely open source. This means that Librem 5 owners can, for example, change the Linux distribution to something else if they don’t like PureOS.

    • Noted in Passing: Microsoft Smartphone OS Platform Passed Away

      Oh. One more bit. I was the first to also tell you that Google won the battle of the century for the OS of all high tech – when Android was passing Windows (all devices, not just smartphones, but PCs included). Nobody else told you that either. It is now becoming apparent to many experts that Google owns the tech world via Android. Who told you first? The dude who saw how Windows was truly collapsing and that iOS was never a threat to Google’s world domination plans. Yeah, we’ll return to those issues in coming years no doubt. Goodbye Windows smartphones and by darn it, good riddance too! Ballmer gone. Elop gone. Lumia gone. Windows smartphone OS gone. Now when can we see Microsoft the company gone too, please, next?

    • Raspberry Pi 7″ Touch Panel, SiI9234 To Be Supported By Linux 4.15

      Daniel Vetter has sent in the latest feature pull request of new drm-misc-next material for staging in DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.15 kernel cycle.

      This latest batch of miscellaneous Direct Rendering Manager updates include continued core work around atomic mode-setting, HDMI CEC control support for the adv7511 driver, remote control support for the sii8620 driver, improved HDMI and A31 chip support in the Sun4i DRM driver, and some new driver activity too.

    • Top 10 Open Source Linux Robots

      Back in 2014, we struggled to fill out our top 10 roundup of Linux-based robots and padded the list with conceptually similar autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In addition, many of those robots were proprietary or open source only on the software side. Today, however, it’s easy to fill out a top 10 list of Linux-based terrestrial robots that are open source in both software and hardware. In fact, we were forced to leave a number of worthy projects waiting in the wings.

      The latest open source Linux robot to hit the scene — the Turtle Rover — won funding on Indiegogo only last week. This four-wheeled bot, which is larger and more sophisticated than typical wheeled robots like the popular, dual-wheeled GoPiGo, was designed to mimic Martian rovers. Another major player here is the recently rev’d, dual-wheeled TurtleBot 3.

      Like most of our entries, these models are wheeled robots built around the Raspberry Pi. With the advent of the quad-core, WiFi-enabled RPi 3 model, we’ve seen far more advanced, and sometimes semi-autonomous Pi-based robots, in addition to the numerous RPi-based toy designs of recent years. Other SBCs have also inspired robot designs, especially the BeagleBone and BeagleBone Blue, which is especially suitable for robotics projects.

      While open source hacker boards have expanded Linux robot development in recent years, a larger influence is the optimization of Linux platforms such as Ubuntu for interaction with the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) middleware. A number of our top 10 robots include ROS integration.

    • Linux-friendly embedded PC pours on the PoE

      Aaeon’s rugged “Boxer-6639M” industrial PC supports 6th or 7th Generation Intel CPUs and provides 8x USB, 6x RS-232/422/485, 3x GbE, and 4x PoE ports.

      Over the last year, Aaeon has spun off a number of similar versions of its fanless, Linux-ready Boxer-6xxx line of fanless industrial PCs. The new Boxer-6639M is so similar to last year’s Boxer-6639 and the recent Boxer-6839 that it seems it could just as easily have been an optional SKU to either instead of a separate product. The new model does have one unique superpower, however: 4x 802.3at-compliant GbE PoE ports for up to 80W Power-over-Ethernet, which join the existing 3x standard GbE ports.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 open source alternatives to Minecraft

    There’s no denying that Minecraft is a favorite game for millions. And being written in Java enables it to run on a variety of platforms, including Linux. With a huge modding community, there are countless Minecraft tinkerers out there who would love to be able to get under the hood and play around with the source code themselves. Unfortunately, the source is not available to the general public.

    But there’s good news. Minecraft’s popularity has led to many attempts to recreate the game, and others in a similar vein, as open source software. Interested in a free Minecraft alternative? Here’s a quick look at some clones and derivatives out there that you really ought to check out.

  • Open source sets sights on killing WhatsApp and Slack

    Exclusive The company that writes the open-source software for three-quarters of the world’s Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) email servers has a plan that could kill off proprietary chat services like Facebook’s WhatsApp. And that means you, too, Slack.

    German open-source software-as-a-service operation Open-Xchange acquired the IMAP developer Dovecot three years ago, and announced today at the OX Summit in Brussels that it wants to integrate chat into the bundle.

  • SUSE spreads the open source message – through videos

    German Linux company SUSE Linux is well-known for its Linux and other open source solutions. It is also known for producing videos for geeks and debuting them at its annual SUSECon conference.

    This year, in Prague, was no different. The company, which marked its 25th year on 2 September, came up with two videos, one to mark the occasion and the other all about Linux and open source.

  • What is Open Source? [iophk: "actively avoids mentioning GNU or Free Software"]

    Open source technology has been around for decades. Driven by passionate developers and engineers, the open source movement is a hotbed of innovation and collaboration – but what does ‘open source’ actually mean?

    ‘Open source’ as a term is most commonly used to refer to software where the creators have made the source code freely available online. Anyone is free to view, download, use and even modify it. This has led to thriving communities on code-hosting sites like Github, where devs contribute to each others’ work, joining forces to build and improve applications on their own time.

  • ‘Most open source software coders on GitHub from product firms’

    Notwithstanding that ITes companies have the highest number of software engineers, major contribution towards open source code writing is made by developers in product firms such as Amazon, while services firms like TCS and Cognizant are fast catching up, says a survey.

    According to a survey by talent acquisition start-up Belong, Amazon had the highest number of registered users on Github, followed by Cognizant, TCS and Microsoft.

    The survey covered 75,000 Indian engineers that have a presence on GitHub — one of the largest communities where software developers host and review code.

  • 6 reasons open source is good for business

    This also makes compliance easier; with proprietary software, you have harsh compliance clauses with large fines. Worse is what happens with some open core products that ship as a mix of GPL and proprietary software; these can breach a license and put customers at risk. And, as Gartner points out, an open core model means you get none of the benefits of open source. A pure open source licensed product avoids all these issues. Instead, you have just one compliance rule: If you make modifications to the code (not configuration, logos, or anything like that), you have to share them with those you distribute the software to if they ask.

    Clearly open source is the better option. It is easier to pick the right vendor (with whom you won’t be stuck), plus you benefit from more security, a stronger focus on customers, and better support. And finally, you’ll know you’re on legally safe footing.

  • ONAP and MEF Join Each Others’ Groups, Collaborate on LSO

    MEF and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) are officially working together, the organizations announced today at the SDN and NFV World Congress. MEF has joined ONAP as an associate member. And the Linux Foundation, which hosts ONAP, has joined MEF as an auditing member.

  • MEF joins ONAP to accelerate open source virtualisation

    A trade body counting Orange and Telefónica as members has joined the Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) project to use open source approaches in virtualisation.

  • Best open source inventory management software 2017

    Stock control or inventory management is the process of specifying and quantifying the shape and percentage of goods you hold in stock. By knowing what you have, and where, you can save money and improve your service to customers.

    There is myriad free software to choose from, many of which are free to use and totally open source. We have highlighted 13 that are worth considering for your business.

    For more free software, see our free software downloads. See all of our IT Business tutorials.

  • Why use open source tools for containerized apps?

    the engine that powers the modern containerization movement that’s sweeping across application development. Today, let’s take a look at the top three open source tools that are essential to building containerized apps.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Call for help: fund GIMP development and Libre animation

      Too long, didn’t read? In a few words: our GIMP development + ZeMarmot production is currently funded barely above 400 € per month, this doesn’t pay the bills, my main computer broke today and Aryeom’s graphics tablet has been working badly for some time now. We are a bit bummed out.

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4.0-RELEASE Now Available!

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.0 was a herculean effort! It is the culmination of 18 months of hard work by Netgate and community contributors, with over 290 items resolved. According to git, 671 files were changed with a total 1651680 lines added, and 185727 lines deleted. Most of those added lines are from translated strings for multiple language support!

      pfSense 2.4.0-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

    • pfSense 2.4 Released, Rebased To FreeBSD 11.1 & New Installer

      There’s a new version available of pfSense, the popular BSD-based operating system common to network appliances / firewalls / routers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming/Development

    • A Look at PyCharm Python IDE for Linux

      Python is one of the most amazing languages one can learn to code. Python is very simple to learn when compared to some other languages out there, but yet, it’s still very powerful, and is one of the most widely used languages for some programs and websites you may not even know used it, such as:

    • Announcing Rust 1.21

      The Rust team is happy to announce the latest version of Rust, 1.21.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.21 Released With Minor Updates

      For fans of the Rust “safe, concurrent, practical systems language”, the Rust 1.21 update is available today with some modest updates and additions.

    • 15 Top Programming Languages Used By Coders On GitHub

      Learning new skills can be helpful if you are looking to change careers. In case you end up learning a skill that’s in heavy demand, it turns out to be something that brings immense benefits and stay with you lifelong. In case you’re a programmer, learning a new programming language helps you expand your career opportunities. One also needs to have the knowledge of top programming languages to make correct choices.

    • “The Future Of Coding Is No Coding At All” — Did GitHub CEO Predict Traditional Programming’s Death?

      GitHub, also called “Facebook for Programmers,” has completed a decade this year. Today, it has become a go-to place for developers to share their code with others, indulge in collaborative approaches, etc. It’s now home to 24 million total users and 1.5 million organization.

      At the company’s annual GitHub Universe user conference, company’s CEO Chris Wanstrath made his final keynote address on Wednesday. Earlier in August, he announced that he’d step down as company’s CEO as soon as a worthy replacement is found.

    • GitHub Streak: Round Four
    • The Basics of Consuming REST APIs

      APIs are becoming a very popular and a must-know if you are any type of developer. But, what is an API? API stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a way to get one software application to talk to another software application. In this article, I’ll go over the basics of what they are and why to use them.

      Nom Nom Nom! I happened to be snacking on chips while trying to think of a name for my REST API talk coming up at APIStrat in Portland. Similarly, the act of consuming or using a REST API means to eat it all up. In context, it means to eat it, swallow it, and digest it — leaving any others in the pile exposed. Sounds yummy, right?

Leftovers

  • The designer of the iPhone worries that his grandkids will think he’s the guy who ‘destroyed society’

    But this success has come with “unintended consequences,” Fadell said, like the way social platforms so relentlessly hijack our minds. Users would obviously love to have free things, he added, but Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest want to make money. The user isn’t the customer for these services—it’s Coca Cola, Nike, or whoever is buying ads targeted at you.

  • Real Life Soccer Player Besieged By Requests To Play For Foreign Team Due To Video Game Error

    Video games have been steadily becoming more realistic since their first creation. Conversations about this progress has mostly centered around graphical enhancements and tech such as virtual reality that strive to better immerse the player in the fictional world in which they play. But graphical and visual enhancements aren’t the only form of realism in which video games have progressed. More unsung have been the enhancements in pure data and detail in these games. For this type of progress, one need only look to management-style simulations games, such as those of the sports realm. In games centered on managing sports franchises, the depth of detail that has emerged has become somewhat breathtaking. Baseball sims, such as the excellent Out of the Park series, are an example of this as is the equally deep Football Manager series for soccer fans.

  • How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian’s donation on a stupid football scoreboard

    In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium.

    Now, an enraging investigative piece by Craig Fehrman in Deadspin reveals how the university cynically planned to spin its decision to blow $1m of this librarian’s generous gift on a useless frippery for its ill-starred football team while only directing $100k of his donation to the library he loved.

  • Hardware

    • Intel Takes First Steps To Universal Quantum Computing

      Someone is going to commercialize a general purpose, universal quantum computer first, and Intel wants to be the first. So does Google. So does IBM. And D-Wave is pretty sure it already has done this, even if many academics and a slew of upstart competitors don’t agree. What we can all agree on is that there is a very long road ahead in the development of quantum computing, and it will be a costly endeavor that could nonetheless help solve some intractable problems.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cancer Group Recommendations To Ensure Medicines Access In South Africa Draft IP Policy

      A US cancer group has provided a series of recommendations to the South African government on ways to improve the country’s draft national intellectual property policy, including greater transparency, voluntary licensing, and the use of compulsory licences.

      The Union of Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) wrote a letter to the South African Minister of Trade and Industry raising concerns about the South African draft national policy on intellectual property.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Sound of mystery attacks in Cuba released. It’s as obnoxious as you’d expect

      On Thursday, the Associated Press released the first audio recording of the sound that some diplomats say they heard during mystery attacks in Havana, Cuba. Those attacks have so far left 22 Americans with a puzzling range of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss.

    • Trump Threatens NBC License over Nuclear Weapons Report

      President Trump has threatened to retaliate against NBC, following NBC’s report that Trump is seeking a tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” The federal government licenses television airwaves through the FCC. Trump went on to tweet, “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!” The threats drew immediate concerns Trump is undermining the First Amendment. This is constitutional lawyer Floyd Abrams.

    • U.S.-Led Coalition Airstrikes Kill Dozens of Civilians in Raqqa, Syria

      In Syria, the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Raqqa said Wednesday it will not accept a negotiated withdrawal to end the fighting in the northeastern Syrian city that was once ISIS’s de facto capital. Thousands of civilians remain trapped in the 2.5 square miles still controlled by ISIS. Activists say more than 1,000 civilians have already been killed since the U.S.-led offensive to seize control of the city began in June. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says dozens of civilians have reportedly been killed in the last week, including in a barrage of airstrikes on October 6, which reportedly collapsed a number of apartment buildings, killing up to 40 people. Meanwhile, in eastern Syria, tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced by fighting against ISIS in Deir ez-Zor. This is Alaa, speaking from a makeshift refugee camp.

  • Finance

    • End of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?

      America’s 2 million truckers have long been mythologised in popular culture. But self-driving trucks are set to lay waste to one of the country’s most beloved jobs – and the fallout could be huge

    • Bitcoin surges above $5,000

      The rise is remarkable because there has been quite a bit of unfavorable news about Bitcoin in recent weeks. China, one of the biggest markets for Bitcoin, is shutting down trading. The Bitcoin community faces ongoing acrimony over how to scale the Bitcoin network. A contentious fork split the Bitcoin network in two in August, and there might be another schism in the Bitcoin community come November.

    • Wall Street Analyst Bernstein: Bitcoin Is a ‘Censorship Resistant Asset Class’
    • Brexit has made the UK the sick man of Europe once more

      Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, the years preceding 2017 now resemble an economic golden age for the UK. After the damage imposed by the financial crisis and excessive austerity, Britain recovered to become the fastest growing G7 country. Real earnings finally rose as wages increased and inflation fell (income per person grew by 3.5 per cent in 2015).

      And then the Brexit vote happened. Though the immediate recession that the Treasury and others forecast did not materialise, the UK has already paid a significant price. Having previously been the fastest growing G7 country, Britain is now the slowest. Real earnings are again in decline owing to the inflationary spike caused by the pound’s depreciation (the UK has the lowest growth and the highest inflation – stagflation – of any major EU economy). Firms have delayed investment for fear of future chaos and consumer confidence has plummeted. EU negotiator Michel Barner’s warning of a “very disturbing” deadlock in the Brexit talks reflects and reinforces all of these maladies.

    • Homelessness has surged for seven years. And it’s clear who’s to blame

      From the knuckles upwards, at least three of his fingers were missing. Frostbite last winter, he said. Some of his toes had gone too. Someone had found him unconscious with hypothermia, and he had spent months in hospital before once again living on the street. He said he needed £17 for a one-night stay in a hostel: I gave him a fiver and some cigarettes, and we talked some more.

    • David Davis faces legal threat over secret reports on Brexit impact

      David Davis, the Brexit secretary, has been threatened with legal action over his refusal to publish 50 secret studies commissioned on the impact of Brexit.

      Lawyers acting for the Good Law Project, which is bringing the action jointly with the Green party MEP Molly Scott Cato, wrote to the Brexit department and Treasury on Thursday demanding the release of the documents. They said that failure to do so within 14 days would result in the issue of judicial review proceedings before the high court in an attempt to force their release.

      The 50 studies into the impact of Brexit on different industries were commissioned earlier this year but the government has argued that publishing them could damage the UK’s negotiating position with Brussels.

      Jolyon Maugham QC, who runs the GLP, said he would not bring the case without believing it had “good, serious prospects” of succeeding. He said he had received legal advice that the government may have a duty under common law to publish the studies into the potential impact on jobs and living standards.

      “It seems to me the government’s reluctance to release these studies is born not of its ability to damage our negotiating position but what’s politically expedient,” he said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook apologizes for allowing Russian ads to interfere with 2016 campaign

      A top Facebook executive said Thursday that the company regrets how Russian influence on the social network played out in the run-up to last year’s presidential election.

    • How Gore, Kerry and Clinton Put Trump in the White House

      Amidst the hellish chaos of the Donald Trump catastrophe, it’s more essential than ever to understand how he got into the White House and who put him there. Then we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

      In her recent blame-everybody-else-while-doing-nothing screed, “What Happened,” Hillary Clinton fingers James Comey, the Russians and Bernie Sanders.

      But, in fact, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry put this madman in office.

      This trio of multi-millionaire corporate Democrats won the presidential races of 2000, 2004 and 2016. Then they lay down, said hardly a word and did even less as they let George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump rule the land.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook ad ban over nude artwork shocks women’s not-for-profit

      The Victorian Women’s Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that supports women and girls through research and advocacy, has been banned by Facebook from advertising a tote bag for sale as part of a fundraising drive.

    • No surrender in the new free‑speech wars

      America’s commitment to freedom of speech, embodied in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, is under increasing pressure everywhere from liberal university campuses to the White House. Now even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appears torn over which side it should be on in the new free-speech wars.

      The ACLU has long been a beacon of liberty in the Western world, whose commitment to free speech for all puts to shame pallid imitators such as the UK’s misnamed Liberty lobby group. If the ACLU joins the retreat from an absolute defence of free speech, then…

      The trouble centres on the ACLU’s defence of free-speech rights for the ‘alt-right’ and neo-Nazis, most notably around the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended with an anti-fascist protester being run down and killed.

    • Twitter Suspends Rose McGowan’s Account

      Rose McGowan had a hold placed on her Twitter account Wednesday night, an act that quickly sparked outrage among the many users who have been following her posts ever since news first broke of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

      [...]

      She added a screenshot from a message from Twitter telling her that she had violated their terms of service and she would be locked out for 12 hours once she deleted certain tweets. She posted the message late Wednesday night.

    • Rose McGowan Says Twitter Blocked Her After Weinstein Claims
    • Interview: Ai Weiwei on Human Flow, Activist Art, and Political Censorship

      “It’s going to be a big challenge to recognize that the world is shrinking.” This quote comes toward the end of Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, a documentary built around intuitive contradictions: It’s a production of massive scale that, at the same time, is most intent on capturing the small details of the lives affected by the global refugee crisis. Ai understands that his images, of refugees wrapped in glimmering golden thermal blankets and boats invisible in the darkness but for a mass of orange life vests, represent the unfortunate but inescapable iconography of our time.

    • How Self-Censorship Feeds Extremism

      In a Columbus Day scandal for the ages, a measured but provocative essay reconsidering the evils of colonialism got the axe a month after its publication. First, critics of Portland State University political science professor Bruce Gilley’s “The Case for Colonialism” launched a 10,000-signature petition. Then, there were mass resignations from the board at the Third World Quarterly. Next, an apology from the author—and finally, what did it in, per the publisher: “serious and credible threats of personal violence…linked to the publication of this essay.” From whom, they don’t say.

    • Investment Fund Manager Tries To Bury Past Screwups With Sketchy Libel Suit Court Order

      More libel-related bullshittery happening on the internet. And, again, Eugene Volokh is on top of it. Between him, Paul Levy of Public Citizen, and Pissed Consumer, we’ve seen a huge amount of shady-to-completely-fraudulent behavior by lawyers and rep management firms exposed. This is more of the same, although it doesn’t appear anyone in the SEO business was involved.

      Jordan Wirsz is an investment manager with a problem. He’s previously gotten in trouble with state regulators for running investment schemes without a license. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s enough to make people think twice before trusting him with their money.

    • Rose McGowan blocked from Twitter after tweeting about Harvey Weinstein and Ben Affleck

      On the flip side of that support was her Twitter wrath toward Ben Affleck, who released a statement denouncing Weinstein this week. “You lie,” she said in one tweet, tagging the actor’s Twitter handle. McGowan has spent considerable time over the past few days calling out Affleck and other powerful individuals whom she believed had prior knowledge of Weinstein’s behavior.

      Overnight on Thursday, one of those tweets got McGowan temporarily suspended for the platform. The actress posted an image of a message she received from Twitter to her Instagram account:

    • Facebook advertising ban leaves not-for-profit ‘dumbfounded’
    • Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg criticizes Twitter over political ad censorship
    • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg criticizes Twitter’s censorship of Marsha Blackburn
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Man acquitted of felony charge over Facebook police parody page sues

      Anthony Novak alleges federal civil rights violations in the aftermath of his 2016 arrest by the police department of Parma, just south of Cleveland. The agency issued an advisory last year to citizens saying the page wasn’t real and that “the public should disregard any and all information posted on the fake Facebook account.”

    • Man sues city for free speech violation after escaping charges over ‘fake police’ Facebook page

      Parma police announced an investigation into the page the day it was created. Novak, 28, took the page down less than 12 hours after putting it up. Officers sent Facebook a letter requesting that the Menlo Park, California-based company shut the page down, and they issued a subpoena to obtain Novak’s identity.

    • Emails Show ICE Couldn’t Find Enough Dangerous Immigrants To Fulfill The Adminstration’s Fantasies

      When you’ve got an official narrative to deliver, you need everyone to pitch in to keep it from falling apart. No one can say ICE didn’t try. The Trump administration — bolstered by supporting statements conjecture from DOJ and DHS officials — has portrayed undocumented immigrants as little more than nomadic thugs. Unfortunately, there’s hardly any evidence available to back up the assertion that people here illegally are more likely to commit serious criminal acts.

      Back in February, shortly after Trump handed down immigration-focused executive orders, ICE went all in on arresting undocumented visitors and immigrants. Included in this push was a focus on so-called “sanctuary cities” like Austin, Texas, which had vowed to push back against Trump’s anti-immigrant actions.

    • How Top NBC Executives Quashed The Bombshell Harvey Weinstein Story

      In mid-August, Ronan Farrow, an NBC News contributor, had secured an interview with a woman who was willing to appear on camera, in silhouette, her identity concealed, and say Harvey Weinstein had raped her, according to four people with close knowledge of the reporting. It was a pivotal moment in a testy, months-long process of reporting a story that had bedeviled a generation of media and Hollywood reporters.

      Farrow had a lot of material already. In March, he had acquired a damning and much-coveted audio recording in which Weinstein admits to having groped an Italian model. He had interviews with former executives and assistants who’d worked closely with Weinstein who spoke about the culture of harassment and abuse he perpetrated. And now he had someone ready to accuse Weinstein of rape, on camera.

    • Weinstein Company Knew About Sexual Assault Payoffs for Two Years

      In Hollywood, new revelations about Harvey Weinstein have surfaced, showing his studio, Weinstein Company, knew for at least two years that he had been paying off women who accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Weinstein has been fired from the company, as a slew of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape. Among his accusers are some of Hollywood’s top actresses: Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan. Many are now asking why Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance refused to prosecute Weinstein after he confessed to groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez in an audio recording captured in a 2015 NYPD sting operation. One of Weinstein’s lawyers at the time donated $10,000 to Vance’s election campaign only days after Vance decided not to prosecute the case. We’ll have more on Harvey Weinstein after headlines.

    • The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets

      In 2013, a British man was arrested for planning to kidnap and brutally murder a soldier. The suspect, who had a criminal history, had posted messages on social media in support of violent jihad. In a search of his residence, the police had found a bag containing a hammer, a kitchen knife and a map with the location of a nearby army barracks.

      Shortly after his arrest, the suspect was interviewed by a counter-terrorist police officer. The interviewer wanted him to provide an account of his plan, and to reveal with whom, if anyone, he has been conspiring. But the detainee – we will call him Diola – refused to divulge any information. Instead, he expounded grandiloquently on the evils of the British state for 42 minutes, with little interruption. When the interviewer attempted questions, Diola responded with scornful, finger-jabbing accusations of ignorance, naivety and moral weakness: “You don’t know how corrupt your own government is – and if you don’t care, then a curse upon you.”

      [...]

      The new interviewer does not answer directly, but something about his opening speech triggers a change in Diola’s demeanour. “On the day we arrested you,” he began, “I believe that you had the intention of killing a British soldier or police officer. I don’t know the details of what happened, why you may have felt it needed to happen, or what you wanted to achieve by doing this. Only you know these things Diola. If you are willing, you’ll tell me, and if you’re not, you won’t. I can’t force you to tell me – I don’t want to force you. I’d like you to help me understand. Would you tell me about what happened?” The interviewer opens up his notebook, and shows Diola the empty pages. “You see? I don’t even have a list of questions.”

      “That is beautiful,” Diola says. “Because you have treated me with consideration and respect, yes I will tell you now. But only to help you understand what is really happening in this country.”

    • An insider’s view of Guantánamo: conspiracy to torture

      For those who wonder why it’s taken the United States so long to get justice at Guantánamo’s war court, Mark Fallon, the former NCIS special agent entrusted to help build cases, offers an explanation in his frustratingly censored memoir, “Unjustifiable Means.”

      In short, the book subtitled “The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and U.S. Government Conspired to Torture” makes the case that the U.S. military and spy agency contaminated some cases with interrogations that were untrustworthy and unprofessional, if not unlawful.

      The book will be available for purchase Oct. 24.

    • Australian Police Ran A Dark Web Child Porn Site For Eleven Months

      Thanks to an investigation by Norwegian newspaper VG, a long-running child porn operation by Australian police has been (inadvertently) uncovered. An IT specialist at VG was monitoring forum activity and only stumbled on law enforcement’s involvement on accident.

      In comparison to the FBI’s takeover of the Playpen site, the Taskforce Argos operation was epic. The FBI held onto the seized Playpen seizure for only a couple of weeks. The Australian police served as replacement administrators for eleven months.

      The government’s turn as child porn site administrators began with the arrest of two men in the United States, one of them a Canadian citizen. Both were apparently actively abusing children as well as running the dark web site. According to data gathered by investigators, Childs Play had more than a 1 million registered users by the time it was shut down. (Estimates suggest fewer than 5,000 accounts could be considered active, however.) Based on estimates from multiple countries now involved in the law enforcement action, the eleven-month hosting effort has resulted in nearly 1,000 suspects being identified. Some have already been arrested.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs don’t want to tell the FCC exactly where they offer Internet service

      The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether it should collect more accurate data about broadband deployment in the US, but cable and telecom lobby groups are urging the FCC to maintain the status quo.

      Currently, the FCC’s “Form 477″ data collection program requires Internet service providers to identify the census blocks in which they provide residential or business Internet service and the maximum speeds offered in each block. ISPs are also supposed to identify the census blocks that are near enough to their networks that they could provide service within a reasonable timeframe.

    • FCC chair “refused” to rebuke Trump over threat to take NBC off the air

      Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai still hasn’t publicly responded to President Trump’s call for NBC and other networks to have their FCC licenses challenged, and Democratic lawmakers are stepping up the pressure.

    • Comcast found a way to raise other cable companies’ prices, rivals say

      Comcast is increasingly making demands in TV programming contract negotiations that would force its smaller rivals to raise their minimum cable TV prices, a lobby group for small cable companies told the Federal Communications Commission yesterday.

      The American Cable Association (ACA), which represents nearly 800 small and medium-sized cable operators, asked the FCC to investigate the practice and prohibit it under its program access rules.

    • Groups Battle Trump FCC’s Claim That One ISP In A Market Means There’s Effective Competition

      While the lack of competition in residential broadband gets plenty of well-deserved attention, the business broadband market in the United States may be even worse. Just one of three companies (Verizon, AT&T, or CenturyLink) dominate what’s dubbed the business data services (BDS) market, which connects everything from cellular towers to ATMs to the broader internet. According to the FCC’s own data (pdf), 73% of the special access market is controlled by one ISP, 24% of markets usually “enjoy” duopoly control, and only a tiny fraction of markets have more than two choices of BDS providers.

    • DOJ Staffers: The T-Mobile Sprint Merger Will Reduce Competition And Should Be Blocked

      We’ve already noted how, despite some empty promises by Sprint and Japanese-owner Softbank, the company’s (second) attempted merger with T-Mobile will be a notable job killer. How bad will the damage be? At least one analyst predicts the total number of jobs lost could be more than the total number of people Sprint currently employs (around 28,000). Other analysts estimate the deal could kill something closer to 20,000 jobs, and even the most optimistic tallies put the job damage at somewhere closer to 10,000 lost positions — most of them either in retail (as duplicate stores are closed) or among redundant management positions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Pirate Bay Is Using Your CPU To Mine Cryptocurrency AGAIN — Here’s How To Block

        The Pirate Bay the first major website caught running crypto coin miner. Last month, it was found that the website was running a JavaScript-based miner that mined Monero digital coins using your CPU power.

        Back then, the miner was tested only briefly to find out the economic potential of mining. Now, the website has started mining again using the embedded code. This time, the miner runs through an ad script, instead of being embedded in website’s core code.

      • Internet Archives Liberates Old Books Using Never Used Before Provision Of Copyright Law

        Section 108 of copyright law doesn’t get very much attention (though, we did just mention it in regards to an archive of Howard Stern/Donald Trump interviews). It’s the part of the law that grants some fairly narrow exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives. In short, it was a recognition that libraries and archives are good and important things, and copyright law under the 1976 Copyright Act would basically make them illegal. Rather than fixing the fact that copyright law was too broad, Section 108 simply carved out a few important exceptions. Many of those exceptions are, unfortunately, under attack from all the usual sources.

        However Section 108 is important to protect until we fix wider problems with copyright law. Of course, some parts of 108 have rarely, if ever, been tested. The Internet Archive is looking to fix that. It just announced that it is making a bunch of books published between 1923 and 1941 available on the Archive. As you may know from the handy dandy public domain term chart at Cornell, thanks to the 1976 Copyright Act (and various extensions) tons of works that should have been in the public domain long before now have been locked up and unavailable. The key date is 1923. Works before that are clearly in the public domain. After that, it gets… fuzzy.

      • Popcorn Time Creator Readies BitTorrent & Blockchain-Powered Video Platform

        Popcorn Time creator Federico Abad is part of a new team prepping a BitTorrent and blockchain powered YouTube competitor. In just under two weeks time, Flixxo will begin its token sale, kicking off a platform that will reward users for both creating, producing, and distributing content using BitTorrent.

10.12.17

Links 12/10/2017: Cutelyst 1.9.0, Qt Creator 4.5 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Why Linux Works

      The Linux community works, it turns out, because the Linux community isn’t too concerned about work, per se. As much as Linux has come to dominate many areas of corporate computing – from HPC to mobile to cloud – the engineers who write the Linux kernel tend to focus on the code itself, rather than their corporate interests therein.

    • Windows 10 mandatory October KB4041676 update is causing machines to BSOD

      Today when people started waking up from their machines automatically updating during the night, however, they have been faced with a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) instead of the Windows 10 desktop, and unfortunately, no-one seems to know why the installations are failing, only that it relates to KB4041676, which is yesterday’s update.

    • Global shipments of PCs slump for 12th successive quarter, research suggests [iophk: "PCs no longer have any Windows or Microsoft stickers, hiding the infection"]

      An assessment by research and analysis outfit Gartner found that shipments totalled 67 million units in the third quarter of 2017; a decline of 3.6% on an annualised basis compared to the same quarter last year.

      The latest decline marked the 12th consecutive quarter of PC shipments slump.

    • The PC still isn’t dead and the market is ‘stabilising’, says IDC

      In its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, IDC announced worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, which includes desktops, notebooks, workstations, totalled 67.2 million units in the third quarter of 2017.

      While this translates into a slight year-over-year decline of 0.5 percent, IDC said [...]

  • Server

    • Using Containers? Look for the OCI Seal of Approval

      Some standards have been set for container technology. That’s a good thing. Without standards, everybody working on developing a technology goes in separate directions, with no thought about how their implementation will work and play with the work being done by others. Without standards, vendor lock-in is practically unavoidable.

      Until July, when the Open Container Initiative (OCI) released version 1.0 of its specification, there were no standards when it came to containers. Products from one vendor didn’t necessarily work with the offerings from another. Obviously, this was a problem for DevOps working in diverse environments.

    • 6 ways to work with database admins in the DevOps world

      DevOps is defined as “unifying the operations and engineering teams,” in order to foster a culture of cross-team collaboration, codify how infrastructure is built, and become a more data-driven organization. But it seems databases and the teams that care for them are treated as an exception to this environment. In most companies, databases are still treated like walled gardens, with the database hosts tended to like delicate flowers and the database administrators (DBAs) guarding any and all access to them.

      This walled-garden attitude invariably affects the rest of the organization, from tech ops, to delivery engineering, all the way to product planning, as everyone tries to work around the datastore. Ultimately this reduces the benefits of an agile approach to software development, which is a problem for companies that have been running for a few years and have reached a solid financial footing with loyal paying customers, but are having a hard time shedding that startup skin (the one that flies by the seat of its pants), and are feeling the pressure to achieve a sense of stability in existing and future offerings.

    • Container Runtime Brings Greater Flexibility to Kubernetes and BOSH

      The Cloud Foundry Foundation on Wednesday launched Cloud Foundry Container Runtime, or CFCR, as the default deployment and management platform for containers using Kubernetes and BOSH.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux LTS Kernel Support Extended to 6 Years

      Despite being a free and open source OS, Linux has one of the quickest development cycles. Every 70 days, a major new version of the Linux kernel rolls out. This deprecates any older versions except for the few Long Term Support releases. In a sign of changing times, the Linux kernel lifetime is getting a major boost. From now on, the Linux LTS kernel will be supported for a whole 6 years. Jumping up to 6 years is a tripling of the current 2 year support period. This is especially goods news for Android.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

    • XikiHub: The Social Command Line

      Brief: A new Linux project named XikiHub has been spotted on Kickstarter. It aims to add a social community feature right into the Linux command line.

    • qTox – An Open Source P2P Instant Messaging and VoIP App

      As you probably already know, GNU/Linux has no shortage of VoIP apps. We’ve written on Wire and Discord. And we even compiled a list of The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux.

      Today, we’ve got a new app to add to our list of instant messaging apps and it goes by the name of qTox.

      qTox is a free and open source p2p instant messaging, audio and video calls app and is (apparently) the most feature-rich Tox client. As a powerful Tox client, it follows Tox’s design guidelines while maintaining a uniform UI/UX across all the major platforms.

    • Dash to Panel Adds Support for Dynamic Transparency

      The popular Dash to Panel GNOME extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.26.

      The upcoming release will also include support for dynamic transparency, a bit of desktop eye candy that was introduced by GNOME developers in the recent GNOME 3.26 release.

      Dynamic Transparency in Ubuntu 17.10 works on both the top bar (the panel across the top of the screen) and the Ubuntu Dock. When an app window touches either element, or is maximised, the transparency of the dock and panel is reduced to help improve legibility.

    • Proprietary

      • The Slack Threat

        During a long era, electronic mail was the main communication tool for enterprises. Slack, which offer public or private group discussion boards and instant messaging between two people, challenge its position, especially in the IT industry.

        Not only Slack has features known and used since IRC launch in the late ’80s, but Slack also offers file sending and sharing, code quoting, and it indexing for ulterior searches everything that goes through the application. Slack is also modular with numerous plug-in to easily add new features.

        [...]

        Slack is a Web service which uses mainly Amazon Web services and most specially Cloudfront, as stated by the available information on Slack infrastructure.

        Even without a complete study of said infrastructure, it’s easy to state that all the data regarding many innovative global companies around the world (and some of them including for all their internal communication since their creation) are located in the United States, or at least in the hands of a US company, which must follow US laws, a country with a well-known history of large scale industrial espionage, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrated it in 2013 and where company data access has no restriction under the Patriot Act, as in the Microsoft case (2014) where data stored in Ireland by the Redmond software editor have been given to US authorities.

        [...]

        Officially, Slack stated that “No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised in this attack.” Which is, and by far, the least interesting of all data stored within Slack! With company internal communication indexed—sometimes from the very beginning of said company—and searchable, Slack may be a potential target for cybercriminal not looking for its users’ financial credentials but more their internal data already in a usable format. One can imagine Slack must give information on a massive data leak, which can’t be ignored. But what would happen if only one Slack user is the victim of said leak?

        [...]

        Because Slack service subscription in the long term put the company continuously at risk. Maybe it’s not the employees’ place to worry about it, they just have to do their job the more efficiently possible. On the other side, the company management, usually non-technical, may not be aware of what risks will threaten their company with this technical choice. The technical management may pretend to be omniscient, nobody is fooled.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Cutelyst 1.9.0 released!

        Cutelyst the Qt web framework got a new release. This is a rather small release but has some important fixes so I decided to roll sooner.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta available for testing with KDE neon

        Qt 5.10 Beta was released this week and the neon builder cloud elves have been compiling it away ready for testing.

        There’s no QtWebEngine or Qt3D so stuff which needs those will be broken.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.5 Beta!

        There has been very little time between the 4.4 release and the 4.5 feature freeze, but 4.5 still comes with a bunch of very nice improvements.

        Locator now does fuzzy camel case matching in the same way as code completion does. Type “c andesu” in locator to open the “AndroidDebugSupport” class.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta Arrives With Few Changes

        Just over one month since the release of Qt Creator 4.4, the 4.5 beta is now available as the latest feature testing release for this Qt/C++ focused integrated development environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.28 Expected To Ship On Pi Day

        The GNOME team has firmed up the release schedule for the in-development GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        GNOME 3.28.0 is expected to be released on 14 March 2018, which many in the tech/mathematics community celebrate each year as Pi day.

      • A scrolling primer

        A few years ago, I wrote a post about scrolling in GTK+ 3. Time for another look!

      • Stable GNOME Photos Flatpaks moved to Flathub
      • Going to GNOME.Asia 2017

        To be honest, I’m really exited about this trip. I’ve never been to ChongQing before.

      • How to Enable Fractional Scaling in Gnome

        Fractional scaling is practically necessary if you’re running a HiDPI display, and you want your desktop to scale uniformly to match your display. It’s always been an issue on Linux, but the latest version of the GNOME desktop has implemented a true fractional scaling feature to keep your desktop looking good.

        Even though GNOME 3.26 does have fractional scaling support, it wasn’t mature enough to make the release. As a result, it’s still a testing feature that you need to enable yourself.

  • Distributions

    • Endless OS Is First Linux Distro to Support Flatpak Apps from Flathub by Default

      Endless Computers announced today on their Twitter account that Endless OS has recently become the first GNU/Linux distribution to enable support for Flatpak apps from Flathub by default with the latest release.

    • Reviews

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Pantheon Desktop Environment

        Pantheon is beautiful, lightweight, fast, simple and brings something new to Linux desktops. For Linux newbies, Pantheon is pretty straightforward and easy to use. For advanced users who prefer to tinker with their desktop, Pantheon is a no go as there is little to do in terms of customizations. Changing wallpapers and switching workspace could surely do with some simplification Nonetheless, I believe everyone who used Pantheon is going to be impressed with how beautiful this desktop environment is.

        ​The Pantheon desktop is definitely among the very best desktop environments. Currently, there are efforts to bring the Pantheon desktop to some major distributions such as Fedora and Arch. There is even a community version of Manjaro that comes with Pantheon. But if you really want to use this desktop go with elementary OS.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 17.8 – “The Ultimate Linux System” – with LXQt 0.11.1, Refracta tools, Nvidia 384.90 and kernel 4.13.0-15-exton – Build 171012

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 17.8 LXQt Live DVD. (The previous version was 17.4 from 170418).

        ABOUT
        ExTiX 17.8 LXQt DVD 64 bit is based on Debian 9 Stretch and Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark, to be released 171019. The original system includes the Desktop Environment Gnome. After removing Gnome I have installed LXQt 0.11.1. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment.

        The system language is ENGLISH.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian and the GDPR

        GDPR is a new EU regulation for privacy. The name is short for “General Data Protection Regulation” and it covers all organisations that handle personal data of EU citizens and EU residents. It will become enforceable May 25, 2018 (Towel Day). This will affect Debian. I think it’s time for Debian to start working on compliance, mainly because the GDPR requires sensible things.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Outs Important Linux Kernel Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Canonical released new kernel updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases, including Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), fixing a total of five security vulnerabilities.

          • elementary on why snaps are right for their Linux distro

            elementary is the company behind the elementary OS Linux distribution and the associated app store. Celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, elementary began in 2007 with their first release in 2011. They are currently on their 4th release (Loki) and are working towards their 5th (Juno) with Jupiter, Luna and Freya as previous releases. At the Ubuntu Rally in New York, we spoke to elementary’s founder Daniel Fore and Systems Architect, Cody Garver, to discover what made snaps the right Linux application packaging format for their distro.

          • Kernel Team Summary- October 11, 2017
          • MAAS 2.3.0 beta 2 released!
          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 10 Oct 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 benefits of contributing to open source projects

    Open source was once seen as a risky bet for the enterprise. If open source software was used at all it was by small companies, or by larger firms in stealthy pockets by IT and development professionals who saw the value of the model but couldn’t “sell” it upstream.

    To be fair, it was a different time with a different pace of business, and the open source model was a little too loose for most companies. Today? Open source is wearing figurative pinstripes while enabling companies of all sizes and industries to innovate at the pace of digital. And savvy companies are not only using it, but also contributing to open source projects to drive innovation, growth, and revenue.

  • How an open team can assess threats and opportunities

    You may be familiar with the “SWOT” decision-making tool. It’s a methodology for helping teams clearly outline a set of conditions, compare options, and make transparent decisions based on an idea’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (“SWOT”). SWOT is an efficient tool in my strategic planning toolkit.

  • Open-source in India: 3 of 4 coders come from product firms, Amazon leads
  • ONAP Collaborates with MEF on Open Source Efforts, Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ in Subscribers Participating

    Open source community leader ONAP is teaming up with standards body MEF to further harmonize open source efforts ahead of 5G.

    Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking and Orchestration at the Linux Foundation, told Wireless Week the agreement will allow for “collaboration between open source and open standards.”

    Both groups said they share the same objectives, including orchestrating services across multiple providers and multiple network technology domains and building a framework for real-time, policy-driven software automation of virtual and physical network functions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Announced Plans to Open Source All Features of Their JDK and Address Shortcomings in Java EE

      During the opening keynote at JavaOne this year, Oracle announced plans to release Java SE under GPL and to open-source all the features in Oracle’s JDK. The vendor also admitted that Java EE wasn’t fit for the new world of microservices and serverless, and talked about plans to address the issue. Case studies on modern microservices architectures were provided by Alibaba and Spotify. The full keynote video is available on YouTube, but below we’re providing a summary of the key information.

    • Q. Why’s Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

      Oracle loves open source. Except when the database giant hates open source. Which, according to its recent lobbying of the US federal government, seems to be “most of the time”.

      Yes, Oracle has recently joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to up its support for open-source Kubernetes and, yes, it has long supported (and contributed to) Linux. And, yes, Oracle has even gone so far as to (finally) open up Java development by putting it under a foundation’s stewardship.

      Yet this same, seemingly open Oracle has actively hammered the US government to consider that “there is no math that can justify open source from a cost perspective as the cost of support plus the opportunity cost of forgoing features, functions, automation and security overwhelm any presumed cost savings.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Metsä Wood: From Desktop Designs to Actual Projects – Join Open Source Wood
    • Open Access/Content

      • Penn Libraries to End Partnership with bepress

        This fall, the Penn Libraries will begin exploring open source options for hosting Penn’s institutional repository, ScholarlyCommons, which provides free and open access to scholarly works created by Penn faculty, staff and students.

        For 13 years, Penn Libraries has hosted ScholarlyCommons on the platform Digital Commons, which we contract from the commercial company bepress. Through ScholarlyCommons and other initiatives, the Penn Libraries has enabled Penn authors to lower barriers to accessing scholarship, publish new research, and take advantage of library services that benefit not only our own community but those around the world. For 13 years, bepress was a partner in this endeavor.

        In August, bepress sold their company to Elsevier, a business with a history of aggressive confidentiality agreements, steep price increases, and opaque data mining practices. In their acquisition of bepress and other companies like SSRN and Mendeley, Elsevier demonstrates a move toward the consolidation and monopolization of products and services impacting all areas of the research lifecycle.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Testing Is Important for Distributed Software

      As developers, we often hear that tests are important. Automated testing minimizes the number of bugs released to production, helps prevent regression, improves code quality, supplements documentation, and makes code reviews easier. In short, tests save businesses money by increasing system uptime and keeping developers working on new features instead of fighting fires. While software testing has been around for about as long as software has, I would argue that testing is especially important (and unfortunately more challenging) in modern distributed software systems.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.8.100.1.0
    • ConCom, and calls for programming, charity, and staff (oh my!)
    • HyperCard

      One of my favorite pastimes is imagining and planning to write new coding projects: researching technologies, checking out libraries I might use, making GUI mockups, downloading similar projects.

      I was thinking the other day that it might be fun to create a desktop-based editor that had an HTTP server embedded. The HTTP server would serve up only one document, which is the document being currently edited, and it would show a live representation of the screen as being show the person editing the document.

      I was thinking it might be fun to re-implement the old HyperCard system.

Leftovers

  • Nintendo Nixes Live Streams For Its Own Creators Program For Some Reason

    In 2014, following nearly a full year of waging an intellectual property war on YouTubers doing “let’s play” videos with its games, Nintendo unleashed upon the world what would eventually become its “Creators Program”. Through the program, YouTubers would be allowed to put videos including Nintendo IP on their channels in exchange for revenue sharing between the creator and Nintendo itself. For a company like Nintendo, which had built a reputation for exerting strict control in this arena, it felt like a huge step forward. It took only a few months before the whole thing began devolving into a bureaucratic mess, with: language in the affiliate agreement clearly geared towards garnering positive coverage from YouTubers; a mishandling of the influx of interest in the program by creators themselves; and a strange whitelist and blacklist of what games could be covered, which hurt channels with extensive back catalogs of content that might need to be deleted. Some high profile YouTubers swore off covering Nintendo games in revolt, while everyone else was left wondering why this had to be handled so badly.

  • Science

    • The Earth nearly froze over when today’s coal was first buried

      Our burning of fossil fuels is, to an extent, a reversal of a process that happened millions of years ago. At one point, all this carbon was in the air. Over millions of years, life extracted it from the air before dying and getting buried. Geology took over from there, gradually converting the formerly living material into things like coal and oil. Since this process was relatively slow, it presumably didn’t result in radical changes to the climate.

      But a new study suggests that it came really, really close. Lots of the fossil fuels we currently use derive from the Carboniferous, a 60-million-year-long period where forests flourished across much of the Earth. While not sudden, activity during this time period did pull a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere, and so a researcher decided to look at some of the consequences. The results suggest that the Earth skirted the edge of a global freeze, forming glaciers in the mountains of the tropics.

    • Study claims vaccines-autism link; scientists find fake data, have rage stroke

      A recent study linking a component of vaccines to signs of autism in mice is set for retraction after scientists thoroughly demolished the study’s design, methods, and analysis—and then, for good measure, spotted faked data.

      The original study, led by Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia, suggested that aluminum in vaccines can alter immune responses and trigger the development of autism. (Aluminum adjuvants are used in some vaccines to boost protective immune responses.) The study is just the latest in a long line of publications from the researchers who appear unwavering in their effort to reveal supposed neurotoxic effects of aluminum in vaccines even though dozens of studies have found no evidence of such toxicity.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Congress’ pharmacist hints some members have Alzheimer’s, backpedals furiously

      Wednesday morning, Stat published a piece on the quaint, old-school pharmacy that hand-delivers prescription medications to our hardworking Congress members on the Hill each day.

    • Is that water drinkable? Fast test may hold the answer

      Detecting the agents of disease is often really hard. Imagine that you live in a village in a developing country. You may not have electricity, and your water comes via a well of unknown quality. Is the lining in that well sufficient to keep shallow, polluted groundwater from seeping in?

      No matter how good your well-building skills are, you still need to regularly test drinking water to ensure that it is safe. A new development in detecting bacterial nasties has scientists saying there’s a solution, one that looks like high-tech litmus paper. But I’m not so sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #128
    • T-Mobile customer data plundered thanks to bad API

      A bug disclosed and patched last week by T-Mobile in a Web application interface allowed anyone to query account information by simply providing a phone number. That includes customer e-mail addresses, device identification data, and even the answers to account security questions. The bug, which was patched after T-Mobile was contacted by Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on behalf of an anonymous security researcher, was apparently also exploited by others, giving them access to information that could be used to hijack customers’ accounts and move them to new phones. Attackers could potentially gain access to other accounts protected by SMS-based “two factor” authentication simply by acquiring a T-Mobile SIM card.

    • Criminals stole millions from E. Europe banks with ATM “overdraft” hack

      Banks in several former Soviet states were hit with a wave of debit card fraud earlier this year that netted millions of dollars worth of cash. These bank heists relied on a combination of fraudulent bank accounts and hacking to turn nearly empty bank accounts into cash-generating machines. In a report being released by TrustWave’s SpiderLabs today, SpiderLabs researchers detailed the crime spree: hackers gained access to bank systems and manipulated the overdraft protection on accounts set up by proxies and then used automated teller machines in other countries to withdraw thousands of dollars via empty or nearly empty accounts.

      While SpiderLabs’ investigation accounted for about $40 million in fraudulent withdrawals, the report’s authors noted, “when taking into account the undiscovered or uninvestigated attacks along with investigations undertaken by internal groups or third parties, we estimate losses to be in the hundreds of millions in USD.” This criminal enterprise was a hybrid of traditional credit fraud and hacking. It relied on an army of individuals with fake identity documents, as these folks were paid to set up accounts at the targeted institutions with the lowest possible deposit. From there, individuals requested debit cards for the accounts, which were forwarded to co-conspirators in other countries throughout Europe and in Russia.

    • Buggy Microsoft Outlook Sending Encrypted S/MIME Emails With Plaintext Copy For Months

      Beware, If you are using S/MIME protocol over Microsoft Outlook to encrypt your email communication, you need to watch out.

      From at least last 6 months, your messages were being sent in both encrypted and unencrypted forms, exposing all your secret and sensitive communications to potential eavesdroppers.

      S/MIME, or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, is an end-to-end encryption protocol—based on public-key cryptography and works just like SSL connections—that enables users to send digitally signed and encrypted messages.

    • Fake Crypto: Microsoft Outlook S/MIME Cleartext Disclosure (CVE-2017-11776)

      Outlook version XXX (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog accordingly) was the first affected version. So any S/MIME encrypted mail written since that date might be affected.

      Unfortunately there is no easy solution to remediate the impact of this vulnerability (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog).

      In cases where mails have been send to third parties (recipient is outside of the sender’s organization) remediation is not possible by the sending party, since the sender has no authority over the recipient’s mail infrastructure.

    • Accenture data leak: ‘Keys to the kingdom’ left exposed via multiple unsecured cloud servers

      A massive trove of sensitive corporate and customer data was left freely exposed to the public by Accenture, one of the world’s biggest management firms. The tech giant left at least four cloud storage servers, which contained highly sensitive decryption keys and passwords, exposed to the public, without any password protections.

    • Equifax website hacked again, this time to redirect to fake Flash update

      In May credit reporting service Equifax’s website was breached by attackers who eventually made off with Social Security numbers, names, and a dizzying amount of other details for some 145.5 million US consumers. For several hours on Wednesday the site was compromised again, this time to deliver fraudulent Adobe Flash updates, which when clicked, infected visitors’ computers with adware that was detected by only three of 65 antivirus providers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About

      IT’S STRANGE HOW some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged would-be-terrorist. Nothing. You’ll see why in a minute.

      On past Friday morning, at 12:39 a.m., security footage from the Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina showed a man walking through the front doors wearing black clothing and a black cap, while carrying a bag. “Based on a review of the video, the individual walked near the entrance to the terminal, went out of sight momentarily, and was then seen departing the area without the bag,” according to the criminal complaint.

      Following the Transportation Security Administration’s protocols, airport security allowed a bomb dog to sniff the bag for explosives and the dog signaled to the team the presence of dangerous materials in the bag. The concourse was then shut down. The street leading to the airport was shut down. And Asheville Regional Airport officials found themselves in a dangerous emergency situation.

    • 10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

      President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States.

      The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hurricane Ophelia is on course to strike Ireland and the UK early next week

      Hurricane Ophelia is churning the waters of the northeastern Atlantic, headed for Europe. It’s far from land right now, but it’s noteworthy for its location, intensity, and direction of movement.

      The storm is the 10th straight tropical cyclone to reach hurricane intensity in the Atlantic Ocean. Which means this year has tied the all-time record set in 1878 — which was also met in 1886 and 1893, though lack of satellite measurements until the latter half of the twentieth century means there’s some uncertainty here.

    • FDA head: Hurricane Maria set to hit hospitals nationwide, clobber drug supply

      After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20, the nation’s drug supply and hospitals should brace for their own beating in the next two to three weeks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview with Reuters Tuesday.

      With more than four dozen FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants, Puerto Rico manufactures 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US. The list of drugs made there includes 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, such as Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis drug, and Xarelto, a blood thinner for stroke prevention, The New York Times reported. Some of the medicines made there are made nowhere else.

    • Dutch government wants all new cars to be emissions-free by 2030

      On Tuesday, the fractured Dutch government announced a coalition of several leading parties and put forward a roadmap for the Netherlands’ future. Besides reaffirming the country’s support of the EU and offering tax and immigration plans, the coalition said that it wanted all new cars to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. The coalition also called for more aggressive emissions goals in general—specifically, a 49-percent reduction in the country’s CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, according to EU Observer.

    • Plugging in to a volcano: Geothermal power and the science that enables it

      In Rotorua, New Zealand, the evidence of geothermal activity is everywhere. Often, the grates covering street drains will steam. Every now and again, a homeowner will wake up to find that their backyard has been replaced by a steaming hole in the ground. But all of this was nearly lost in my youth thanks to humanity’s attempts to tap into it. Geothermal fields cannot be endlessly plundered, it turns out.

      But this is a good-news story. Geothermal activity, in 2017, supplies some 17-18 percent of New Zealand’s electricity. But there are many places in the world that have volcanoes, and many of them are more active than New Zealand’s. In New Zealand, geothermal fields cover sleeping volcanoes, not the restless, ready-to-throw rocks volcanoes. Which raises the obvious question of why the islands’ sleeping volcanoes can be tapped so effectively.

    • EPA chief says wind tax credits should be eliminated

      On Monday night, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt told a meeting of the Kentucky Farm Bureau that the federal government should end tax credits for the wind industry. Although the EPA doesn’t have control over tax incentives for renewable energy, the agency has considerable authority to hamper similar programs that boost renewables—most recently seen in Pruitt’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan—and his comments reflect how energy policy is being approached in the nation’s environmental bureau.

    • As Deadly Wildfires Rage in California, a Look at How Global Warming Fuels Decades of Forest Fires

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling massive wildfires. A state of emergency has been declared in northern areas as the fires have left at least 17 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. The wildfires come after the U.S. Forest Service warned last year that an unprecedented 5-year drought led to the deaths of more than 100 million trees in California, setting the stage for massive fires. Climate scientists believe human-caused global warming played a major role in the drought. We speak with Park Williams, bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and co-author of a 2016 report showing that global warming is responsible for nearly half of the forest area burned in the western United States over the past three decades.

    • Disabled 85-year-old woman dragged across busy road by police at fracking protest

      A disabled 85-year-old woman was left bruised after being dragged across a busy road by three police officers during an anti-fracking protest.

      Anne Power, a Green Party member and anti-fracking campaigner, was sitting outside a fracking site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire, when a scrum of officers lifted her from her seat.

      Video of the incident, seen by The Independent, shows her being dragged across a major road by her shoulders, with her heels scraping along the ground.

    • Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery effort
    • In ”Disgusting” Attack, Trump Blames Puerto Rico; Says FEMA Can’t Stay ”Forever”

      In less than an hour on Thursday morning, President Donald Trump went from encouraging Americans to watch his favorite show, Fox & Friends, to telling residents of Puerto Rico the crisis there is “largely of their own making” to ultimately saying that the US government cannot keep federal emergency workers there “forever.”

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin isn’t money — it’s a ‘censorship-resistant asset class’

      Cryptocurrency Bitcoin isn’t technically money in the full sense of the word, according to analysts at Bernstein.

      While it allows transactions in a similar way to cash, Bitcoin is still just a “censorship-resistant asset class,” out of the reach of state control and yet to form a part of the system of settlement and credit that defines money.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Facebook rewards polarizing political ads

      Unless Facebook makes its internal data public, it’s impossible to say which ads reach which audiences, or how much candidates spend to reach them. After the 2016 presidential election, a senior Facebook employee said that Trump’s cost of reaching voters was substantially lower than Clinton’s, according to communications reviewed by The Verge. Trump was able to reach a larger audience than Clinton for less money, the employee said, illustrating the power of mastering Facebook’s ad platform. At a time when the company’s advertising business is under increasing scrutiny, Facebook’s platform dynamics could represent a new avenue for regulators to investigate.

    • Meet the guy who spent 12 months undercover in Europe’s alt-right movement

      These people feel emboldened. They see this as a culture war — and they believe they’re winning.”

      That’s what Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish graduate student who spent twelve months undercover in the European alt-right movement, told me. Hermansson was part of Hope Not Hate, a UK-based organization established in 2004. The group is known for combating racist and fascist organizations with unorthodox methods like infiltration.

    • ‘Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent’

      One of the reasons for that is being considered right now in the Supreme Court. Recalled by many of us as an old-timey graphic in middle school textbooks, the term “gerrymander” refers to the drawing of political districts in such a way as to benefit a particular party. The case Gill v. Whitford is focused on Wisconsin, where in 2012 Republicans won just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but captured 60 out of 99 seats in the state assembly.

    • “I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES AS ADVISERS FEAR THE PRESIDENT IS “UNRAVELING”

      At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

      The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

      In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

    • U.S. withdraws from U.N.’s cultural agency UNESCO

      The United States announced on Thursday it was withdrawing from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural and educational agency, complaining about how it is run and about what Washington described as bias against Israel.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Roger Dingledine: “Tor: Internet privacy in the age of big surveillance”
    • Time to make Data Protection work for consumers

      The test for data protection fulfilling its purpose is whether it is improving consumer rights. Open Rights Group are calling for a specific improvement in consumer rights as the Data Protection Bill reaches its second reading debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

    • Open Rights Group briefing on the Data Protection Bill – HoL Second Reading
    • Trump’s DOJ tries to rebrand weakened encryption as “responsible encryption”

      A high-ranking Department of Justice official took aim at encryption of consumer products today, saying that encryption creates “law-free zones” and should be scaled back by Apple and other tech companies. Instead of encryption that can’t be broken, tech companies should implement “responsible encryption” that allows law enforcement to access data, he said.

      “Warrant-proof encryption defeats the constitutional balance by elevating privacy above public safety,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech at the US Naval Academy today (transcript). “Encrypted communications that cannot be intercepted and locked devices that cannot be opened are law-free zones that permit criminals and terrorists to operate without detection by police and without accountability by judges and juries.”

      Rosenstein was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the DOJ’s second-highest-ranking official, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was confirmed by the Senate in April.

    • US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records

      The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources.

      Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA said that any allegations that it “is operating outside of its authorities and knowingly violating U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties is categorically false.”

    • Treasury Department Wing Latest To Be Accused Of Domestic Spying

      Some more domestic spying taking place, this time by financial regulators. While the US Treasury Department is well within its legal wheelhouse to investigate domestic financial wrongdoing, its Office of Intelligence and Analysis is only supposed to monitor financial activity occurring outside of the US. The OIA has apparently been helping itself to domestic financial records, as Jason Leopold reports.

    • How to Send Messages in Private

      If you’d like an easy way to use secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging, we highly recommend Signal. It’s free, open source, and available from the iPhone and Android app stores. Not only that, it also allows you to make secure voice calls. Your butler would approve!

    • Google Home Mini review—A gateway drug for the Google Assistant
    • Kaspersky Lab Has Been Repeatedly Targeted By U.S., British, and Israeli Intelligence Services

      2015 was a busy year for Western intelligence agencies and Kaspersky Lab.
      SOMETIME IN EARLY 2015 — An NSA contractor was caught with classified materials on his home computer thanks to Kaspersky Lab AV software working exactly as it should.
      FEBRUARY 2015 — Kaspersky Lab released a detailed report on how the NSA had been breaching systems in 42 countries for the past fourteen years.
      A few days later, a group of CIA contractors did a post-mortem on what mistakes the NSA had made which allowed Kaspersky’s GReAT team to detect them.

    • Israel Hacked Kaspersky, Then Tipped The NSA That Its Tools Had Been Breached

      In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm: hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.

      Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

    • Russian Hackers Reportedly Stole NSA Data from a Contractor’s Computer

      Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russian hackers stole National Security Agency (NSA) data after an NSA contractor put highly-classified information on his home computer. According to the WSJ article, “NSA Contractor’s Breach of Cybersecurity Protocol at Heart of Russian Hack,” hackers identified and then targeted NSA files on the contractor’s personal computer by exploiting vulnerabilities in the antivirus software used by the contractor. Notably, given concerns about the particular version of antivirus software used by the contractor, last month the Department of Homeland Security banned all U.S. government departments and agencies from using it.

    • Update: Russian hackers use Kaspersky AV, find NSA info on home device

      Israel’s discovery that Russian hackers had used anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab to search computers worldwide for information on US intelligence programmes reportedly prompted the US government in September to ban the security company’s software from all US federal agencies.

    • NSA Declassifies Internet Surveillance Files from 2011 Case

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the National Security Agency has declassified these previously secret documents from the docket of a 2011 case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The case concerned problems with the NSA’s so-called “upstream” Internet spying conducted under the FISA Amendments Act warrantless surveillance program, and resulted in a then-secret ruling, made public in August 2013, that the agency had violated the Fourth Amendment. The NSA has previously released two other tranches of files from that litigation in response to the lawsuit.

    • Elite Hackers: Stealing NSA Secrets Is ‘Child’s Play’

      Last week, multiple outlets reported that its elite Tailored Access Operations unit—tasked with breaking into foreign networks—suffered another serious data breach. The theft of computer code and other material by an employee in 2015 allowed the Russian government to more easily detect U.S. cyber operations, according to The Washington Post. It’s potentially the fourth large-scale incident at the NSA to be revealed in the last five years.

    • Cyberstalking Case Highlights How VPN Provider Claims About Not Keeping Logs Are Often False

      When the Trump administration recently decided to gut consumer privacy protections for broadband, many folks understandably rushed to VPNs for some additional privacy and protection. And indeed, many ISPs justified their lobbying assault on the rules by stating that users didn’t need privacy protections, since they could simply use a VPN to fully protect their online activity. But we’ve noted repeatedly that VPNs are not some kind of panacea, and in many instances you’re simply shifting the potential for abuse from your ISP — to a VPN provider that may not actually offer the privacy it claims.

    • Dubai airport’s virtual tunnel-shaped aquarium can scan faces as people walk through

      Dubai airport has come up with an innovative solution to get the travellers’ faces scanned. The airport will introduce virtual aquariums shaped like tunnels with screens placed along the interior. It will have 80 cameras that will scan faces as people walk by.

      The scanners will also record irises, according to a report by The National. The idea is to create a system where travellers will not need to pass through security gates or stand in line in front of counters for clearance.

    • How big companies make billions from your personal data but never take any responsibility

      “A century ago, we found ways to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the Industrial Revolution,” Sandel concluded. “Today, we need to figure out how to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the digital revolution.”

    • U.S. signals tougher stance with tech companies on encryption

      Rosenstein’s first lengthy comments on encryption signaled a desire for Congress to write legislation mandating that companies provide access to encrypted products when a law enforcement agency obtains a court order.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber facing at least five criminal investigations from US Justice Department

      Uber is facing at least five criminal investigations by the US Justice Department over numerous allegations including intellectual property [sic] theft, a lack of price transparency and the use of regulator-dodging software.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Black man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville faces felony charge
    • Bahrain is buying arms in London – and my family is paying the price

      Next week the giant Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair returns to the Excel centre in east London. The protests have already started. As a Bahraini living in exile in Britain, I’ve previously joined them. I’m far from happy that Bahraini officials can pop over to London to do their weapons shopping when security forces are shooting peaceful protesters back in Bahrain.

      Yet, as things stand I’m not sure how safe it will be for me or my family if I go to Docklands and hold up a protest placard. That’s because I’m one of a number of Bahrainis in the UK who are suffering reprisals whenever we put our heads above the parapet.

    • Supreme Court Leaves Troubling CFAA Rulings In Place: Sharing Passwords Can Be Criminal Hacking

      For many, many years now, we’ve talked about problems with the CFAA — the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act — which was passed in Congress in the 1980s in response to the Hollywood movie War Games (seriously). It was a messed up moral panic back then, and over the years it’s been abused widely in both civil and criminal cases to define almost anything as hacking. Over the past few years we’ve been following two cases in particular related to the CFAA: the David Nosal case and the Power.com case. Both involved fairly twisted interpretations of the CFAA — and, unfortunately, the 9th Circuit found both to be okay. And, unfortunately, this week, the Supreme Court declined to review both cases, meaning they remain good (if stupid) law in the 9th Circuit (which will likely influence cases elsewhere).

      I won’t go into all of the background in both cases, but the super short version is that under the Facebook v. Power ruling, it’s a CFAA violation for a service to access a website — even if at the request of users — if the website has sent a cease-and-desist. That shouldn’t be seen as hacking, but the court said it’s “unauthorized access.” Power was a service that tried to help consolidate different social networks into a single user interface for users — and lots of people found that valuable and signed up for the service. But, Facebook didn’t like it and sent a cease-and-desist to Power. Power figured that since users were asking it to continue and they were the ones who had the accounts, it was okay to continue. The court, unfortunately, claimed that it was a CFAA violation — the equivalent of “hacking” into a system (despite having legit credentials) just because of the cease-and-desist.

    • More Women Accuse Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Assault & Harassment

      A shocking new investigation by The New Yorker has revealed a slew of new rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. Weinstein has also been a major Democratic donor.

      The New Yorker reports three women say Harvey Weinstein raped them, while more say Weinstein masturbated in front of them or forcibly touched them without their consent. Among the accusers is former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says she had just finished her junior year at Middlebury College when she was invited to a daytime meeting with Weinstein at the Miramax office. She said he pushed her head down and “forced me to perform oral sex on him. I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t.’ … I tried to get away. … He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Miami Beach Police Unaware Of The First Amendment, Arrest Guy For Twitter Parody Account

      Back in 2014, the police in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of a guy, Jon Daniel, suspected of running a Twitter account parodying Peoria’s mayor, Jim Ardis. Despite knowing no laws had been broken, Ardis pushed hard to prosecute the person for daring to mock him on Twitter. It didn’t end well. A year and a half later, the taxpayers of Peoria were on the hook to pay Daniel $125,000 to settle the lawsuit filed against the city (with help from the ACLU).

      Someone might want to share that story with the police in Miami Beach. Last week they arrested a guy for having a Twitter parody account of the police spokesperson, Ernesto Rodriguez. The story sounds fairly familiar to the Peoria story. As in that case, police are claiming that the “crime” committed by Ernesto Orsetti here is “falsely impersonating” a public official. Yet, as the Miami New Times notes, just a little while ago Rodriguez (the real one) joked with reporters and made it clear he considered it a parody account. He also appears to have made some tweets that are clearly laughing off the parody account.

    • What Jemele Hill’s Suspension Means For Social Media Censorship

      In this ESSENCE Now segment, our guests discuss the recent two-week suspension of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill over her tweets about the NFL.

      “People become selective in how they support Black women who speak out bout issues related to black liberation and black freedom,” activist and writer Feminista Jones said. “As long as the racism continues, as long as the police brutality and all the things that they’re protesting continues, you have to continue speaking, she was taking a huge risk and deserves our support.”

    • Gov. Brown Vetoes Internet Access For Juvenile Halls and Foster Homes—For Now

      California Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed A.B. 811, a bill that would have required the government to provide youth in state care—be they juvenile halls or foster homes—with reasonable access to computers and the Internet for educational purposes. In some cases, juveniles would also have been able to use computers to stay in touch with their families and for extracurricular and social activities.

      The bill, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, was supported by the Youth Law Center, EFF, and Facebook, and received no opposition when it landed on the governor’s desk. More than 250 supporters sent letters to the legislature and the governor asking for this bill to become law.

    • Spain: Police Used Excessive Force in Catalonia

      Spanish police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Catalonia during a disputed referendum, using batons to hit non-threatening protesters and causing multiple injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch received many allegations of unjustified police use of force on October 1, 2017, and carried out on-site investigations after the poll to document specific incidents.

      Human Rights Watch spoke to victims and witnesses and reviewed video, photographic, and medical evidence from the city of Girona and two villages in Girona and Barcelona provinces. Human Rights Watch found that the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) or National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia) at times used excessive force in all three locations on October 1 as they sought to execute court orders to prevent the poll.

    • As a man with no daughters, here are my views on feminism
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 10Gbps cable Internet uploads and downloads coming in DOCSIS update

      Cable Internet with download and upload speeds of 10Gbps may eventually come to American homes thanks to a new specification for higher-speed, symmetrical data transmissions.

      The industry’s R&D consortium, CableLabs, today announced that it has completed the Full Duplex Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, an update to DOCSIS 3.1. The completion of the 10Gbps full duplex spec comes 18 months after the project was unveiled.

    • Analysts Predict Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Will Be A Massive Job Killer

      For much of the year, Sprint has been trying to butter up the Trump administration to gain approval for a merger with T-Mobile. Sprint’s previous attempts at such a merger were blocked by regulators, who correctly noted that reducing wireless competitors from four to three would raise rates and reduce carrier incentive to improve and compete. But with the Trump administration spearheading a new wave of mindless merger mania in the telecom space, Sprint is poised to try again, and is expected to formally announce its latest attempt to acquire T-Mobile in just a matter of weeks.

      Of course like any good merger, that will involve countless think tankers, lobbyists, consultants, fauxcademics and other policy voices willfully ignoring M&A history, insisting that the deal will magically spur competition, save puppies, cure cancer, and result in countless thousands of new jobs. But many respected sector analysts are busy noting that the job is expected to be a mammoth job killer.

    • FCC’s claim that one ISP counts as “competition” faces scrutiny in court

      A Federal Communications Commission decision to eliminate price caps imposed on some business broadband providers should be struck down, advocacy groups told federal judges last week. The FCC failed to justify its claim that a market can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider, the groups said.

      Led by Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC’s Republican majority voted in April of this year to eliminate price caps in a county if 50 percent of potential customers “are within a half mile of a location served by a competitive provider.” That means business customers with just one choice are often considered to be located in a competitive market and thus no longer benefit from price controls. The decision affects Business Data Services (BDS), a dedicated, point-to-point broadband link that is delivered over copper-based TDM networks by incumbent phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New Members But No Change In WIPO Program And Budget Committee – For Now
    • WIPO: Rise In Retirement Age Delayed 2 Years; LGBT Workers Get Protection

      The World Intellectual Property Organization will increase the retirement age to 65 for all workers starting in 2020, one year earlier than it had proposed but still a delay aimed at freeing up some job posts through earlier retirements.

    • WIPO Delegates Solve Budget For 2 Years; US Still Vigilant On GI Treaty

      On the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates today found a way to agree on the issues blocking the adoption of the 2018/2019 budget. In particular delegates found a way to address requests made by the United States on the program and budget, notably on the financing of the WIPO agreement protecting geographical indications.

    • WIPO: New 2-Year Mandate For Traditional Knowledge Committee; Design Law Treaty Stalls

      Late tonight on the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates agreed on a mandate and a work programme of the committee seeking ways to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and folklore from misuse and misappropriation. Meanwhile, no agreement was found on the convening of a high-level negotiating meeting for a new treaty on industrial designs.

    • Copyrights

      • Court To Guy Who Sued News Stations Over His Facebook Live Video: Pay Their Legal Fees… And Maybe Sue Your Lawyers

        If the name Kali Kanongataa doesn’t ring a bell, he was the man who sued roughly all of the news for copyright infringement earlier this year. The whole episode stemmed from Kanongataa having put the birth of his child up on Facebook through the site’s live streaming function in 2016. Many, many news organizations used snippets of the video in their reporting on the viral nature of the video, which had been viewed over 100,000 times. Kanongataa ultimately lost those suits on obvious Fair Use grounds and the various news organizations subsequently petitioned to be awarded attorney’s fees, which the court ultimately granted.

        [...]

        The court can preface this footnote any way it wants, but this sure reads like a heavy-handed hint to Kanongataa that he may want to look into recouping costs through his attorney for even bringing this case before the court in the first place, never mind failing to properly advise him on his claims of financial strife. This pretty clearly reads like a court that knows this is a case that never should have made it past the idea stage in Kanongataa’s head, with clear implications that his attorney should have advised him against, or refused to even assist him with, putting any of this in motion.

      • Library trolls copyright zealots by naming collection after Sonny Bono

        The Internet Archive is an online library known for pushing the boundaries of copyright law to promote public access to obscure works, including classic video games and historic images. Now the organization is taking advantage of a little-noticed provision of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to publish complete copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941. The group hopes that the move will inspire other libraries to follow its lead, making hundreds of thousands of books from the mid-20th Century available for download.

        The Internet Archive has cheekily named this the “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection.” Bono was a musician turned member of Congress who died in a skiing accident months before the legislation passed. His widow, Mary Bono, won his seat in the House of representatives. During the debate over the Copyright Term Extension Act, Mary Bono said that “Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.” So Congress did the next best thing, retroactively extending copyright terms by 20 years and naming the legislation after Sonny.

      • New ‘Coalition For Responsible Sharing’ About To Send Millions Of Take-Down Notices To Stop Researchers Sharing Their Own Papers

        Those formal steps include sending “millions of takedown notices for unauthorized content on its site now and in the future.” Two Coalition publishers, ACS and Elsevier, have also filed a lawsuit in a German regional court, asking for “clarity and judgement” on the legality of ResearchGate’s activities. Justifying these actions, the Coalition’s statement says: “ResearchGate acquires volumes of articles each month in violation of agreements between journals and authors” — and that, in a nutshell, is the problem.

      • An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published 1923-1941

        Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it’s never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to “forever less a day” and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, “orphaning” them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to).

      • Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!

        The Internet Archive is now leveraging a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law, Section 108h, which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold.

      • Kim Dotcom Plots Hollywood Execs’ Downfall in Wake of Weinstein Scandal

        In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Kim Dotcom is offering support to victims of similar abuse. The entrepreneur says he’ll find funding for a class-action lawsuit exposing the crimes of high-ranking Hollywood executives. Five years after the Megaupload raid, it seems that having a shared enemy could bring kindred spirits together.

      • Pirate Bay is Mining Cryptocurrency Again, No Opt Out

        The Pirate Bay is mining cryptocurrency again, causing a spike in CPU usage among many visitors. For now, the notorious torrent site provides no option to disable it. The new mining expedition is not without risk. CDN provider Cloudflare previously suspended the account of a site that used a similar miner, which means that The Pirate Bay could be next.

      • EU study finds even publishers oppose the ‘link tax’ – and some journalists are afraid to speak out

        A new study conducted upon request of the European Parliament finds that the planned extra copyright for news sites is a terrible idea. But MEPs may not learn about it until after they have voted on the controversial proposal.

10.11.17

Links 11/10/2017: Krita 3.3.1, KDE Plasma 5.12 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Streamlio and Industry Leaders Launch OpenMessaging

    Streamlio today announced that it has joined with industry leaders Alibaba, Di Di, and Yahoo! to launch OpenMessaging, a standards initiative for messaging software, within the Linux Foundation. As a founding contributor, Streamlio will help drive the creation and adoption of vendor-neutral, open standards and tools for distributed messaging and ensure that these standards are fully supported within the Streamlio real-time solution, empowering the robust ecosystem of developers and users developing modern data applications.

  • Open Source Sony PlayStation 3 Emulator Now Supports Up To 10K Rendering

    Emulator fans who want to play PlayStation 3 games on their computer may be familiar with the RPCS3 emulator that has been around for quite some time. The emulator has been updated and now supports high resolution rendering. The emulator can allow you to play favorite PS3 games at much higher resolutions than the PS3 could handle, all the way up to 10K resolution.

  • How to Choose Your IoT Platform – Should You Go Open-Source?
  • AT&T ECOMP Helps Lay Foundation for MEF-Linux Foundation Agreement Targeting Service Orchestration

    AT&T’s open source ECOMP initiative, which aims to bring a higher level of standardization to the automation of communications service creation and turn-up, is having a broad industry impact, as news today of a MEF-Linux Foundation agreement illustrates. The Linux Foundation and the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) announced a memorandum of understanding aimed at coordinating their efforts on service orchestration – and according to Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration for the Linux Foundation, ECOMP plays a big role on the Linux Foundation’s side of the agreement.

  • Hyperledger and Linux to Offer a Massive Open Online Blockchain Course

    Hyperledger, the international blockchain collaboration of corporate giants and young startups in partnership with the Linux Foundation, is launching a new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to meet the rapidly accelerating worldwide demand for blockchain education.

  • Linux Foundation and Hyperledger launch blockchain training course
  • MEF, ONAP develop pact for open network-based orchestrated services

    MEF and the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), a Linux Foundation project, have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish service orchestration for service providers interconnecting diverse networks and technologies.

  • How the Federal Reserve Bank of New York navigates the ‘supply chain’ of open source software

    Large companies have divisions and subsidiaries that make efficient organizational management a challenge. Perhaps no one recognizes that more than Colin Wynd, vice president and head of the Common Service Organization at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Wynd is charged with ensuring that software development practices and strategy are forward-thinking and secure, and adhere to compliance regulations.

    Several years ago, Wynd and his team started to think more holistically about how their developer teams worked, he explained in a presentation at the recent Jenkins World conference in San Francisco. They needed to transition decades of legacy applications to more modern, flexible alternatives.

  • Building an Open Standard for Distributed Messaging: Introducing OpenMessaging

    Through a collaborative effort from enterprises and communities invested in cloud, big data, and standard APIs, I’m excited to welcome the OpenMessaging project to The Linux Foundation. The OpenMessaging community’s goal is to create a globally adopted, vendor-neutral, and open standard for distributed messaging that can be deployed in cloud, on-premise, and hybrid use cases.

    Alibaba, Yahoo!, Didi, and Streamlio are the founding project contributors. The Linux Foundation has worked with the initial project community to establish a governance model and structure for the long-term benefit of the ecosystem working on a messaging API standard.

  • Cloud Foundry adds native Kubernetes support for running containers

    Cloud Foundry, the open-source platform as a service (PaaS) offering, has become somewhat of a de facto standard in the enterprise for building and managing applications in the cloud or in their own data centers. The project, which is supported by the Linux Foundation, is announcing a number of updates at its annual European user conference this week. Among these are support for container workloads and a new marketplace that highlights the growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

    Cloud Foundry made an early bet on Docker containers, but with Kubo, which Pivotal and Google donated to the project last year, the project gained a new tool for allowing its users to quickly deploy and manage a Kubernetes cluster (Kubernetes being the Google-backed open-source container orchestration tool that itself is becoming the de facto standard for managing containers).

  • “We’re just on the edge of blockchain’s potential”

    No one could have seen blockchain coming. Now that it’s here, blockchain has the potential to completely reinvent the world of financial transactions, as well as other industries. In this interview, we talked to JAX London speaker Brian Behlendorf about the past, present, and future of this emerging technology.

  • Measure Your Open Source Program’s Success

    Open source programs are proliferating within organizations of all types, and if yours is up and running, you may have arrived at the point where you want to measure the program’s success. Many open source program managers are required to demonstrate the ROI of their programs, but even if there is no such requirement, understanding the metrics that apply to your program can help optimize it. That is where the free Measuring Your Open Source Program’s Success guide comes in. It can help any organization measure program success and can help program managers articulate exactly how their programs are driving business value.

  • Bitcoin-Ethereum Atomic Swap Code Now Open Source

    A team of cryptocurrency startup developers is open-sourcing technology that enables trustless trading between the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains.

    Now available on GitHub, the code has already been used to execute what startup Altcoin Exchange claims is the first so-called “atomic swap” between the largest cryptocurrencies by market value. As a result of the release, a now larger community of developers can play around with and build on top of the code.

  • How Open Source boosts the Big Data-Driven Business

    Open Source offered fertile ground for digital transformation. Though Open Source revolutionized software, it now has an impact in larger business fields. But this phenomenon is way older than the Big Data revolution we are currently living, as Philippe Very, Lead Data Scientist at Sidetrade explains.

    [...]

    Open Source licenses, because of the freedom and the simplicity they offer, represent a true opportunity for Data Scientists. Statistics and machine learning open libraries, available in programming languages like R, Python or Java, became richer and easier to use than proprietary software. Open Source is not even really a choice anymore for Data Scientists.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla pilots Cliqz engine in Firefox to slurp user browsing data

        Mozilla has launched a pilot program using Cliqz technology to pull user browsing data in Firefox.

        Last week, Mountain View, CA-based Mozilla said the inclusion of the Cliqz plugin, bolt-on software which recommends links to news, weather, sport and other websites directly in the search bar based on a user’s history and activities, will now be included in “less than one percent” of Firefox browser downloads taking place in Germany.

        The inclusion of the add-on is part of a “small experiment” designed to improve the Firefox experience, privacy, and ease of use, according to the company.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Open-Xchange, Open Source Email Provider, Wins Funding

      Open-Xchange, the German-based provider of an open-source email platform and security software, has won €21 million in funding, translating into U.S. $25 million, according to Venture Beat. The round is headed by Iris Capital and existing shareholders such as eCAPITAL.

  • BSD

    • Trying Out The BSDs & OpenIndiana On AMD EPYC + Tyan 2U Server

      We have begun in delivering many Linux benchmarks of AMD EPYC, but for those of you interested in the BSD operating systems or even the “open-source Solaris” Illumos/OpenIndiana, I have run some basic tests the past few days using the high-end EPYC 7601 64-thread processor on the TYAN Transport SX TN70A-B8026.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • More AMD Zen Tuning Patches Posted For GCC

      A few days back I initially wrote about a SUSE developer working on Zen tuning patches for GCC. That work has continued with more compiler patches coming for optimizing the GNU’s compiler for Ryzen / Threadripper / EPYC processors.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Update on Artifex v. Hancom GNU GPL compliance case

      A new ruling was issued on September 25th in the ongoing GNU General Public License (GPL) compliance case of Artifex v. Hancom. The case involves a piece of software licensed under the GPL version 3 or later, called Ghostscript. It is a project from Artifex for handling PostScript, PDFs, and printers (GNU Ghostscript is a separate version of the project, and is not involved or implicated in the case).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • IBM Introduces Open Liberty, an Open Source Runtime for Java Microservices

      IBM demonstrated their continued dedication to open source recently with the introduction of Open Liberty, an open source implementation of their WebSphere Liberty application server. This new release supports the latest versions of both Eclipse MicroProfile and Java EE APIs for building microservices and cloud-native applications.

    • Perl turns 30 and its community continues to thrive

      Larry Wall released Perl 1.0 to the comp.sources.misc Usenet newsgroup on December 18, 1987. In the nearly 30 years since then, both the language and the community of enthusiasts that sprung up around it have grown and thrived—and they continue to do so, despite suggestions to the contrary!

      Wall’s fundamental assertion—there is more than one way to do it—continues to resonate with developers. Perl allows programmers to embody the three chief virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris. Perl was originally designed for utility, not beauty. Perl is a programming language for fixing things, for quick hacks, and for making complicated things possible partly through the power of community. This was a conscious decision on Larry Wall’s part: In an interview in 1999, he posed the question, “When’s the last time you used duct tape on a duct?”

    • Kotlin could overtake Java on Android next year

      Realm performed an anonymized assessment of 100,000 developers using its database and which languages they were using, determined by developers’ selection of SDKs. Realm found that 20 percent of apps built with Java before Google’s May endorsement of Kotlin are now being built in Kotlin.

    • NVIDIA-Donated Qt 3D Studio Now Available In Pre-Release Form

      Towards the beginning of this year NVIDIA donated their “DRIVE Design Studio” software to Qt to serve as the basis of Qt 3D Studio, a new editor for Qt 3D content. The code to this new Qt 3D Studio is now available in pre-release form.

    • Qt 3D Studio Source Code and Pre-Release Snapshots Available

      As you may remember we announced in February that we are working on a new 3D design tool called Qt 3D Studio, which is based on a major contribution from NVDIA. Now we are happy to announce that the code has been pushed into the Qt Project repositories and binary snapshots are available through the Qt online installer.

    • What is DevOps? An executive guide to agile development and IT operations

      Adopting DevOps isn’t just a good idea, it’s a business necessity.

      To get the most from today’s technologies — from servers to virtual machines (VM)s and containers on to the clouds they empower — you must get your system administrators working together with your developers. Hence, DevOps, the portmanteau of development and operations.

    • New projects on Hosted Weblate

Leftovers

  • Why cheating has become the norm [iophk: "just kick them out"]

    As usual, Johnson and other policymakers are focusing their energy on the most trivial dimension of the problem of cheating in universities. In this case, the professional essay mills. Essay-mill websites, which market ‘original’, professionally produced essays, allow students to circumvent their university’s plagiarism-detection system. In effect, these businesses help well-off students to purchase a degree. However, they play a minor role in the culture of cheating in higher education.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO Establishes High-Level Commission On Noncommunicable Diseases

      The UN World Health Organization today announced it has established a new high-level global commission on noncommunicable diseases, to be chaired by former WHO director general candidate Sania Nishtar of Pakistan.

      [...]

      The WHO said Nishtar is “a prominent global advocate for action against NCDs, former Federal Minister of the government of Pakistan and civil society leader.” She also previously served as co-chair of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

      Later this month, the release said, “ministers and other health leaders from around the world will review progress in Montevideo, Uruguay at the WHO Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases, co-hosted by WHO and the President of Uruguay. Governments and other stakeholders will meet again at the third UN High-level meeting on NCDs in 2018.”

      In 2015, world leaders committed to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals,” it said, adding, “Recent WHO reports indicate that the world will struggle to meet that target.”

  • Security

    • Accenture’s crown jewels found exposed in unsecured AWS buckets

      Global corporate consulting and management firm Accenture left at least four cloud-based storage servers unsecured and open to the public, the security company UpGuard has found.

      Exposed to the world were secret API data, authentication credentials, certificates, decryption keys, customer information and other data that could have been used to attack both the company and its clients.

    • Cyber terror? Ain’t seen it yet, says Australian Cyber Security Centre

      Despite all the hyper-ventilation by politicians who paint grim scenarios of cyber Armageddon always being around the corner, Australia is yet to face malicious activity that would constitute a cyber attack, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

    • The Race to Secure Voting Tech Gets an Urgent Jumpstart

      On Tuesday, representatives from the hacking conference DefCon and partners at the Atlantic Council think tank shared findings from a report about DefCon’s Voting Village, where hundreds of hackers got to physically interact with—and compromise—actual US voting machines for the first time ever at the conference in July. Work over three days at the Village underscored the fundamental vulnerability of the devices, and raised questions about important issues, like the trustworthiness of hardware parts manufactured in other countries, including China. But most importantly, the report highlights the dire urgency of securing US voting systems before the 2018 midterm elections.

    • North Korean Hack [sic] of U.S. War Plans Shows Off Cyber Skills
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Accenture left a huge trove of highly sensitive data on exposed servers

      Technology and cloud giant Accenture has confirmed it inadvertently left a massive store of private data across four unsecured cloud servers, exposing highly sensitive passwords and secret decryption keys that could have inflicted considerable damage on the company and its customers.

    • Crypto Anchors: Exfiltration Resistant Infrastructure

      The obvious way to implement a tokenization service is to generate a random token and store a mapping of that token and a one-way hash of the sensitive piece of data.

      Unfortunately, the maximum number of possible SSNs is just under 1 billion, making it trivial for an attacker that downloads the database to brute-force them offline.

    • Detecting DDE in MS Office documents

      Dynamic Data Exchange is an old Microsoft technology that can be (ab)used to execute code from within MS Office documents. Etienne Stalmans and Saif El-Sherei from Sensepost published a blog post in which they describe how to weaponize MS Office documents.

    • Stack Overflow Considered Harmful?

      What proportion of Android apps in the Play store include security-related code snippets copied directly from Stack Overflow? Does the copied code increase or decrease application security?

    • ‘UK teen almost hacking US officials a serious concern for American security’

      It should be very concerning for the US security services that a teenager almost got to access to private information of top officials, including that of the CIA chief, as other hackers might actually do some real harm, Mark Chapman of the UK Pirate Party believes.

      British teenager Kane Gamble pleaded guilty to trying to hack top US officials’ personal computers.

      Gamble is autistic and was only 15 years old when he attempted to hack the computers of former CIA chief John Brennan and the head of security of the Obama administration. He was released on bail and is due to be sentenced by a British regional court in December.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • American Made: A Largely True Story With Some Not-So-Fun Lies

      Director Doug Liman (Writing Studio, 9/1/17) describes American Made, his film about real-life drug dealer Barry Seal, as “a fun lie based on a true story.” So it’s not like he’s holding himself to a high standard of historical accuracy.

      For one thing, Seal (portrayed by Tom Cruise) did not meet Colombian druglords Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar, whose psychopathic hijinks provide much of the incident in the movie, until 1984, when the narrative is almost over. And Seal never landed a plane on a suburban street and pedaled away on a child’s bike to evade the DEA, as Cruise does, I’m sorry to say. (American Made largely exists because the Oscar-winning Argo showed that CIA exploits could be turned into a commercial and critical success—if, as Argo did, you make up all the most exciting and cinematic parts.)

    • China grabbed American as spy wars flare

      The Chinese officials drove their captive — whom they believed to be a CIA officer — to a security facility where he was interrogated for hours, and, according to one U.S. official, filmed confessing to unspecified acts of treachery on behalf of the U.S. government.

      It wasn’t until the early morning hours of the following day that other U.S. officials — who were not immediately informed by their Chinese counterparts of the consular official’s capture — arrived to rescue him. He was eventually released back to their custody and soon evacuated from the country.

      Both Chinese and U.S. officials kept quiet about the previously unreported incident, described to POLITICO and confirmed by multiple U.S. officials. But it threatened to spill into an international incident in the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign. U.S. officials strongly protested the abduction to their Chinese counterparts and, according to one official, issued a veiled threat to kick out suspected Chinese agents within the U.S.

    • Trump Threatens Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea

      Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19. That threat violates the UN Charter, and indicates an intent to commit genocide, crimes against humanity, the war crime of collective punishment and international humanitarian law. Moreover, a first-strike use of nuclear weapons would violate international law.

      By threatening to attack North Korea, Trump is endangering the lives of countless people. In the past, he has indicated his willingness to use nuclear weapons and Kim Jong-un has threatened to retaliate. The rapidly escalating rhetoric and provocative maneuvers on both sides has taken us to the brink of war.

    • Our Culture of Violence is a Result of Americans (So Far) Not Having to Face Reality

      How are we to explain how a flood of immigrants, most fleeing from oppression of one kind or another in Europe and later Asia and South America and some dragged here in chains from Africa, ended up producing a nation so steeped in violence and the implements of destruction needed to produce that violence, that we as a people no longer even recoil at the horrors the US routinely commits, encourages, funds, ignores and covers up? How are we to explain the collective lack of will to put a stop to the domestic gun slaughter, by citizens and by police, that makes Americans 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than in any other country in the world (save for those that are currently at war)?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico’s Health Care Is in Dire Condition, Three Weeks After Maria
    • Deadly California Wildfires Flare Up and Swallow More Homes

      Wildfires tearing through California’s wine country flared up Wednesday, destroying hundreds more homes and other buildings and leading to new evacuation orders as authorities raised the death toll to 17 and warned that the number was expected to rise.

      At least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed since the wildfires started Sunday, making them the third-most deadly and destructive blazes in state history.

      Nearly three days after the flames ignited in Northern California, firefighters were still unable to gain control the blazes, which were growing in number. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said 22 wildfires were burning, up from 17 on Tuesday.

    • Maria’s ‘Other’ Victims: Puerto Rican Bondholders

      With crushing debt threatening to annihilate its economy (CounterSpin, 7/31/15, 5/12/17), the island of Puerto Rico was already desperate. Then came Hurricane Maria, the September storm that tore through the US colony, leaving most of the island’s residents without power and many without water. The official death toll on the island from the Category 4 storm that packed winds of up to 155 miles per hour is at 43—and hospitals and funeral homes have said that the toll is significantly underreported.

      President Donald Trump, in what appeared to be an uncharacteristic display of empathy, said on October 3 that the island’s $72 billion debt would have to be forgiven. Though the president’s statement was quickly walked back by administration officials, the idea of forgiving Puerto Rico’s debt is gaining political strength. In response to that push for debt forgiveness, corporate media are trying a new tactic: telling the American people that they own the debt — and that they will be on the hook.

    • [Older] Despite Trump’s Posturing, Americans Are Embracing Climate Change Realities

      Robert Jay Lifton was born 91 years ago. Living through the catastrophes of the 20th century — world war, tyrannical regimes, genocide, the nuclear bomb, terrorism — he grappled with their terrible impact on human beings. His work as a psychiatrist, historian and public intellectual forged his reputation as one of the world’s foremost thinkers. Among his 20 books are such seminal award winners as Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima (1967); The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (1986); and Witness to an Extreme Century: A Memoir (2014).

    • Three Energy Bills Look To Increase Fourth Amendment Protections For Americans

      Senator Ron Wyden has introduced a trio of energy bills for the Senate’s consideration. The three bills each have their own area of focus.

      One bill [PDF] would direct the Department of Energy — along with state entities — to upgrade the flexibility and reliability of energy grids, thus limiting disruption during natural disasters. The second bill [PDF] creates grant programs for consumer-level renewable energy, providing incentives for purchase and deployment of solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient appliances. The third [PDF] tasks the DOE with leading the way for renewable energy storage R&D in hopes of driving costs down and providing more affordable alternatives to non-renewable energy sources.

      Beyond their renewable energy focus, these three bills all have one thing in common: law enforcement agencies aren’t going to like them. Each bill contains language erecting warrant requirements for law enforcement access of consumer energy usage data.

    • In killing the Clean Power Plan, EPA wants a narrow Clean Air Act

      As expected, the Trump administration has launched the process of eliminating its predecessor’s Clean Power Plan, which was designed to limit carbon emissions from the electric grid. But what was less expected is the reason the EPA is giving for doing so. It’s declaring the Obama administration’s approach inconsistent with the text of the Clean Air Act. Rather than regulating a pollutant as a whole, the Trump EPA would like to limit any regulation to the pollution produced by individual sources.

  • Finance

    • Dow Jones posts fake story claiming Google was buying Apple

      The Dow Jones newswire rattled markets on Tuesday by publishing a clearly fake story claiming that Google was buying Apple. The story claimed that Apple founder Steve Jobs put the purchase price—an absurdly small $9 billion—in his will.

      Dow Jones blamed a “technical error” and quickly retracted the story.

    • Google buys Apple: fake news, courtesy of Dow Jones

      A “technical error” has been blamed by Dow Jones for a story that was issued on its news wires overnight, saying that Google was buying Apple – and for a relatively paltry sum of US$9 billion.

    • ’80 Percent of the Benefit Is Going to the Richest 1 Percent’

      And just to be clear, they added, “This should be the focus of the tax reform debate, not the endless old argument about benefits for the rich.” A separate report noted that administration officials are abandoning their oft-voiced deficit concerns, because of the amazing “growth” the plan will generate.

      What’s a lay person to think? Here to help us understand is economist Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He joins us now by phone from DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Dean Baker.

    • 300 NGOs Demand No New E-Commerce Agenda At WTO Ministerial

      Some 300 global nongovernmental organisations have signed a letter voicing concerns about the agenda of the upcoming World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in December. In particular, they target the alleged push by some countries for a new agenda on digital trade, which they describe as “wrong.”

      The 11th WTO Ministerial meeting will take place in Buenos Aires on 10-13 December.

      The letter [pdf] addressed to WTO members describes a push for “a dangerous and inappropriate new agenda under the disguising rubric of ‘e-commerce’, while there is no consensus to introduce this new issue during or since the last WTO Ministerial conference.”

    • This may be Trump’s most insulting scam yet
    • You won’t believe the bizarre tax policy on Counter-Earth
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • With Facebook, Twitter in the Crosshairs of Investigators Probing Russian Interference, Let’s Consider The Risks of Applying Election Ad Rules to the Online World

      Social media platforms are avenues for typical Americans—those without enough money to purchase expensive television or radio ads—to make their voices part of the national political dialogue. But with news that a Russian company with ties to the Kremlin maintained hundreds of Twitter accounts and purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads aimed at influencing American voters—and specifically targeting voters in swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan—these same social media companies are now at the center of a widening government investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      This controversy has also sparked renewed calls for more government regulation of political ads on social media and other online platforms—including creating news rules for Internet ads that would mirror those the FEC and FCC currently apply to political ads on TV, cable, and radio. In the past, policymakers proposed essentially extending the broadcast rules to the Internet without adequately and thoughtfully considering the differences between the broadcast and online worlds. As a result, we argued for limiting the burden on online speakers from campaign finance regulations in both 2006 and 2014.

      We can’t emphasize enough what’s at stake here. Social media and digital communications have an enormous role in elections. On the whole, this is a good thing, because it creates many new avenues for Americans to communicate, share, participate, debate, and organize. Online speech rules must maintain our ability to speak out—anonymously if we choose—about candidates, elections, and issues. At the same time, American elections should be decided by Americans and not subject to foreign influence. The rules that surround our elections should be carefully created to protect American voters and not just at the moment of voting. Our right to participate and voice our opinions must not be compromised on the way to preventing foreign intervention in our elections.

    • The SNP’s political stardust is starting to fade

      Since the 2014 independence referendum, there has always been a section in Nicola Sturgeon’s autumn conference speech which uses the “I” word – independence.

      Usually, delegates cannot contain themselves, applauding, hollering and, more often than not, rewarding a mere mention of the word with a sustained standing ovation. There was a bit of that when the SNP leader reached that paragraph this time, but nothing like there’s been in previous years.

      “To all of you here in this hall and across our country who are impatient for change,” said Sturgeon, “let me say this. We may not yet know exactly when the choice will be made. But we can, we must, and we will always make the case for independence.” And that was that, a rather flat line in a pretty flat speech at, it has to be said, a generally flat conference.

    • Carles Puigdemont Turns the Tables on Rajoy

      Before his speech on Independence to the Catalan parliament, Carles Puigdemont seemed to be in an impossible position. Declare Independence and he would be immediately arrested and direct rule imposed from Madrid. Rajoy appeared to have all the angles covered; the EU had already specifically greenlighted the use of armed force in Commissioner Timmermans’ disgraceful address to the EU Parliament. The intergovernmental side of the EU, the Council, had through its President Donald Tusk called on Puigdemont not not to declare Independence but rather to enter dialogue, in terms that accepted the Spanish insistence that the very notion of Independence was inadmissible.

    • Eminem sears ‘racist’ Donald Trump

      Eminem savaged Donald Trump as a racist and warned fans not to support the US president as the rap superstar appeared at the BET Hip Hop Awards broadcast Tuesday.

      Eminem, the top-selling rapper of all time, made a rare and unexpected appearance in a recorded video aired during hip-hop’s premier awards show.

      With a hoodie over his head and visceral anger in his voice, Eminem rapped freestyle from inside a parking ramp as an entourage stood guard behind him.

    • Theresa May vows to spend money on Brexit ‘no deal’ immediately only minutes after Chancellor rules it out

      Theresa May has vowed to spend taxpayers’ cash immediately on preparing for a no deal Brexit – just minutes after her Chancellor ruled it out.

      The Prime Minister opened up a fresh split with her most important Cabinet colleague by telling MPs there would be no delay in funding the emergency plans.

      Earlier, Philip Hammond admitted diverting funds would mean less money for the NHS and social care – insisting it would not happen until the “very last moment”, if the need became clear.

    • The Brexiteers’ trade fantasies are crashing down around their ears

      Nowhere did the slogan “take back control” resound more enthusiastically than in the ears of Tory free marketeers, who imagined themselves as modernist privateers, latter-day descendants of the proud tradition of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. During the referendum campaign you could almost hear them slapping their leather-clad thighs and looking eagerly ahead to a world where bluster and bravado replace the musty domain of the rule book and the bureaucrat.

      Sadly, for these modern-day pirates of the high seas, trade in the 21st century is hedged by rules and restrictions, tariffs and quotas. Ruling the waves is going to require at least as much negotiation as finding our way out of the EU labyrinth. The events of the past few weeks have started to burst the Ripping Yarns bubble and brought the discussion down to Earth.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Brazilian politician: “Freedom of expression is guaranteed, but it cannot be anonymous”

      One doesn’t need to look far to see the potential chilling effects this will have on free speech. Another question is whether or not social media platforms will even comply with Brazilian orders. Facebook’s WhatsApp is a famous example in Brazil, having been banned multiple times for refusing to give up metadata on Brazilian users.

    • Brazil Congress passes law restricting online criticism of candidates

      The Brazilian Congress approved on Thursday legislation allowing parties and candidates to force social media outlets to immediately withdraw offensive or defamatory content by anonymous authors.

    • Call for contributions: study on detection and take-down of illegal content

      The European Commission invites you to contribute to the study launched to monitor how effectively illegal content is taken down online and to inform the need for further intervention.

    • A college professor criticized Trump. Now the White House wants an investigation
    • How NBC ‘Killed’ Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein Exposé

      Freelance NBC News correspondent Ronan Farrow, whose months-long investigation into reports of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct was spiked by the network but morphed into a journalistic blockbuster at The New Yorker, initiated a scuffle with the Peacock Network on Tuesday night.

      Appearing on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show—which, like NBC, is a property of NBC Universal and its parent company Comcast—Farrow disputed what sources said was NBC News President Noah Oppenheim’s judgment this past summer that Farrow’s reporting on the movie mogul and the women he allegedly harassed and assaulted wasn’t ready for prime-time.

      Addressing a controversy that has been percolating for the past several days in the media ecosystem since The New York Times published its own Weinstein exposé—including questions about whether NBC executives caved to the well-connected Weinstein and his formidable lawyers, Charles Harder, Lisa Bloom, and David Boies—Maddow brought it to a boiling point by telling Farrow: “NBC says that the story wasn’t publishable, that it wasn’t ready to go at the time that you brought it to them.”

    • Courtroom “Feud” Leaves Accurate Speech About Celebrities Unprotected

      The first season of FX’s drama Feud told the story of the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Set in Hollywood during the early sixties, the drama portrays numerous real-life figures from the era. Catherine Zeta-Jones appeared as Olivia de Havilland. Unfortunately, de Havilland did not enjoy the show. She sued FX asserting a number of torts including defamation, false light, and the right of publicity.

      The right of publicity is a cause of action for commercial use of a person’s identity. It makes good sense when applied to prevent companies from, say, falsely claiming that a celebrity endorsed their product. But when it is asserted against creative expression, such as a TV show, it can burden First Amendment rights. Celebrities have brought right of publicity cases against a wide range of creative work ranging from movies, rap lyrics, and magazine features, to computer games.

    • World-Renowned Artist Ai Weiwei on His Childhood in a Labor Camp, Art, Activism, Prison & Freedom
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Recordings Capture Brutal FBI Tactics to Recruit a Potential Informant

      ABAILIFF PUSHED Jabar Ali Refaie’s wheelchair into a federal courtroom in Tampa, Florida, on September 20. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and looking weak from not having had the drugs he takes to treat his multiple sclerosis, the 37-year-old Refaie was here for a bond hearing after being indicted on felony charges that allege he sold counterfeit BMW logos and diagnostic software on eBay.

      Refaie’s case seemed by appearances to be about a lot more than selling shady car parts on the internet. That much was obvious from Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton C. Gammons’s stiff bond requests — $25,000, a GPS monitoring device, the surrender of his passport, and the removal of all firearms from his residence — as well as the six U.S. Homeland Security agents who packed into the courtroom for Refaie’s hearing.

      Refaie’s 30-year-old girlfriend, Felicity, was present in the courtroom. She and Refaie had been married before; after their divorce, when Refaie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they rekindled their relationship and live together again but never remarried. Felicity told U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas McCoun III that Refaie wasn’t a flight risk. They have 4-month-old daughter together, she said. The government knows all about their lives. “The government has been monitoring us for the better part of two years,” she told the judge matter-of-factly. McCoun agreed with the suggested conditions from the U.S. attorney’s office, and Refaie was released from jail that evening after posting bond. Prior to this charge, Refaie had no criminal history.

    • WIPO Faces Resistance To Ensuring Equal Treatment For LGBT Staff

      The World Intellectual Property Organization is an international organisation based in Geneva, focused mainly on technical and legal issues of patents, trademarks and the like. But it is also a specialised agency of the United Nations, with over 1,000 employees. At its annual General Assemblies this week, an issue has arisen at WIPO that serves as a reminder of the complexities of UN membership.

    • WIPO Members Wrestle With Proposed Delay In Increasing Retirement Age

      Among the hot issues at this year’s annual World Intellectual Property Organization Assemblies is a proposal by WIPO to delay compliance with a United Nations-wide mandate to raise retirement age from 62 to 65 for those who started employment before 2014, supposed to go into effect on 1 January. WIPO’s proposal to wait 3 years to raise the age for those who joined the organisation is intended to open up dozens of posts that can then be filled with workers holding other skills deemed more needed as the global IP system has changed.

    • DOJ Says No One Has Any Right To Question The Adminstration’s Handling Of Records, Not Even The Courts

      Frequent FOIA requesters CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) and NSA (National Security Archive) are trying to obtain a court ruling forcing the Trump administration to stop standing in the way of transparency and accountability.

      Their complaint [PDF], filed earlier this year, accuses the Trump administration of not just serious impropriety, but of actually taking proactive steps to ensure there’s no documentation of its questionable deeds.

    • Supreme Court: Hacking conviction stands for man who didn’t hack computer

      According to court documents, Nosal used to work at an executive search firm called Korn/Ferry. After quitting Korn/Ferry, Nosal urged a former colleague to give up her credentials to two other Korn/Ferry employees who were cooperating with Nosal. At Nosal’s urging, they downloaded proprietary Korn/Ferry information to help the trio start a competing firm. As his punishment for the conspiracy, Nosal was sentenced to a year in prison. He appealed and said the hacking statute did not apply to him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple faces down Qualcomm, Ericsson over EU patent fees [iophk: "FRAND == misnomer"]

      Qualcomm’s patent fee model is based on the widely used so-called “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) licensing model. The European Commission, however, has yet to make a final decision on which technology patent fee model it favours.

    • Copyrights

      • Sweden Supreme Court: Don’t Presume Prison Sentences For Pirates

        Furthermore, the Supreme Court found that there are no legislative indications that copyright infringement should be penalized via a term of imprisonment. In reaching this decision the Court referenced a previous trademark case, noting that trademark infringement and copyright infringement are similar offenses.

      • Cloudflare CEO Has to Explain Lack of Pirate Site Terminations

        Adult entertainment publisher ALS Scan will be allowed to depose Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, a request that was triggered by the Daily Stormer saga. According to the court, there are grounds to ask the CEO why he has not used his authority to terminate pirate sites. The questioning should be narrowly tailored towards this issue and limited to two hours.

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