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Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

Posted in News Roundup at 12:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Beats Windows To Become The Most Popular Development Platform: Stack Overflow Survey 2018

    Every year, Stack Overflow conducts its developer survey and shares its results with the public for analysis. Expanding its reach, this year over 100,000 developers took part in the 30-minute survey and told how they learn new technologies, which tools they use to get their work done, and what they look for while hunting some job.

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the different findings of the survey with you and telling you how it compares to the past years’ trends. Today, I’ll be telling you about the platforms that were most commonly used by the developers over the past year.

  • Best Linux distros for small businesses in 2018

    Running a small business is no easy task. The last thing you need is extra complexity in your IT infrastructure – so why turn to Linux?

    Well, it could (if you’re lucky) actually turn out to be a less complex choice for many tasks, depending on the distribution you select. And, critically, Linux is free; at least if you don’t figure in support costs. That’s an overhead ticked off the list.

  • Server

    • Container Isolation Gone Wrong

      One of the main advantages of embracing containers is “lightweight virtualization.” Since each container is just a thin layer around the containerized processes, the user gains enormous efficiencies, for example by increasing the container density per host, or by spinning containers up and down at a very fast pace.

      However, as the troubleshooting story in the article will show, this lightweight virtualization comes at the cost of sharing the underlying kernel among all containers, and in some circumstances, this can lead to surprising and undesirable effects that container users typically don’t think about.

      This troubleshooting tale is rather involved. I’ve started from the basics and worked up to the more complex material in the hope that readers at all levels can get value out of it.

    • Varnish 6.0 Released

      It’s that time of March again, and Varnish 6.0.0 is here.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation unveils open source hypervisor for IoT products

        The Linux Foundation recently unveiled ACRN (pronounced “acorn”), a new open source embedded reference hypervisor project that aims to make it easier for enterprise leaders to build an Internet of Things (IoT)-specific hypervisor.

        The project, further detailed in a press release, could help fast track enterprise IoT projects by giving developers a readily-available option for such an embedded hypervisor. It will also provide a reference framework for building a hypervisor that prioritizes real-time data and workload security in IoT projects, the release said.

      • ONAP Set to Speed Standards, Network Automation [Ed: "This article was sponsored by Huawei and written by Linux.com." Second time in a week that LF writes adverts for Chinese companies (connected to an autocratic government, CPC) in exchange for money.]
      • CNCF to Host NATS

        Today, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted to accept NATS as an incubation-level hosted project, alongside Kubernetes, Prometheus, OpenTracing, Fluentd, Linkerd, gRPC, CoreDNS, containerd, rkt, CNI, Envoy, Jaeger, Notary, TUF, Rook and Vitess.

      • The P4 Language Grows Up, Joins the ONF and Linux Foundation

        The P4 Language Consortium is becoming a project of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and, by extension, a project of the Linux Foundation to which the ONF belongs. The P4 Consortium has been a non-profit organization dedicated to writing the P4 programming language since 2013.

        P4 describe how packets are forwarded by networking devices such as switches, routers, and network interface cards (NICs). P4 takes software-defined networking (SDN) to the next level by bringing programmability to the forwarding plane.

      • P4 Joins ONF & Linux Foundation

        “Linux Foundation is thrilled to welcome the P4 community,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at Linux Foundation. “Networking is a major focus at the foundation and the addition of the thriving P4 community combined with Linux Foundation Networking Projects in similar domains will drive innovation in networking to the next level.”

      • P4 Gains Broad Networking Industry Adoption, Joins Open Networking Foundation (ONF) and Linux Foundation (LF) to Accelerate Next Phase of Growth and Innovation
      • Linux Foundation launches ACRN open-source embedded hypervisor project

        The Linux Foundation announced the ACRN embedded reference hypervisor project at the Embedded Linux Conference earlier this week. ACRN is an open-source framework consisting of two components: a hypervisor and device model, including rich I/O mediators. The small-footprint hypervisor was designed with real-time and safety-critical requirements in mind, and is based on significant contributions from Intel.

      • Top 10 Reasons to Attend Open Networking Summit NA

        In just 2 weeks, you could be one of 2,000 architects, developers, and thought leaders from over 300 companies coming together to drive the future of networking integration, acceleration and deployment.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Linux 4.17 To Enable AMDGPU DC By Default For All Supported GPUs

        Since the introduction of the AMDGPU DC display code (formerly known as DAL) in Linux 4.15, this modern display stack has just been enabled by default for newer Radeon Vega and Raven Ridge devices. With Linux 4.17 that is changing with AMDGPU DC being enabled by default across the board for supported GPUs.

        Building off the earlier DRM-Next material for Linux 4.17, Alex Deucher minutes ago sent in another round of feature updates for targeting this next kernel cycle. This latest batch has continued code refactoring around PowerPlay, support for fetching the video RAM type from the video BIOS, allowing the TTM memory manager to drop its backing store when not needed, DC bandwidth calculation updates, enabling DC backlight control for pre-DCE11 GPUs, various display code fixes, and other bug fixes.

      • AMDGPU / ATI 18.0.1 X.Org DDX Driver Releases, Fixes Infinite Loop & Crashes

        Michel Dänzer of AMD issued bug-fix updates on Thursday for the xf86-video-ati and xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers.

        Just two weeks after the AMDGPU 18.0 X.Org driver release as the first version under their new year-based versioning scheme, the 18.0.1 bug-fix release is out. The xf86-video-amdgpu 18.0.1 DDX update fixes a potential infinite loop after a xorg-server reset in some configurations, Xorg crashing when multiple primary screens are configured, and using the TearFree feature could trigger Pixman library debugging spew.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 Nearing Release With 50+ Changes

        While waiting for Mesa 18.0, the Mesa 17.3.7 point release will soon hit stable users of this open-source, user-space graphics stack.

      • RADV Patches Are Closer For Sub-Group Capabilities

        Daniel Schürmann continues hacking on the sub-group patch-set for the RADV Vulkan driver to expose this important feature of the recent Vulkan 1.1 release.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in Discover, part 10

        This week saw many positive changes for Discover, and I feel that it’s really coming into its own. Discover rumbles inexorably along toward the finish line of becoming the most-loved Linux app store!

      • Qt Creator 4.6 RC & Qt 5.11 Beta 2 Released

        The Qt Company has some new software development releases available in time for weekend testing.

        First up is the Qt Creator 4.6 Release Candidate. Qt Creator 4.6 has been working on better C++17 feature support, Clang-Tidy and Clazy warnings are now integrated into the diagnostic messages for the C++ editor, new filters, and improvements to the model editor.

      • LibAlkimia 7.0.1 with support for MPIR released

        LibAlkimia is a base library that contains support for financial applications based on the Qt C++ framework.

        One of its main features is the encapsulation of The GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library (GMP) and so providing a simple object to be used representing monetary values in the form of rational numbers. All the mathematical details are hidden inside the AlkValue object.

      • Last Weeks Activity in Elisa and Release Schedule

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

        We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Linus Bashes CTS Labs, GNOME 3.28 Released, Project ACRN and More

        GNOME 3.28 “Chongqing” is here, with many new features and fixes. According to the release notes, “the release incorporates 25832 changes, made by approximately 838 contributors.” The new version includes personal organization improvements, new Boxes features, such as automatic downloading of operating systems, and much more.

      • pkg-config and paths

        This is something of a frequently asked question, as it comes up every once in a while. The pkg-config documentation is fairly terse, and even pkgconf hasn’t improved on that.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • SwagArch 18.02 – U Got Swag?

        SwagArch sounds like an interesting concept. The aesthetic side of things is reasonable, although brown as a color and a dark theme make for a tricky choice. The fonts are pretty good overall. But the visual element is the least of the distro’s problems. SwagArch 18.02 didn’t deliver the basics, and that’s what made Dedoimedo sad.

        Network support plus the clock issue, horrible package management and broken programs, those are things that must work perfectly. Without them, the system has no value. So you do get multimedia support and a few unique apps, however that cannot balance out all the woes and problems that I encountered. All in all, Swag needs a lot more work. Also, it will have a tough time competing with Manjaro and Antergos, which are already established and fairly robust Arch spins. Lastly, it needs to narrow down its focus. The overall integration of elements is pretty weak. Eclectic, jumbled, not really tested. 2/10 for now. Let’s see how it evolves.

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 12.3 Released – A Stronger, More Versatile System

        We’re excited to announce the release of Zorin OS 12.3. This version focuses on strenghtening the fundamentals of the operating system that contribute towards Zorin OS’s unique user experience: simplicity, security, and functionality.

      • OSMC’s March update is here with Pi 3 B+ support

        OSMC’s March update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape. We’ve released this update slightly earlier in the month than usual to add support for the new Raspberry Pi 3 B+.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Stop streaming music from YouTube with this one weird trick

        Having grown up on the internet long before the average connection speed made music streaming services viable, streaming has always struck me as wasteful. And I know that doesn’t make much sense—it’s not like there’s a limited amount of bandwidth to go around! But if I’m going to listen to the same audio file five times, why not just download it once and listen to it forever? Particularly if I want to listen to it while airborne and avoid the horrors of plane wifi. Or if I want to remove NSFW graphics that seem to frequently accompany mixes I enjoy.

      • dput usability changes

        With these changes, after building a package, you just need to type dput (in the correct directory of course) to sign and upload it.

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, February 2018
      • Mentorship within software development teams

        In my journey to find an internship opportunity through Google Summer of Code, I wanted to give input about the relationship between a mentor and an intern/apprentice. My time as a service manager in the automotive repair industry gave me insight into the design of these relationships.

      • Derivatives

        • TeX Live 2018 (pretest) hits Debian/experimental

          TeX Live 2017 has been frozen and we have entered into the preparation phase for the release of TeX Live 2018. Time to update also the Debian packages to the current status.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Has Made its Minimal Images Even More Minimal — Just 28MB!

            The Ubuntu minimal image has been reduced in size for the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver release. Ubuntu devs have reduced the images to just 28MB.

          • Mir 0.31 Is On The Way With MirAL 2.0, Wayland XDG-Shell Support

            Ahead of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS next month the Mir developers are working to release Mir version 0.31.

            The focus of the upcoming Mir 0.31 release is on MirAL version 2.0 and Wayland XDG-Shell support. MirAL 2.0 takes a ABI/API cleansing for this Mir abstraction layer to assist in writing code for Mir. This does result in some simplification for users of MirAL.

          • Your first robot: Sharing with others [5/5]

            This is the fifth (and final) blog post in this series about creating your first robot with ROS and Ubuntu Core. In the previous post we discussed methods of control, did a little math, and wrote the ROS driver for our robot. But it still required several nodes to be running at once, and sharing it with the world involved uploading your source code somewhere and convincing people to install ROS, build your package, and use it. Today we’re going to simplify both of those issues by discussing ROS launch files, and packaging everything we’ve written as a snap that can be installed by your friends with a few keystrokes, even without knowing anything about ROS.

          • Ubuntu Desktop weekly update – 16th March 2018

            We’ve had a busy few weeks, and so this email is a roll up of what’s been going on in Desktopland. Last week we had a team sprint in Budapest where we got to work side by side with our teammates and colleagues across Canonical. Feature Freeze has now passed and we’re working on fixing as many bugs as we can. We still have some additional features to land, and so we will be requesting Feature Freeze Exceptions for those. Meanwhile, here’s a recap of what’s been going on:

          • Winning with OpenStack Upgrades?

            On the Monday of the project teams gathering in Dublin a now somewhat familiar gathering of developers and operators got together to discuss upgrades – specifically fast forward upgrades but discussion over the day drifted into rolling upgrades and how to minimize downtime in supporting components as well. This discussion has been a regular feature over the last 18 months at PTG’s, Forums and Ops Meetups.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Faster Window/Application Launching Is Coming For Cinnamon

              Linux Mint’s GNOME/GTK-derived Cinnamon Desktop Environment will soon be able to launch applications faster.

              Developers of Linux Mint were recently investigating why application launching on Cinnamon felt slower than with desktops / window managers on MATE and Xfce. With a basic test they were able to confirm their feelings and went to work on figuring out the slowdowns.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NXP IoT platform links ARM/Linux Layerscape SoCs to cloud

      NXP’s “EdgeScale” suite of secure edge computing device management tools help deploy and manage Linux devices running on LSx QorIQ Layerscape SoCs, and connects them to cloud services.

      NXP has added an EdgeScale suite of secure edge computing tools and services to its Linux-based Layerscape SDK for six of its networking oriented LSx QorIQ Layerscape SoCs. These include the quad-core, 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 QorIQ LS1043A, which last year received Ubuntu Core support, as well as the octa-core, Cortex-A72 LS2088a (see farther below).

    • How to build something ‘useful’ with a Raspberry Pi

      In honor of Pi Day, Chaim Gartenberg and I cooked up a tiny little Raspberry Pi project for yesterday’s episode of Circuit Breaker Live.

      We started with a simple concept: a button that says “Why?” when you press it, in honor of our favorite podcast. So we knew we’d need a button, some sound files, a little bit of Python code, and, of course, a Raspberry Pi.

      A new Pi is $35, but we found an old Raspberry Pi 2 in my desk drawer, which was up to the task. (Newer Pis have built-in Wi-Fi and faster processors, but for our simple button project we didn’t need internet or extra horsepower.)

    • Rugged, Kaby Lake based NVR system offers up to eight PoE ports

      Aaeon’s automotive-focused “VPC-5600S” networked video recorder PC runs Linux or Windows on 7th Gen Core chips and offers dual hot-swappable SATA trays and 6x to 10x GbE ports, with 4x to 8x of those supporting PoE.

      Aaeon has launched a rugged VPC-5600S network video recorder (NVR) embedded computer with up to 10x Gigabit Ethernet ports, of which up to 8x support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). Together with the Linux and Windows supported Intel 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” CPUs, the capability enables users to “receive the highest quality images from multiple sources without any danger of data loss,” says Aaeon. With the additional four USB 3.0 ports, the VPC-5600S can support up to 14x high-grade surveillance cameras, says the Asus-owned company.

    • Fanless system has four PoE and two standard GbE ports

      FCO’s Linux-ready “SmartMod” box PC offers a 7th Gen Intel Core CPU, SATA and mSATA, 5x USB, 6x serial, 3x mini-PCIe, dual display support, and 6x GbE ports, four of which have PoE.

    • Tizen

      • Top 20 Best Tizen Apps in the Tizen Store for February 2018

        Whats happening in the world of Tizen Smartphones? Well, not really that much of late, but that’s probably another post for another time.

        For the last year we have kept a close eye on the Tizen App ecosystem and today we bring you the Top 20 Apps downloaded from the Tizen Store during February 2018 for the Samsung Z1, Z2, Z3, and Z4 mobiles. New entries in the Top 20 are 99 Apps, Hill Driver, Balloon shoot, Music Press MX Music Player, and Jio TV. The rest are the usual suspects. Anyone that has been following this list knows not much really changes from month to month at the moment on the store.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Univa Taps Open Source Community to Bolster Enterprise HPC

    Univa is looking to the open source community to help evolve its Navops Launch platform for enterprises migrating high-performance computing (HPC) workloads to the cloud. The open source efforts will run under the Project Tortuga banner, with access available through an Apache 2.0 license model.

    Rob LaLonde, general manager and vice president for Navops at Univa, explained that the open source plan will focus on general purpose cluster and cloud management frameworks. This includes the ability to automate the deployment of clusters in local on-premises, cloud-based, and hybrid-cloud configurations. These will be applicable to applications like HPC, big data frameworks, Kubernetes, machine learning, and deep learning environments.

  • Univa Open Sources Project Tortuga

    Univa, a leading innovator in on-premise and hybrid cloud workload management solutions for enterprise HPC customers, announced the contribution of its Navops Launch (née Unicloud) product to the open source community as Project Tortuga under an Apache 2.0 license to help proliferate the transition of enterprise HPC workloads to the cloud.

  • Univa Open Sources Project Tortuga to Accelerate the Migration of Enterprise HPC Workloads to the Cloud
  • Univa open sources Project Tortuga to boost migration of enterprise HPC workloads to the cloud
  • Google Open-Sources Impressive AI Camera Tools

    People use smartphones for lots of different reasons. Some folks like to browse the web. Some like to listen to music. Some like to spend infinite money on bad mobile games. And some people even still like to make phone calls. But one of the biggest selling points of a modern phone is the quality of its camera. Gone are the dark ages of blurry flip-phone images. Phones these days can take pictures professional enough to be screened in theaters or advertised in subway stops. And manufacturers are always looking to get an edge on the competition.

  • Why Open Source & Hardware Integration Can Work for Service Providers
  • Private Internet Access releases software as open source

    Private Internet Access, a company best known for its VPN Service of the same name, announced today that it started the process of releasing all of its software as open source.

    The company plans to release all of its client-side programs, extensions and libraries as open source over the course of the next six month period.

  • Private Internet Access goes Open Source

    Today marks the start of an exciting shift over here at Private Internet Access. As long-time supporters of the Free and Open Source Software community, we have started the process of open sourcing our software, and over the next six months we will be releasing the source code for all our client-side applications, as well as libraries and extensions.

  • World’s Top VPN Provider, Private Internet Access (PIA), Goes Open Source
  • Private Internet Access VPN taking to the Open Source Road

    Popular VPN provider Private Internet Access has unveiled plans to make all of their VPN software open source. In the coming six months the company plans to release the source code to all of their client-side apps and well as various other extensions.

    Private Internet Access made the announcement in a blog posting on the company website in which they announced the opening of a repository with the source code of their Google Chrome extension. That repository can be accessed via GitHub now. More will become available on an ad-hoc basis over the coming months.

  • Government of Jamaica to Actively Pursue Greater Use of Open Source Software – Wheatley

    Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. Andrew Wheatley today outlined the Government of Jamaica’s intention to pursue greater use of Open Source Software as part of its thrust to transform ICT within government while at the same time reducing the attendant costs associated with the use of proprietary software.

    Guided by recommendations outlined in an Open Source Policy Framework report which was completed in late 2016, Minister Wheatley stated that “It is clear that there are huge benefits to be gained from greater use of open source software by developing countries like Jamaica and we intend to take a more active approach to incorporation of these types of software across government.”

    Minister Wheatley in speaking about recurrent enterprise agreements with Microsoft, IBM and other proprietary software vendors said “ for a very long time we have been confined by the strictures and high costs of the license regimes of proprietary software offerings and we will now, in keeping with goals of our Vision 2030 plan, make the move to unleash the innovative capacity of our country by leading the way in the adoption of open source platforms”

  • Introducing Agones: Open-source, multiplayer, dedicated game-server hosting built on Kubernetes

    In the world of distributed systems, hosting and scaling dedicated game servers for online, multiplayer games presents some unique challenges. And while the game development industry has created a myriad of proprietary solutions, Kubernetes has emerged as the de facto open-source, common standard for building complex workloads and distributed systems across multiple clouds and bare metal servers. So today, we’re excited to announce Agones (Greek for “contest” or “gathering”), a new open-source project that uses Kubernetes to host and scale dedicated game servers.

  • What Is Fuchsia, Google’s New Operating System?

    Fuchsia first popped up on the tech world’s radar in mid-2016, when an unannounced open source project from Google appeared on the GitHub repository. According to initial inspection by the technology press, it was designed to be a “universal” operating system, capable of running on everything from low-power smartwatches to powerful desktops. That potentially includes phones, tablets, laptops, car electronics, connected appliances, smarthome hardware, and more.

  • Google created an AI-based, open source music synthesizer

    Move over musicians, AI is here. Google’s ‘NSynth’ neural network is designed to take existing sounds and combine them using a complex, machine learning algorithm. The result? Thousands of new musical sounds, and an instrument you can play them on.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • March Add(on)ness: uBlock (1) vs Kimetrack (4)
      • TenFourFox FPR6 SPR1 coming

        Stand by for FPR6 Security Parity Release 1 due to the usual turmoil following Pwn2Own, in which the mighty typically fall and this year Firefox did. We track these advisories and always plan to have a patched build of TenFourFox ready and parallel with Mozilla’s official chemspill release; I have already backported the patch and tested it internally.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.25.0, 3.24.4, and 3.21.8

      HHVM 3.25 is released! This release contains new features, bug fixes, performance improvements, and supporting work for future improvements. Packages have been published in the usual places.

    • HHVM 3.25 Released, Now Defaults To PHP7 Mode

      Facebook developers working on the HHVM Hack/PHP language stack have released version 3.25 of the HipHop Virtual Machine.

      HHVM 3.25′s PHP support now defaults to PHP7 rather than the PHP5 mode, which is now in an unsupported state. As expressed previously, Facebook will be focusing more on their Hack language support than PHP7 thanks to all the upstream improvements with PHP 7 especially on the performance front. But the large compatibility with PHP7 will happen to continue at least for the time being. With HHVM 3.25 includes support for PHP7 Throwable/Error/Exception hierarchy, changes to visibility modifiers, and other compatibility work.

    • Developers love trendy new languages but earn more with functional programming

      Developer Q&A site Stack Overflow performs an annual survey to find out more about the programmer community, and the latest set of results has just been published.

    • FYI: AI tools can unmask anonymous coders from their binary executables [Ed: Just a kind reminder that if you are e using Microsoft's tools compile source code, there will be surveillance and telemetry in your compiled code]

      Programmers can be potentially identified from the low-level machine-code instructions in their software executables by AI-powered tools.

      That’s according to boffins from Princeton University, Shiftleft, Drexel University, Sophos, and Braunschweig University of Technology, who have described how stylometry can be applied to binary files.

      That’s kinda bad news for people who wish to develop software, such as privacy-protecting apps, anonymously, as this technology can be used to potentially unmask them. It’s also kinda good news for crimefighters trying to identify malware authors.

    • How to avoid humiliating newcomers: A guide for advanced developers

      Every year in New York City, a few thousand young men come to town, dress up like Santa Claus, and do a pub crawl. One year during this SantaCon event, I was walking on the sidewalk and minding my own business, when I saw an extraordinary scene. There was a man dressed up in a red hat and red jacket, and he was talking to a homeless man who was sitting in a wheelchair. The homeless man asked Santa Claus, “Can you spare some change?” Santa dug into his pocket and brought out a $5 bill. He hesitated, then gave it to the homeless man. The homeless man put the bill in his pocket.

      In an instant, something went wrong. Santa yelled at the homeless man, “I gave you $5. I wanted to give you one dollar, but five is the smallest I had, so you oughtta be grateful. This is your lucky day, man. You should at least say thank you!”


      I still get angry at people on the internet. It happened to me recently, when someone posted a comment on a video I published about Python co-routines. It had taken me months of research and preparation to create this video, and then a newcomer commented, “I want to master python what should I do.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ONF Launches Stratum Open-Source SDN Project

      The growing adoption of software-defined networking over the past several years has given a boost to makers of networking white boxes. The separation of the network operating system, control plane and network tasks from the underlying proprietary hardware meant that organizations could run that software on white-box switches and servers that are less expensive than those systems from the likes of Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Dell EMC and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

      Network virtualization technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) have proven to be a particular boon for hyperscale cloud providers like Google and Facebook and telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon, which are pushing increasingly massive amounts of traffic through their growing infrastructures. Being able to use less expensive and easily manageable white boxes from original design manufacturers (ODMs) has helped these organizations keep costs down even as demand rises.


  • When It Comes to Email Are You a Filer, or a Piler?

    Most of us tackle our email inboxes in different ways, ways that (we think) are unique to us.

    Me: I keep my email neatly organised using labels, groups and filters. It is both superficially efficient, but somewhat practical too. Depending on the source, sender or topic some email will end up read sooner than others — hopefully in the right order!

    Others — and I bet there’ll be more than a couple among you reading this — simply cannot bear the thought of having unread email left loitering about. Their aim: fastidiously work their way down to inbox zen aka zero, treating their unread mail as a to-do list of sorts in the process.

  • At least four dead in pedestrian bridge collapse at university in Miami, authorities say

    At least four people died Thursday when a pedestrian bridge collapsed near Florida International University, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey said.

    At least eight cars were crushed under the bridge and at least nine people were transported to hospitals for treatment, authorities said.

    “The most important thing we can do right now is pray for the individuals who ended up in the hospital, for their full recovery, and pray for the family members who lost loved ones,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday night.

  • Another Bridge To Nowhere

    This is a catastrophe. It was totally unnecessary. It was preventable. Multiple people had to make multiple unsound judgments to make it happen. They need to rot in jail if not to be killed. The bridge would have worked as planned if it were made of steel only, not concrete. The bridge would have worked as planned if the reinforcements had been suspended and anchored properly. Instead, lives have been lost, useful technology will be forever linked to disaster, and the life-saving passage across a busy road will be delayed a year or more. How many more will have to die because of this crime?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UAEM Students Launch Campaign To Drop Publicly Funded Patent Claim On Cancer Drug In India

      The Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) this week launched a campaign to ask the University of California to drop its pursuit of a patent on the prostrate cancer drug Xtandi in India in order to make it affordable for patients. Xtandi sells at “exorbitant” rates in the United States, they said, a seeming violation of the licensing guidelines of the publicly funded University of California system which guarantees an “appropriate” return on taxpayer investments.

    • Global Health Governance Changing With Shift In Economic Centre Of Gravity, Speakers Say

      Political and economic shifts have modified the post-war world order, and global health governance has to adapt to this new environment, speakers said at an academic event in Geneva this week. Among the changes: with the decline of United States funding for global health, new actors such as China and India could take leadership roles, they said.

  • Security

    • Canonical Releases Spectre/Meltdown Patches for Ubuntu 17.10 for Raspberry Pi 2

      Canonical published two security advisories on Thursday to announce the availability of Spectre mitigations for the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture on its Ubuntu 17.10 and Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS systems.

      In January, Canonical released several kernel updates for Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) and other supported Ubuntu releases with software mitigations against the Spectre and Meltdown security vulnerabilities. These patches were first released for 64-bit (amd64) architectures, and then for 32-bit (i386), PPC64el, and s390x systems.

      Today, the company announced the availability of new kernel updates that address both the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities for the ARM64 (AArch64) hardware architecture, patching the Raspberry Pi 2 kernel for Ubuntu 17.10, as well as its derivatives.

    • Oracle Patches Spectre for Red Hat

      The Red Hat community has patiently awaited a retpoline kernel implementation that remediates CVE-2017-5715 (Spectre v2) and closes all Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities that have captured headlines this year.

      Red Hat’s initial fixes rely upon microcode updates for v2 remediation, a decision that leaves the vast majority of AMD64-capable processors in an exploitable state. Intel’s new microcode has proven especially problematic; it performs badly and the January 2018 versions were plagued with stability issues that crashed many systems. It is a poor solution to a pressing problem.

    • ​Meet the Scarlett Johansson PostgreSQL malware attack

      t’s not the first time an image has been used to give a victim malware, but it may be the first time it’s been used so narrowly. According to the security firm Imperva, their StickyDB database management system (DBMS) honeypot has uncovered an attack that places malware, which cryptomines Monero, on PostgreSQL DBMS servers. Its attack vector? An image of Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson.

      Now, you might ask, “How many PostgreSQL DBMS servers are out there on the internet to be attacked?” The answer: “More than you’d expect.” A Shodan search revealed almost 710,000 PostgreSQL servers ready to be hacked. It appears there are so many of them because it’s way too easy, especially on Amazon Web Services (AWS), to set up PostgreSQL servers without security.

    • Hackers Target PostgreSQL DBs With Coinminer Hidden in Scarlett Johannsson Image
    • Private Internet Access Goes Open Source, New Raspbian Image Available, Scarlett Johansson Image an Attack Vector on PostgreSQL and More
    • This Black Box Can ‘Unlock Your iPhone’ For Cops; Images Leaked

      The debate whether law enforcement agencies should be given exclusive access to iOS-powered Apple devices started when the FBI was unable to unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. Eventually, FBI found other ways to get inside Apple’s secured digital fortress, through an Israel-based company called Cellebrite.

      In the latest news, we have come across about a new iPhone unlocking device called GrayKey that can be used by law enforcement guys to harvest passcode of an iPhone and other iOS-powered devices such as iPads and iPods.

    • Security: 17 Things

      A list for protecting yourself and others from the most common and easiest-to-pull-off security crimes.

      I spend a lot of time giving information security advice, such as why RMF (Risk Management Framework) is too top-heavy for implementing risk management practices in small or R&D-focused organizations, what the right Apache SSL settings really are or how static analysis can help improve C code. What I’m asked for the most though isn’t any of those things; it’s the everyday stuff that even non-technical people can do to protect themselves from the looming but nebulous threat of an information security accident.

    • Intel Says Its Next Chips Will Be Fully Protected Against Spectre Vulnerability
    • Hybrid cloud security: 5 key strategies
    • Triada Malware Preinstalled on Low-Cost Android Phones – Here’s How to Beat It
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Following Boko Haram Attack, Dozens of Nigerian Girls Missing

      So many girls being kidnapped at once seemed like an anomaly, but four years later, more girls have been reported missing following a Boko Haram attack on a town in Nigeria. On February 19, Boko Haram militants stormed the town of Dapchi, and following the attack, parents compiled a list of 110 girls missing from a school in the town, as reported by the Associated Press. Boko Haram is a religious extremist group that believes Nigeria is run by “nonbelievers” too closely aligned with the West.

    • How MS-13 Pushes Families Out of Central America

      In this op-ed, Salvadoran Estefani Alarcon explains how those outside of the United States have been impacted by MS-13, with some even being forced to move from home.

    • Bothered By Midgies

      In 13 years of running my blog I have never been exposed to such a tirade of abuse as I have for refusing to accept without evidence that Russia is the only possible culprit for the Salisbury attack. The abuse has mostly been on twitter, and much of the most venomous stuff has come from corporate and state media “journalists”. I suppose I am a standing rebuke to them for merely being stenographers to power and never doing any actual research, but that hardly explains the visceral levels of hatred exhibited.

      Today they are all terrifically happy and sharing amongst themselves a lengthy twitter thread by a Blairite and chemist called Clyde Davis in which they all say I am “owned” and my article disproven. There are two remarkable things about this thread.

      The first remarkable thing is the remarkably high percentage of those who are sharing it with commendations who are mainstream media journalists. Last I saw was George Monbiot five minutes ago, but there are dozens. I suppose it is important to them as validating their decision to support uncritically the government line without doing any actual journalism.

    • Liberals, Conservatives Worry About Korean Peace Threat
    • Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

      Over the last year and a half, Americans have been bombarded with the Gish Gallop claims of Russiagate. In that time, the most reckless comments have been made against the Russians in service of using that country as a scapegoat for problems in the United States that were coming to a head, which were the real reasons for Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016. It has even gotten to the point where irrational hatred against Russia is becoming normalized, with the usual organizations that like to warn of the pernicious consequences of bigotry silent.Acceptable Bigotry and Scapegoating of Russia

    • After State Secy, Trump decides to remove NSA
    • Donald Trump ready to fire NSA McMaster: Report
    • Trump ready to fire NSA McMaster: Report
    • Trump has decided to remove NSA: Washington Post
    • Of A Type Developed By Liars

      I have now received confirmation from a well placed FCO source that Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. The Russians were allegedly researching, in the “Novichok” programme a generation of nerve agents which could be produced from commercially available precursors such as insecticides and fertilisers. This substance is a “novichok” in that sense. It is of that type. Just as I am typing on a laptop of a type developed by the United States, though this one was made in China.

      To anybody with a Whitehall background this has been obvious for several days. The government has never said the nerve agent was made in Russia, or that it can only be made in Russia. The exact formulation “of a type developed by Russia” was used by Theresa May in parliament, used by the UK at the UN Security Council, used by Boris Johnson on the BBC yesterday and, most tellingly of all, “of a type developed by Russia” is the precise phrase used in the joint communique issued by the UK, USA, France and Germany yesterday:

      This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War.

      When the same extremely careful phrasing is never deviated from, you know it is the result of a very delicate Whitehall compromise. My FCO source, like me, remembers the extreme pressure put on FCO staff and other civil servants to sign off the dirty dossier on Iraqi WMD, some of which pressure I recount in my memoir Murder in Samarkand. She volunteered the comparison to what is happening now, particularly at Porton Down, with no prompting from me.

    • Suitcase spy poisoning plot: nerve agent ‘was planted in luggage of Sergei Skripal’s daughter’

      The nerve agent that poisoned the Russian spy Sergei Skripal was planted in his daughter’s suitcase before she left Moscow, intelligence agencies now believe.

      Senior sources have told the Telegraph they are convinced the Novichok nerve agent was hidden in the luggage of Yulia Skripal, the double agent’s 33-year-old daughter.

    • The GI Resistance Continues: Vietnam Vets Return to My Lai, Where U.S. Slaughtered 500 Civilians

      As a group of Vietnam War veterans and peace activists travel back to Vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Amy Goodman and Juan González speak with three members of the delegation: Vietnam veteran Paul Cox, who later co-founded the Veterans for Peace chapter in San Francisco; Susan Schnall, former Navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the Vietnam War; and longtime activist Ron Carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the GI antiwar movement at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Adrian Lamo, Hacker Who Turned In Chelsea Manning, Has Reportedly Died

      “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know [sic] all of Adrian’s friends and acquittances that he is dead,” Lamo’s father wrote on Facebook . “A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

      UK’s The Mirror reports a coroner for Sedgwick County, where Lamo lived, has confirmed his death. A cause of death has not been disclosed. Lamo was 37 years old.

    • HACKER DEAD Adrian Lamo dead at 37 – Hacker who shopped Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning to the FBI passes away

      HACKER Adrian Lamo who turned Chelsea Manning in to the FBI, has died according to a Facebook post by a family member.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned Wikileaks’ source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI dead at 37, says father

      Adrian Lamo, the prolific hacker who turned Chelsea Manning in to the FBI, has died according to a Facebook post by a family member.

      In the post Adrian’s father Mario Lamo wrote: “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

      The coroner for Sedgwick County, where Lamo lived, confirmed his death, but provided no further details.

      Adrian Lamo became a controversial figure in the hacker community after he tipped off authorities after about Chelsea Manning providing the controversial combat video that became ‘Collateral Murder’ and 260,000 classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned in Chelsea Manning, dies at 37

      The hacker is best known for high-profile hacks of companies like Microsoft, and later for turning in Chelsea Manning to the FBI after receiving leaked documents from her.

    • Hacker who gave up Wikileaks source dies

      Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker best known for passing on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.

      In online messaging conversations, Manning confided in him, describing confidential military material Manning had sent to Wikileaks.

    • Adrian Lamo, Hacker Who Exposed Chelsea Manning, Dies at 37

      Hacker Adrian Lamo, who exposed Army whistleblower Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning, died today at the age of 37.

      Lamo’s father Mario announced the news in a Facebook post. A cause of death was not immediately clear.

      Known as the “Homeless Hacker,” Lamo led a transient lifestyle. But while his living arrangements weren’t fancy, his hacking skills were legendary.

      Lamo first came to prominence in 2002, when he broke into The New York Times‘ internal computer network, added his name to the internal database of expert sources and used the paper’s LexisNexis account to conduct research on high-profile subjects.

    • FBI INFORMER Who was Adrian Lamo? Hacker who turned Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning in to the FBI
    • Hacker Adrian Lamo, known for hacking The New York Times and turning in Chelsea Manning, is dead

      More recently, however, Lamo was known for alerting the Army after whistleblower Chelsea Manning confided in him about leaking classified material to WikiLeaks. Lamo said he acted out of a sense of “duty,” but later expressed some regret for the decision, although he stood by it in later interviews. “A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone,” wrote Lamo’s father on Facebook.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo dies at 37

      A neighbor who found his body said he had been dead for some time.

    • Adrian Lamo, hacker who turned in Chelsea Manning, dies aged 37

      Called the “world’s most hated hacker” by some at the time, Lamo also said: “Had I done nothing, I would always have been left wondering whether the hundreds of thousands of documents that had been leaked to unknown third parties would end up costing lives, either directly or indirectly.”

    • Adrian Lamo, the hacker who gave up Wikileaks source Chelsea Manning, dies aged 37

      Adrian Lamo, the computer hacker who passed on information that led to the arrest of Chelsea Manning, has died aged 37.

      His father Mario broke the news of his son’s death on Facebook.

      “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son,” Mario Lamo wrote in a post to the 2600: The Hacker Quarterly Facebook Group.

    • Chicago’s DA Walks the Walk on Prosecutorial Transparency

      Earlier this month Kim Foxx, the state’s attorney for Cook County, Illinois, which covers Chicago, released six years’ worth of raw data regarding felony prosecutions in her office. It was a simple yet profound act of good governance, and one that is all too rare among the nation’s elected prosecutors. Foxx asserted that “for too long, the work of the criminal justice system has been largely a mystery. That lack of openness undermines the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Assault on Environmental Protest

      More than 50 state bills that would criminalize protest, deter political participation, and curtail freedom of association have been introduced across the country in the past two years. These bills are a direct reaction from politicians and corporations to the tactics of some of the most effective protesters in recent history, including Black Lives Matter and the water protectors challenging construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.

      If they succeed, these legislative moves will suppress dissent and undercut marginalized groups voicing concerns that disrupt current power dynamics.

      Efforts vary from state to state, but they have one thing in common: they would punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment.

  • Finance

    • Google, Facebook face 3% turnover tax in EU: report

      Multinational US technology companies like Google and Facebook will have to pay a 3% turnover tax in the EU, according to a draft proposal from the European Commission.

    • EU set to hit big U.S. tech firms with 3 percent turnover tax

      Services that will be taxed are digital advertising, which would capture both providers of users’ data like Google, and companies offering ad space on their websites, like popular social media such as Facebook.

      The tax would be also be levied on online platforms offering “intermediation services,” a concept under which the Commission includes gig economy firms such as Airbnb and Uber. Digital market places, including Amazon, would also be within the scope of the levy.

    • Flawed Assessments Caused $2 Billion Shift in Property Taxes, Study Finds

      In the first effort to measure the cost of Cook County’s error-ridden assessment system under Assessor Joseph Berrios, a new study estimates that at least $2.2 billion in property taxes was shifted from undervalued Chicago homes onto overvalued ones between 2011 and 2015.

      Because the county’s assessment system is skewed in favor of high-priced homes, the errors amount to a staggering transfer of wealth that benefited Chicago’s most affluent homeowners at the expense of people who own lower-priced homes.

      The study, released Thursday by the Municipal Finance Center at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, was conducted by Professor Christopher Berry, a critic of the assessor’s office who testified at a County Board hearing in July about flaws in the county’s assessment system.

    • ‘A Remarkable Victory for the Labor Movement’

      A deal was signed giving all public employees in West Virginia a 5 percent pay raise, after a nine-day work stoppage by teachers and school staffers that shut down every school in the state. More than 20,000 teachers and 13,000 staffers walked out February 22, mainly over healthcare costs, despite the fact that they had no legal right to strike.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Guns for Hire: China’s Social Media Militia Engage on Command

      Laoxie had joined the ranks of the wangluo shuijun, or “internet water army.” China has innumerable organized groups of these unscrupulous paid posters, ready to inundate the [I]nternet for whoever is willing to cough up cash.


      “Believe it or not, paid posters are extremely good at swaying public opinion,” says Laoxie, adding that others often follow water armies’ lead. “In many cases, lots of people don’t know anything about the celebrity, but when they see negative comments, they will jump on the bandwagon.”

    • How social media spread a historical lie

      In 2002, the University of Houston built an online American Digital History site with a page on the 1924 convention. “Newspapers called the convention a ‘Klanbake,’ as pro-Klan and anti-Klan Democratic delegates wrangled bitterly over the party platform,” it declared, echoing Maeder’s language. Wikipedia’s entry for the 1924 Democratic convention added mention of the term — in its first sentence — in 2005, inserting a citation to the University of Houston article four years later. From there, “Klanbake” sneaked into scholarly histories, popular accounts and journalism on the right, left and center.

      And so a single, offhand historical footnote began to snowball in authority. On social media, that snowball became a weapon.

    • How the Russian Presidential Election Race Looks in its Final Days

      The candidates for the presidency in Russia’s election this Sunday are now in the home stretch. Not much has changed in the past several weeks as regards the standings of each in the polls of voter sympathies. Vladimir Putin holds the lead, way out in front, with nearly 70% of voters saying they will cast their votes for him. The candidate of the Communist Party, Pavel Grudinin, has held on to second place, at just over 7% despite suffering some severe setbacks over revelations of his bank accounts held abroad. And third place, with just over 5% goes to the nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the LDPR.


      One distinguishing feature of the debates was the absence of the President, who chose to neither participate in person, nor to send a proxy.

      As it turned out, the absence of Putin from these debates was entirely justified by the utterly unruly behavior and scandals at times during the series. Moreover, had the President or his representative been present he would have been the subject of attack from all seven challengers in unison, a very unfair situation for him and not very enlightening for the electorate.

      At the same time, it is very clear that those managing the incumbent’s campaign were exploiting every legal means to dominate, indeed to overwhelm all his opponents taken together with high quality viewer and listener time singing his praises and arguing for more of the same in the coming six years. These legal means included the delivery of his annual address to the Federal Assembly, the Russian equivalent to the State of the Union address of the American President, in the midst of the electoral campaign, on March 1. This gave Vladimir Putin two hours on all the airwaves to set out what is in effect a program for his next term.

      Another device used to put the President before the electorate in a privileged manner was the launch in the past week of two new, sophisticated and full-length documentary films about Vladimir Putin. One, entitled “World Order 2018” features the popular talk show host Vladimir Solovyov as Putin’s interlocutor or interviewer.

    • U.S. government’s media agency targets Russian disinformation and Iranian censorship;
    • ‘Hostiles’ and Hollywood’s Untold Story

      But it is fair to criticize a movie for being a perfect example of a movie genre that consistently ignores the most essential themes of the American Frontier. “Hostiles” succeeds brilliantly as the latest addition to a very long list of movies that focus laser-like attention on hostile Frontier characters, rather than on the consequences of Frontier hostility.

      The American Frontier was not, as Hollywood formerly portrayed it, merely a canvas background prop for a violent soap box drama starring Cowboys & Indians – or, as more recently re-imagined, an ethnic melodrama featuring white Bad Guys versus Noble Indian resistance.

      Nor can the American Frontier be considered a particularly hostile place without expunging from history the slaughter-grounds of Cannae, Verdun, Stalingrad, or even America’s own Gettysburg – each of which produced more bloated corpses than any number of Wild Wests. In an encyclopedia of human violence, the massacres at the Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee would be relegated to a footnote.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How FOSTA Could Give Hollywood the Filters It’s Long Wanted

      Some of the biggest names in the U.S. entertainment industry have expressed a recent interest in a topic that’s seemingly far away from their core business: shutting down online prostitution. Disney, for instance, recently wrote to key U.S. senators expressing their support for SESTA, a bill that was originally aimed at sex traffickers. For its part, 20th Century Fox told the same senators that anyone doing business online “has a civic responsibility to help stem illicit and illegal activity.”

      Late last year, the bill the entertainment companies supported morphed from SESTA into FOSTA, and then into a kind of Frankenstein bill that combines the worst aspects of both. The bill still does nothing to catch or punish traffickers, or provide help to victims of sex trafficking.

    • Congress Proposes to Fight Online Trafficking By Harming Sex Workers

      The U.S. Senate is poised to pass legislation that is intended to stop the internet from being used for sex trafficking — a worthy goal aimed at addressing a serious problem. However, the legislation known as the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, or FOSTA, could harm the very people that it is intended to protect. The legislation also threatens the vibrancy of the internet as the world’s most significant marketplace of ideas, and it will inhibit its growth as a place of creativity and innovation.

      Proposals to address sex trafficking should not make workers in the sex trade more susceptible to violence and exploitation. FOSTA threatens the lives and safety of sex workers — people who are disproportionately LGBTQ and people of color. The legislation does this through a dangerously broad definition of “promotion of prostitution,” which is not limited to trafficking and could sweep in any trading of sex for money or other goods. The bill also creates a new, vaguely defined federal crime for the facilitation of prostitution which could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. FOSTA’s definition of “facilitation” is so open to interpretation that it could include critical harm reduction and anti-violence tactics that sex workers depend on to survive.

    • Artists Respond to Artspace Jackson Flats Censorship with an Exhibition

      Last month, Artspace Jackson Flats, an artists’ live-work facility in East Minneapolis, demanded that several works depicting nudes be removed from “Beauty in Every BODY,” an exhibition organized around the theme of body positivity curated by artist-in-residence Kristin Harsma.

      In response to the censorship, NCAC sent a letter to Artspace pointing out that if simple nudity was routinely considered grounds for excluding artwork from public exhibition, vast swathes of art, including many masterpieces, would be off limits.

    • Netizen Report: Internet Censorship Bills Loom Large Over Egypt, South Africa

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change. Article 7 of the anti-cybercrime law would give investigative authorities the right to “order the censorship of websites” whenever “evidence arises that a website broadcasting from inside or outside the state has published any phrases, photos or films, or any promotional material or the like which constitute a crime, as set forth in this law, and poses a threat to national security or compromises national security or the national economy.” Orders issued under Article 7 would need to be approved by a judge within 72 hours of being filed.

    • Netizen Report: Internet Censorship Bill Looms Large Over Egypt

      The Advox Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world.

      Egyptian parliamentarians will soon review a draft anti-cybercrime law that could codify internet censorship practices into national law.

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in the realm of online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change.


      Over the past four months, I’ve watched with dismay as the new Facebook algorithms have pretty much strangled the Brian Keene Facebook Page.

    • Lucha Underground Wrestling Sends Legal Threat To Journalists For Publishing ‘Spoilers’

      Spoilers suck, sure, but this is the internet and some things cannot be avoided. Still, for those that produce content, there are better and worse ways to handle the issue of spoilers. Some large entertainment groups try to sue over spoilers, but it rarely works. Others settle for mere DMCA takedowns. Most entertainment groups, meanwhile, don’t do a damn thing about spoilers, because that’s the correct course of action.

      Still, even with that wide spectrum of past responses, sending legal threats to journalists over spoilers, such as the Lucha Underground wrestling show has done, is a new one for me. The legal threats rest on the NDAs the audience has to sign before attending a show.

    • Censorship Creep Is Setting In As Social Media Companies Try To Stay Ahead Of European Lawmakers

      Law professor Danielle Citron — best known at Techdirt for her attacks on Section 230 immunity — has written a paper attacking Google, Facebook, etc., but not for the reasons you might think. Her paper [PDF] points out policy changes that have been made by several tech companies not in response to users or US government activity, but to get out ahead of increasing regulatory pressure in Europe. In the recent past, these platforms routinely defended the rights of everyone around the world to engage in free speech, even if that meant offending local governments. Now, with the internet headed towards enforced Balkanization backed by hefty fines, US companies are now routinely engaging in preemptive censorship of content perfectly legal in the US (and arguably legal elsewhere).

    • How Trump’s Lawyer’s Silly Lawsuit Against Buzzfeed May Free Stormy Daniels From Her Non Disclosure Agreement

      You see, Cohen is also at the center of the whole Stormy Daniels mess. If you somehow have been under a giant rock for the past month or so, Cohen has admitted to paying $130,000 to Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford). As multiple places have reported, Daniels was apparently paid the money as part of an agreement to buy her silence over an affair she had with Donald Trump a decade or so ago. There are a huge list of important questions around all of this, including whether the whole thing violated campaign finance laws (which it very likely did).

      A big part of the fight is over whether or not Daniels can really tell her story. We’ve noted that Trump lawyers are threatening to go to court to stop CBS from airing an interview, while Daniels’ lawyers have argued that the agreement is not valid as Trump never signed it — while also offering to pay back the $130,000 to break the agreement (which… uh… is not exactly how it works). And I won’t even get into the hilariously meaningless “private” temporary restraining order that Cohen went to an arbitration firm to get, without even notifying Daniels.

    • National Assembly quietly approved a bill allowing internet censorship

      189 members of the National Assembly reportedly voted in favour of the regulation of the distribution of online content, with 35 against and no abstentions.

      While government said that this move will help protect children from sexually explicit material, curb hate speech and revenge porn, opposing Members of Parliament (MPs) have reportedly criticised the legislation as a bid to regulate the internet.

      The next step is for the bill to come before the National Council of Provinces for its approval before it can be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa to be signed into law. There has still not been any formal statement from the National Assembly or the Film and Publications Board.

    • Censorship Creep Is Setting In As Social Media Companies Try To Stay Ahead Of European Lawmakers

      Law professor Danielle Citron — best known at Techdirt for her attacks on Section 230 immunity — has written a paper attacking Google, Facebook, etc., but not for the reasons you might think. Her paper [PDF] points out policy changes that have been made by several tech companies not in response to users or US government activity, but to get out ahead of increasing regulatory pressure in Europe. In the recent past, these platforms routinely defended the rights of everyone around the world to engage in free speech, even if that meant offending local governments. Now, with the internet headed towards enforced Balkanization backed by hefty fines, US companies are now routinely engaging in preemptive censorship of content perfectly legal in the US (and arguably legal elsewhere).

    • Reps. Hoyer, Price and Schneider: Poland’s Censorship Law Ignores Its History and Undermines Its Future

      In recent months, we have seen a dramatic and troubling rise in anti-Semitism across the globe. Even more alarming, it has spread after being promoted by leaders of far-right parties. Just this week, Vladimir Putin absurdly suggested that Jews could be behind his government’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Comments like these make clear that the world needs to be vigilant against anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, and to strengthen democratic institutions around the world. That’s why we are deeply concerned by Poland’s new Holocaust censorship law. We are calling on President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the National Assembly to repeal the law.

    • Mixed ruling issued in Facebook nude art ‘censorship’ case

      A French court ruled Thursday that Facebook failed to fulfil its contractual obligations by closing without prior notice the account of a user who posted a photo of a famous 19th century nude painting.

      But the Paris civil court also refused to order the company to restore the account or pay damages as requested by the user, a primary school teacher and art lover. The court said no damages were warranted because he didn’t prove any harm suffered due to the account’s closure and there was no need to order the account reopened because he was able to set up a new account immediately.

    • French court throws out Facebook ‘censorship’ case

      A French court on Thursday dismissed a case brought by a French teacher who wanted to sue the US social media giant over his claims that his page was censored when he posted a nude painting by Gustave Courbet.

      The Paris appeal court in December 2016 upheld a ruling that Facebook could be sued under French and not Californian law.

    • French court throws out Facebook nude art ‘censorship’ case
    • French court makes mixed ruling in Courbet ‘censorship’ case
    • Google Resists Becoming Digital ‘Town Square’ in Censorship Spat

      Conservatives have fretted for months that Google, Twitter and Facebook use their power to stifle politically charged content. Now it’s a judge’s turn to weigh in.

      Google is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit by a nonprofit maker of informational online videos called Prager University, which accuses the Alphabet Inc. unit of illegally restricting access on YouTube to its conservative messages.

      Silicon Valley’s social media giants are under attack from both the left and the right for not doing enough to police hate speech, terrorist propaganda and Russian election meddling. At the same time, conservatives including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have questioned whether the increasing use of filters to restrict content has gone too far and threatens speech that isn’t dangerous.

    • Hooker Sign Should Be Used For Teaching, Not Censorship

      State Rep. Michelle DuBois of Brockton says the sign is “tone deaf” and “patriarchal,” and wants it changed to include the general’s first name or taken down.


      There are all sorts of benign words in our language that sound like words unfit for polite company. And they offer us an opportunity to teach snickering kids about Civil War history or outer space – and about showing respect for others while avoiding making fools of ourselves.

      We will never erase casual immaturity from our culture, but we can make it a trigger for knowledge and understanding, if we put down the erasers and take up the challenge.

    • Mulled EU copyright shakeup will turn us into robo-censors – GitHub

      Code-repository GitHub has raised the alarm about a pending European copyright proposal could force it to implement automated filtering systems – referred to by detractors as “censorship machines” – that would hinder developers working with free and open source software.

      The proposal, part of Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive from 2016, has been working its way through the legislative process.

      In a blog post on Wednesday GitHub explained that the shakeup was designed to address the perception that there’s a “value gap” between the money streaming-media platforms make from uploaded content and what content creators actually get paid.

    • FSW essay (3rd): Rising above censorship

      Our founders could not have foreseen the current political climate, one in which the media is constantly mocked and derided by government officials and their supporters, but this may be why they placed the freedom of the press so prominently in the Bill of Rights – to prevent the media from being censored or scorned.

      The First Amendment grants us the rights that we take for granted everyday: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”


      People deserve to have a working knowledge of the world around them, and the freedom of the press allows someone, every day, to become informed.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senator Wyden Asks NSA Director Nominee the Right Questions

      Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the new nominee to direct the NSA, faced questions Thursday from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about how he would lead the spy agency. One committee member, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), asked the nominee if he and his agency could avoid the mistakes of the past, and refuse to participate in any new, proposed spying programs that would skirt the law and violate Americans’ constitutional rights.

      “In 2001, then-President Bush directed the NSA to conduct an illegal, warrantless wiretapping program. Neither the public nor the full intelligence committee learned about this program until it was revealed in the press,” Wyden said. Wyden, who was a member of the committee in 2001, said he personally learned about the NSA surveillance program—which bypassed judicial review required from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—by reading about it in the newspaper.

    • Madison Square Garden has been secretly scanning visitors’ faces

      They use cameras to capture images of people and then run the photos through an algorithm that can compare them against a database of images.

    • Madison Square Garden Has Used Face-Scanning Technology on Customers

      It is unclear when the face-scanning system was installed. The people familiar with the Garden’s use of the technology, who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it, said they did not know how many events at the Garden in recent months have used it or how the data has been handled.


      “I should know if I am being subject to facial recognition if I am going into any business, including a stadium,” he said. “Even if you are just running my face against a list of people who have been banned from the premises and doing nothing else with it. I want to know. I have a right to know.”

    • Maryland Court System Arbitrarily Decides Public Should No Longer Have Access To Police Officers’ Names

      Supposedly completely of its own volition, Maryland’s court system has decided to extend extra rights to law enforcement officers. Going to bat for opacity, the Maryland Judiciary has made it harder for the public to find out what officers are doing (or how often they’re being sued). This comes against a backdrop where more sunlight would seem essential, what with several Baltimore police officers facing corruption charges in a wide-ranging investigation that has already netted a handful of convictions and guilty pleas.

    • Maryland Judiciary defends decision to remove police officers’ names from public online court database

      Maryland’s Judiciary on Friday defended a decision to remove the names of police officers and other law enforcement authorities from the state’s searchable public online court database, saying the change was made in response to “safety concerns raised by law enforcement.”

      The change took effect Thursday, following a decision by a judicial rules committee last June. Officers’ names no longer appear on cases they were involved with, and searches using an officer’s name cannot be performed.

      The judiciary did not answer questions about removing officers’ names but said in a statement that it reflected a balance of “the public’s interest in access to court information with our equally important obligation to protect personal identifying information about potential misuse.”

    • Unanimous Support in Berkeley for Community Control of Spy Tech

      Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously this week to pass the Surveillance Technology and Community Safety Ordinance into law. (This is an earlier draft of the ordinance. We’ll update this link when the approved version is published.) Berkeley joins Santa Clara County (which adopted a similar law in June of 2016) in showing the way for the rest of California. In addition to considerable and unopposed spoken support during the public comment portion of the hearing, Mayor Jesse Arreguín reported that he and the City Council had received almost 200 letters and emails asking for the law to be adopted.

      EFF has long supported this ordinance. During this week’s public comment, Jason Kelley spoke not only as EFF’s digital strategist but as a local resident and community member. He shared that “my friends and I—many of whom live here—are concerned that surveillance tech might be purchased and used without proper oversight.”

      The ordinance, part of a nationwide effort to require community control of police surveillance, will address the concerns Kelley and so many in the community share. The new law will require that before acquiring surveillance technology, city departments submit use policies and acquisition reports detailing what will be acquired and how it works. These reports must also outline potential impacts on civil liberties and civil rights as well as steps to ensure adequate security measures safeguarding the data collected or generated.

    • German Lawyers Call For Their Profession’s Bug-Ridden, Soon-To-Be Mandatory, Email System To Be Open Sourced

      Given the sensitive nature of their work, lawyers need to take particular care when communicating online. One way to address this — quite reasonable, in theory — is to create a dedicated system with strong security built in. That’s the route being taken by Germany’s Federal Bar Association (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer — BRAK) with its “besondere elektronisches Anwaltspostfach” (special electronic mailbox for lawyers, or beA). However, the reality has not matched the theory, and beA has been plagued with serious security problems.

    • Judge Postpones Trial of Woman Charged With Leaking Secrets

      Authorities haven’t described the document. Winner’s arrest was announced the same day The Intercept reported on a classified NSA report on Russian hackers and the 2016 election.

    • Suspect in leak of Russian cyberattack report faces tough legal battle

      Just thinking about the prosecution here in Georgia of Reality Winner for a National Security Agency leak triggers “major flashbacks” for Thomas Drake.

      Seven years ago, Drake – a former senior NSA official — walked out of federal court a free man after the government, on the eve of his trial, dropped 10 charges accusing him of leaking classified information about fraud, waste and abuse in NSA surveillance programs to The Baltimore Sun.

    • Judge Postpones Trial of Former NSA Contractor Reality Winner

      A federal judge has postponed the trial of a woman charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet.

      Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner is now scheduled to stand trial Oct. 15. Her trial was to start next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps ordered the change Thursday.

      The delay allows more time for pretrial motions. Also pending is a ruling by the judge on whether Winner’s confession to FBI agents can be used as evidence.

      Winner worked for the national security contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon in Georgia when she was charged last June with mailing a classified U.S. report to an unidentified news organization.

      Authorities haven’t described the document. Winner’s arrest was announced the same day The Intercept reported on a classified NSA report on Russian hackers and the 2016 election.

      Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.
      Have a confidential news tip?
      Get in touch with our reporters.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?

      Legislators across the country are starting to rethink laws that tie driving privileges to the ability to pay fines, as evidence mounts that those laws disproportionately hurt poor and minority motorists.

      That’s beginning to happen, too, in Illinois, where state lawmakers introduced a bill last month — after a similar bill last year was unsuccessful — to end license suspensions for unpaid parking tickets.

      The legislation likely will face its biggest opposition from the City of Chicago, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually from tickets and uses the threat of license suspensions as leverage against indebted drivers. Ticket debt sends thousands of motorists into bankruptcy each year, ProPublica Illinois reported last month.

    • ICE Is Illegally Imprisoning Asylum Seekers

      Under Trump, asylum seekers are being illegally locked up without due process.

      Ansly Damus has been locked up for one year, four months, and counting. Held behind bars by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he has not been outside for more than a year. His crime? In October 2016, Damus fled violent, political persecution in Haiti. When he arrived in the U.S., he presented himself to immigration authorities and applied for asylum. He passed his “credible fear” interview. And then a judge granted him asylum — not once, but twice.

      Damus committed no crime, and yet the U.S. government has put him behind bars. He’s not alone — thousands of other asylum seekers are also being held in jails across the country.

    • As Trump Nominates Torture Boss To Head CIA, Congresswoman Suggests It’s Sympathizing With Terrorists To Question Her Appointment

      As you’ve probably heard, with the latest in the neverending rotating cast of characters that makes up the current Trump administration, a set of dominoes has been knocked over with the tweeted firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the nomination of CIA boss (and former Congressional Rep/longtime defender of surveillance and torture) Mike Pompeo to replace him. While Pompeo was a vocal supporter of the CIA’s torture program, he didn’t actually have any hand in running it. Instead, that distinction goes to Gina Haspel, whom Trump has nominated to take Pompeo’s place. Haspel not only oversaw the CIA’s torture program, she was also directly involved with the destruction of the video tapes showing the torture procedures. The still classified 6,700 page Senate report on the program apparently contains a lot of details about the program that Haspel ran. Annabelle Timsit has helpfully pulled together some details of what is currently known from the heavily redacted declassified executive summary (you may recall we spent years writing about the fight to just release that summary). What’s stunning is that the program that Haspel oversaw so disgusted CIA employees that some were at the “point of tears and choking up” and multiple people on site asked to be moved to other locations if the CIA was going to continue these torture techniques.

    • The Asylum Seekers Who Were Locked Up by ICE for No Reason

      These asylum seekers fled violence and persecution abroad, only to be illegally jailed in the United States.

      The Trump administration’s decision to indefinitely lock up asylum-seekers, instead of releasing them on humanitarian parole while their cases are decided, is ruining lives across the country. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 asylum seekers have been denied release in the five ICE districts named in our lawsuit alone.

      Before arriving at the U.S. border, our clients led lives that were strikingly different from one another. These men and women represent five different countries; some are teenagers and some are grandparents. Before they were “asylum seekers,” they were teachers, software engineers, drivers, and students.

      But at some point, all of them encountered a level of danger so great that it forced them to flee their homes and countries. They arrived to the United States looking for safety.

    • Beaten, Tased, and Arrested for Jaywalking While Black

      Racial bias in policing reared its head in North Carolina when officers used excessive force on a Black man for jaywalking.

      Johnnie Rush, a Black resident of Asheville, North Carolina, was brutalized by police simply for jaywalking late at night. His story is yet another in the seemingly endless, endemic tragedy of police violence against people of color. Unlike many of those, it was all caught on video.

      Rush was walking home after a 13-hour shift washing dishes at a local restaurant when he was approached by two white police officers. It was after midnight, and one of the officers told Rush that he failed to use the crosswalk.

    • Clock Runs Out On Perjury Charges For James Clapper, Ensuring He Won’t Be Punished For Lying To Congress

      It almost seems like half a lifetime ago, but only a half-decade has passed since James Clapper lied to Ron Wyden about the NSA’s domestic collections. Wyden pointedly asked Clapper during an intelligence committee hearing whether or not the NSA was collecting “any type of data at all” on American citizens. Clapper gave two answers, both untrue: “No, sir” and “Not wittingly.”

      A couple of months later, the first Snowden leak — detailing massive amounts of call data being captured in the Section 215 dragnet — undid Clapper’s careful, under-oath lies. Since then, nothing has happened. The DOJ refused to investigate Clapper for lying to his oversight. Clapper exited office a few years later, becoming a go-to national security expert for a variety of news programs. He has since offered a variety of excuses for lying, but none of them are particularly good.

    • Declassify CIA Director Nominee’s Role in Torture, Rights Groups Demand

      As the CIA begins to defend its possible next director, civil liberties groups are urging the Senate to halt Gina Haspel’s nomination “until all the records on her past involvement in the CIA torture program are declassified and released to the public,” according to a Friday letter sent to Capitol Hill and provided to The Daily Beast.

      The letter, part of an emerging strategy to fight Haspel that The Daily Beast reported Wednesday, highlights the lack of clarity—mostly the result of aggressive CIA classification—over aspects of Haspel’s time overseeing torture at a “black site” secret prison in Thailand in 2002. The version seen by The Daily Beast, a draft, was signed by 29 civil-liberties groups, including the ACLU, Reprieve, Physicians for Human Rights and the Sunlight Foundation, though more may sign on.

    • UN Says Facebook Is Complicit In The Spread Of Anti-Muslim Hate In Myanmar

      The UN has decided it’s possibly Facebook’s fault things are going so badly in Myanmar. Muslims have been fleeing the country in droves thanks to Myanmar security forces engaging in widespread acts of violence (including rape) against them, urged on by hardline nationalist monks.

      For all intents and purposes, Facebook is Myanmar’s internet. Loosening of restrictions on social media access has resulted in a large portion of the population getting all their news (along with all the hate speech the UN is complaining about) via the social media giant. The UN is looking into genocide accusations but has decided to speak up against Facebook first.

    • Federal Judges Says ATF Stash House Stings Are Useless And Ugly

      A chief federal judge in Chicago has handed down a scathing opinion calling ATF stash house stings an “ends justifies the means” evil that needs to be “relegated to the dark corridors of our past.” The opinion shuts the door on two defendants hoping to show the ATF’s fake robberies of fake stash houses filled with fake drugs were racially-biased, but it does show even without the taint of bias, the sting operations are exploitative and useless.

    • The FBI — ‘Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity’ — Still Working on Diversity

      For the FBI, the longstanding failure to diversify its ranks is nothing short of “a huge operational risk,” according to one senior official, something that compromises the agency’s ability to understand communities at risk, penetrate criminal enterprises, and identify emerging national security threats.

      Indeed, 10 months before being fired as director of the FBI by President Trump, James Comey called the situation a “crisis.”

      “Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,” Comey said in a speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I’ve got nothing against white people — especially tall, awkward, male white people — but that is a crisis for reasons that you get, and that I’ve worked very hard to make sure the entire FBI understands.”

    • Jacksonville Sheriff Admits Race May Have Played a Role in Ticket Writing

      Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said this week that “implicit bias” likely played some role in the fact that disproportionate numbers of pedestrian tickets written by his officers in recent years went to blacks.

      ProPublica and the Florida Times-Union in 2017 reported that 55 percent of pedestrian tickets written over a recent five-year period were issued to blacks despite the fact they made up just 29 percent of the local population.

      Williams and his office said at the time that blacks had not been targeted in the enforcement of pedestrian violations.

      The Times-Union had reporters at the forum this week in Jacksonville during which Williams made his statement about implicit bias.

    • Leaked Documents Expose NYPD’s Long-Running Lack Of Officer Discipline

      Buzzfeed has obtained files the NYPD never wanted the public to see. This isn’t the result of a protracted public records battle, but rather the work of an anonymous whistleblower. Presumably, those further up the chain of command are already familiar with the department’s disinterest in holding officers accountable, so there’s no whistleblowing outlet there. Also, presumably, the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s hands are tied and it cannot hand out disciplinary reports for officers never formally disciplined. So, leak it is. And what a leak it is.

    • Secret NYPD Files: Officers Can Lie And Brutally Beat People — And Still Keep Their Jobs

      Secret files obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal that from 2011 to 2015 at least 319 New York Police Department employees who committed offenses serious enough to merit firing were allowed to keep their jobs.

      Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer. Some were guilty of lesser offenses, like mouthing off to a supervisor.

      At least two dozen of these employees worked in schools. Andrew Bailey was found guilty of touching a female student on the thigh and kissing her on the cheek while she was sitting in his car. In a school parking lot, while he was supposed to be on duty, Lester Robinson kissed a woman, removed his shirt, and began to remove his pants. And Juan Garcia, while off duty, illegally sold prescription medication to an undercover officer.

    • It’s Time to Make Voting More Accessible and Secure in Michigan

      Recently, I visited Alabama with the Faith and Politics Institute for Congressman John Lewis’ Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. We visited civil rights monuments in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, before heading to Selma to commemorate Bloody Sunday. As we reflected on the rights that were so bravely fought for on that Sunday decades ago, we recognized that the fight continues on across the country. In Michigan, we’re taking the fight to the ballot and aiming to ensure all can vote. We want to make voting more accessible, secure, and fair for all Michiganders.

      Earlier this year, the ACLU of Michigan, along with the NAACP and League of Women Voters, launched the Promote the Vote, a ballot measure campaign that would secure the right to vote for all eligible voters in Michigan. This initiative would amend the state constitution to allow voters to register at any time — up to and including on Election Day; automatically register voters; require post-election audits; expand access to absentee ballots; allow for straight-ticket party voting; and ensure those in the military get their ballots with enough time to vote. Our goal is to put the amendment on the ballot this November.

    • Racism in the Office

      Today I was at an office party and the conversation turned to race, specifically the incidence of unarmed Afro-American men and boys who are shot by police. Apparently the idea that white people (even in other countries) might treat non-white people badly offends some people, so we had a man try to explain that Afro-Americans commit more crime and therefore are more likely to get shot. This part of the discussion isn’t even noteworthy, it’s the sort of thing that happens all the time.

      I and another man pointed out that crime is correlated with poverty and racism causes non-white people to be disproportionately poor. We also pointed out that US police seem capable of arresting proven violent white criminals without shooting them (he cited arrests of Mafia members I cited mass murderers like the one who shot up the cinema). This part of the discussion isn’t particularly noteworthy either. Usually when someone tries explaining some racist ideas and gets firm disagreement they back down. But not this time.

      The next step was the issue of whether black people are inherently violent. He cited all of Africa as evidence. There’s a meme that you shouldn’t accuse someone of being racist, it’s apparently very offensive. I find racism very offensive and speak the truth about it. So all the following discussion was peppered with him complaining about how offended he was and me not caring (stop saying racist things if you don’t want me to call you racist).

      Next was an appeal to “statistics” and “facts”. He said that he was only citing statistics and facts, clearly not understanding that saying “Africans are violent” is not a statistic. I told him to get his phone and Google for some statistics as he hadn’t cited any. I thought that might make him just go away, it was clear that we were long past the possibility of agreeing on these issues. I don’t go to parties seeking out such arguments, in fact I’d rather avoid such people altogether if possible.


      As I was getting ready to leave the man said that he thought he didn’t explain things well because he was tipsy. I disagree, I think he explained some things very well. When someone goes to such extraordinary lengths to criticise all black people after a discussion of white cops killing unarmed black people I think it shows their character. But I did offer some friendly advice, “don’t drink with people you work with or for or any other people you want to impress”, I suggested that maybe quitting alcohol altogether is the right thing to do if this is what it causes. But he still thought it was wrong of me to call him racist, and I still don’t care. Alcohol doesn’t make anyone suddenly think that black people are inherently dangerous (even when unarmed) and therefore deserving of being shot by police (disregarding the fact that police can take members of the Mafia alive). But it does make people less inhibited about sharing such views even when it’s clear that they don’t have an accepting audience.


      I think the fact that this debate happened says something about Australian and British culture. This man apparently hadn’t had people push back on such ideas before.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California Introduces New, Tougher Net Neutrality Rules; Uses Ajit Pai’s Abdication Of Authority Against The FCC

      Earlier this year, California introduced new net neutrality legislation as part of similar efforts across more than half the states in the nation. At the time, we noted how the EFF wasn’t a particular fan of California’s proposal, arguing that the wording of the effort left the law open to challenges by the FCC, which has (at AT&T and Comcast behest) promised to block states that actually try to protect consumers in the wake of its unpopular net neutrality repeal. But a new California proposal has no such Achilles heel, goes notably further than the first effort, and now has the EFF’s full support.

      California state senator Scott Wiener this week introduced SB 822, a much tougher, more comprehensive proposal that would prohibit not only the blocking and throttling of websites and services by ISPs, but would ban “paid prioritization” deals that would allow deep-pocketed content companies (like, say, ESPN) from buying an unfair advantage against smaller competitors and startups. The bill also takes aim at the kind of interconnection shenanigans and double dipping that resulted in Netflix performance issues back in 2014, while leaving the door open to reasonable network management practices.

    • Calif. weighs toughest net neutrality law in US—with ban on paid zero-rating [iophk: "better ban unpaid zero-rating too"]

      “The [California] bill prohibits ISPs from blocking, speeding up or slowing down websites, applications, and services; charging online companies for access to an ISP’s customers and blocking those that do not pay; and from entering into deals with online companies to put them in a fast lane to the ISP’s customers,” van Schewick wrote today.

      Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) consulted with van Schewick on technical matters before introducing the legislation text yesterday. The bill has 14 other coauthors from the state Assembly and Senate.

    • The “Grand Challenges” of Curation and Preservation

      The two main aspects of curation in this space are selection, and adding value by enhancing metadata, both human activities that don’t scale.


      Preservation happens in three phases; ingest, preservation and dissemination:

    • Ex-DOJ Officials Raise Trump, AT&T Merger Interference Concerns

      Last fall, the Department of Justice announced it would be suing to block AT&T’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner. According to the DOJ, it sued to block the lawsuit to protect consumers, arguing that the deal would likely make it harder for streaming competitors to license the content they need to compete with AT&T (especially HBO programming). Consumer advocates have long argued that AT&T (with its decade of well-documented and often comedic anti-consumer behavior in tow) would simply use its greater leverage and power to hamstring competition and jack up rates for consumers (especially with net neutrality dying).

      While some have argued that the DOJ is simply following antitrust protocol, others (including AT&T lawyers) think the lawsuit is driven by other motivations.

      That’s not a hard case to make given the Trump administration’s anti-consumer, anti-innovation, and anti-competition tendencies on other fronts (like net neutrality). Trump’s pick to head the DOJ’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, was also on record, before joining the DOJ, stating he saw no real problems with the deal. Meanwhile Trump’s disdain for Time Warner-owned CNN is also well established, and reports have indicated that Trump pal Rupert Murdoch spent much of last year trying to scuttle the deal for competitive reasons (Muroch has also approached AT&T twice about buying CNN).

    • Internet Wins, And The Need To Appreciate What We’ve Got Before It’s Gone

      It’s become quite fashionable these days to gripe about the Internet. Even some of its staunchest allies in Congress have been getting cranky. Naturally there are going to be growing pains as humanity adapts to the unprecedented ability for billions of people to communicate with each other easily, cheaply, and immediately for the first time in world history. But this communications revolution has also brought some extraordinary benefits that we glibly risk when we forget about them and instead only focus the challenges. This glass is way more than half full but, if we’re not careful to protect it, soon it will be empty.

  • DRM

    • ‘Serious Sam’ Developer Teams Up With Denuvo Cracker To Pump Up Sales For Failed Game

      In all of our conversations about video game piracy and the DRM that studios and publishers use to try to stave it off, the common refrain from those within in the industry and others is that these cracking groups are nearly nihilism personified. Nothing is sacred to these people, goes the mantra, and they care nothing for the gaming industry at all. If the gaming industry is destroyed, it will be because of these pirate-y pirates simply not giving a damn.

      This notion is belied by the story of Crackshell, makers of indie spinoff of the Serious Sam franchise called Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour, and Voksi, an individual that runs a game-cracking ring. Voksi has been featured in our pages before as one of the few people out there who has been able to consistently defeat the Denuvo DRM, helping propel the software’s precipitous fall from grace. If a game developer and a game-cracker seem to be natural enemies, it will come as a surprise to you that they have recently teamed up to try to resurrect Bogus Detour from the bin of failure.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The protection of genetic resources, traditional resources and folklore 35 meetings later…

      In a few days it will be time for the next meeting (the 35th one in fact) of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. Between the 19th and the 23rd of March, the members of the Intergovernmental Committee will convene in Geneva to discuss issues related to the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. (This body is a WIPO Intergovernmental Committee with the mandate to conduct text-based negotiations for the adoption of legal instruments for the protection

    • Copyrights

      • US Navy Accused Of Massive Amounts Of Piracy By German Software Company

        We’ve made the point for a long time that, on a long enough timeline, pretty much everybody is a pirate. The point is that the way copyright laws have evolved alongside such useful tools as the internet makes knowing whether common sense actions are actually copyright infringement an incredibly dicey riddle to solve. Often times without even trying, members of the public engage in infringing activities, up to and including the President of the United States.

        And, it appears, up to and including entire branches of the United States military, though claims of accidental infringement in this case would appear to be rather silly. Bitmanagement, a German software company that produces virtual reality software, is accusing the US Navy of what can only be described as massive levels of copyright infringement.

      • Blind Users Celebrate as Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill Drops

        Today the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Bill was introduced into Congress by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bob Corker (R-TN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The bill implements the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, a landmark treaty that was adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in June 2013, and has since been ratified by 37 other countries. The treaty is notable in that it is the first WIPO treaty passed primarily for a disadvantaged class of users, rather than for the benefit of copyright holders.

        When passed, the bill will allow those who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise reading disabled (for example, being unable to pick up and turn the pages of a book) to make free use of written works in accessible formats such as braille, large print, or audiobook. Although similar provisions were already part of U.S. law, the amendments made by this bill slightly broadens the class of beneficiaries who were eligible for access to such works.


Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

Posted in News Roundup at 4:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Development Versions of Oracle Linux UEK now available on GitHub

      The source for UEK has always been available at oss.oracle.com, as a git repository with full git history. Starting now, we’ll also be posting the UEK source on github.com/oracle/linux-uek. By doing so, we intend to increase the visibility for our work and to make it even easier for people to access the source for UEK. We will also use this repository for working with developers at partner companies and in the Linux community. The repository contains the source for the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel including a small number of Oracle additions which have not yet been accepted into the mainline Linux kernel source tree.

      The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) is a Linux kernel built by Oracle and supported via Oracle Linux support. Its focus is performance, stability, and minimal backports by tracking the mainline source code as closely as is practical. UEK is well-tested and used to run Oracle’s Engineered Systems, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and large enterprise deployments for Oracle customers.

    • Defining the Spectrum of Cloud Deployment Technologies

      “Cloud computing” has been a catch-all phrase over the past decade to describe anything that’s a shift away from hardware servers. However, the term has become nebulous in recent times with the growing diversity in how many different ways you can leverage the cloud.

      We’ve come far from a simplistic separation between on-premises and cloud. Today, it’s about on-premises versus a range of different cloud options. Indeed, the cloud can be a confusing place for newcomers and veterans alike, with new options cropping up every few months, and the landscape always shifting towards the newer and better.

      But how do you choose between good, better and best? Let’s compare the various cloud deployment technologies available today and find the common ground and what separates them from each other.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxBoot: Linux as firmware

      Both the free-software and security communities have recently been focusing on the elements of our computers that run below the operating system. These proprietary firmware components are usually difficult or impossible to extend and it has long been suspected (and proven in several cases) that there are significant security concerns with them. The LinuxBoot Project is working to replace this complex, proprietary, and largely unknown firmware with a Linux kernel. That has the added benefit of replacing the existing drivers in the firmware with well-tested drivers from Linux.

      To understand LinuxBoot and the problem it’s working to solve, we first have to discuss how computers actually boot. We usually think of a running system as including the hardware, operating system (OS), and applications. However, for a number of reasons, there are several layers that run between the hardware and the OS. Most users are aware of UEFI (which replaced the older BIOS); for many systems, it prepares the system to run and loads the bootloader. These necessary functions are just the tip of the iceberg, though. Even after the computer finishes loading the OS, there are multiple embedded systems also running on the system entirely separate from the OS. Most notably, the Intel Management Engine (ME) runs a complete Minix operating system, while System Management Mode (SMM) is used to run code for certain events (e.g. laptop lid gets closed) in a way that is completely invisible to the running OS.

    • Shrinking the kernel with a hammer

      This is the fourth article of a series discussing various methods of reducing the size of the Linux kernel to make it suitable for small environments. Reducing the kernel binary has its limits and we have pushed them as far as possible at this point. Still, our goal, which is to be able to run Linux entirely from the on-chip resources of a microcontroller, has not been reached yet. This article will conclude this series by looking at the problem from the perspective of making the kernel and user space fit into a resource-limited system.

      A microcontroller is a self-contained system with peripherals, memory, and a CPU. It is typically small, inexpensive, and has low power-consumption characteristics. Microcontrollers are designed to accomplish one task and run one specific program. Therefore, the dynamic memory content of a microcontroller is usually much smaller than its static content. This is why it is common to find microcontrollers equipped with many times more ROM than RAM.

      For example, the ATmega328 (a popular Arduino target) comes with 32KB of flash memory and only 2KB of static memory (SRAM). Now for something that can boot Linux, the STM32F767BI comes with 2MB of flash and 512KB of SRAM. So we’ll aim for that resource profile and figure out how to move as much content as possible from RAM to ROM.

    • Preventing kernel-stack leaks

      The kernel stack is a small, frequently reused region of memory in each thread’s address space. That reuse allows for efficient memory use and good performance as a result of cache locality, but it also presents a problem: data left on the stack can also end up being reused in ways that were not intended. The PaX patch set contains a mechanism designed to clear that data from the stack and prevent leaks, but an attempt to merge that code into the kernel has run into a snag.

      By design, the C language does not define the contents of automatic variables — those that are created on the stack when the function defining them is called. If the programmer does not initialize automatic variables, they will thus contain garbage values; in particular, they will contain whatever happened to be left on the stack in the location where the variables are allocated. Failure to initialize these variables can, as a result, lead to a number of undesirable behaviors. Writing an uninitialized variable to user space will leak the data on the stack, which may be sensitive in one way or another. If the uninitialized value is used within the function, surprising results may ensue; if an attacker can find a way to control what will be left on the stack, they may be able to exploit this behavior to compromise the kernel. Both types of vulnerability have arisen in the kernel in the past and will certainly continue to pop up in the future.

    • Linux 4.15.10
    • Linux 4.14.27
    • Stable kernels 4.15.10 and 4.14.27
    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Graphics Driver Developers Begin Eyeing The Linux 4.18 Kernel

        The Linux 4.16 kernel is at least two or three weeks out from being released, but Intel has already submitted their i915 DRM driver feature changes for Linux 4.17 and are now beginning to think about their feature changes for Linux 4.18.

        Intel’s feature changes for Linux 4.17 are now staged in DRM-Next with hitting that soft cutoff deadline ahead of the next kernel cycle. Intel Direct Rendering Manager updates for Linux 4.17 include Cannonlake “Gen 10″ graphics now being considered stable, the very early bits of Icelake “Gen 11″ support, and a lot of low-level code improvements. To little surprise, Linux 4.17 is looking like another exciting cycle on the feature/improvement front.

      • Intel BayTrail Gets Minor Graphics Improvement On Coreboot, Now Supports OpRegion

        While there doesn’t appear to be too many Intel BayTrail users out there running systems with Coreboot, this generation of hardware that’s been a bit notorious with Linux users due to varying issues can now find at least a bit better graphics support with the latest Coreboot code.

      • Mesa 18.0 Is Now Primed For Releasing Soon

        Mesa 18.0′s delay of more than one month and without any new release candidate came while the open-source Intel developers were hunkered down to clear the remaining blocker bugs.

        Fortunately, it appears the remaining Mesa 18.0 blocker bugs are now resolved, meaning the official release could come in a matter of days depending if they decide to first do a Mesa 18.0-rc5 release for last minute testing.

      • Mir Devs Are Still Working On An Example Mir Desktop Session For Ubuntu 18.04

        While Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” is just one month away from release, the developers working on the Mir display server code are still working to get an example desktop session into this release.

        Details remain light but in writing yesterday about changes the UBports’ team needs to make for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS support, longtime Mir developer Alan Griffiths commented, “The Mir team is aiming to have the necessary tweaks in place for the 18.04 release along with an example “Mir” desktop session.” The tweaks needed for Mir in Ubuntu 18.04 are not using Mir-on-Mir and client applications using libmirclient cannot be using EGL otherwise only software-based rendering will work.

      • Mesa 18.0 Has Been Off The Tracks For More Than One Month

        Mesa 18.0 had been due for release around mid-February, but that didn’t happen and there hasn’t even been a release candidate in more than one month.

        Mesa 18.0-RC4 was released back on 9 February and since then there hasn’t been an RC5 or a new release.

      • Uniform Packing For RadeonSI NIR, Helps Reduce CPU Overhead

        Timothy Arceri of Valve’s open-source Linux GPU driver team is out with his latest set of patches to further enhance the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver.

        Timothy’s latest objective remains with improving the RadeonSI NIR back-end for using this modern intermediate representation alternative to Gallium3D TGSI. NIR is important for getting the OpenGL 4.6 bits in place with SPIR-V ingestion / better interoperability with the RADV Vulkan driver and the already-written code paths using NIR.

      • Supporting virtual reality displays in Linux

        At linux.conf.au (LCA) 2017 in Hobart, Tasmania, Keith Packard talked with kernel graphics maintainer Dave Airlie about how virtual reality devices should be hooked up to Linux. They both thought it would be pretty straightforward to do, so it would “only take a few weeks”, but Packard knew “in reality it would take a lot longer”. In a talk at LCA 2018 in Sydney, Packard reported back on the progress he has made; most of it is now in the upstream kernel.

        Packard has been consulting for Valve, which is a game technology company, to add support for head-mounted displays to Linux. Those displays have an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for position and orientation tracking and a display with some optics. The display is about 2Kx1K pixels in the hardware he is working with; that is split in half for each eye. The displays also have a “bunch of lenses”, which makes them “more complicated than you would hope”.

        The display is meant to block out the real world and to make users believe they inhabit the virtual reality. “It’s great if you want to stumble into walls, chairs, and tables.” Nearly all of the audience indicated they had used a virtual reality headset, leading Packard to hyperbolically proclaim that he is the last person in the universe to obtain one.

    • Benchmarks

      • Some Windows Server 2016 vs. Linux Network Benchmarks

        Prior to the larger and more formal network performance comparison to come for Windows/BSD/Linux, while doing the benchmarks this week for the 7-way Linux distribution comparison on AMD EPYC 7551, I also ran some network tests, including with Windows Server 2016 riding on all available stable release updates on each OS.

      • Ubuntu 18.04 Versus Six Other Linux Distributions On AMD EPYC

        With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS set to be released next month and its final package configuration quickly falling into place, we have begun firing up some benchmarks for seeing how this Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” release is comparing to various other Linux distributions. Up first as part of this series of benchmarks is using an AMD EPYC workstation/server for seeing how the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS performance compares to six other Linux distributions.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Samsung/Enlightenment Developers Are Busy At Work On EFL 2.0

      Cedric Bail of Samsung’s Open-Source Group presented today at the Embedded Linux Conference on EFL 2.0 as part of the Enlightenment project’s long-standing goal to provide a new and unified API.

      While the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries 1.x (EFL1) continues to be maintained, the developers at Samsung OSG that are part of the Enlightenment team have been busy construction EFL 2.0 and hope to show off the first of their new wares in 2018.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt Creator 4.6 RC released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.6 RC!

        Since the beta release we have been busy with bug fixing. Please refer to the beta blog post and our change log for an overview of what is new in Qt Creator 4.6. As always this is a final call for feedback from you before we release 4.6.0, so we would be happy to hear from you on our bug tracker, the mailing list, or on IRC.

      • Present your images from the couch with Gwenview, MPRIS & KDE Connect

        KDE Applications 18.04 Feature Freeze is setting in. Or: reminder to do finally that feature you always wanted to implement.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Reflections on the GNOME 3.28 Release Video

        I just flipped the switch for the 3.28 Release Video. I’m really excited for all the new awesome features the community has landed, but I am a bit sad that I don’t have time to put more effort into the video this time around. A busy time schedule collided with technical difficulties in recording some of the apps. When I was staring at my weekly schedule Monday there didn’t seem much chance for a release video to be published at all..

  • Distributions

    • Slackware Family

      • What all happened in March so far

        I realize I have been a wee bit silent on the blog (not counting my replies in the comments section). This was due to private issues that drained the desire for social interactions. Nevertheless there was quite a bit of activity on the Slackware packaging front.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Benchmarks Of Russia’s “Baikal” MIPS-Based Processors, Running Debian Linux

        A few years back was the news of Russia wanting to get into the CPU business and at the time were aiming for ARM-based processors but ended up settling for MIPS. It turns out those “Baikal” processors are still around and being worked on as indicated by some fresh benchmarks this week.

        Back in 2015 is when Baikal Electronics/T-Platforms announced their Baikal-T1 28nm SoC with DDR3 support, clock speeds up to 1.2GHz, SATA connectivity, USB 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet. The Baikal-T1 was initially advertised as for use in networking appliances and industrial platforms but has also wound up in some Russian desktop PCs.

      • Derivatives

        • Raspbian Remix Lets You Create Your Own Spin That You Can Install on PC or Mac

          Raspbian PIXEL for PC and Mac is a Debian-based operating system created by the Raspberry Pi Foundation for those who want to run the de facto standard Raspberry Pi OS on their personal computers too. Arne Exton did a remix of Raspbian PIXEL a few years ago to include the Refracta tools.

          With the Refracta tools installed by default, users were able to easily install the operating system on their PCs or Macs, as well as to make their own remix of Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Raspbian PIXEL OS. Today’s update brings the latest software versions and rebases the OS on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Chromium and Firefox Web Browsers Are Now Installable as Snaps on Ubuntu Linux

            Canonical’s Snappy technologies are becoming more and more popular these days as the company behind the widely used Ubuntu plans to enable them by default and even make them a first-class citizen in future releases of its Linux-based operating system.

            The great thing about Snap apps is that they are secure by design, utilizing a container-style approach mechanism for deploying software on various GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical’s Snappy universal binary format.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Faster app-launching in Cinnamon

              The development team took some time earlier this year to investigate Cinnamon’s performance when it comes to launching applications.

              It’s really hard to measure the actual time between the moment the mouse button is clicked and the moment the new application is rendered on the screen, with its window properly mapped, and the mapping window animation completely finished. It’s not something that can be timed accurately, yet we all agreed within the development team to say that it either “was”, or “felt” snappier in MATE and Xfce.

              At the time, we didn’t know if it was just down to perception (animations, composition), or a feature (registering new apps with the session for instance), or a performance issue.

              We developed a little script and a method to measure how long it took to flood the desktop environment with the creation of 200 windows. We could then measure the time reported by the script to build these 200 windows, and the time it actually took the desktop environment to recover from it and have these windows placed/mapped correctly and ready to be interacted with.

            • Linux Mint Devs to Enable Faster Launching of Apps on Cinnamon for Linux Mint 19

              As you probably know already, Cinnamon is the default desktop environment of the Ubuntu-based Linux Mint operating system. It uses parts of the GNOME Stack at its core, which means that it’s not so lightweight as its MATE or Xfce counterparts, so launching apps isn’t as fast as you’d like it to be lately.

              That’s why the Linux Mint development team spent some time earlier this year to investigate and debug any performance hogs in Cinnamon, especially when launching the pre-installed applications. They compared Cinnamon with the Metacity window manager and found out that the former was six times slower.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Warning for RSS fans — Digg Reader is closing in under two weeks

    For some people RSS is already a dead technology, and over the last few years numerous RSS readers — including Google Reader — shut up shop. But for others, accessing newsfeeds is an essential way to keep up to date with what’s going on.

    Following the closure of Google Reader, RSS fans flocked to the likes of Feedly, The Old Reader, Digg Reader and Inoreader. Now Digg Reader has announced that it is to close, and users are being advised to export their feeds so they can be imported into an alternative service.

  • 6 Real-Life Stories Way Crazier Than Any Movie (Part 2 of 2)

    While most CEOs carefully backpedal when confronted with their shady business practices, the Notorious PBL dove headfirst into supervilliany. When questioned on the practices of his company, Brabeck-Letmathe stated that access to water isn’t a right. Not “caught on a hot mic” said it — he proudly spouted that nonsense, then went home to do shots of crude oil or something.

  • [Older] Be Wary of Silicon Valley’s Guilty Conscience: on The Center for Humane Technology

    Well-meaning though it may be, the Center for Humane Technology ultimately functions not as a solution to our technologically exacerbated problems, but simply as a way of making those problems slightly more palatable. It sees the cultural space that is opening up for criticism of technology and rushes in to ensure that this space is occupied by those who maintain close ties to the tech world – and thus it sets itself up as the arbiter of what passes for acceptable criticism. At a moment when there is growing concern that the high-tech dream is turning into a waking nightmare, the Center for Humane Technology swoops in to offer lifestyle tweaks (many of which are themselves technological) instead of systemic critiques. And by putting forth a slate of “former tech insiders and CEOs” the Center for Humane Technology polices the boundaries of who gets to participate in these discussions, making sure that it remains a conversation between former Google employees and current Google employees.

  • Hardware

    • Intel Icelake Server Chips To Support WBNOINVD & PCONFIG

      The GCC and LLVM/Clang compilers have been working on Icelake CPU support for a while now as just the “icelake” target but now it’s being separated into “icelake-client” and “icelake-server” as the CPU feature differences between the desktop-class processors and Xeon server chips become more clear for this succeeding generation to Cannonlake.

      We’ve already reported on AVX-512 coming to all of the Icelake processors with no longer being reserved just for the high-end Intel CPUs. Besides AVX-512 additions, all of the Icelake CPUs will have some new additions like GFNI (Galois Field NI) and UMIP (User-Mode Instruction Prevention) and VAES.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • MPs warn of ‘poisonous air’ emergency costing £20bn a year

      MPs have demanded an end to the UK’s “poisonous air” in an unprecedented report from four Commons committees.

      The Environment, Health, Transport and Environmental Audit committees want a new Clean Air Act, and a clean air fund financed by the motor industry.

      They are also demanding a faster phase-out of petrol and diesel cars – currently set for 2040.

      The government said air pollution had improved significantly since 2010 but there was “more to do”.

  • Security

    • ​Linus Torvalds slams CTS Labs over AMD vulnerability report

      CTS Labs, a heretofore unknown Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup, has claimed it’s found over a dozen security problems with AMD Ryzen and EPYC processors. Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator, doesnt buy it.

    • Linus Torvalds Roasts CTS Labs After They Exposed AMD Chip Vulnerabilities

      Just a couple of days back, CTS researchers exposed more than a dozen ‘critical’ vulnerabilities in AMD chips marketed under the brand names Ryzen and Epyc. The company also claimed that a backdoor exists in AMD processors. Their revelation came with a well-decorated website, a whitepaper, and a video.

    • Torvalds wades into CTS Labs’ AMD chip security report
    • Linux Torvalds casts shade on CTS Labs’ AMD CPU flaw security report
    • Intel Rolls Out Updated, Post-Spectre CPU Microcode (20180312)

      Intel has published the Intel Processor Microcode Package for Linux 20180312 release with the latest improvements around the microcode-based approach for Spectre CPU vulnerability mitigation, succeeding their microcode updates from earlier in the year.

    • Judge Says Yahoo Still On The Hook For Multiple Claims Related To Three Billion Compromised Email Accounts

      A federal judge is going to let a bunch of people keep suing Yahoo over its three-year run of continual compromise. Yahoo had hoped to get the class action suit tossed, stating that it had engaged in “unending” efforts to thwart attacks, but apparently it just wasn’t good enough to prevent every single one of its three billion email accounts from falling into the hands of hackers.

    • 3 best practices for securing Kubernetes environments

      The Kubernetes orchestration platform is such a gigantic open source project that its evolution is inherently rapid. The pace of change significantly increases the importance of adhering to security best practices when using the ever-changing Kubernetes platform to automate deployment, scaling, and management of containerized cloud-native applications.

      Ultimately, effective security also supports the entire Kubernetes project, since the technology’s overall adoption depends on the confidence and trust that Kubernetes earns and establishes. That said, standard security procedures and practices that work well in traditional environments are often inadequate for securing Kubernetes environments, where traffic is vastly more dynamic, and where there must be security in place around the pods, containers, nodes, and images.

    • HIPAA guidelines should evolve with wearable technology

      However, due to health data security concerns, patient data that is collected by wearables and shared with physicians will create an additional burden on health-care organizations. It will be the job of health information management (HIM) personnel to make sure the databases storing wearable data are HIPAA compliant.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Let’s Encrypt Starts Offering Free Wildcard SSL Certificates that Work with Multiple Sub-domains

      Let’s Encrypt started issuing free Wildcard SSL certificate from yesterday through their updated version of ACME protocol Automated Certificate Management Environment ACMEv2.

      Wildcard SSL certificates are more expensive ones than the regular single domain SSL certificates, a wildcard certificate for the domain name *.gbhackers.com could cover gbhackers.com, www.gbhackers.com, test.gbhackers.com.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Following Trump’s Meeting on Violent Video Games, Experts Explain What the Research Really Shows

      Teen Vogue spoke to three experts with extensive experience studying video game violence. They shared what they thought was missing at the White House meeting and what their research has shown about the effects of violent video games. Here are some key takeaways.

    • The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam

      As recently as 2016 Dr Robin Black, Head of the Detection Laboratory at the UK’s only chemical weapons facility at Porton Down, a former colleague of Dr David Kelly, published in an extremely prestigious scientific journal that the evidence for the existence of Novichoks was scant and their composition unknown.

    • Trump Promotes Longtime Russia Hawk Just as Russiagate Loses Momentum

      Rex Tillerson, whose hotly scrutinized ties to Russia have been a centerpiece of Rachel Maddow’s conspiratorial ravings for many months, has been fired. Replacing him as Secretary of State will be Mike Pompeo, who has been a consistent and longstanding Russia hawk for years, going so far as accusing President Obama of endangering America by simply agreeing to meet with Vladimir Putin in 2015.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Debt is creeping back up in sub-Saharan Africa

      Today,however, the median debt-to-GDP ratio in the region is back over 50%. Although that figure may seem low by international standards, African countries collect relatively little tax and tend to pay high interest rates. As a result, they cannot afford to borrow nearly as much as their counterparts elsewhere do. The main cause is the long decline in commodity prices that has unfolded since the global financial crisis of 2008. As the proceeds from their chief exports have dwindled and economic growth has slowed, African governments have had to borrow more to fill the void in their budgets. The IMF reckons that five sub-Saharan African countries are already in “debt distress”, with nine more at high risk of joining them.

    • Google will purge cryptocurrency ads come June

      Following in the footsteps of Facebook, the search giant will clamp down on any ads promoting cryptocurrencies, their exchanges and wallets, along with companies that look to offer advice about digital money investments.

    • Wipro selling data centre business for US$405m to Ensono

      Giant Indian IT services company Wipro has signed a definitive agreement to sell its hosted data centre services business to US-based hybrid IT services provider Ensono.

    • How Amazon Became Corporate America’s Nightmare

      A year later, however, Amazon had leapfrogged to No. 6 on the list of most valuable companies. Since the end of 2014, its market value has quintupled. This was a case of preparation meeting opportunity. As the company started to clear key thresholds in several of its important businesses, it also revealed that it was sitting on a gold mine made of clouds.

    • ‘Fight fire with fire’: IMF’s Lagarde calls for bitcoin crackdown

      The head of the International Monetary Fund said authorities around the world could harness the potential of cryptocurrencies to help bring them under control, warning that failure to do so would allow the unfettered development of a “potentially major new vehicle for money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.

    • WaPo Fails to Disclose Ownership in Puff Piece for Bezos

      The Washington Post, like a lot of corporate media (CounterSpin, 10/20/17), has spent a great deal of time hyping the bidding process for Amazon HQ2, Amazon’s planned second headquarters that hundreds of localities are allegedly competing for. The thing that distinguishes the Post’s coverage is that it and Amazon share an owner—world’s richest billionaire Jeff Bezos. So it’s notable—and uniquely sketchy—when the paper not only uses prime media real estate to uncritically hype Amazon’s primary corporate sales pitch, but does so while failing to disclose that Amazon’s CEO is the paper’s boss.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Today’s Debate Over Online Porn Started Decades Ago
    • Sex Workers And Survivors Raising The Alarm About SESTA: It Will Literally Put Their Lives In Danger

      Last week I asked for anyone to explain how SESTA would (in any way) reduce sex trafficking? Not a single person even tried to answer. Because there is no answer. Sex trafficking is already illegal, and yet people do it. Nothing in SESTA makes sex trafficking more illegal. Nothing in SESTA makes it easier for law enforcement to find or crack down on sex trafficking or to help the victims of sex trafficking. Indeed, as we’ve detailed, it does the exact opposite. It puts criminal liability on internet sites that are somehow used in conjunction with prostitution (going beyond just trafficking, thanks to the FOSTA addition to SESTA), and uses a vague, poorly drafted, unclear “knowledge” standard that none of SESTA’s supporters can adequately explain or define. As we noted, from our experience in covering what happens when you pin liability on a platform instead of its users — especially using vague and unclear standards — bad things usually result.

    • YouTube Shows Dennis Prager’s Claim Of Discrimination Against Conservatives Is Laughable

      You will recall that Dennis Prager, the conservative commentator who also runs a YouTube channel to inform his viewers of his perspective on a variety of topics, recently sued YouTube. The meat of Prager’s claims is that YouTube is censoring some of his videos purely because he is a conservative — with the clear implication being that YouTube is a liberal bastion of conservative-hating video hosting. Just to be clear, there is no real evidence for that. What there is evidence for is that YouTube is trying very hard to sort through its hilariously enormous trove of video content for objectionable material, and that it often does this quite badly. None of that amounts to, as Prager claims, a liberal conspiracy against some conservative guy.

      While Prager is seeking a preliminary injunction against YouTube to keep it from administering its own site as it sees fit, YouTube is asking for the case to be dismissed outright. There are two claims at issue: first, that YouTube classifying some of his videos in its “restricted mode” amounts to YouTube censoring him and, second, that YouTube is doing this “censoring” for purely partisan political reasons. If you find yourself sympathetic to those claims, perhaps it’s because you have heard them repeated often elsewhere, over and over again (or because you’ve seen Prager sending out fundraising notices making exactly these claims), then you really should read the declaration from Alice Wu, part of the Trust and Safety management team at YouTube, filed in the case last week. Wu directly takes on both of Prager’s claims and dismantles them completely to the point that it’s almost embarrassing for Prager.

    • Just As Everyone’s Starting To Worry About ‘Deepfake’ Porn Videos, SESTA Will Make The Problem Worse

      Over the last few months, if you haven’t been hiding under a tech news rock, you’ve probably heard at least something about growing concerns about so-called “Deepfakes” which are digitally altered videos, usually of famous people edited into porn videos. Last month, Reddit officially had to ban its deepfakes subreddit. And, you can’t throw a stone without finding some mainstream media freaking out about the threat of deepfakes. And, yes, politicians are getting into the game, warning that this is going to be used to create fake scandals or influence elections.

    • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship Release a FREE Comic Book to Help Protect Student Rights!

      As millions of American students assert their First Amendment rights in protests across the country, advocacy groups Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship released a new comic book to help protect students’ rights.

    • European Parliament ambushed by doctored version of pending internet censorship rules that sneaks filtering into all online services

      For months, the European Parliament has been negotiating over a new copyright rule, with rightsholder organizations demanding that some online services implement censoring filters that prevent anyone from uploading text, sounds or images if they have been claimed by a copyright holder.

      These filters — branded #censorshipmachines by activists — were hugely controversial: even when used as intended, they make no allowances for fair dealing and other limitations to copyright. Beyond that, they are ripe for abuse, incentivizing trolls and censors to register materials as a means of keeping them off the internet, regardless of whether they hold any relevant copyrights.

      Thankfully, the filters had been largely erased from the negotiating drafts, thanks to vigorous debate and activism. But last week, German MEP Axel Voss, rapporteur for the Copyright Directive, introduced a new draft that brought the filters back, and imposed them on virtually every kind of online platform, vastly expanding their scope beyond the worst drafts of the earlier proposals.

    • COLUMN: Censorship coddles our young people

      I contend even a spicier title – “Hickeys of the Field” perhaps – might have captured me right off. The plot is fine, but had our players succumbed to a forbidden affair, with a few words thrown in like “heaving breasts” and “heavy petting,” my hormonal focus may have grasped and retained the deeper moral objective.

      I mean, this was about the time I first began hoping Louise Alwine would be wearing certain skirts to class, and Hee Haw’s Sunshine Cornsilk left an indelible impression rivaled only by Ginger from the island.

    • Chinese reporter’s spectacular eye-roll sparks viral memes, censorship

      It was the eye-roll that launched a thousand gifs.

      China’s censors are scrambling to put a lid on a social media frenzy unleashed by a journalist’s reaction to a softball question during the mostly scripted annual parliament session.

      Impeccably coiffed and sporting a bright blue suit jacket, Yicai financial news service reporter Liang Xiangyi sighed and raised a sceptical eyebrow at another journalist’s query to a delegate at a National People’s Congress press event Tuesday.

    • In China, a reporter’s dramatic eye-roll went viral. Then searches of it were censored.

      The reporter’s question was a softball, the sort of long-winded but unchallenging interrogation that we’ve come to expect at the endless news conferences during the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress.

    • Editorial: Government censorship increasing

      A newly released Associated Press analysis shows the federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade. The Freedom of Information Act figures cover the actions of 116 departments and agencies during fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30.

      The troublesome calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump, offering the first hints of how his administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act.


      The AP analysis found that government officials turned over everything requested in roughly one of every five FOIA requests, just 20 percent of the cases tracked.

    • Censorship is never the answer, Sadiq

      The crucial question here is: who decides what is and isn’t hate speech? A new law in Germany is forcing online platforms to remove ‘obviously illegal’ hate speech or face a €50million fine. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t just handfuls of extreme Nazi-supporting posts that are being removed — so are tweets from the populist right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland. Sweeping restrictions on hate speech are often used to curtail legitimate (if controversial) speech.

    • EU wants to require platforms to filter uploaded content (including code)

      The EU is considering a copyright proposal that would require code-sharing platforms to monitor all content that users upload for potential copyright infringement (see the EU Commission’s proposed Article 13 of the Copyright Directive). The proposal is aimed at music and videos on streaming platforms, based on a theory of a “value gap” between the profits those platforms make from uploaded works and what copyright holders of some uploaded works receive. However, the way it’s written captures many other types of content, including code.

      We’d like to make sure developers in the EU who understand that automated filtering of code would make software less reliable and more expensive—and can explain this to EU policymakers—participate in the conversation.

    • Unease Over Proposed ‘Censorship’ of Historical YouTube Videos in Sweden

      A campaign against Google and YouTube by major Swedish newspapers, calling for a purge of “hate-promoting” material, including historical Nazi German propaganda films, has been met with criticism and triggered censorship concern.

      A major opinion piece penned by David Baas of Expressen, one of Sweden’s most popular newspapers, and published on Wednesday, regretted that YouTube “contributed to the spread of Holocaust-denying materials and anti-Semitic film material,” urging the media giant to remove some of its content.

    • Soft power — not government censorship — is the key to fighting disinformation and “fake news”

      In many countries over the past few years, the political process — and social cohesion — have been threatened by various forms of disinformation, sometimes misleadingly and inadequately called “fake news.” Politically-motivated and for-profit disinformation is blamed, among other things, for the U.K.’s decision to vote to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

      Disinformation takes many forms and is driven by many factors. Foreign states sometimes try to subvert other countries’ political processes. People publish false and fabricated information masquerading as news for profit. Domestic politicians lie to their own people — and sometimes these lies are amplified by news media, by hyper-partisan activists, or spread far and wide via social media and other platforms.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Prepare to be Creeped Out

      Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc joins us to share her Data Selfie art project. It collects the same basic info you provide to Facebook. Sharing this kind of data about yourself isn’t something we’d normally recommend. But, if you want to know what’s happening behind the scenes when you scroll through your Facebook feed, installing Data Selfie is worth considering. Use at your own risk. If you do, you might be surprised by what you see.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (19/21): Telescreens in our Living Rooms

      In the analog world of our parents, it was taken for completely granted that the government would not be watching us in our own homes. It’s so important an idea, it’s written into the very constitutions of states pretty much all around the world.

      And yet, for our digital children, this rule, this bedrock, this principle is simply… ignored. Just because they their technology is digital, and not the analog technology of our parents.

    • A Smattering of Stars in Argentina’s First “Who Has Your Back?” ISP Report

      It’s Argentina’s turn to take a closer look at the practices of their local Internet Service Providers, and how they treat their customers’ personal data when the government comes knocking.

      Argentina’s ¿Quien Defiende Tus Datos? (Who Defends Your Data?) is a project of Asociación por los Derechos Civiles and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is part of a region-wide initiative by leading Iberoamerican digital rights groups to turn a spotlight on how the policies of Internet Service Providers either advance or hinder the privacy rights of users.

      The report is based on EFF’s annual Who Has Your Back? report, but adapted to local laws and realities. Last year Brazil’s Internet Lab, Colombia’s Karisma Foundation, Paraguay’s TEDIC, and Chile’s Derechos Digitales published their own 2017 reports, and ETICAS Foundation released a similar study earlier this year, part of a series across Latin America and Spain.

    • A New Backdoor Around the Fourth Amendment: The CLOUD Act

      There’s a new, proposed backdoor to our data, which would bypass our Fourth Amendment protections to communications privacy. It is built into a dangerous bill called the CLOUD Act, which would allow police at home and abroad to seize cross-border data without following the privacy rules where the data is stored.

      This backdoor is an insidious method for accessing our emails, our chat logs, our online videos and photos, and our private moments shared online between one another. This backdoor would deny us meaningful judicial review and the privacy protections embedded in our Constitution.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ACLU is Suing the Government for Info About TSA Device Searches

      The TSA won’t release information about its warrantless searches of electronic devices carried by US citizens on domestic flights.

    • TSA accused of searching domestic travelers’ devices with no warrant

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has sued the Transportation Security Administration, alleging that the agency has improperly withheld documents and other materials that would shed light on warrantless searches of digital devices at airports prior to purely domestic flights.

    • What the Senate Needs to Know About Gina Haspel

      Haspel is perhaps best known for running a “black site” prison in Thailand, where she oversaw state-sponsored torture at the start of a program designed at the behest of the CIA and approved at the highest levels of the George W. Bush administration. It was at this facility that the agency’s brutal tactics were first tested. One inmate, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times — with cruel methods continuing even after his abusers concluded that he did not have the threat information they sought.

      In addition to waterboarding, for 19 days Zubaydah was repeatedly slammed into walls, kept for hours at a time in painful stress positions, denied sleep, beaten, starved, and locked for hours in coffin-like confinement boxes. These torture methods became a “template” for a program designed to psychologically break other detainees held in a network of secret CIA prisons.

    • The Trump Administration Is Using the Parkland Massacre as an Excuse to Roll Back Civil Rights

      On Monday, the White House announced the creation of a Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to recommend proposals for school violence prevention. Included in the mandate of DeVos’ commission is a starkly worded objective: “Repeal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”

      It’s fair to wonder what this plan is doing on a list of items supposedly responding to school shootings. Prior school discipline history does not indicate that a youth will commit a school shooting. In Parkland, discipline policies did not thwart the district from taking action, and the attacker had been expelled from school. In fact, while most perpetrators of school shootings are white, children of color and students with disabilities are the ones disproportionately subject to school discipline.

    • Torture-Tainted Nominations Recall Failure to Prosecute Bush-Era Abuses

      Haspel, a CIA operative who oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects at a secret prison in Thailand and then helped destroy tapes of the interrogations, and Pompeo, who has made statements in support of torture and mass surveillance, are both expected to be confirmed by the Senate with little fanfare.

      After all, when Pompeo was nominated for his current post of CIA Director his confirmation sailed through the Senate on a vote of 66-32. This, despite what Human Rights Watch’s Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno called “dangerously ambiguous” responses to questions about torture and mass surveillance.

      “Pompeo’s failure to unequivocally disavow torture and mass surveillance, coupled with his record of advocacy for surveillance of Americans and past endorsement of the shuttered CIA torture program, make clear that he should not be running the CIA,” Sanchez Moreno said in January 2017.

      Shortly following Pompeo’s confirmation, his deputy director at the CIA was named as Gina Haspel, who “played a direct role in the CIA’s ‘extraordinary rendition program,’ under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel,” the New York Times reported last year.

    • Police Department With Eight Full-Time Officers Acquired 31 Military Vehicles Thru DoD’s Surplus Program

      The Defense Department’s 1033 program has allowed law enforcement to muddy the water on the distinction between police force and military force. Given the right reasoning (most commonly cited: Wars on Terror/Drugs), police departments are allowed to pick up surplus military gear, often for free (utilizing DHS grants) and start pretending they’re an occupying force, rather than public servants.

      This came to a head following protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where viewers around the world were treated to the sight of local law enforcement rolling up on residents in mine-resistant vehicles while clad in gear that made officers look far more like soldiers than cops. This prompted a rollback of the 1033 program by Obama, limiting the sort of gear police departments could obtain to more innocuous surplus, like computers and furniture.

    • What Happened at the Thailand ‘Black Site’ Run By Trump’s CIA Pick

      As soon as Gina Haspel got the nomination to become CIA director, America’s debate over the use of torture came roaring back. The country has intermittently reckoned with the legacy of the Bush-era programs that sanctioned the disappearance and torture of terrorism suspects—recently, for instance, when then-candidate Trump declared in 2016 that “torture works” and that he wanted to bring back outlawed techniques like waterboarding and “much worse.” And though the CIA stopped using what it called “enhanced interrogation” methods about a decade ago, Haspel was among those who oversaw their use after 9/11.

    • ‘The time for reconciliation is over’: South Africa votes to confiscate white-owned land without compensation

      Mr Malema has been leading calls for land confiscation, forcing the ANC to follow suit out of fear of losing the support of poorer black voters. In 2016, he told supporters he was “not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now”.

      Civil rights groups have accused the EFF and ANC of inciting an ongoing spate of attacks on white farmers characterised by extreme brutality, rape and torture — last year, more than 70 people were killed in more than 340 such attacks.

      Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of civil rights group Afriforum, said the parliamentary motion was a violation of the 1994 agreement in which the ANC promised minority interests would be protected post-apartheid.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon Forced To Briefly Give A Damn About Its Neglected Broadband Networks

      Several years back Verizon paused all serious residential fiber deployment to shift its focus to slinging video ads at Millennials, an effort that isn’t going all that well. While Verizon was busy attempting to pivot from stodgy protectionist telecom monopoly to sexy new media brand, one of its core legacy businesses (fixed line broadband) was simply allowed to wither and die on the vine. As such, the company has spent the last few years bombarded with complaints up and down the east coast about how it neglected repairs and upgrades across a massive swath of its telecom empire.

      One one hand, Verizon’s disinterest in residential broadband has resulted in a growing cable broadband monopoly as frustrated users flee to their only option for current-generation speeds. That in turn results in less competitive pressure than ever, resulting in higher prices, worse service, and the slow but steady deployment of arbitrary and punitive usage caps across the board. Meanwhile, customers on aging DSL lines who stick with Verizon face repair delays and higher prices as Verizon literally tries to drive away customers it simply no longer has a genuine interest in serving.

    • Ombudsman greenlights ACMA proposed rules for telecoms consumer protection

      Ahead of the imposition of new telecommunications consumer protection rules for NBN migration, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has revealed that residential consumers and small businesses made 27,195 complaints about telecoms services over the 12 months of the last financial year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Spanish Supreme Court puts an end to a “sui generis” case concerning database “sui generis” right

      In 2010, Infonis (a Spanish company) sued IMS Health claiming that the latter had infringed its database rights. Basically, Infonis claimed that ZBSales, its pharmaceutical marketing database, had been copied by IMS Health and resulted in the creation of a competing and suspiciously similar database (Sanibricks),

    • Trademarks

      • SIPO to take over trademark duties in major consolidation of IP authority in China – agency will also cover antitrust

        China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) will be combined with the country’s trademark office as part of a massive bureaucratic overhaul across the whole of Chinese government. The re-organised IP office will be part of a new agency which will consolidate IP, antitrust and various other regulatory powers. The broad strokes of the changes are laid out in a top national reform plan that was announced at the fourth plenary session of the first session of the Thirteenth National People’s Congress yesterday.

      • Ravinia Festival Blocks Brewpub From Opening Over Trademark Claim

        A demand for royalties from the Ravinia Festival halted preparations to open a brewpub in Highland Park’s Ravinia district in the coming months. The outdoor music festival sent a letter to the Ravinia Brewing Company two weeks ago demanding licensing payments and royalties for the brewery’s use of the neighborhood’s name, according to the Ravinia Neighbors Association, a local community organization.

        Ravinia has been the name of the area since 1873. It was annexed into Highland Park in 1899. The Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in North America, was founded in 1904.

      • Ravinia Festival Bullies Startup Brewery, Leading The Brewery To Shut Down Plans For Opening

        I’ve had the opportunity to write about many trademark disputes in these pages, but it’s been rare for any of them to hit very close to home. That changed this week when we learned that Ravinia Festival in the northern Chicago suburbs, at which I have seen many a concert, has decided to bully a startup brewery over its use of the word “Ravinia” in its name.

      • Brands are bulls**t

        Nobody cares.

        Harsh, but true. None of your users care about your brand. They care about what your product or service lets them do.

    • Copyrights

      • Cloudflare’s Cache Can ‘Substantially Assist’ Copyright Infringers, Court Rules

        Cloudflare has suffered a setback in the piracy liability case filed against it by adult publisher ALS Scan. A federal court in California ruled that the CDN provider can substantially assist copyright infringements by hosting cached copies of files. Whether Cloudflare did this and if it’s indeed liable, is now a matter for a jury to decide.

      • Dolby Labs Sues Adobe For Copyright Infringement

        For 15 years, Dolby supplied encoding and decoding technologies for use in Adobe products including Audition, After Effects, Lightroom and Premiere Pro. The licensing agreement between the companies allowed Adobe to self-report usage, on the condition that Dolby could carry out an audit. However, after the software company failed to comply in recent years, Dolby has rolled out the lawyers.


Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

    The “decision that will shape our company” was confirmed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in a memo to staff – seen by The Register – who said the business is gearing up for the next phase of “digital transformation”.

    “We need technology that actively supports our new ways of working, modern digital tools that allow us to be fully collaborative, to work across our many different team, across border and time zones – to truly be one.”

    With this in mind, “Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step by moving from the Microsoft Office environment to Google Suite,” Enders said.

    “Choosing G-Suite is a strategic choice, a clean break with the past while assuring business continuity. Let’s embark together on this journey towards a truly collaborative enterprise,” he said.

    For anyone living under a rock for years, G-Suite is a line of web-based computing, productivity and collaboration tools that were initially launched under the Google Apps for Your Domain brand in 2006.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Open-Sources Sound Firmware, Pushing For More Open Firmware

      Imad Sousou, Intel’s GM of the Open-Source Technology Center, had some interesting remarks to make during his keynote today as part of this week’s Embedded Linux Conference in Portland.

      First up, they have two new open-source project announcements: ACRN and Sound Open Firmware (SOF).

      Sound Open Firmware has us most excited with Intel’s focus now on opening up more of their firmware, beginning with audio. Sound Open Firmware includes an open-source audio DSP firmware and SDK. The SOF stack works on all Intel hardware platforms and can assist in debugging audio/DSP issues.

    • Linux Foundation

      • SDN Trends: The Business Benefits and Emerging SD-WAN Technology [Ed: "This article was sponsored by Alibaba and written by Linux.com." LF now writing ads for Alibaba, too.]
      • Speak at Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan — 4 Days Left to Submit a Proposal

        Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) connects the developers, vendors, and users driving innovation in Automotive Linux. Co-located with Open Source Summit Japan, ALS will gather over 1,000 attendees from global companies leading and accelerating the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected vehicle.

      • The Linux Foundation Welcomes Sound Open Firmware Project

        The Linux Foundation announced today that Sound Open Firmware (SOF) has become a Linux Foundation project. With significant engineering and code contributions from Intel® Corporation, SOF includes a digital signal processing (DSP) firmware and an SDK that together provide infrastructure and development tools for developers working on audio or signal processing. Intel and Google support SOF and invite others to join them in advancing the project.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Primer on Nvidia-Docker — Where Containers Meet GPUs

        GPUs are critical for training deep learning models and neural networks. Though it may not be needed for simple models based on linear regression and logistic regression, complex models designed around convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks heavily rely on GPUs. Especially computer vision-related models based on frameworks such as Caffe2 and TensorFlow have a dependency on GPU.

        In supervised machine learning, a set of features and labels are used to train a model. Deep learning algorithms don’t even need explicit features to evolve trained models. They pretty much “learn” from existing datasets designated for training, testing, and evaluation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • MATE 1.20 review – Are you all right, mate?

        Overall, MATE 1.20 is a nice desktop environment. It has its legacy quirks, especially when it comes to panel management and overall cross-integration between programs. But it can be styled and tamed and used with flair and elegance. However, you do feel that it’s aged in some areas, and that those areas remain neglected. Modern does not mean better, but some aspects of the 2018 computing model are superior to what we had a decade ago. The same way some aspects of MATE (Gnome 2) remain better than the touchesque flat-fest we have today.

        Xfce seems to have weathered these changes more successfully, but then it also had no identity crisis, no betrayal, and it benefits from more overall focus and attention. MATE not only had to fight Gnome 3, it also has Cinnamon to take into account. Those aside, if you do want an old-school, no-nonsense desktop environment, MATE is a good choice. Perhaps not the best one, but it will serve you loyally without any bells and whistles. Just be ready for an odd ghost of the past striking at you now and then.

        Remember, once upon a time, I didn’t like Xfce, like not at all, and look where it’s now. So MATE has survived the rite of passage, and it’s evolving steadily. The next step should be pro looks, tight integration and some acknowledgment of modernity, on a system level, and perhaps it could become the desktop environment that Gnome 3 should have been in the first place. There’s still hope. Keep an eye, and let’s see what happens. I guess that would be all.

      • Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review – For The Record

        Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review. Linux Mint and KDE haven’t always been on my list of favorite things. That said, Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition really surprised me – there is a lot to like! Great pulseaudio settings, an improved package manager, plus a whole lot more!

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119 released

        This is the release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119. It updates the toolchain of the distribution and fixes a number of smaller bug and security issues. Therefore this update is another one of a series of general housekeeping updates to make IPFire better, faster and of course more secure!

      • NuTyX 10.1 available with cards 2.4.0

        The NuTyX team is please to annonce the 10.1 release of NuTyX.

        NuTyX 9.0 comes with kernel lts 4.14.26 (4.9.87 in 32bits), glibc 2.27, gcc 7.3.0, binutils 2.30, python 3.6.4, xorg-server 1.19.6, qt 5.10.1, plasma 5.12.3 (in 64bits) , kf5 5.43.0 (in 64bits), gnome 3.26.1 (in 64bits), mate 1.20.0, xfce4 4.12.3, firefox 58.0.2, etc….

        Six news ISOs are available in 32 bits and 64 bits. Sizes are respectively 296 MB, 613 MB and 1.6G available on the new download page.

        They have been a lot of upstream updates related to security.

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.4 MR

        Team LibreELEC celebrates its second birthday (and international Pi-Day) with the release of LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.2.4 which brings minor bug-fixes and new firmware to support the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ hardware announced this morning.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • FAI.me build service now supports creation of VM disk images

        You can define a disk image size, select a language, set a user and root password, select a Debian distribution and enable backports just by one click. It’s possible to add your public key for access to the root account without a password. This can also be done by just specifying your GitHub account. Several disk formats are supports, like raw (compressed with xz or zstd), qcow2, vdi, vhdx and vmdk. And you can add your own list of packages, you want to have inside this OS. After a few minutes the disk image is created and you will get a download link, including a log the the creation process and a link to the FAI configuration that was used to create your customized image.

      • aput – simple upload script for a flat artifactory Debian repository
      • Derivatives

        • Neptune 5.0 Linux OS Released with KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS, Based on Debian Stretch

          The developers of the Debian-based Neptune GNU/Linux distribution announced the release of the Neptune 5.0 “Refresh” operating system, based on the stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

          Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14 kernel ported from Debian Stretch’s Backports repository, Neptune 5.0 uses the latest KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment along with the KDE Applications 17.12 and KDE Frameworks 5.43.0 software suites. It also promises new ways to run the latest software versions.

        • With this operating system you can have privacy and anonymity

          With the popularity of social media, it would seem as though people are not all that concerned with their privacy. Some like to share updates about pretty much anything they do, and while no one really cares about what anyone else had for lunch, the point is if you want to know what someone is up to, you may just have to look online.

          Just because people aren’t bashful about their lives does not mean they want everything they do online to be recorded, yet with the way browsers and operating systems are set up, there is a record of a lot of what we do. Unless you are a programmer, you may not see much of a way around it.

          But there is a way, actually. An operating system that is designed to start on almost any computer from a DVD or USB drive exists and, best of all, it is free.

        • Tails 3.6 Anonymous OS Released with Linux Kernel 4.15, Latest Tor Updates

          The Tails Project announced today the release and immediate availability of the Tails 3.6 amnesic incognito live system, also known as the Anonymous OS used by ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden to stay hidden online.

          Powered by the latest Linux 4.15 kernel with patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and featuring the latest Tor Browser and Tor client/server implementation, Tails 3.6 is here with up-to-date components like Electrum 3.0.6 and Mozilla Thunderbird 52.6.0, as well as new features and improvements.

        • Univention Corporate Server 4.3: Simpler, Faster, and More User-Friendly Administration

          Univention is proud to present the latest Univention Corporate Server (UCS) release. Version 4.3 of the established Open Source software now allows administrators to customize the portal pages which can be set up in UCS to suit the specific requirements of their organization very simply via the drag and drop feature. In addition, they are also able to make the more than 90 enterprise applications in UCS’ integrated App Center available to users. The users access these applications via the portal pages and, insofar as the respective application permits, only need to log in once thanks to the single sign-on mechanism. Univention has also considerably improved the data import performance. In this way, UCS 4.3 allows smaller companies to administrate heterogeneous IT environments with ease and fulfills the requirements of larger organizations with tens of thousands of users at the same time.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 18.04 beta is as good a time as any to see which Ubuntu flavour tickles your Budgie, MATE

            The first beta of Ubuntu 18.04 is here. The finished article, due next month, will be a long-term support release and, for those who stick with LTS, the first time many see the new GNOME-based Ubuntu.

            This beta, however, does not include the main GNOME-based release. Instead this is more a community release with most of the Ubuntu flavours participating. This particular test build is slightly more noteworthy than usual since, thanks to the havoc wreaked by Spectre and Meltdown, which limited the use of many distros’ build systems, it is really the first milestone for most of the flavours. It also came a couple of days late, which is unusual for an Ubuntu beta.

            As the Xubuntu developers note: “The ISO Tracker has seen little activity for the last few development cycles. We know we have some excited users already using and testing 18.04. But without testing results being recorded anywhere, we have to assume that nobody is testing the daily images and milestones. And this has major implications for both the 18.04 release and the project as a whole.”

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Beta 1 Released

            Many of the popular flavours of the famous Ubuntu Linux system such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu, have released beta downloads for the upcoming Long-Term Support release of Ubuntu 18.04.

            Typically, the Ubuntu team releases an LTS edition of the OS, every two years, which will carry major security updates and patches, as well as full support, for five years.

          • EzeeLinux Show 18.12 | A BIG THANK YOU, First Look At Ubuntu 18.04
          • LXD weekly status #38
          • Lets Snap The World

            I am a long-time Ubuntu user and community contributor. I love how open-source communities generally work, sure there are hiccups, like companies mandating decisions that aren’t popular amongst the community. The idea of I being able to fix an issue and getting that released to hundreds of thousands of people is just priceless for me.

            For the long time, I have distinguished some issues in Linux on the desktop that I want fixed. Biggest is always having the latest version of the software I use. Think of Android for example, you always get the latest version of the app, directly from the developers with no package maintainer in between. That’s the ideal scenario but for us currently on Linux it may not be possible in all cases because of the fragmentation we have.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SMARC module features hexa-core i.MX8 QuadMax

      iWave unveiled a rugged, wireless enabled SMARC module with 4GB LPDDR4 and dual GbE controllers that runs Linux or Android on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax SoC with 2x Cortex-A72, 4x -A53, 2x -M4F, and 2x GPU cores.

      iWave has posted specs for an 82 x 50mm, industrial temperature “iW-RainboW-G27M” SMARC 2.0 module that builds on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax system-on-chip. The i.MX8 QuadMax was announced in Oct. 2016 as the higher end model of an automotive focused i.MX8 Quad family.

    • Arduino Create expands to run Arduino on BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi

      Arduino announced an expansion of its Arduino Create development platform for deploying Arduino sketches on Linux systems to support Arm boards like the the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone in addition to Intel boards like the UP Squared.

      In November, Arduino announced a version of its Arduino Create toolkit that supports Intel-based systems running Linux, with specific support for a new UP Squared IoT Grove Development Kit. Today at the Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, where Arduino co-founder and CTO Massimo Banzi is a keynote speaker, Arduino announced an expansion of Arduino Create to support Arm boards. The platform provides optimized support for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards.

    • i.MX8M SBC on pre-order for $165

      Boundary Devices has launched a $165 “Nitrogen8M” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a quad-core i.MX8M with GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI 2.0, mini-PCIe, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, 4x USB 3.0, and optional -40 to 85°C support.

      Boundary Devices has updated its Nitrogen line of NXP i.MX based SBCs with a Nitrogen8M model that runs Android, Yocto, Ubuntu, Buildroot, or Debian based Linux on NXP’s i.MX8M. Available on pre-order starting at $165 with 2GB RAM, the SBC will ship this Spring.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 gets rev’d to B+ with 1.4GHz, WiFi-ac, and GbE with PoE

      The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has gone on sale for $35, boosting the Model B’s quad -A53 SoC to 1.4GHz, speeding the WiFi to precertified, dual-band 802.11ac, and adding USB-based GbE with PoE support.

      Two years after the arrival of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which brought wireless and 64-bit ARMv8 computing to what was already the most popular Linux hacking platform of all time, Raspberry Pi Trading and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have delivered a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a faster processor, WiFi, and Ethernet.

    • Meet the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

      Raspberry Pi just celebrated its sixth birthday—that’s six years since the launch of the original Raspberry Pi. Since then, it has released various new models, including the Pi 2, Pi 3, and Pi Zero. So far, 9 million Raspberry Pi 3s have been sold—and over 18 million Pis in total—and those numbers are likely to grow following today’s announcement of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

    • Raspberry Pi 3B+ Launches With Faster CPU, Dual-Band 802.11ac, Faster Ethernet
    • Raspberry Pi OS Raspbian Updated with Support for the New Raspberry Pi 3 B+ SBC

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation released today a new build of its Debian-based Raspbian operating system for Raspberry Pi single-board computer with dozens of improvements, updated components, and other enhancements.

      Probably the most important feature of the new Raspbian release, which is powered by the Linux 4.9.80 LTS kernel, is support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 B+ single-board computer that Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled this morning in celebration of the Pi Day.

      However, Wi-Fi is disabled by default for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model due to the wireless regulatory domain not being set. To set the domain, you need to set the ‘country=’ attribute in the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file to a country code closer to ISO 3166 alpha2.

    • Happy Pi Day: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Support Comes to the LibreELEC Embedded OS

      After Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Rasbian, LibreELEC is the second Linux-based operating system to receive support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ single-board computer announced today.

      In celebration of the project’s second anniversary, as well as of the international Pi Day, the team announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance update to the LibreELEC 8.2 “Krypton” operating system series.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model Has Faster CPU, Better Networking

      Delicious news for all you makers out there: a brand new Raspberry Pi is available to buy.

      The new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is an improved version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

      It features a faster ARM A53 processor and improved networking capabilities through the addition of Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 LS BLE and dual band Wi-Fi.

      While the addition of Gigabit ethernet is a big bonus (yay) the “downside” is that it’s still shared over USB 2.0 (boo). If you connect a data-intensive USB peripheral like an external hard drive the bandwidth available may be reduced accordingly depending on what you’re doing.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ now on-sale, more power and faster networking
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Launched: Offers More Power, Faster Networking
    • Raspberry PI 3 model B+ Released: Complete specs and pricing
    • Arduino Create Platform Can Now Program Linux Internet of Things Devices

      The official Arduino development team has today revealed at the Embedded Linux Conference 2018 expansion of a number of architectures supported by its Arduino Create platform for the development of Internet of Things applications. The latest release allows Arduino Create users can manage and program a wide range of popular Linux single-board computers such as the awesome Raspberry Pi which has today received a new addition to its range in the form of the Raspberry Pi 3+, AAEON UP² and BeagleBone as if they were regular Arduino development boards.

    • An introduction to RISC-V

      LWN has covered the open RISC-V (“risk five”) processor architecture before, most recently in this article. As the ecosystem and tools around RISC-V have started coming together, a more detailed look is in order. In a series of two articles, I will look at what RISC-V is and follow up with an article on how we can now port Linux distributions to run on it.

      The words “Free and Open RISC Instruction Set Architecture” are emblazoned across the web site of the RISC-V Foundation along with the logos of some possibly surprising companies: Google, hard disk manufacturer Western Digital, and notable ARM licensees Samsung and NVIDIA. An instruction set architecture (ISA) is a specification for the instructions or machine code that you feed to a processor and how you encode those instructions into a binary form, along with many other precise details about how a family of processors works. Modern ISAs are huge and complex specifications. Perhaps the most famous ISA is Intel’s x86 — that specification runs to ten volumes.

      More importantly, ISAs are covered by aggressive copyright, patent, and trademark rules. Want to independently implement an x86-compatible processor? Almost certainly you simply cannot do that without making arrangements with Intel — something the company rarely does. Want to create your own ARM processor? You will need to pay licensing fees to Arm Holdings up front and again for every core you ship.

      In contrast, open ISAs, of which RISC-V is only one of the newest, have permissive licenses. RISC-V’s specifications, covering user-space instructions and the privileged instructions are licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0). Furthermore, researchers have determined that all RISC-V instructions have prior art and are now patent-free. (Note this is different from saying that implementations will be open or patent-free — almost certainly the highest end chips will be closed and implementations patented). There are also several “cores” — code that compiles to Verilog and can be programmed into an FPGA or (with a great deal more effort) made into a custom chip — licensed under the three-clause BSD.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Adelaide Uni open sources venerable Ludwig editor

    The University of Adelaide will release the source code of the Ludwig editor, originally developed for use on VAX minicomputers.

    Ludwig’ source code will be published on GitHub under the MIT Open Source Licence, the university announced today.

    DEC’s first VAX system, the VAX-11/78, was unveiled in 1977. Adelaide Uni purchased three of the minicomputers in 1979.

    The computers supported interaction through video terminals and replaced punch-card-driven systems that only offered batch processing and printed output,

  • 4 reasons enterprise open source works best

    The vast and growing network of enterprise open source solutions can play a key role in modernizing government’s IT infrastructures to be fast, functional and future-oriented. Sourcing technology from the top performers in a community of contributors can liberate IT managers from the bureaucratic ceilings established through proprietary contracts.

    With a commitment to the open software solutions community, the public sector can save money while building the IT infrastructures of today and tomorrow.

  • New Raspberry Pi 3B+, Infection Monkey, Samba Password Bug, Facebook’s Profilo and More

    Facebook open-sourced Profilo yesterday, “a scalable, mobile-first performance tracing library for Android”. Profilo eases the mobile testing challenges faced by app developers trying to ensure their apps perform across various operating systems, bandwidths and other variables, and allows developers to “understand app performance in the wild”.

  • Open Source Data Management for All

    We found that several of our readers had heard of iRODS and knew it was associated with a scientific computing base, but few understood what the technology was and were not aware that there was a consortium. To dispel any confusion, we spoke with Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium about both the technology itself and the group’s role in making data management and storage easier.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Making WebAssembly better for Rust & for all languages

        One big 2018 goal for the Rust community is to become a web language. By targeting WebAssembly, Rust can run on the web just like JavaScript. But what does this mean? Does it mean that Rust is trying to replace JavaScript?

        The answer to that question is no. We don’t expect Rust WebAssembly apps to be written completely in Rust. In fact, we expect the bulk of application code will still be JS, even in most Rust WebAssembly applications.

        This is because JS is a good choice for most things. It’s quick and easy to get up and running with JavaScript. On top of that, there’s a vibrant ecosystem full of JavaScript developers who have created incredibly innovative approaches to different problems on the web.

      • March Add(on)ness: Video Download Helper (1) Vs Cookie AD (4)

        Video DownloadHelper is the easy way to download and convert Web videos from hundreds of YouTube-like sites.

        Video DownloadHelper is a strong contender, giving users the ability to snag videos from virtually any site. The add-on automatically finds videos on a webpage. What users do with those videos is nobody’s business and anyone’s guess.

        Fun Fact: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day. If you tried to download all of them, your computer would explode.

      • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 225
      • The new Firefox lets you stop websites from asking to send you notifications

        The Mozilla Foundation released a new version of Firefox this week—release number 59. It treads further down the performance improvement path that November’s Quantum release began, but its most interesting feature is a quality-of-life one: Firefox 59 users can prevent some websites from popping up requests to send notifications to your device or from requesting to use your camera unexpectedly.

      • Things Gateway, Part 7 – IKEA TRÅDFRI

        In this series of postings, I’ve been setting up, configuring, and playing with IoT devices through the experimental Things Gateway from Mozilla. I’ve covered the generic Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, the Philips Hue devices, and the TP-Link WiFi devices. Today, I add IKEA TRÅDFRI to this circus.

        Of course, in this series, I’ve also been doing a bit of editorializing. I was critical of the TP-Link devices because their security model requires the end user to just trust them. I’m critical of the IKEA TRÅDFRI for a physical safety reason. What does the word TRÅDFRI mean? I’m assuming it is a Swedish word that means “severe blood loss from slashed wrists” because that is what is likely to happen when opening the package. The clamshell plastic that entombs their products is difficult to open with anything short of a chainsaw. My kitchen scissors wouldn’t do the job and I had to resort to garden pruning shears and that left dangerously sharp pieces that drew blood. Be careful.

      • Firefox Performance Update #3

        Hi! I’ve got another slew of Firefox performance work to report today.

        Special thanks to the folks who submitted things through this form to let me know about performance work that’s taken place recently! If you’ve seen something fixed lately that’ll likely have a positive impact on Firefox performance, let me know about it!

      • Mozilla sends more snooping Web APIs to smartphone Siberia

        irefox has revealed it will bin more privacy-invasive APIs, deprecating access to the light sensor, device proximity sensor, and user proximity detection.

        The APIs in question have all been criticised for their invasive potential. For example, devicelight offered potential vectors for snooping on user browsing habits or even passwords.

        The other two APIs are deviceproximity and userproximity. As of Firefox 62, these will become user-controlled flags (and for users at the bleeding edge, the deprecation is implemented in the nightly build).

      • Firefox 59 for Android Adds HLS Playback Support, Improves Private Browsing Mode

        Mozilla released today the Firefox 59 web browser for Google’s Android mobile operating system bringing support for websites that use the HTTP Live Streaming protocol for video playback, and improved Private Browsing mode, and more.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Clang 6.0 vs. 5.0 Compiler Performance On Intel/AMD Linux

      Since last week’s big release of LLVM 6.0 along with Clang 6.0, I have been carrying out some fresh compiler benchmarks of the previous Clang 5.0 to this new stable release that switches to C++14 by default, among many other changes to LLVM itself and this C/C++ compiler front-end.

      For your compiler benchmark viewing pleasure today are results of LLVM Clang 5.0 vs. 6.0 on four distinctly different systems: two Intel, two AMD, for getting a glimpse at how the Clang 6.0 compiler performance is looking at this time. For those wondering how Clang 6.0 is stacking up compared to the soon-to-be-released GCC 8.1 compiler, those benchmarks will come when GCC 8.1 is officially available.


    • GRUB Now Supports Multiple Early Initrd Images

      GNU’s GRUB bootloader has picked up another feature ahead of the GRUB 2.04 release expected later this year.

      It’s been almost one year since the GRUB 2.02 release while GRUB 2.04 continues being developed with new features and the latest addition landed just minutes ago.

      This new addition to the GRUB 2.04 code-base is adding support for multiple, shared, early initrd images. These multiple early initrd images will be loaded prior to the proper initrd image — with support for the Linux distribution specifying early initrd images and a separate hook for the user to specify any early images too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • What legal remedies exist for breach of GPL software?

      Last April, a federal court in California handed down a decision in Artifex Software, Inc. v. Hancom, Inc., 2017 WL 1477373 (N.D. Cal. 2017), adding a new perspective to the forms of remedies available for breach of the General Public License (GPL). Sadly, this case reignited the decades-old license/contract debate due to some misinterpretations under which the court ruled the GPL to be a contract. Before looking at the remedy developments, it’s worth reviewing why the license debate even exists.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Global Automotive Navigation Systems Market 2018-2022 – Increased Support for Open Source and Standard Platforms
    • Five Questions with Orta Therox

      Everyone in the Artsy Engineering team has different relationships to Open Source. Some people just work in the open — with little thought applied to the larger community aspects of it — because it’s how we work. Others embrace the ability to showcase their work to help provide a more holistic understanding of the process.

      Not all projects we work on are open source, so not all engineers work in the open. We made the conscious choice to keep some projects private: it’s Open Source by Default, not Open Source by Mandate.

    • SpaceChain, Arch Aim to Archive Human Knowledge in Space

      SpaceChain on Monday announced that it has entered a partnership with the Arch Mission Foundation to use open source technology to launch an ambitious project involving the storage of large data sets in spacecraft and on other planets.

      Arch Mission will load large quantities of data onto SpaceChain’s satellite vehicles with the eventual aim of storing data on other planets.

      “The goal of archiving and preserving knowledge of future generations will advance archiving science and human knowledge by itself,” SpaceChain cofounder Zheng Zuo said. “The ambitious goal of disseminating this knowledge throughout the solar system is finally achievable today, thanks to greatly reduced launch costs through new space launch providers.”


      The partnership would allow SpaceChain’s long-term goal of storing data archives throughout the solar system come to fruition.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Two UMD courses will have free online textbook access in the fall

        BSCI201 and 202, introductory courses in human anatomy and physiology, will use a free, open-source textbook from OpenStax beginning in the fall, said biology professor Sara Lombardi.

        To make the switch, university lecturers for the courses received a $1,500 grant from the Maryland Open Source Textbook initiative, which offers grants to encourage faculty to utilize open educational resources. The grants were announced March 6.

        The initiative — which was established in 2013 as part of the system’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation — saved students more than $500,000 through these grants from spring 2014 to spring 2017, according to the initiative’s spring 2018 update.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenFlow is the Past as ONF Announces Stratum Project to Redefine SDN

      On March 12, the ONF announced the formation of the Stratum project with the audacious goal to redefine the SDN landscape in a fundamental way. Code for the Stratum project is initially coming from Google, from technology it uses for SDN within its own environments.

      Among the vendors that are backing the ONF Stratum project are Google, Tencent, China Unicom, NTT, Turk Telekom, Big Switch Networks, VMware, Broadcom, Cavium, Mellanox and Xilinx.


  • IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again

    Since announcing that HCL would take over development of IBM’s collaborationware, the two companies have conducted a long listening tour that saw them stage 22 meatspace meetings and four online forums. The results of that consultation, which reached 2,000 people, plus lab work already conducted by IBM and HCL, were recently presented to the faithful.

  • Science

    • Sir John Sulston, Human Genome Project Leader, Remembered For Words On IP And Health R&D

      Nobel Prize winner Sir John Sulston passed away on 6 March at the age of 75, and was widely remembered in the press and scientific circles, celebrating his research, his wisdom, and his leadership of the landmark Human Genome Project. Intellectual Property Watch recalls his visionary warning and advice a decade ago about the intellectual property system, investment, and science that is still valuable today.

    • Media Ignore Critical Link Between Natural Disasters and Climate Change

      Since the 2016 presidential election, the establishment media’s coverage of natural disasters has failed to connect the disasters with the scientific issue of climate change. Lisa Hymas’ December 2017 Guardian article exposed the media’s lack of climate change coverage. Although much climate change research reveals a link between extreme weather and climate change, “only 42% of Americans believe that climate change will pose a serious threat to them during their lifetimes,” Hymas reported. Although recent natural disasters highlight the effects of climate change this subject has received little attention in establishment news coverage.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • To Make Healthcare More Affordable, Fight Drug Patent Abuse with a Fury

      Drug prices tend to drop precipitously the moment the drug market opens to generic and biosimilar competition—typically by up to 80%. Drug patents are the linchpin of when that moment occurs.

      This is because since the 1980s, the timing of market entry for generic and biosimilar drugs has essentially depended on judicial determinations of patent infringement, validity, and enforceability, pursuant to the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (better known as the “Hatch-Waxman Act”), and more recently, the Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”).

      If we are really going to have an informed discussion about drug pricing, therefore, we had better do it by talking about drug patents—and how to police them, effectively.

    • Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic Is Tougher Than it Seems

      As the opioid epidemic rages across the country, data tracking its evolution often lags far behind.

      A few months ago, I set out to compile data on opioid prescribing, overdoses and deaths, as well as treatment options.

      It was more difficult than I expected: Much of the data was out of date, some was hard to find and some data contradicted other data, making conclusions difficult. I put the datasets I could find into a tipsheet, which I shared last week at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in Chicago.

      When Bruce Greenstein took over as chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in mid-2017, he, too, was taken aback by the hurdles to finding complete, current information — particularly on overdose deaths.

  • Security

    • An important Samba 4 security release

      Anybody running Samba 4 servers probably wants to take a look at this alert and upgrade their systems.

    • Samba 4.7.6, 4.6.14 and 4.5.16 Security Releases Available for Download
    • Samba 4 Updates Issued For Correcting Two Security Vulnerabilities, One Nasty
    • Samba critical flaws: Patch now but older open instances have ‘far worse issues’
    • AMD Secure Processor & Ryzen Chipsets Reportedly Vulnerable To Exploit

      Just two months after the big Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities were disclosed, Israeli security researchers have published 13 security vulnerabilities claiming to affect AMD Ryzen and EPYC product lines.

      These vulnerabilities are being called “AMDFLAWS” and the vulnerabilities have names like MASTERKEY, RYZENFALL, FALLOUT, CHIMERA, and the PSP PRIVILEGE escalation amounting to 13 vulnerabilities in total.

    • Numerous vulnerabilities in AMD processors

      A company called CTS has disclosed a long series of vulnerabilities in AMD processors. “The chipset is a central component on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations: it links the processor with hardware devices such as WiFi and network cards, making it an ideal target for malicious actors. The Ryzen chipset is currently being shipped with exploitable backdoors that could let attackers inject malicious code into the chip, providing them with a safe haven to operate from.” See the associated white paper for more details.

    • Israeli firm dumps AMD flaws with 24 hours notice

      Security researchers from a previously unknown Israeli company, CTS Labs, have disclosed 13 flaws in AMD processors. All can be taken advantage of only by an attacker who has already gained admin privileges within the system in question.

    • “Backdoor” Found In AMD CPUs, Researchers Discover 13 Critical Vulnerabilities In RYZEN And EPYC
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #150
    • ACME v2 and Wildcard Certificate Support is Live

      We’re pleased to announce that ACMEv2 and wildcard certificate support is live! With today’s new features we’re continuing to break down barriers for HTTPS adoption across the Web by making it even easier for every website to get and manage certificates.

      ACMEv2 is an updated version of our ACME protocol which has gone through the IETF standards process, taking into account feedback from industry experts and other organizations that might want to use the ACME protocol for certificate issuance and management some day.

      Wildcard certificates allow you to secure all subdomains of a domain with a single certificate. Wildcard certificates can make certificate management easier in some cases, and we want to address those cases in order to help get the Web to 100% HTTPS. We still recommend non-wildcard certificates for most use cases.

    • An overview of online ad fraud

      I have researched various aspects of the online advertisement industry for a while, and one of the fascinating topics that I have come across which I didn’t know too much about before is ad fraud. You may have heard that this is a huge problem as this topic hits the news often, and after learning more about it, I think of it as one of the major threats to the health of the Web, so it’s important for us to be more familiar with the problem.

      People have done a lot of research on the topic but most of the material uses the jargon of the ad industry so they may be inaccessible to those who aren’t familiar with it (I’m learning my way through it myself!) and also you’d need to study a lot to put a broad picture of what’s wrong together, so I decided to summarize what I have learned so far, expressed in simple terms avoiding jargon, in the hopes that it’s helpful. Needless to say, none of this should be taken as official Mozilla policy, but rather this is a hopefully objective summary plus some of my opinions after doing this research at the end.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Mass Killing of Civilians by UN-Backed National Police of Haiti

      On the morning of November 13, 2017, a joint anti-gang operation between the National Police of Haiti (PHN), who were trained under occupation by UN and US officials, and the newly-formed United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) ended in the mass killing of at least nine innocent civilians at Maranatha College in Port-au-Prince. Some reports indicate up to 14 civilians and two police officers were killed.

      The United Nations issued a statement days later, condemning the violence and calling for a prompt investigation. However, the statement did not publicly acknowledge the UN’s own role in the operation, and distanced the organization from the civilian casualties. As Jake Johnston of the Intercept reported, it was not until late December that a UN spokesperson confirmed that the MINUJUSTH, the UN police, had helped to plan the raid.

      UN spokesperson Sophie Boutaud de la Combe wrote in an email to the Intercept that the UN had conducted an internal inquiry following the raid which absolved the UN. The inquiry found that UN police did not enter Maranatha College where the alleged killings took place, nor did UN police fire their weapons. Instead, according to the inquiry, UN police only “secured the perimeter” of the school. The post-operation “unilateral initiative” of some PHN members was, according to the UN inquiry, without UN authorization.

    • Ex-GCHQ boss: All the ways to go after Russia. Why pick cyberwar?

      Hannigan damped down talk in the UK media that cyber attacks against Russia might form part of the response to poisoning of Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury in southern England last week.

      He cited UK government statements to explain this was either a state-run operation or that Russia had lost control of a chemical weapons agent. This follows Russia’s highly contentious annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

    • Assange: UK Foreign Office Gears Up for Propaganda War Against Russia

      Following allegations by UK authorities that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury, the UK Foreign Office is preparing a smear campaign against the country.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday took to Twitter to comment on the UK Foreign Office’s video about Russia, saying it is waging a “propaganda” war against Moscow.

      The UK Foreign Office released a video with a list of the world events in which Russia in their opinion is engaged. In this video, the Foreign Office says that Russia is relevant to the Litvinenko case, to Georgia’s sovereignty, Crimea’s reunification, the cyber-attack on Germany’s parliament, interfering in Montenegro elections, as well as airspace violations.

  • Finance

    • International Finance Corporation, a Branch of World Bank, on Trial

      Farmers in Honduras are suing a branch of the World Bank for attacks and killings that the corporation has allegedly helped fund since the early 1990s. These violent acts targeted members and supporters of the local farming community in the Bajo Aguán valley region of Honduras, as reported by Claire Provost for the Guardian in March 2017.

      As the Guardian reported, according to a 132-page legal complaint filed by the plaintiffs, the farmers are seeking compensation for the role that the IMF branch known as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) played in the alleged “murder, torture, assault, battery, trespass, unjust enrichment and other acts of aggression” that resulted from the IFC’s support of the agribusiness corporation Dinant, the primary executor of the violence.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Help Us Cure Online Publishing of Its Addiction to Personal Data

      A perfect example of this non-thinking is a recent Business Insider piece that says “Europe’s new privacy laws are going to make the web virtually unsurfable” because the GDPR and ePrivacy (the next legal shoe to drop in the EU) “will require tech companies to get consent from any user for any information they gather on you and for every cookie they drop, each time they use them”, thus turning the web “into an endless mass of click-to-consent forms”.

      Speaking of endless, the same piece says, “News sites—like Business Insider—typically allow a dozen or more cookies to be ‘dropped’ into the web browser of any user who visits.” That means a future visitor to Business Insider will need to click “agree” before each of those dozen or more cookies get injected into the visitor’s browser.

    • Appellate Court Issues Encouraging Border Search Opinion

      EFF filed an amicus brief last year in the case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California (2014) supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

      In U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro, although the Fifth Circuit declined to decide whether the Fourth Amendment requires border agents to get a warrant before searching travelers’ electronic devices, one judge invoked prior case law that could help us establish this privacy protection.

      Ms. Molina-Isidoro attempted to enter the country at the port of entry at El Paso, TX. An x-ray of her suitcase led border agents to find methamphetamine. They then manually searched her cell phone and looked at her Uber and WhatsApp applications. The government sought to use her correspondence in WhatsApp in her prosecution, so she moved to suppress this evidence, arguing that it was obtained in violation of the Constitution because the border agents didn’t have a warrant.

      Unfortunately for Molina-Isidoro, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the WhatsApp messages may be used in her prosecution. But the court avoided the main constitutional question: whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to search an electronic device at the border. Instead, the court held that the border agents acted in “good faith”—an independent basis to deny Molina-Isidoro’s motion to suppress, even if the agents had violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • The Cloud Act Is a Dangerous Piece of Legislation

      The under-the-radar bill threatens the civil liberties and human rights of global activists and US citizens alike.

      Despite its fluffy sounding name, the recently introduced CLOUD Act is far from harmless. It threatens activists abroad, individuals here in the U.S., and would empower Attorney General Sessions in new disturbing ways. And, now, some members of Congress may be working behind the scenes to sneak it into a gargantuan spending bill that Congress will shortly consider.

      This is why the ACLU and over 20 other privacy and human rights organizations have joined together to oppose the bill. Make no mistake, the CLOUD Act represents a dramatic change in our law, and its effects will be felt across the globe.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • This Mural Quotes Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape, and Now the Owner Is Facing Jail Time

      Forcing people to get government approval for artistic expression is a violation of the First Amendment.

      Last fall, Neal Morris, a property owner in New Orleans, commissioned a mural on his warehouse that depicted President Trump’s comments from the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. The mural displayed Trump’s comments verbatim but replaced some of the words with cartoon pictograms.

      Morris expected that the mural, installed on his own property by a local street artist, might stir controversy. But what he didn’t expect was a threatening letter from the city’s Department of Safety and Permits demanding that he take it down or face jail time. The letter accused Morris of a zoning violation and warned that failure to comply would yield “a maximum fine or jail time for each and every day the violation continues plus court costs.”

      That’s right. A resident of an American city could face jail time for a mural that depicts comments the president of the United States actually said — on tape. All this because Morris failed to navigate a confusing bureaucratic process requiring artists and their patrons to get government approval and a permit before installing a mural, even on their own property.

    • Inadequate Coverage is Costly: Deafening Silence on Puerto Rican Crisis

      How the US responds to natural disasters is increasingly dependent on what we see in the news. In times of disaster, fair and thorough coverage is necessary to support recovery. According to Gabriela Thorne of the Nation, “lack of media coverage makes it hard to get as many donations,” leaving those with less air-time to face a slower, more difficult recovery. This is especially true in territories like Puerto Rico. Months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans still struggle to re-establish normal daily living. Donations are still necessary for their recovery effort, yet establishment news coverage has moved on to other, more sensational topics.

    • “She Tortured Just for the Sake of Torture”: CIA Whistleblower on Trump’s New CIA Pick Gina Haspel

      Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou personally knew CIA director nominee Gina Haspel when he worked at the CIA. But their careers have taken very different paths over the past decade. Haspel, who was directly involved in torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, has been promoted to head the agency. Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the torture program, ended up being jailed for 23 months. For more, we speak with John Kiriakou, who spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer.

    • The First Woman Picked to Lead CIA, But Not the First War Criminal

      Ray was interviewed Tuesday about Gina Haspel, just nominated to be CIA director. He found it bizarre to discuss the exploits of the current CIA deputy director/war criminal Haspel, who in 2002 ran the secret prison where “terrorist suspect,” Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times.

      Such crimes were documented by a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, based on original CIA cables and other documents — a four year-long effort, a redacted Executive Summary of which was released in Dec. 2014. It revealed a number of heinous torture techniques used on kidnapped “detainees” and — equally important — gave the lie to claims by top CIA officials that useful intelligence was acquired by the torture.

    • Trump Administration Wants To Start Sending Secret Service Agents To Polling Stations

      This appears to be the result of Trump’s continued insistence he would have won the popular vote if there hadn’t been so many illegal votes. Of course, the administration has produced no evidence this happened in the last election. The only story that surfaced as a result of this post-election scrutiny was one involving someone who voted twice… for Trump.

      Needless to say, state officials overseeing elections are horrified. The intrusion of the law enforcement branch that works closest with the president would give elections the appearance that Secret Service agents are there to prevent voters from voting for the wrong person. Given Trump’s antipathy towards anyone that isn’t white with a red hat, dispatched agents would certainly deter those not matching the chosen description from exercising their rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Research Shows That Published Versions Of Papers In Costly Academic Titles Add Almost Nothing To The Freely-Available Preprints They Are Based On

        The open access movement believes that academic publications should be freely available to all, not least because most of the research is paid for by the public purse. Open access supporters see the high cost of many academic journals, whose subscriptions often run into thousands of dollars per year, as unsustainable for cash-strapped libraries, and unaffordable for researchers in emerging economies. The high profit margins of leading academic publishers — typically 30-40% — seem even more outrageous when you take into account the fact that publishers get almost everything done for free. They don’t pay the authors of the papers they publish, and rely on the unpaid efforts of public-spirited academics to carry out crucial editorial functions like choosing and reviewing submissions.

      • US Copyright Royalty Board Boosts Songwriters’ Streaming Pay Nearly 50% [Ed: But will this increase in pay go to the cartel (middlemen) or actual artists that aren't just the few millionaires who are super-famous?]

        Variety reports: The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase songwriter rates for interactive streaming by nearly 50% over the next five years, in a ruling issued early Saturday. Equally important, the CRB simplified and strengthened the manner in which songwriters are paid mechanical royalties, modifying terms in a way that offers a foothold in the free-market.

        The ruling, in favor of the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International, amounts to what NMPA president and CEO David Israelite calls “the biggest rate increase granted in CRB history,” with Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify compelled to pay more for the use of music.

      • Game Developer Embraces Modding Community So Much They Made Their Work An Official Release

        For game developers and publishers, there are lots of ways to react to the modding community that so often creates new and interesting aspects to their games. Some companies look to shut these modding communities down completely, some threaten them over supposed copyright violations, and some developers choose to embrace the modding community and let mods extend the life of their games to ridiculous lengths.

        But few studios have gone as far to embrace modders as developer 1C, makers of IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover. The flight-sim game, released way back in 2011, burst onto the gaming market with decidedly luke-warm reviews. Most of the critiques and public commentary surrounding the game could be best summarized as: “meh.” But a modding community sprung up around the game, calling itself Team Fusion, and developed a litany of mods for IL-2. Rather than looking at these mods as some sort of threat, 1C instead worked with Team Fusion and developed an official re-release of the game incorporating their work.

      • Playboy Wants to Know Who Downloaded Their Playmate Images From Imgur

        Playboy’s initial attempt to hold the popular blog Boing Boing liable for copyright infringement failed last month. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s completely over. The publisher has requested personal information on the people who uploaded the infringing centerfold footage on YouTube and Imgur, to determine what steps to take next. Interestingly, Imgur ‘downloaders’ are targeted too, which technically includes everyone who viewed the images.

      • Pirate Site Admins Receive Suspended Sentences, Still Face €60m Damages Claim

        Four men behind one of France’s most successful pirate sites have been handed suspended sentences by the Rennes Criminal Court. Aged between 29 and 36 years old, the former Liberty Land administrators were arrested back in 2011 following a SACEM investigation. The quartet still face a massive 60 million euro damages claim.


Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

Posted in News Roundup at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Sourcing the Hunt for Exoplanets
  • Google’s Open Source AI Lets Anyone Hunt for Alien Planets At Home

    Last December, NASA announced that two new exoplanets had been hiding in plain sight among data from the Kepler space telescope. These two new planets weren’t discovered by a human, however. Instead, an exoplanet hunting neural network—a type of machine learning algorithm loosely modeled after the human brain—had discovered the planets by finding subtle patterns in the Kepler data that would’ve been nearly impossible for a human to see.

    On Thursday, Christopher Shallue, the lead Google engineer behind the exoplanet AI, announced in a blog post that the company was making the algorithm open source. In other words, anyone can download the code and help hunt for exoplanets in Kepler data.

  • Google Open-Sources AI Code To Analyze Kepler Data For Exoplanets
  • You Can Hunt for Alien Planets in Kepler Data Using Newly Released Google Code
  • Google AI That Helped NASA Find Exoplanets Now Available to All
  • Find Alien Life and Discover New Exoplanets With Google’s New Machine-Learning Algorithm
  • Now, use Google AI to hunt planets from NASA data
  • Want to join in NASA’s search for exoplanets? Google’s AI can help
  • Google TensorFlow now available for researchers
  • Google AI that helped NASA find exoplanets now open for all
  • Google AI models which helped NASA discover exoplanets, are now available for everyone
  • Researchers Now Have Access to the Same Google AI that NASA had
  • Google AI Is Now Publically Accessible That Helped NASA Boost Its Hunt for Exoplanet
  • A plan for rebooting an open source project

    Once in a while, you will have an open source project that needs care and feeding. Maybe you’re just stepping into an existing project, and you need to figure out where the project is and where it needs to go. It needs a reboot. What do you do? How do you begin?

    When I was in this situation, I was thrown into the deep end with a security issue. I spent a good eight months getting to know the community as we resolved that issue and other legacy infrastructure issues. After about a year, I finally felt like I had a good outline of the community and its challenges and strengths. I realized afterward that it would’ve been smarter if I had first invested time to review the project’s status and create a strategy for how we tackled its needs.

  • Google Open Sources Exoplanet-Hunting AI

    NASA’s Kepler satellite has been observing the stars for nearly a decade, and it’s produced a mountain of data in that time. Late last year, Google showed how machine learning could help astronomers dig through the Kepler backlog, and it discovered a few new exoplanets in the process. Google has now open sourced the planet-spotting AI so anyone can give it a shot.

  • Google collaborates with Ubisoft to launch Agones, an open source game server hosting system

    When you think of cloud computing, chances are you are thinking about massive server farms that let you edit documents in the cloud and update your CRM system, but thankfully, there’s a playful side to the cloud as well. All of those multiplayer games, after all, have to run somewhere, too. Often, gaming companies write their own systems for running these servers, but Google and Ubisoft today announced a new project that provides an open source alternative to managing and hosting multiplayer game servers.

    Agones, as the project is called because that’s the Greek word for ‘contest,’ uses the Google-incubated Kubernetes container project as it core tool for orchestrating and scaling a fleet of multiplayer game servers. When you play your favorite multiplayer game, it’s these kind of game servers that assure that users can see each other as they traverse an island full of 99 other suicidal maniacs, for example — and they also often run the software necessary to identify cheaters. Containers are actually ideal for this kind of scenario because game sessions tend to last for relatively short periods of time and containers can be deployed and shut down quickly.

  • Google & Ubisoft Announce Game Hosting Solution Agones
  • Google & Ubisoft announce Agones, a game server hosting project
  • Google announces new open source multiplayer server Agones
  • Google Steps on Microsoft’s Toes in New Cloud Gaming Push (Premium)
  • Google gets into multiplayer game server hosting with Agones project
  • Google Cloud & Ubisoft Announce Agones – Open Source Dedicated Multiplayer Game Server Hosting
  • Google Cloud’s Agones enables open source dedicated multiplayer game servers
  • Google and the publisher of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ are teaming up for a new weapon in the cloud wars
  • It’s Happening: Substratum Network Announces Plan to Open-Source Its Software in Next Release

    Substratum Network (www.Substratum.net) is pleased to announce it will open-source its software in the next release to further its fight against cyber-censorship. Built as a foundation for the decentralized web, Substratum’s mission is to ensure that all people have free and equal access to information, without impediment.

  • Anti-tracking browser extension Ghostery goes open source

    Ghostery, a provider of free software that makes your web browsing experience cleaner and safer by detecting and blocking third-party data-tracking technologies, announced that it is going open source and the code for its popular browser extension is now publicly available on GitHub.

    This move demonstrates Ghostery’s commitment to transparency, empowering the public to see how Ghostery works and what types of data it collects, as well as the ability to make contributions to its source code.

  • China develops open-source platform for AI development

    China has developed an open-source artificial intelligence platform as part of its plan to become a world leader in the technology by 2030, the country’s science and technology minister said, according to the Business Standard.

    “Open-source platforms are needed because AI can play a bigger role in development and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to resources,” Wan Gang said at a press conference.

  • Creating an Open Source Program for Your Company

    The recent growth of open source has been phenomenal; the latest GitHub Octoverse survey reports the GitHub community reached 24 million developers working across 67 million repositories. Adoption of open source has also grown rapidly with studies showing that 65% of companies are using and contributing to open source. However, many decision makers in those organizations using and contributing to open source do not fully understand how it works. The collaborative development model utilized in open source is different from the closed, proprietary models many individuals are used to, requiring a change in thinking.

    An ideal starting place is creating a formal open source program office, which is a best practice pioneered by Google and Facebook and can support a company’s open source strategy. Such an office helps explain to employees how open source works and its benefits, while providing supporting functions such as training, auditing, defining policies, developer relations and legal guidance. Although the office should be customized to a specific organization’s needs, there are still some standard steps everyone will go through.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 59 Prepped For Release: Nukes GTK2 Code, Still Prepping For Wayland

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59.0 is now available to download from the FTP server ahead of the official announcement.

        Firefox 59.0 can now be downloaded for all supported platforms. Firefox 59.0 does deliver on dropping GTK2 support in favor of the GTK3 tool-kit support that’s now mature.

        But what didn’t make it for Firefox 59.0 is the Firefox 59 Wayland support that remains a work-in-progress and was diverted from being a target for mozilla59. While the Wayland support isn’t yet squared away, there have been bug fixes and other improvements in working towards getting this native Wayland support ready by default for those not building your web-browser with the –enable-default-toolkit=cairo-gtk3-wayland switch.

      • Version 59.0, first offered to Release channel users on March 13, 2018
      • Mozilla Firefox 59 Released with Faster Page Load Times, New Privacy Features
      • Latest Firefox available to users where they browse the web — laptop, Fire TV and the office. Plus, a chance to help with the next Firefox release!
      • Firefox 59 “Quantum” released

        Mozilla has released its Firefox 59.0 “Quantum” browser.

        The browser supports GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

      • Firefox 59 released, these are the key changes
      • Mozilla’s Firefox 59 Released, New Agones Project, SparkyLinux 5.3 Available, Hunt for Exoplanets and More

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59 is available for download. See the wiki for more information on its new features, including the “option to stop websites from asking to send notifications or access your device’s camera, microphone, and location”.

      • IT Pros and CIOs: sign up to try Firefox Quantum for Enterprise
      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Mozilla files response to European Commission ‘Fake news and online disinformation’ public consultation
      • Can Chrome Sync or Firefox Sync be trusted with sensitive data?
      • Mozilla Foundation is seeking a VP, Leadership Programs

        One of Mozilla’s biggest strengths is the people — a global community of engineers, designers, educators, lawyers, scientists, researchers, artists, activists and every day users brought together with the common goal of making the internet healthier.

        A big part of Mozilla Foundation’s focus over the past few years has been increasing both the size and diversity of this community and the broader moveme. In particular, we’ve run a series of initiatives — the Internet Health Report, MozFest, our fellowships and awards — aimed at connecting and supporting people who want to take a leadership role in this community. Our global community is the lynchpin in our strategy to grow a global movement to create a healthier digital world.

      • Side projects and swag-driven development

        Another option I keep hearing is to push Mozilla leadership into making side-projects real. That seems like a good option and I think it happens periodically. I sort of did this with Bleach. I spent tons of time trying to get Bleach turned into a real project and it sort of is now.

        Based on that experience, I think it requires a bunch of people and meetings to come to a consensus on validating the project’s existence which is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. It’s important that projects paid for by budgets have impact and value and all that–I get that–but the work to get a side-project to that point is unpleasant and time-consuming. I bet many side-projects can’t pass muster to become a real project. I think what happens instead is that side-projects continue to exist in the misty “there be dragons” part of the Mozilla universe map until the relevant people leave and stuff breaks.

        There are probably other options.

        I’ve been wondering about an option where where the maintainers aren’t locked into choosing between walking away and guilt-driven development for a project that’s important, but for some reason doesn’t have a critical mass and doesn’t pass muster enough to turn into a real project.

        I started wondering if my problem with Standups is two fold: first, I have no incentive to work on it other than bad feelings, and second, it’s a free service so no one else has incentive to work on it either.

        One incentive is getting paid in money, but that’s messy, problematic, and hard to do. But what if we used a different currency? There’s a lot of swag at Mozilla. What if we could use swag to drive development?

      • So, How’s Screenshots Doing?

        It’s been a bit over five months since we launched Firefox Screenshots in Firefox 56, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what’s happened so far and to look forward to what’s coming next.

        So far, our users have taken more than 67 million screenshots. This is a big number that makes my manager happy, but more interesting is how we got here.

      • March Add(on)ness is here

        Winter’s icy hand is releasing its grip, birds are returning from southern migration which means it’s that time of year where people everywhere rank things, put them in brackets and have them compete for bragging rights over who’s the best. It’s time for March Add(on)ness!

      • A Truly Responsive WebXR Experiment: A-Painter XR

        In our posts announcing our Mixed Reality program last year, we talked about some of the reasons we were excited to expand WebVR to include AR technology. In the post about our experimental WebXR Polyfill and WebXR Viewer, we mentioned that the WebVR Community Group has shifted to become the Immersive Web Community Group and the WebVR API proposal is becoming the WebXR Device API proposal. As the community works through the details of these these changes, this is a great time to step back and think about the requirements and implications of mixing AR and VR in one API.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Google Maps wants to simplify Indian address with open-source Plus Codes
    • Google’s new ‘Plus Codes’ are an open source, global alternative to street addresses [Ed: No, it is not "open source"; it makes addresses proprietary and more strictly controlled by Google]

      Google frequently touts that the “next billion users” will come from developing nations with different focuses and needs. To that end, the company has developed a number of optimized services, with the latest being a “simple and consistent addressing system that works across India and globally.

    • Time for ‘Open Innovation,’ Not Just Open Source

      Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today. That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part.

      We can all agree that open source revolutionized the software industry. The effect has been profound on every segment from enterprise software to search and social networking. But it wasn’t always that way. The late Jim Ready, founding father of embedded open source software, told me once that his early prospects told him that open source wouldn’t fly because they wouldn’t trust their code to a bunch of teenagers in some far-off part of the world.

      Well, guess what? Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today.

      That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part. Open innovation means looking outside traditional corporate silos to harness the collective knowledge of a global community of developers and using that community to create new and transformative things. Open innovation in software is enabled by many things: GitHub, app stores and crowdsourcing platforms like Topcoder (founded by our investor and director Jack Hughes) being just a few. Once enabled, though, the innovation potential of this crowd is mind boggling.

    • Inside the Vatican’s First-Ever Hackathon [iophk: "misuse of the term hackathon; hackathons are collaborative, this was an app contest not a hackathon"]

      They received consultation from 40 on-site mentors, many of whom represented Microsoft, Google, and other corporate sponsors of the event who taught the participants how to use their company’s tools and technologies [...]


    • Best 10 Free Accounting Software Packages for Small Business

      GnuCash provides a simple approach to bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses. This free accounting software is available for Android, Linux, Windows, OS X, FreeBSDm GNU and OpenBSD. The software manages invoices, accounts payable and receivable, as well as employee expenses and some payroll features.

    • Two new entries for the GNU Licenses FAQ

      We recently made some new additions to our resource Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is one of our most robust articles, covering common questions for using and understanding GNU licenses. We are always looking to improve our materials, so this week we’ve made some fresh updates.

      The first is an update to our entry on using works under the GNU General Public License (GPL) on a Web site. This entry explains that people are free to use modified versions of GPL’ed works internally without releasing source code, and that using GPL’ed code to run your site is just a special case of that. The problem was that the entry went on to explain how things are different when it comes to the Affero GNU General Public License (AGPL). That transition in the old entry wasn’t quite as elegant as we would have liked, and so people were often writing to us to ask for clarification. They were getting confused about whether the comments on the AGPL also applied to the GPL. So we’ve updated that entry, and moved the information on the AGPL to its own entry. The updated text and new entry were both created by long-time licensing team volunteer Yoni Rabkin.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Can we automate open behaviors?

      When I began studying sales training and giving sales seminars, I realized I was discovering a few basic principles. These principles were applicable anywhere in the world—and they were as true in the past as they will be in the future. They pertained to fundamental aspects of my work: Finding customers, meeting customers, learning what customers want, choosing a product or service that would satisfy customers’ needs, etc. One can enact these principles in various, situational ways. But the principles themselves are constant.

      Open organizations operate according to principles, too: transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, and community. We can relate those principles to specific behaviors that propel the principles forward and keep them firmly rooted as part of the organization’s culture.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Google NSynth Super puts Magenta AI into open-source synthesizer

        Google’s Magenta AI has spawned an unexpected hardware device, the NSynth Super synthesizer that uses machine learning to create new sounds. Based on the Magenta research project, it’s built using the NSynth neutral synthesizer that Google released last year, embodying the AI smarts in a tactile physical interface.

      • Open Source Hardware Video Game Music Player

        [Aidan Lawrence] likes classic synthesized video game music in the same way that other people “like” breathing and eating. He spent a good deal of 2017 working on a line of devices based on the Yamaha YM2612 used in the Sega Genesis to get his feet wet in the world of gaming synths, and is now ready to take the wraps off his latest and most refined creation.

  • Programming/Development

    • Which programming languages pay best, most popular? Developers’ top choices

      Stack Overflow has released the results of its annual survey of 100,000 developers, revealing the most-popular, top-earning, and preferred programming languages.

      The most-loved languages are Kotlin and Mozilla-developed Rust, according to Stack Overflow’s 2018 developer survey.

    • Developers love trendy new languages, but earn more with functional programming

      JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language among professional developers, making that six years at the top for the lingua franca of Web development. Other Web tech including HTML (#2 in the ranking), CSS (#3), and PHP (#9). Business-oriented languages were also in wide use, with SQL at #4, Java at #5, and C# at #8. Shell scripting made a surprising showing at #6 (having not shown up at all in past years, which suggests that the questions have changed year-to-year), Python appeared at #7, and systems programming stalwart C++ rounded out the top 10.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ONF Launches New Open Source SDN Switching Platform – Stratum

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is creating a new open source project that stems largely from Google’s desire for programmable white boxes that are easily interchangeable.

      The new project, named Stratum, will create a reference platform for a truly software-defined data plane along with a new set of software-defined networking (SDN) interfaces. Its goal is to provide a white box switch and an open software system.

    • Google Seeds Latest SDN Effort

      Google contributed code to an open-source project organized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the latest effort in software-defined networks (SDNs). Stratum will use the P4 programming language and a handful of open-source interfaces to manage large networks for data centers and carriers.

      The group aims to release open-source code early next year, available on multiple networking chips and systems. So far, the project consists of a handful of software companies along with five chip vendors, five potential users, and four OEMs, including Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, China Unicom, Dell EMC, Mellanox, and Tencent.


  • Graduate sues Anglia Ruskin University claiming she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree

    A graduate is suing her university, claiming boasts in its prospectus about high quality teaching and excellent career prospects were fraudulently misleading after she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree.

  • Hardware

    • Trump Blocks Broadcom Takeover of Qualcomm on Security Risks

      President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday blocking Broadcom Ltd. from pursuing its hostile takeover of Qualcomm Inc., scuttling a $117 billion deal that had been scrutinized by a secretive panel over the tie-up’s threat to U.S. national security.

      Trump acted on a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews acquisitions of American firms by foreign investors. The decision was unveiled just hours after Hock Tan, the chief executive officer of Singapore-based Broadcom, met with officials at the Pentagon in a last-ditch effort to salvage what would have been the biggest technology deal in history.

    • President Trump Blocks Broadcom Purchase of Qualcomm

      Broadcom is in the process of moving its legal headquarters from Singapore to the U.S., with the company planning on finishing the move by April 3, 2018. Trump hosted Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan in the White House last year as he announced the move, and the company had hoped that would help it skirt the national security review.

    • Trump Blocks Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm

      President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm, citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance.

      In a presidential order, Mr. Trump said “credible evidence” had led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” The acquisition, if it had gone through, would have been the largest technology deal in history.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Feds Bust CEO Allegedly Selling Custom BlackBerry Phones to Sinaloa Drug Cartel

      Now, the FBI has arrested the owner of one of the most established companies, Phantom Secure, as part of a complex law enforcement operation, according to court records and sources familiar with the matter.

      “FBI are flexing their muscle,” one source familiar with the secure phone industry, and who gave Motherboard specific and accurate details about the operation before it was public knowledge, said. Motherboard granted the sources in this story anonymity to talk about sensitive developments in the secure phone trade. The source said the Phantom operation was carried out in partnership with Canadian and Australian authorities.

    • WHO: Access To Hepatitis C Treatment Increasing, But Most Patients Undiagnosed

      The report also found that the majority of the estimated 71 million people living with HCV remain untreated, mostly because they are not diagnosed. Globally, it says, only about one in five people living with HCV in 2016 had been diagnosed, and in low-income countries, less than 10 percent of people infected with HCV had been diagnosed. Some 40 percent are diagnosed in high-income countries, says the report.

  • Security

    • Judge clears way for breach victims to sue Yahoo

      Among the suits were claims alleging negligence and breach of contract.


      Yahoo believes that all 3 billion of its user accounts were affected by the 2013 breach.

    • Data breach victims can sue Yahoo in the United States: judge

      Yahoo was accused of being too slow to disclose three data breaches that occurred from 2013 and 2016, increasing users’ risk of identity theft and requiring them to spend money on credit freeze, monitoring and other protection services.

    • Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates

      A Certification Authority (CA) is an organization that browser vendors (like Mozilla) trust to issue certificates to websites. Last year, Mozilla published and discussed a set of issues with one of the oldest and largest CAs run by Symantec. The discussion resulted in the adoption of a consensus proposal to gradually remove trust in all Symantec TLS/SSL certificates from Firefox. The proposal includes a number of phases designed to minimize the impact of the change to Firefox users:

    • How Creative DDOS Attacks Still Slip Past Defenses

      Distributed denial of service attacks, in which hackers use a targeted hose of junk traffic to overwhelm a service or take a server offline, have been a digital menace for decades. But in just the last 18 months, the public picture of DDoS defense has evolved rapidly. In fall 2016, a rash of then-unprecedented attacks caused internet outages and other service disruptions at a series of internet infrastructure and telecom companies around the world. Those attacks walloped their victims with floods of malicious data measured up to 1.2 Tbps. And they gave the impression that massive, “volumetric” DDOS attacks can be nearly impossible to defend against.

    • Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers

      Slingshot—which gets its name from text found inside some of the recovered malware samples—is among the most advanced attack platforms ever discovered, which means it was likely developed on behalf of a well-resourced country, researchers with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab reported Friday. The sophistication of the malware rivals that of Regin—the advanced backdoor that infected Belgian telecom Belgacom and other high-profile targets for years—and Project Sauron, a separate piece of malware suspected of being developed by a nation-state that also remained hidden for years.

    • Hidden For 6 Years, ‘Slingshot’ Malware Hacks Your PC Through Your Router
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Microsoft Admits It Incorrectly Upgraded Some Windows 10 Users to v1709 [Ed: Windows Update is technically (not a joke) a botnet. It takes over people's PCs and hands them over for Microsoft to use up their CPU and bandwidth. Microsoft has ignored users' "update" settings since at least Windows XP days.]

      Microsoft admitted last week that it incorrectly updated some Windows 10 users to the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system —version 1709— despite users having specifically paused update operations in their OS settings.

      The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those of Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update).

      This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version.

    • We Still Need More HTTPS: Government Middleboxes Caught Injecting Spyware, Ads, and Cryptocurrency Miners

      Last week, researchers at Citizen Lab discovered that Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices were being used to hijack users’ unencrypted internet connections, making yet another case for encrypting the web with HTTPS. In Turkey and Syria, users who were trying to download legitimate applications were instead served malicious software intending to spy on them. In Egypt, these devices injected money-making content into users’ web traffic, including advertisements and cryptocurrency mining scripts.

      These are all standard machine-in-the-middle attacks, where a computer on the path between your browser and a legitimate web server is able to intercept and modify your traffic data. This can happen if your web connections use HTTP, since data sent over HTTP is unencrypted and can be modified or read by anyone on the network.

      The Sandvine middleboxes were doing exactly this. On Türk Telekom’s network, it was reported that when a user attempted to download legitimate applications over HTTP, these devices injected fake “redirect” messages which caused the user’s browser to fetch the file from a different, malicious, site. Users downloading common applications like Avast Antivirus, 7-Zip, Opera, CCleaner, and programs from download.cnet.com had their downloads silently redirected. Telecom Egypt’s Sandvine devices, Citizen Lab noted, were using similar methods to inject money-making content into HTTP connections, by redirecting existing ad links to affiliate advertisements and legitimate javascript files to cryptocurrency mining scripts.

    • Let’s Encrypt takes free “wildcard” certificates live
    • GuardiCore Upgrades Infection Monkey Open Source Cyber Security Testing Tool
    • A Guide To Securing Docker and Kubernetes Containers With a Firewall
    • How IBM Helps Organizations to Improve Security with Incident Response

      Protecting organizations against cyber-security threats isn’t just about prevention, it’s also about incident response. There are many different organizations that provide these security capabilities, including IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS), which is led by Wendi Whitmore.

      In the attached video interview Whitmore explains how incident response works and how she helps organizations to define a winning strategy. Succeeding at incident response in Whitmore’s view, shouldn’t be focused just on prevention but on building a resilient environment.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Modernization’: Media’s Favorite Euphemism for Military Buildup

      A variation on this tautology is “overhaul” (New York Times, 8/27/17) or “rebuild” (The Hill, 1/20/18), the idea being that something has fallen into disrepair or broken down and simply needs to be put back together. How vast new expenditures on weapons that can already end civilization can be justified in either financial or moral terms is simply breezed past. A “modern” United States is self-evidently preferable to a pre-modern one, and the United States must be “modern” to “keep pace” with perennial Bad Guys Russia and China.

    • The US Government Is Considering Drafting Middle-Aged Hackers To Fight The Cyberwar

      There’s no time like the near future to be conscripted into military service. Due to citizens’ declining interest in being personally involved in the government’s multiple Forever Wars, the Commission on Military, National and Public Service is exploring its options. And one of the options on the table is removing restrictions on certain draftees (or volunteers) headed for certain positions in the armed forces.

    • Erdogan marries Turkish ultranationalist salute with that of Muslim Brotherhood
    • The New York Times proves that Thomas Friedman was so wrong about Saudi Arabia
    • Russian to Judgement

      The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian “novochok” nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was “only”. She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been “developed by” Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.

      The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents. And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article.

      Incidentally, novachok is not a specific substance but a class of new nerve agents. Sources agree they were designed to be persistent, and of an order of magnitude stronger than sarin or VX. That is rather hard to square with the fact that thankfully nobody has died and those possibly in contact just have to wash their clothes.

    • The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning

      The suspected nerve agent attack upon former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, which also affected his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last Sunday, has given rise to too much speculation, too much hysteria, and too little analysis or insight. It has provided ammunition for the Russophobic Western media to make accusations that it was another example of Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular disposing of a supposed enemy of the Kremlin.

    • Republicans Want to Look at Gun Violence in Movies? OK, Let’s Look

      A ticket to a PG-13 movie can be sold to anyone over 13, while an R rating requires viewers under 17 to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The PG-13 rating (by far the most lucrative one the MPAA dishes out) was invented in 1984 when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom didn’t seem quite violent enough for an R rating, but still featured a guy’s heart being torn out of his chest. In director Stephen Spielberg’s words, it was a way to put “a little hot sauce” on a PG rating, while still allowing children to watch.

      Thirty years later, a study found that gun violence in PG-13 movies had tripled, and today there is more gun violence in PG-13 movies than R-rated ones. So according to the MPAA, showing someone gleefully firing a weapon is fine for children, but showing what happens when bullets strike a person is not.

      Hollywood’s penchant for sensationalizing violence is an old, tired argument. You can find studies and anecdotal evidence both that it’s poisoning our children, and that it’s almost entirely harmless. But while people fret over that controversy, they ignore the fact that most people get their education on how guns work from on-screen violence, and movies (and TV) mislead their audience on how useful — not to mention easy to use — firearms are.

    • Russia warns UK of ‘consequences’ of cyber strike after Skripal poisoning

      The Russian Embassy has responded to speculation the UK will launch a retaliatory attack.


      If there is no credible response from the Kremlin, Mrs May has pledged to set out a “full range” of measures to be taken in response.

      The Government has not publicly disclosed the options under consideration but reports on Tuesday suggested one possibility was a cyber counter-attack.

      Responding to the speculation, the Russian Embassy in the UK said: “Statements by a number of MPs, ‘Whitehall sources’ and ‘experts’ regarding a possible ‘deployment’ of ‘offensive cyber-capabilities’ cause serious concern.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Xiaxue finds an admirer in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after she trolls “virtue-signalling” American activist

      Singaporean blogger and YouTuber Xiaxue has drawn appreciation from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a tweet of hers went viral.

      Interestingly, the tweet that garnered praise from Assange is about 10 months old. In May 2017, American author and activist Dan Arel was asked to provide proof for accusing someone for being a rapist. In response, he tweeted that believed victims of rape.

    • Lawyer for Assange Leaves Miller & Chevalier as Mueller Probe Heats Up

      Barry Pollack, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Washington, D.C.-based attorney, has left Miller & Chevalier for a smaller boutique law firm and is representing an unnamed client involved in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

      “I am representing someone with respect to the Mueller probe,” said Pollack, who is now a partner at Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner, & Sauber. “The representation is not public at this point,” he said.

      Pollack said Assange, whose organization in 2016 released troves of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers, has not been contacted by Mueller’s office thus far. Pollack said he is representing Assange only in relation to an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia. He gave no hints as to who he was representing in connection with Mueller’s investigation.

    • Chelsea Manning on Sharing Military Documents With Wikileaks: ‘It Wasn’t a Mistake’

      Speaking at the SXSW Conference Tuesday morning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst said she had no regrets about her “data dump” of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents with WikiLeaks in 2010.

      “I made a decision to do something and I made that decision and I’m owning that decision. When it comes to something like that it’s not about second-guessing it or regretting it,” Manning told the audience in Austin, Tex.

    • Chelsea Manning On Life After Prison, Advocacy, And Coder Ethics — SXSW

      Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower who was convicted of leaking classified information, talked about re-entering civilian life after spending seven years in federal prison.

  • Finance

    • Central Banks Urged to Study Digital Currency Risks and Rewards

      The BIS — the club of the world’s largest central banks — said in a report on Monday that the new form of money could one day be issued by policy makers for tasks such as settling payments among financial institutions. At the same time, it warned that digital coins might destabilize traditional lenders if offered widely to the general public.

    • Magic Leap Raises $461 Million From Saudis

      Magic Leap announced Wednesday that it had raised $461 million, mostly from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm. The company described the investment as the second closing of a round that totaled $963 million. The first part, announced in October, was led by Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

      Magic Leap has raised more than $2.3 billion to date, and has been valued at above $6 billion. Google, Alibaba and Morgan Stanley are already investors.

    • Dropbox files $7 billion IPO

      The cloud storage company Dropbox on Monday filed to issue public stock at a valuation of roughly $7 billion, well below its valuation during its last public offering several years ago.

    • Zuckerberg’s Money Manager Bets on Bone-Broth Company
    • Prediction that $45 billion added to GDP from digital transformation

      The optimism about digital transformation and economic growth comes from research – Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific – undertaken by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific with 1,560 global business decision makers, including 100 in Australia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tanzania: Electoral Processes Questioned
    • The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg And why he should not be trusted as the world’s custodian of information

      People who seek high office should have a long record of honesty, good judgment, and good character. That should not be too much to ask, but it disqualifies a lot of people, Mark Zuckerberg among them.

    • If The US Government Can’t Figure Out Who’s A Russian Troll, Why Should It Expect Internet Companies To Do So?

      A few weeks back, following the DOJ’s indictment of various Russians for interfering in the US election, we noted that the indictment showed just how silly it was to blame various internet platforms for not magically stopping these Russians because in many cases, they bent over backwards to appear to be regular, everyday Americans. And now, with pressure coming from elected officials to regulate internet platforms if they somehow fail to catch Russian bots, it seems worth pointing out the flip side of the “why couldn’t internet companies catch these guys” question: which is why couldn’t the government?

    • Trump’s “fake news” smear is starting to have dangerous consequences
    • Guy Verhofstadt tells Juncker to ‘sort out’ Selmayrgate

      The scandal over the flash promotion of Martin Selmayr to the Commission’s most powerful civil service post is “bad for Europe and bad for the European Commission,” leading liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs.

      Addressing a debate at the Parliament’s plenary session on Brexit, the former Belgian prime minister directed his opening remarks to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who had opened the session.

      “Your former head of cabinet yesterday has done something that nobody has done ever before here in this house: to unite the whole parliament, the left and the right,” said Verhofstadt, as Selmayr glowered at him from his position seated behind his former boss. “Its’a not a joke, you have to sort it out,” he added.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Schools grapple with how to accommodate student activism
    • The antiquarian assault on press freedom

      Today, the great and the good are going down much the same road when faced with speech they would prefer to suppress. Old-fashioned hair-trigger libel actions are one technique: witness Jeremy Corbyn seriously threatening to sue fellow politician Ben Bradley for libel last month over unguarded comments. But the last few years have also seen another insidious piece of legal antiquarianism being put into operation – and one concerned directly with the publication of the truth.

    • We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run?

      You never know who you’re going to spot at the Doha Four Seasons in Qatar. So I was only somewhat surprised when I found myself standing next to Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz in the omelet line last Saturday.

      It was a fortuitous meeting. Dershowitz had recently played a small role in an episode that was threatening the reputation of my long-time employer, Al Jazeera. So naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to defend it.

      The circumstances of the threat were these: In 2016, the award-winning Investigative Unit I directed sent an undercover reporter to look into how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israel American community. But when some right wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was even labeled as anti-Semitic in a spate of articles.

    • Dear Leader McConnell: Don’t pass FOSTA

      We have heard that the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) may be on the U.S. Senate floor this week for a final vote. We are concerned that the U.S. Senate appears to be rushing to pass a seriously flawed bill without considering the impact it will have on Internet users and free speech.

    • Iowa Town Threatens Critical Resident With A Lawsuit, Gets Sued By The ACLU Instead

      A small town in Iowa has decided one of its residents has too much First Amendment. Boldly marching forward in the face of mild criticism, Sibley’s government had its lawyer threaten a local man with a lawsuit if he didn’t take down or alter his website that criticized the town government for its repeated failure to address a serious problem in the town.

      Sibley has less than 3,000 residents but it is the home to a large animal byproduct processing plant. Iowa Drying and Processing went into operation five years ago. Unaffectionately nicknamed the “Blood Plant,” IDP’s operations were the subject of complaints due to the pervasive foul odor emanating from it.

      Local programmer Jeremy Harms set up a website advising people to stay away from Sibley after repeated calls for action were met with a lot of doing nothing by city politicians. His website previously answered the question about relocating to Sibley with “No.” Thanks to the city’s legal threats, the answer has been upgraded to “Maybe.” In addition to pulling his hard “no,” Sibley also amended his original post to reflect the few positives the town has.

    • Trump’s Lawyers Apparently Unfamiliar With Streisand Effect Or 1st Amendment’s Limits On Prior Restraint

      Over this past weekend, it was revealed that (1) the adult film actress Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), who has claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump and then was given $130,000 to stay silent about it, is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes next weekend and (2) President Trump’s lawyers are considering going to court to block CBS from airing it. This is silly, dumb and not actually allowed by the law.

    • SA’s internet censorship bill will break media, marketing

      Nearly half of our 400 MPs were too apathetic to pitch up for one of the most-significant debates seen by Parliament in recent years. And, of the 224 elected representatives who deigned to vote, a staggering 189 supported a bill that is so preposterous it’s almost comedic.

      The Film and Publications Amendment Bill gives the erstwhile Film and Publications Board the right to regulate online content. Ostensibly, the bill is designed to protect children from being exposed to disturbing content. Laudably, it aims to curb revenge porn and hate speech while also addressing the scourge of fake news.

    • Sobchak proposes to repeal ‘censorship’ law

      In the course of the pre-election debate presidential hopeful Kseniya Sobchak proposed to repeal Article 282 of the Criminal Code on Incitement of Hatred or Enmity. She stated this at the debates on Channel One.

      “In our program, as you know, we are for the abolition of Article 282, because this article, which was allegedly made to fight extremists, is used against people who like the posts of dissenters in Russia… Just like Yarovaya’s package, which enables all special services to monitor each of us,” – RIA Novosti quotes her words.

      “Yarovaya’s package will be used in the business interests of thievish officials, so I am in favor of repealing Article 282, and of disembodying the department – the so-called E, which ostensibly fights extremists, but in fact it fights dissenters,” added Sobchak.

    • Trump admin sets new record for censorship of federal files

      The federal government denied more public records requests in 2017 than at any other point in the past decade, according to an analysis by the AP. Out of 823,222 requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act last year, the government censored or failed to provide records in 78% of cases claiming that it could either not find the requested files or that releasing the information would be illegal under U.S. law.

    • Age Verification pushed back

      The deadline for the implementation of the Government’s potentially disastrous Age Verification scheme has officially been pushed back to ‘before the end of the year’.

    • Reporter’s viral eye-roll causes trouble in China
    • An Epic Eye Roll Enthralls China
    • This Video Of A Chinese Reporter’s Eye Roll Made Her An Instant Hero On The Internet
    • Minitrue: Do Not Hype Two Sessions Reporter’s Eyeroll
    • The student censors in anti-fascist clothing

      Student politics reached a new low this month, when Yaron Brook, an American-Israeli writer, and Carl Benjamin, a popular political YouTuber, were prevented from speaking to the Libertarian Society at King’s College London by a group of activists who claimed Brook and Benjamin were ‘fascists’ and ‘white supremacists’.

      Wearing masks, the activists punched their way through security, hospitalising one guard, before setting off smoke bombs, fire alarms and thundering through the room where the event was taking place, seeking to intimidate speakers, students and staff. From what we know, the protagonists were from outside King’s, but their stunt was organised with the complicity of certain King’s students. This was clear given that seven left-wing student societies had organised a protest the day before the Libertarian Society talk, with the stated aim of keeping the speakers ‘off campus’. It seems that students were once again successful in No Platforming speakers and shutting down an event designed to be a forum for debate and discussion.

    • The resurgence of class struggle and the fight against Internet censorship

      The American government, Internet companies and capitalist states around the world are engaged in an aggressive campaign to censor the Internet, under the guise of combating “fake news” and “Russian meddling.” The real aim is to suppress and criminalize the growth of opposition in the working class to austerity, war and social inequality.

      On Sunday, April 22, the World Socialist Web Site, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) are holding a public conference in Detroit, Michigan to mobilize the working class against Internet censorship.

    • The Marketplace of Ideas: Assaulting the First Amendment

      Poetry of freedom, this verse has safeguarded the chase of truth in ways that no military might can provide or preserve be it in the United States or elsewhere.

      Almost 250 years later, we are, again, witness to an evident onslaught upon the core of our collective freedom… the marketplace of ideas.


      Under the First Amendment, people may elect to embrace or promote “radical” anti-American, anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic commentary or opinion; it is a choice left to them and them alone. Neither the government nor any of its minions have the constitutional authority to limit access to information not in itself otherwise prohibited by law.

      The marketplace must be open to all ideas – even false ideas. In an open marketplace ideas must “clash” and “grapple;” they must stand up to assault and prove their worthiness. Truth cannot be pampered, too delicate to be examined – truth must be tested, forged in the furnace of doubt and questioning.

      And, where, as here, government seeks to reprimand Al Jazeera for ensuring our collective right to the widest diversity of information and opinion it is a punishment that penalizes all.

    • Russia Censors News Reports About Anti-Putin Ice Graffiti, Leaving Its Contents Entirely Up To Our Collective Imagination

      Readers here will be familiar with the Streisand Effect, by which a topic or information becomes wildly viral due to the very attempts at censoring it. The idea is that by trying to keep Subject X out of the news, the public suddenly is far more exposed to Subject X as a result of news coverage of the cover-up. This story slightly deviates from the Streisand Effect formula, but only in the most hilarious way.

      People should know by now that Vladimir Putin is a strong-arm “President” that runs the country like a fiefdom. As such, most if not all wings of his government serve him personally far more directly than they do his constituents. Evidence of this is practically everywhere, especially in how his government and non-government organizations in Russia react to his political opponents. Typically, his political rivals are jailed, silenced, or otherwise tamped down viciously in terms of how much exposure they can get to challenge his political position. A recent example of this concerns presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, whose supporters painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with the mildest anti-Putin slogan, reading “Against Putin.” As a result, Roskomnadzor, the government agency featured in our pages for its censorship of websites in the name of literally anything it can dream up, ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message-on-ice in any reporting on the incident.

    • Twitter’s Attempt To Clean Up Spammers Meant That People Sarcastically Tweeting ‘Kill Me’ Were Suspended

      Just recently, Senator Amy Klobuchar suggested that the government should start fining social media platforms that don’t remove bots fast enough. We’ve pointed out how silly and counterproductive (not to mention unconstitutional) this likely would be. However, every time we see people demanding that these platforms better moderate their content, we end up with examples of why perhaps we really don’t want those companies to be making these kinds of decisions.

      You may have heard that, over the weekend, Twitter started its latest sweep of accounts to shutdown. Much of the focus was on so-called Tweetdeckers, which were basically a network of teens using Tweetdeck software to retweet accounts for money. In particular, it was widely reported that a bunch of accounts known for copying (without attribution) the marginally funny tweets of others and then paying “Tweetdeckers” for mass promotion. These accounts were shutdown en masse over the weekend.

    • New project pairs journalists with musicians to fight censorship

      A new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany is using a loophole in certain nations’ censorship laws to deliver news, Pitchfork reports. The Uncensored Playlist pairs journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs which convey news stories that would otherwise be censored beyond meaning. The songs are then uploaded on Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music, with the names of the artists and reporters protected in their home countries.

    • New Journalism Project Spreads Censored News Through Music Streaming Services

      The Uncensored Playlist is a new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany that uses music streaming services to spread censored news stories around the world. It pairs local journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs that convey the news, and then releases the songs via Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music. All of the songs have been recorded in English as well as the individual countries’ languages. For the songs’ international release, they are credited to the journalists that wrote them. However, to protect the writers and to avoid censorship laws, for their release within their original countries, they are credited to aliases and feature alternate titles.

    • “Indecent” Brings Issues of Censorship and Anti-Semitism Center Stage

      We don’t talk nearly enough about how censorship is often the first step towards total fascism and tyranny, and this show covers that topic expertly with this based-on-a-true-story rooted in that very subject. We also see America’s complacency in the horrors that happen in the rest of the world, as it’s the USA where the actors in God of Vengeance are tried in court. This is a very unusual and necessary look at world history, as our history books like to paint us as the heroes in this particular series of events. In Indecent we see the cast of characters go from eager and excited about a show to victims of actual genocide in roughly ninety minutes, and it is a powerful and important message about how quickly things spiral out of control and who’s to blame when they do. While I would like to see more from the plethora of Jewish stories available to us, this show’s focus on what leads to things like the Holocaust and its original point of view regarding those events is still refreshing. While not perfect, this show leaves us with plenty to chew on and mull over for weeks after the fact. That’s art, warts and all, and I’m grateful to see The Guthrie taking on such powerful work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Government ‘unlawfully delegated’ bulk data powers to GCHQ, court hears

      Privacy International urges Britain’s most secret court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, to rule that the government illegally collected surveillance data from internet and phone companies until at least September 2017

    • Leaked Tools Show How NSA Pulls Back from Target Computers If They’re Already Hacked by Other Nations

      An interesting research published this month reveals how the National Security Agency (NSA) quickly pulls back from its target machines if it spots any other malware dropped by threat groups. An array of tools called Territorial Dispute was apparently dropped by the Shadow Brokers along with the infamous EternalBlue exploit, however, it didn’t receive much attention due to its non-offensive nature.

    • EFF and 23 Groups Tell Congress to Oppose the CLOUD Act

      EFF and 23 other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Congress urging Members and Senators to oppose the CLOUD Act and any efforts to attach it to other legislation.

      The CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) is a dangerous bill that would tear away global privacy protections by allowing police in the United States and abroad to grab cross-border data without following the privacy rules of where the data is stored. Currently, law enforcement requests for cross-border data often use a legal system called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs. This system ensures that, for example, should a foreign government wish to seize communications stored in the United States, that data is properly secured by the Fourth Amendment requirement for a search warrant.

      The other groups signing the new coalition letter against the CLOUD Act are Access Now, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Campaign for Liberty, Center for Democracy & Technology, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Constitutional Alliance, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress Action, Equality California, Free Press Action Fund, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Human Rights Watch, Liberty Coalition, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Black Justice Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, People For the American Way, and Restore The Fourth.

    • James Clapper avoids charges for ‘clearly erroneous’ surveillance testimony

      Former intelligence chief James Clapper is poised to avoid charges for allegedly lying to Congress after five years of apparent inaction by the Justice Department.

      Clapper, director of national intelligence from 2010 to 2017, admitted giving “clearly erroneous” testimony about mass surveillance in March 2013, and offered differing explanations for why.

      Two criminal statutes that cover lying to Congress have five-year statutes of limitations, establishing a Monday deadline to charge Clapper, who in retirement has emerged as a leading critic of President Trump.

      The under-oath untruth was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who sparked national debate on surveillance policy with leaks to the press.

      Many members of Congress, mostly Republicans supportive of new limits on electronic surveillance, called for Clapper to be prosecuted as the deadline neared, saying unpunished perjury jeopardizes the ability of Congress to perform oversight.

      “He admitted to lying to Congress and was unremorseful and flippant about it,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told the Washington Examiner. “The integrity of our federal government is at stake because his behavior sets the standard for the entire intelligence community.”

    • RedisWannaMine Unveiled: New Cryptojacking Attack Powered by Redis and NSA Exploits

      Recently cryptojacking attacks have been spreading like wildfire. At Imperva we have witnessed it firsthand and even concluded that these attacks hold roughly 90% of all remote code execution attacks in web applications.

      Having said that, all of the attacks we have seen so far, were somewhat limited in their complexity and capability. The attacks contained malicious code that downloaded a cryptominer executable file and ran it with a basic evasion technique or none at all.

      This week we saw a new generation of cryptojacking attacks aimed at both database servers and application servers. We dubbed one of these attacks RedisWannaMine.

    • NSA Retreats From Targeted PCs If They’re Already Infected by Other APT Malware

      Hacking tools leaked last year and believed to belong to the US National Security Agency (NSA) contain an utility for detecting the presence of malware developed by other cyber-espionage groups.

      This utility, going by the codename of “Territorial Dispute,” is meant to alert NSA operators about the presence of other APT hacking groups on a compromised computer and allows an NSA operator to retreat from an infected machine and avoid further exposure of NSA hacking tools and operations to other nation-state attackers.

    • Aadhaar hearings: Day 15 saw arguments on Aadhaar as a money bill, interim orders for NEET registrations were also passed

      This was compared to the use of Aadhaar today. It was argued that today, it was not possible for an individual to survive without Aadhaar, and it was needed from ‘birth to death’. It was further argued that worldwide, there was a turn towards limiting the use of data while here, the opposite was happening.

      In view of this, it was argued that Section 57 allowing the use of Aadhaar for ‘any purpose’ could not be interpreted to mean use for ‘all purposes’. The Bench, here, also questioned if there was any compelling state interest in authorising private parties to mandate Aadhaar. Further, previous arguments on Section 57 as an excessive delegation of essential functions were reiterated.

    • How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks

      [...] Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.

    • World Sticks to Cash as Sweden Heads Alone Into Cashless Future

      That resurgence appears to be driven by so-called store-of-value motives (reflecting lower opportunity cost of holding cash) rather than by payment needs, BIS said. That means as interest rates fall — and even go negative some places — there is more incentive to hold cash.

    • US NTIA Boss On Whois Debate: ‘Keep Data Open For IP Rightsholders, Others’

      US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information David Redl today weighed in on the debate over changes to the storage and public display of personal information of domain name registrants at the meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Border Control Enthusiast Banned From Crossing UK Border

      Local newspaper Luton Today reports that Southern was denied entry to the UK after she was photographed in the Bedfordshire town displaying inflammatory posters that stated “Allah is a gay god.”

    • #DearNonNatives: What Native Americans Want Non-Natives To Know
    • Nebraska Is Illegally Obtaining and Storing Execution Drugs in Defiance of Federal Law

      The state has operated outside the law using an improper license to purchase and store lethal injection drugs.

      For years, the state of Nebraska has had a troubled history of cutting corners in its zealous pursuit of lethal-injection drugs to keep its death penalty program alive. In November, the state announced that it would use an experimental drug cocktail not previously used in the United States to carry out its next execution. What the state didn’t reveal, however, is that it was violating federal law when acquiring the ingredients for the lethal cocktail.

      In a complaint filed today by the ACLU of Nebraska with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ACLU has shown that the state of Nebraska is playing fast and loose with DEA registrations in order to covertly obtain and store the drugs it intends to use for executing prisoners. The DEA should seize the drugs Nebraska has unlawfully obtained before they can be used in an execution.

      As the complaint shows, a person or entity, including government agencies, needs a DEA registration to import a controlled substance. Federal law also requires those that handle a controlled substance to have a DEA registration particular to their authorized usage. These laws apply to the Nebraska Department of Corrections and to the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), where the state carries out executions. But both institutions are ignoring the law in order to get the execution drugs they need to carry out the death penalty.

    • The Trump Administration’s Campaign to Weaken Civil Service Ramps Up at the VA

      Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law, a rare rollback of the federal government’s strict civil-service job protections, was intended as a much-needed fix for an organization widely perceived as broken. “VA accountability is essential to making sure that our veterans are treated with the respect they have so richly earned through their blood, sweat and tears,” Trump said that day. “Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide.”

      At the time, proponents of the bill repeatedly emphasized that it would hold everyone — especially top officials — accountable: “senior executives,” stressed Senate Veterans Committee chair Johnny Isakson; “medical directors,” specified Trump; anyone who “undermined trust” in the VA, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin advocated for the measure, called the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, by highlighting a case in which the agency had to wait 30 days to fire a worker caught watching porn with a patient.

    • Schools Should Use Walkouts in Protest of Gun Violence as a Teaching Moment

      A disciplinary response to the walkout is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      For 17 minutes on March 14, students and their supporters across the country are planning to walk out of their schools, honoring the victims of the Parkland school shooting and calling for Congress to pass meaningful gun regulation. Unfortunately, some schools view this act as a disruption and are threatening to discipline students who participate. A disciplinary response is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      Too often, adults discipline students for expressing their opinions or simply being themselves. LGBTQ students have been sent home for expressing their sexual orientation, and girls have been disciplined when they challenge gendered uniform policies. Students of color are more likely than their white classmates to be disciplined, especially for subjective offenses like excessive noise. A hairstyle, a hoodie, or even a creative school science project can be seen as cause for disciplining Black and brown students. Punishment has even been invoked against students who attempt to speak up when they see abuse. That’s what happened to a high school student in Columbia, South Carolina, who was charged with “disturbing schools” after daring to speak up against a police officer’s violent mistreatment of a classmate.

    • The Government’s Case Against California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Policies Is on Weak Legal Ground

      Under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot force states or localities to participate in a federal program.

      Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the latest move in this administration’s increasingly desperate attempts to bully states and localities into colluding with its draconian detention and deportation agenda. Following a brief aside to blame all immigrants for violent crime, homicides, and opioid overdose deaths, he told a meeting of the California Peace Officers’ Association that the Justice Department had just filed a major lawsuit against the state of California.

      The lawsuit challenges three state laws passed and signed into law in 2017: AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act; AB 103, a detention statute that was part of an omnibus bill; and SB 54, the California Values Act. The DOJ claims that these three laws “have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California.” In fact, these laws simply ensure that state actors comply with the U.S. Constitution and that local law enforcement’s limited resources are not co-opted for federal immigration enforcement purposes except in certain circumstances.

      AB 103 expands state oversight of California’s local detention facilities when they hold people under contracts with ICE because federal oversight of the ICE detention system is woefully inadequate. And AB 450 reinforces the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement by requiring employers to see a judicial warrant from ICE before they allow ICE to enter a non-public part of a workplace. The Sessions’ lawsuit details the federal government’s objections to these attempts to limit the harm caused by the deportation force that President Trump has unleashed.

    • No Money to Make Bail or Pay for a Lawyer? Too Bad, Say Officials in Glynn County, Georgia

      ACLU’s lawsuit says it’s unconstitutional to have one pretrial system for the wealthy and another for the poor.

      Margery Mock is 28 years old and the mother to an 8-year-old girl. She is currently unemployed and battling homelessness, having spent one month in a hotel and several nights in her storage unit, where all of her belongings are kept. She was recently arrested on an alleged criminal trespassing charge from trying to visit a relative at a motel and incarcerated on a $1,256 bond that she can’t afford.

      Mock is a victim of Glynn County, Georgia’s wealth-based pretrial system. The county allows those with money to walk free while they await trial, while those who can’t make bail remain locked up. It also fails to provide people who can’t afford to pay for a lawyer with a public defender to argue for their release.

      Both practices are illegal. The constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process prohibit people from being jailed simply because they cannot afford a monetary payment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees people accused of crimes will be appointed lawyers to defend them if they cannot afford to hire a private lawyer.

    • Pakistan Court Declares Mobile Data Disconnections By The Government Illegal

      In countries that put far less an emphasis on expanding human rights and personal liberty, it’s become somewhat common for them to use strong-arm tactics to stifle dissent. One aspect of that is often times the suspension or shutdown of mobile networks, the theory being that the messaging and social media apps dissenters use on their phones allow them to organize far better than they otherwise could and therefore cause more trouble. Frankly, this has become something more expected out of Middle East authoritarian regimes than in other places, but they certainly do not have a monopoly on this practice.

      However, there are governments with the ability to reverse course and go back in the right direction. One Pakistani court in Islamabad recently ruled that government shutdown of mobile networks, even if done under some claims for national security, are illegal. The news comes via a translation of a bytesforall.pk report. As a heads up, you will notice that the translation is imperfect.

    • “No Right Without a Remedy”: Why NSA Whistleblower Protections Are Lacking

      Earlier this month Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, attended a roundtable discussion with the National Security Agency (NSA) Inspector General (IG) Robert Storch. The meeting served as an avenue for the IG to hear comments on the NSA’s whistleblower program.

      In attendance was Andrew Snowdon, NSA whistleblower coordinator and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) counsel, as well as representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, Project on Government Oversight, and Government Accountability Project, among others.

      When explaining his commitment to strengthening whistleblower protections in the NSA, the IG stated, “there is no right without a remedy.”

    • Reality Winner: The Cost of Mounting a Defense Arguing the Government Overclassifies

      This is the no-win situation Winner is in, trying to challenge her conviction after having been denied bail. Because of the way we deal with classified information, she’ll have served a likely full sentence by the time she gets to trial.

      It still may be worth it. After all, if she wins at trial, she’ll avoid a record as a felon.

    • Cop Hits Woman’s Car At 94 MPH, Killing Her Infant. Police Arrest Woman For Negligent Homicide.

      This isn’t apples-to-apples (the court making this declaration was in Ohio, not Louisiana, where this accident took place) but it’s a good rule of thumb. If someone is driving 44 mph over the speed limit, they’ve effectively forfeited their right-of-way status. A left turn taken in front of a speeding officer should give the officer zero preferential treatment in the eyes of the law. The officer should be 100% culpable for the damage and loss of life. Arresting a mother who lost her infant to an officer’s reckless actions is needlessly cruel and serves zero deterrent purpose. Her daughter can’t be killed again.

      The way the Baton Rouge PD is handling this ensures Officer Manuel’s eventual conviction will also have zero deterrent value. It shows officers the PD is willing to arrest victims of their unlawful actions and give them all the time they want — with pay! — to heal up before they’re forced to confront the results of their recklessness. If the DA is smart, the charges against the mother will vanish and the cop will be rung up for his negligent actions.

    • Off-duty Baton Rouge police officer going 94 mph in crash that killed 1-year-old baby, police say

      A Baton Rouge police officer was arrested Friday on a count of negligent homicide, accused of going 94 mph in a Corvette when he caused an off-duty crash on Airline Highway that killed an infant and injured six others.

      The officer, Christopher Manuel, 28, was driving north in a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette shortly after 8 p.m. Oct. 12 on Airline Highway when it struck a Nissan at the intersection at Florline Boulevard that was occupied by four adults and three children.

    • Matthew Keys, now freed from prison, is ready to get back to journalism

      Speaking to Ars by phone last Thursday from a halfway house in California, Keys underscored three basic points about his case. The first, he said, is that it’s all said and done. There will be no further appeal. Secondly, he maintains he did not commit the crime for which he was convicted. Finally, Keys is now ready to write a new chapter of his life: one where he can get back to doing meaningful, workaday journalism.

    • New CIA Director Nominee: When There’s No Justice For Torture

      President Donald Trump nominated CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to succeed Mike Pompeo as director of the agency. Haspel was briefly in charge of a black site prison and helped destroy evidence to cover up torture.

      The possible promotion is but another consequence of the failure and refusal among President Barack Obama’s administration and the political establishment to meaningfully hold officials accountable for torture.

      Trump made the announcement as part of a tweet that indicated CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Tillerson was effectively fired.

      Haspel would not only be the first woman to run the CIA. She would also be the first woman, who helped agency officials conceal evidence of torture and abuse against detainees in the “war on terrorism,” to serve as a CIA director.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC must defend net neutrality repeal in court against dozens of litigants

      Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California.

      The 12 lawsuits were filed by more than three dozen entities, including state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.

    • Here’s that Scientology TV network you didn’t ask for
    • Telecom Lobbyists Whine About State Net Neutrality Efforts They Helped Create

      So one, most of the state-level rules closely mirror the same rules the FCC is trying to eliminate, so most of them are fairly uniform. It’s also worth pointing out that these companies already have to navigate a vast array of regulations governing phone, cable and broadband service — rules that can often vary town by town. In other words, these net neutrality efforts aren’t as uncommon, discordant and fractured as the telecom industry might have you believe.

      Granted having disparate state-level protections may in some ways be cumbersome, but that’s again something ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast should have thought a little harder about before killing extremely popular and modest (by international standards) federal protections. Large ISP lobbyists created this mess and, unsurprisingly, they’re simply refusing to own it.

      US Telecom is also being disingenuous in claiming to want “permanent and sustainable rules” via new legislation. As we’ve noted several times, what they really want is a net neutrality law they know they’ll write. One that prohibits ISPs from doing things they never intended to do (like blocking websites entirely), while carving out vast loopholes allowing anti-competitive behavior on numerous other fronts (zero rating, interconnection). The real goal: pass flimsy legislation that pre-empts tougher state rules, or future efforts by the FCC or Congress to implement meaningful protections.

    • On 29th Birthday of World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee Voices The Need For Internet Regulation
    • The web is under threat. Join us and fight for it.

      Today, the World Wide Web turns 29. This year marks a milestone in the web’s history: for the first time, we will cross the tipping point when more than half of the world’s population will be online.

      When I share this exciting news with people, I tend to get one of two concerned reactions:

      How do we get the other half of the world connected?
      Are we sure the rest of the world wants to connect to the web we have today?

    • The Importance of Ending the Internet as We Know It
    • Ten Years Later, Cable Industry Finally Realizes More Ads Is Not The Solution To Cord Cutting

      For years we’ve noted how the traditional cable TV industry is slowly-but-surely bleeding customers tired of paying an arm and a leg for bloated bundles of often terrible programming. And for just as long we’ve documented how far too many cable and broadcast executives are hell bent on doubling down on all of the bad behaviors that cause these defections in the first place. That has ranged from knee jerk price hikes in the face of growing streaming competition, to efforts to stuff more ads into every viewing hour, whether by editing down programs or speeding them up to ensure maximum commercial load.

      The ugly truth most cable and broadcasting executives can’t face is that the era of the sacred cable TV cash cow is over. Television simply isn’t going to be as profitable in the wake of real competition and the more flexible, cheaper pay TV alternatives that competition is providing. And while countless industry executives still somehow think this is a fad they can wait out, there’s growing evidence that at least a few industry executives are finally getting the message.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Federal Judge Says Business Names Provided By Reviewers At A Review Site Are Contributory Trademark Infringement

        Users of the site submitted reviews of companies whose names contained the word “reliable.” The plaintiff claims some of the company names are infringing. The plaintiff, illogically, sues the third party host of user reviews of companies whose names may be infringing on the plaintiff’s trademark. This is where the suit gets tossed because the alleged infringement isn’t taking place at TransportReviews. It’s taking place at all of the businesses allegedly misusing a registered mark.

        But the suit doesn’t get tossed. Instead, the judge says it can continue. The judge actually says user reviews hosted at a review site of businesses whose names might be infringing is the review site’s problem. The only intelligible part of the opinion states there’s no direct infringement. These were only names returned in search results, all of which were input by third party users. The website did not use the plaintiff’s mark to identify its own goods or services. In fact, the site never used the names at all other than to serve up relevant hits for users’ search terms.

        Everything goes sideways after that. The judge decides that because the defendant was notified about this alleged infringement and did not immediately kowtow to a bizarre request directed at completely the wrong party (a middleman hosting third party content that had nothing to do with naming related businesses names that might be infringing), the website can be held responsible for contributory infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • Killing The Golden Goose (Again); How The Copyright Stranglehold Dooms Spotify

        For many, many, many years, we’ve talked about how the legacy entertainment industry will seek to kill the Golden Goose by strangling basically any innovation that is helping it adapt to new innovations. We saw the same pattern over and over and over again. The simple version of it goes like this: the legacy entertainment industry sits around and whines about how awful the internet is because it’s undermining its gatekeeper business model that extracts massive monopoly rents, but does nothing to actually adapt. Eventually, companies come along and innovate and create a service (a) people want that (b) actually is legal and pays the legacy companies lots of money. This should be seen as a win-win for everyone.

        But the legacy companies get jealous of the success of the innovator who did the actual work. They start to overvalue the content and undervalue the innovative service. The short version of this tends to pop up when a legacy entertainment exec says something like “why is innovative company x making so much money when all it’s doing is making use of our content?” Of course, if the service part was so obvious, so easy, and so devoid of value, then the legacy entertainment companies would have done it themselves. But they didn’t. So with the jealousy comes the inevitable demand for more cash from the innovator. And, usually, demands for equity too, which the innovator has basically no ability to resist, because they need to have a “good” relationship with the content companies. But the demands for more (and the jealousy) never go away.

      • U.S. Navy Under Fire in Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit

        German software company Bitmanagement is asking the US Court of Federal Claims for a partial summary judgment against the US Government. According to the software vendor, it’s undisputed that the Navy installed its software on hundreds of thousands of computers without permission, infringing its copyright.

      • Voksi ‘Pirates’ New Serious Sam Game With Permission From Developers

        Best known for his efforts to defeat anti-piracy protection Denuvo, the cracker known as ‘Voksi’ has revealed another string to his bow. After participating in the closed beta of Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour in 2016, he got friendly with the game’s developers. Now, with their permission, he’s giving the game away for free in an effort to boost sales of the action adventure.


Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Things you’ll need when seeking GNU/Linux support online

      You broke something. Congratulations! You’re one of the millions of people across the globe, who have broken their system, perhaps without having any clue whatsoever about how you even did it…

      Okay, so, you’ve tried some searches online, you’ve asked your other computer savvy friends, and you’ve also dug out your favourite hammer – just incase you need to break something. Being real though, there’s many times where you may need to seek out help online using forums, IRC, or mailing lists.

    • 4 Linux-forward schools

      It’s well known that there’s a shortage of qualified candidates to fill IT jobs. Employers are urgently looking for people to fill DevOps, development, sysadmin, and other IT roles—especially employees with experience in the cloud, web technologies, and Linux—to manage the infrastructure powering their businesses.

      According to the Linux Foundation, more than 1 million courses in Linux and open source software have been taken by aspiring IT pros through its partnership with EdX. But to meet the IT workforce’s demands for skilled employees now and in the future, we need to start preparing people a lot earlier in life—in pre-K through 12th grade (PK-12) schools.

    • Chromebooks Get Better Support for External Displays, Floating Virtual Keyboard

      More and more Chrome OS feature surface these days, and today we’re glad to inform our readers that Chromium evangelist at Google François Beaufort shared details about two new upcoming enhancements.

    • Microsoft Helps Get A Computer Recycler Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Offering Unapproved Recovery Disks

      To ensure no good deed goes unpunished, Microsoft is trying to get a computer recycler tossed in prison because he almost provided Windows recovery disks to users who needed them. Eric Lundgren, who’s made heroic efforts to prevent dangerous computer parts from filling landfills, is facing a 15-month sentence and a $50,000 fine for manufacturing 28,000 recovery disks. His sentence is based on two charges: conspiracy and copyright infringement.

      Tom Jackman has the whole story at the Washington Post and it’s half-tragedy, half-farce. Lundgren runs a company that prevents tens of millions of pounds of harmful chemicals and metals from ending up in landfills. In return for doing more than his part to save the planet, he’ll gets a chance to spend a year in jail and hand Microsoft $50,000 in compensation for sales it never “lost” from recovery discs he never got a chance to distribute.

    • Best Laptop

      The ThinkPad began life at IBM, but in 2005, it was purchased by Lenovo along with the rest of IBM’s PC business. Lenovo evolved the line, and today the company is well known as a geek favorite. Lenovo’s ThinkPads are quiet, fast and arguably have one of the best keyboards (fighting words!). Linux Journal readers say Lenovo’s Linux support is excellent, leaving many to ponder why the company doesn’t ship laptops with Linux installed.

    • Best Linux Desktop Environment
  • Server/Containers

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15.9
    • Linux 4.14.26
    • Linux 4.9.87
    • Linux 4.4.121
    • Linux 3.18.99
    • Linux 4.16-rc5

      This continue to be pretty normal – this rc is slightly larger than
      rc4 was, but that looks like one of the normal fluctuations due to
      timing of pull requests, not due to anything distressing. In
      particular, this past week we had both a networking pull and a drm
      pull, which accounts for a fait chunk of it all.

      In addition to the networking updates (both drivers and core
      networking) and the drm stuff (mainly some amdgpu display handling
      updates), there’s the usual arch fixes (mostly x86 this time -
      microcode handling and some syscall cleanups) and various random
      driver fixes (rdma, md, scsi, watchdog). Plus some misc stuff:
      filesystems (overlayfs, xfs) some core kernel code, and tooling
      (mainly perf and selftests).

      Nothing particular stands out, the appended shortlog gives a flavor of
      the details.


    • Linux 4.16-rc5 Kernel Released

      Development on the Linux 4.16 kernel continues moving along smoothly and tonight the 4.16-rc5 kernel is released.

    • The Big AMDKFD Change Set For Linux 4.17 Has Been Submitted

      Oded Gabbay sent in his pull request today of the AMDKFD driver updates targeting the Linux 4.17 kernel. Notably this includes the long-awaited dGPU support in inching AMD/GPUOpen ROCm compute support with OpenCL off a mainline kernel for select discrete GPUs.

      Most significant with this AMDKFD (AMD Kernel Fusion Driver) changes for Linux 4.17 is the discrete Radeon GPU support for initialization and queue handling. Unfortunately though it ended up being incomplete as the GPUVM support is still missing due to that code still being discussed by developers. Additionally, Vega compute support isn’t yet ready for mainline AMDKFD.

    • Linux 4.17 Will Be Another Exciting Kernel Cycle

      While the Linux 4.16 kernel release is still three weeks or so away, the Linux 4.17 kernel is already shaping up to be another exciting cycle.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenChrome KMS Can Now Do Runtime Resolution Changes, Hopes To Go Mainline In 2018

        The OpenChrome KMS/DRM driver can finally handle run-time resolution changes without crashing. The developer now hopes to be able to mainline this driver into the Linux kernel in 2018.

        OpenChrome KMS previously has been unable to handle run-time resolution changes without crashing the X.Org Server, but now this kernel mode-setting driver can do so. After previously battling a standby resume problem for OpenChrome KMS and now tackling this screen resolution change crash, developer Kevin Brace is now able to get by without regular crashes to his computer. This now puts the OpenChrome KMS support about on-par with the DDX driver’s user-space mode-setting support.

      • OpenChrome DRM Driver To Work On New GEM/TTM Code, Regression Fixes

        Now that the OpenChrome DRM driver is hoping to go mainline in 2018 now that it can handle run-time resolution changes without crashing the X.Org Server, the project’s lone developer Kevin Brace has published a TODO list of other code changes he has planned prior to getting this open-source VIA x86 graphics driver into the mainline Linux kernel.

      • David Airlie Moves Toward Upstreaming Soft FP64 Support In Mesa

        There’s been work going on for years of “soft” FP64 support to allow emulated support for the double-precision floating-point data types for GPUs not otherwise inherently supporting this capability. The soft support would allow for some older GPUs to then advertise OpenGL 4.0+ support now that ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 support could be enabled. That day looks like it’s finally coming for mainline Mesa.

      • Vulkan WSI Support Is The Latest Being Worked On For Wine

        Following more Wine Vulkan code being merged and the first milestone being achieved of vulkaninfo working, Roderick Colenbrander has submitted his latest patches in the bring-up of Vulkan support under Wine.

      • This Cryptocoin Miner Uses GPU Heat To Warm Up Your Room

        Now, a French startup Qarnot has added way new name to the list: a crypto heater. Yes, you heard that right. The heater, called QC1, can warm up your room while its mines crypto coins. To do so, it houses two Sapphire Nitro + Radeon GPU RX 580 GPUs with 8GB VRAM each.

      • NVIDIA 390.42 Linux Driver Released

        NVIDIA has just published the 390.42 Linux graphics driver as their latest maintenance update in this long-lived driver series.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Evolving KDE – IRC office hour for your questions and ideas

        KDE has set the focus on 3 goals around improved usability and productivity, privacy and easier onboarding of new contributors to KDE. On Thursday (15. March 2018) we are going to hold an office hour. During the office hour you can ask all your questions around these goals and tell us about your ideas for pushing them forward. We will be meeting in the channel #kde on freenode IRC at 16:00 UTC. We hope to see many of you there.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 9

        KDE contributors continue to polish up KDE software! In addition to our recent work on Discover, KDE Plasma and other apps got a lot of love too, especially Konsole. See for yourself!

      • Improving Syntax Highlighting Files

        When building the KSyntaxHighlighting framework, the syntax highlighting xml files are compiled into the KSyntaxHighlighting library. I order to do so, we have a small little helper program that generates an index of all xml files. This indexer also validates the xml files against the XML Schema, and performs some more sanity checks.

      • Plasma Mobile – A grain of hope in a sandstorm of despair

        I am really happy that Plasma Mobile exists. It’s a natural continuation of an excellent desktop environment. But the technicals have never been a problem. Not so with Ubuntu or any other operating system. That’s never the issue. The app ecosystem is all that matters. And that will take monumental effort and investment to achieve, if ever.

        The early tech demonstrator is an interesting project, but it’s not dazzling enough yet to create sufficient interest in Plasma as a mobile platform. Matching the rivals is a zero-sum game. People already have Android and iOS. Those needs are met. But perhaps, Plasma Mobile can do more? After all, a tiny hobbyist kernel created in early 90s became the powerhouse of the modern Internet and cloud infrastructure. It’s difficult to predict how well will Plasma Mobile do. Let’s hope it will be more than a checkbox on an enthusiasm sheet of dashed hopes. Full power on, engage.

      • KEXI 3.1 Brings Database Application Building to Windows

        If you are looking for a Free and open source alternative to Microsoft Access, KEXI is the right tool for you.

      • KEXI 3.1 Released As Open-Source/Free Alternative To Microsoft Access

        …over 200 bug fixes and more comprising this new KDE software package release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Karton 1.0 Released For Running Linux Programs on macOS & Other Distros/Architectures

        Karton is a Docker-based solution for running Linux programs on macOS or other Linux distributions as well as different architectures.

        Karton makes use of Docker in making it easy to deploy a Linux distribution and then what package(s) to install and then what directories to make available to the host operating system. Karton makes the containers semi-persistent and easy to handle for a smooth experience short of configuring Docker yourself.

      • Karton 1.0

        By using Docker, Karton manages semi-persistent containers with easy to use automatic folder sharing and lots of small details which make the experience smooth. You shouldn’t notice you are using command line programs from a different OS or distro.

      • GNOME 3.28 Is Being Released This Next Week With Many Features & Improvements

        Assuming no last minute snafu, the GNOME 3.28 desktop environment will see its official release happen on 14 March, incorporating the past six months worth of improvements to this open-source desktop stack.

        There have been many improvements to GNOME 3.28, many of the changes we find most exciting have been outlined below.

        - Improvements to the Wayland support have continued with the Mutter compositor becoming quite solid with its Wayland support with additions this cycle like the GTK text input protocol and XWayland keyboard grabbing. When Mutter is acting as a Wayland compositor, among other changes, it now supports GBM with modifiers to support tiling and compression of scanout surfaces.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Sabayon and Antergos

        Sabayon is a Gentoo-based distribution which is available in many desktop editions as well as a server edition. Sabayon strives to provide a working system out-of-the-box, saving the user a lot of time when it comes to configuring the operating system. Sabayon provides several categories of installation media. The project uses a rolling release model and the distribution’s many editions are provided in Stable, Monthly and Daily snapshots. It has been about a year since the last Stable set of installation media was produced and so I decided to explore one of the monthly snapshots.

        I began with the MATE edition of Sabayon’s Monthly snapshot, a 2GB download which I confirmed downloaded properly using the distribution’s checksums. Booting from the live media brought up a menu asking if we would like to start a live desktop environment, launch a text-based installer, start in safe mode or launch a live text console. I was surprised when taking the live desktop option booted the distribution to a text console and showed me a login prompt.

    • New Releases

      • Netrunner 18.03 Idolon

        Netrunner 18.03 ships the latest packages from Debian’s Testing Snapshot repository.

        From 18.03 onwards, we also decided to include even more packages directly from upstream, so it will be most compatible when enabling the continously updating testing repo.

      • KDE-Focused Netrunner 18.03 Linux Distribution Released

        Netrunner 18.03 “Idolon” has been released as the latest version of this KDE-focused desktop Linux distribution derived from Debian’s testing repository.

      • Netrunner 18.03 ‘Idolon’ Debian-based Linux distribution available for download

        For those converting from Windows, one great choice is Netrunner. This is a Debian-based operating system that leverages the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It is very reminiscent of the much-loved Windows 7. The OS comes pre-loaded with a lot of useful software, and Linux beginners will really benefit from that. Today, a new version of the distro becomes available for download — Netrunner 18.03 Idolon.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Closing the open source skills gap

        South Africa is a skills-hungry country. In fact, according to Adzuna, the rarest skills are in the digital and technology sectors, where demand is far outstripping supply – and according to SUSE – that is exactly what the industry is seeing when it comes to open source skills.

        According to Matthew Lee, regional manager for SUSE Africa: “There is a massive skills gap and demand for open source skills such as cloud, application development and DevOps locally – and especially as more businesses move towards digital transformation.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Biboumi – A XMPP – IRC Gateway

        IRC is a communication mode (technically a communication protocol) used by many Free Software projects for communication and collaboration. It is serving these projects well even 30 years after its inception. Though I’m pretty much okay with IRC I had a problem of not able to use IRC from the mobile phones. Main problem is the inconsistent network connection, where IRC needs always to be connected. This is where I came across Biboumi.

        Biboumi by itself does not have anything to do with mobile phones, its just a gateway which will allow you to connect with IRC channel as if it is a XMPP MUC room from any XMPP client. Benefit of this is it allows to enjoy some of XMPP feature in your IRC channel (not all but those which can be mapped).

        I run Biboumi with my ejabbered instance and there by now I can connect to some of the Debian IRC channel directly from my phone using Conversations XMPP client for Android.

        Biboumi is packaged for Debian, though I’m co-maintainer of the package most hardwork is done by Jonas Smedegaard in keeping the package in shape. It is also available for stretch-backports (though slightly outdated as its not packaged by us for backports).

      • Debian Project Leader Elections 2018: Candidate

        We’re now into the campaigning period. We have 1 candidates this year: Chris Lamb

      • Debian Project Leader Elections 2018 Has One Candidate

        The nomination period for the Debian Project Leader 2018 elections is now over and Chris Lamb is the only one nominated this year after having nominated himself this weekend. The campaign period is now active through the end of the month while the DPL voting will take place for the first two weeks of April.

      • webkitgtk in Debian Stretch: Report Card

        webkitgtk is the GTK+ port of WebKit. webkitgtk provides web functionality for many things including GNOME Online Accounts’ login panels; Evolution’s HTML email editor and viewer; and the engine for the Epiphany web browser (also known as GNOME Web).

        Last year, I announced here that Debian 9 “Stretch” included the latest version of webkitgtk (Debian’s package is named webkit2gtk). At the time, I hoped that Debian 9 would get periodic security and bugfix updates. Nine months later, let’s see how we’ve been doing.

      • Debian LTS work, February 2018

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and worked 13 hours. I will carry over 2 hours to March.

        I made another release on the Linux 3.2 longterm stable branch (3.2.99) and started the review cycle for the next update (3.2.100). I rebased the Debian package onto 3.2.99 but didn’t upload an update to Debian this month.

      • Debian 9.4 Stretch GNU/Linux Released With 150+ Fixes: Update Now

        One of the great things about using a popular Linux distro is that you keep getting timely upgrades, which ensure that you’re running a secure operating system. The same holds true for Debian GNU/Linux, whose development team keeps offering regular updates. Just a couple of days ago, the team pushed the fourth point release of Debian 9 “stretch.”

        For those who don’t know, Debian 9.0 series is an LTS edition, and it’ll remain supported for the next five years.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” Point Release Brings More Than 70 Security Fixes

        The Debian Project announced over the weekend the release of the fourth maintenance update to the stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series.

        Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” comes three months after the 9.3 point release and brings more than 70 security fixes and 89 miscellaneous bugfixes for various core components or other packages available in the main software repositories of the Linux-based operating system. However, the Debian Project warns that this point release doesn’t represent a new version of Debian Stretch.

        “This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available. Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included,” reads the release announcement.

      • Debian 9.4 released
      • Derivatives

        • SparkyLinux 5.3 Rolling Linux OS Debuts Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster”

          SparkyLinux currently comes in two flavors, Stable and Rolling, and while the former is based on the most recent stable release of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system, the latter is usually using the software repositories of Debian Testing. In this case, SparkyLinux 5.3 is based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” OS.

          The SparkyLinux 5 Rolling series hasn’t been updated since last December, and the new release brings a recent kernel from the Linux 4.15 series, namely version 4.15.4, the latest stable Calamares 3.1.12 graphical installer, support for the Btrfs and XFS filesystems, and all the latest updates from the Debian Buster repos as of March 7, 2018.

        • Debian-Based Netrunner Linux OS Gets New Stable Release with KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS

          Netrunner currently offers to branches, Stable and Rolling, the latter being based on Arch Linux and allowing users to install once and receive updates forever, which means that’s designed more for bleeding-edge users than those who prefer to use a very stable and reliable operating system on their personal computers.

          Dubbed “Idolon,” Netrunner 18.03 comes as an upgrade to last year’s Netrunner 17.10 “Voyager” release and brings up-to-date components, including the latest Linux 4.14 LTS kernel, KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment, LibreOffice 6.0.2 office suite, Firefox 58.0.1 “Quantum” web browser, and Thunderbird 52.6.0 email client

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Ubuntu Installs Could Be Speed Up by 10% with the Zstd Compression Algorithm

            Developed by Yann Collet at Facebook, zstd is an open-source lossless data compression algorithm designed to offer fast real-time compression and decompression speeds, even faster than xz or gzip. Zstd supports up to 19 compression levels, offering a 2.877 compression ratio with up to 430 MB/s compression and 1110 MB/s decompression speeds.

            Julian Andres Klode and Balint Reczey report that they managed to increase the speed of a standard Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) 64-bit installation by about 10 percent with a zstd configuration set at max level 19. Even better, the install speed was increased by about 40 percent when the “eatmydata” library designed to disable fsync and related packages was involved.

          • Ubuntu Installs Made 10% Faster Using Facebook Tech

            If you long to install Ubuntu a little bit faster help it at hand thanks to some nifty open-source tech developed by Facebook.

            Using Zstandard (zstd), a ‘lossless data compression algorithm’ developed by Facebook, Ubuntu developers have been able to speed up Ubuntu installs by 10%.

            While Zstd is primarily designed for use in “real-time compression scenarios” it is able to unpack packages during an Ubuntu install faster than current compression tools Xz and Gzip do.

          • Canonical Working On Zstd-Compressed Debian Packages For Ubuntu

            Support for Zstd-compressed Debian packages was worked on last week by some Canonical/Ubuntu developers and already by the end of the year they are looking at potentially using it by default.

            Zstd is the compression algorithm out of Facebook that has been attracting a fair amount of interest in the Linux/open-source space due to its higher decompression speeds that can trump XZ or Gzip.

          • Keeping Governance Simple and Uncomplicated

            We did this in Ubuntu. We started with some core governance boards (the Community Council, focused on community policy and the Technical Council focused on technical policy). The rest of the extensive governance structure came as Ubuntu grew significantly. Our goal was always to keep things as lightweight as possible.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Beta 1 Released for Participating Flavors

            Ahoy, Beavers! The first beta builds of the Ubuntu 18.04 release cycle have been released and are available to download.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rant launches Eric Raymond’s next project: open-source the UPS

    In February, Eric S Raymond ranted that the Uninterruptible Power Supply market was overdue for open source disruption, and touch so many nerves around the world that the rant has become a project.

    Last week, ESR opened up the work-in-progress on GitLab: the Upside project is currently defining requirements and developing a specification for a “high quality UPS that can be built from off-the-shelf arts in any reasonably well-equipped makerspace or home electronics shop”.

    ESR’s original post, “UPSes suck and need to be disrupted”, set down his own complaints about what’s sold to consumer/SOHO users: batteries with “so little deep-cycle endurance” that they can’t last beyond a few years, and whose dwell-time is oversold by vendors.

  • [Older]UPSes suck and need to be disrupted

    I use a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to protect the Great Beast of Malvern from power outages and lightning strikes. Every once in a while I have to buy a replacement UPS and am reminded of how horribly this entire product category sucks. Consumer-grade UPSes suck, SOHO UPSs suck, and I am reliably informed by my friends who run datacenters that no, you cannot ascend into a blissful upland of winnitude by shelling out for expensive “enterprise-grade” UPSes – they all suck too.

  • Eric S Raymond Taking To Working On An Open Hardware / Open-Source UPS

    ESR is very unhappy with the state of UPS power supplies and he is hoping for an open-source, easily buildable design could change the landscape. At the moment the focus is on just pushing out the PCB schematics and design for such a unit with users left to build the UPS yourself, but he has said he wouldn’t mind if some startup or other company ends up making use of these open-source plans to bring a better UPS to market.

  • Eric Raymond’s New UPS Project, Ubuntu’s Bionic Beaver 18.04 Beta Released, Kernel Prepatch 4.16-rc5 and More

    The Upside project is hosted on GitLab and “is currently defining requirements and developing a specification for a ‘high quality UPS that can be built from off-the-shelf parts in any reasonably well-equipped makerspace or home electronics shop’.”

  • Events

    • Nordic Free Software Award reborn

      Remember the glorious year 2009 when I won the Nordic Free Software Award?

    • foss-north – the count down

      This is the last day left of the Call for Papers for foss-north 2018. With the help of our great sponsors we have the opportunity to transport you to our conference if you are selected to speak. Make sure to make your submission before March 11 and you are in the race.

    • CoderGals Hackathon

      CoderGals Hackathon was organized for the first time in my country. This event took place in the beautiful city of Prizren. This hackathon held for 24 to 48 hours, was an idea which started from two girls majoring in Computer Science, Qendresa and Albiona Hoti.

    • 3rd Annual Postgres Vision Conference to Assemble Innovators in Open Source Data Management

      Postgres Vision, the premier database industry event dedicated to exploring the application of Postgres in mission critical environments and digital business, is returning to Boston. Postgres Vision 2018 will take place June 5-6, 2018, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, located on the picturesque Charles River.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust Gets A 2018 Roadmap, Big “Productivity” Edition Planned This Year

        The developers behind the Rust programming language have put out a road-map for the year as well as details on the forthcoming “Rust 2018″ Edition that succeeds the 1.x release series.

      • Rust’s 2018 roadmap

        Each year the Rust community comes together to set out a roadmap. This year, in addition to the survey, we put out a call for blog posts in December, which resulted in 100 blog posts written over the span of a few weeks. The end result is the recently-merged 2018 roadmap RFC.

      • This Week In Servo 107

        In the last week, we merged 85 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Congratulations to waywardmonkeys for their new mandate to review and maintain the low-level harfbuzz bindings, and their work to create safe higher-level bindings!

      • Cameron Kaiser: TenFourFox FPR6 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 6 is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). Other than finishing the security patches and adding a couple more entries to the basic adblock, there are no other changes in this release. Assuming no issues, it will become live Monday evening Pacific time as usual.

        The backend for the main download page at Floodgap has been altered such that the Downloader is now only offered to browsers that do not support TLS 1.2 (this is detected by checking for a particular JavaScript math function Math.hypot, the presence of which I discovered roughly correlates with TLS 1.2 support in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Safari and Firefox/TenFourFox). This is to save bandwidth on our main server since those browsers are perfectly capable of downloading directly from SourceForge and don’t need the Downloader to help them. This is also true of Leopard WebKit, assuming the Security framework update is also installed.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft headlined a major Linux conference

      Earlier today (March 10th, 2018), Microsoft delivered the headlining keynote of the Southern California Linux Expo — one of the largest Linux and Free Software conferences in the world. I repeat: Microsoft. Headlined. A Linux Festival. It was confusing to many. And Microsoft did not disappoint… they managed to say some distinctly anti-Open Source things in their 1 hour on stage.

    • OPC UA and TSN: Open License and Evaluation Kit

    • GNU Automake 1.16 released

      We are pleased to announce the GNU Automake 1.16 minor release.

      This release follows 1.15.1 which was made 8 months ago.

      See below for the detailed list of changes since the previous version, as summarized by the NEWS file.

    • My Affidavit in the Geniatech vs. McHardy Case

      As many people know, last week there was a court hearing in the Geniatech vs. McHardy case. This was a case brought claiming a license violation of the Linux kernel in Geniatech devices in the German court of OLG Cologne.

      Harald Welte has written up a wonderful summary of the hearing, I strongly recommend that everyone go read that first.

      In Harald’s summary, he refers to an affidavit that I provided to the court. Because the case was withdrawn by McHardy, my affidavit was not entered into the public record. I had always assumed that my affidavit would be made public, and since I have had a number of people ask me about what it contained, I figured it was good to just publish it for everyone to be able to see it.

    • GNU developer abandons action against Geniatech

      Former Linux developer Patrick McHardy dropped his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech in a German court this week.

      Some are seeing the case as a victory for those who want to convince companies to mend their ways and honour their GPLv2 legal requirements.

      Normally if a developer is hacked off with an outfit ignoring the GPU legal arrangements he or she asks the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center to approach violators. But these groups tend to lean on companies to get their act together rather than suing them for lots of cash.

      McHardy, however, after talking with SFC, dropped out from this diplomatic approach and went his own way. In fact, McHardy was accused of seeking financial gain by approaching numerous companies in German courts.

    • The Noble Volunteer (Again)

      I have written about how the Python Software Foundation raises and spends money before. For the most part, nothing has changed since then: the PSF appears to raise and then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year (apparently down from over $300000 in 2016 to under $250000 in 2017, though), directing this money mostly towards events and promotion. In fact, the largest contribution to core-related Python software development in 2017 was actually from the Mozilla Open Source Support programme, with a $170000 grant to fix up the Python Package Index infrastructure. So the PSF is clearly comfortable leaving it to others to fund the P in PSF.

      Lots of people depend on the Python Package Index, but like with Free Software in general, the people making good money while leaning on these common, volunteer-run resources never seem to pitch in significantly themselves. It is true that the maintainer of this resource was allowed to work on it as his day job, but then got “downsized”, and now works in a role where he can work on it again but only as part of his day job. But I imagine that the people at Mozilla, some of whom have connections to the world of Python packaging, quite possibly relying on the package infrastructure to get their own stuff done, were getting fed up with “volunteers” as being the usual excuse for nothing getting done.

  • Programming/Development

    • Student Applications For GSoC 2018 Now Open

      If you are a university student and would like to pursue a career in Linux/open-source software development, a great way to get a jump-start on that is through Google’s annual Summer of Code program. Student applications for GSoC 2018 are now being accepted.

    • What’s new in LLVM

      The LLVM compiler framework has gone from being a technological curiosity to a vital piece of the modern software landscape. It is the engine behind the Clang compiler, as well as the compilers for the Rust and Swift languages, and provides a powerful toolkit for creating new languages.

      It is also a fairly fast-moving project, with major point revisions announced every six months or so. Version 6.0, released earlier this month, continues LLVM’s ongoing mission to deepen and broaden support for a variety of compilation targets. The update also adds many timely fixes to guard against recently discovered processor-level system attacks.

    • GitLab: 2018 is the year for open source and DevOps

      DevOps and open source aren’t slowing down anytime soon, a newly released report revealed. GitLab released its 2018 Global Developer Survey on developers’ perception of their workplace, workflow, and tooling within IT organizations.

      The demand for DevOps continues to grow, even though there are still challenges created by outdated tools and company resistance to change. According to the report, only 23 percent identify DevOps as their development methodology. However, IT management has named DevOps as one of the top three areas of investment in 2018, indicating that the number of DevOps adopters is sure to grow this year.

    • 11 considerations for picking the right technology

      There are myriad open source projects available for just about every component of a modern software stack—the array of choices can be dizzying, especially when starting from scratch or making many choices at once. With the above criteria in mind, however, you should be better equipped to think rationally about your needs and how each of your options might or might not suit them. Happy hunting!

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Science

    • Please Embed Bibliographic Data in Online Documents

      This isn’t a new concept. Most books published in recent years in the US contain Library of Congress cataloging information. Web pages and academic papers should, too. And there are plenty of standards to choose from; ideally, pick one.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New IP-sharing framework to accelerate R&D

      Pharmaceutical R&D constantly leads to the generation of new intellectual property (IP), from clinical trial data to libraries of promising compounds. Not all IP assets generated by a company are used in their future R&D. When this happens, companies can choose instead to share them with other third-party researchers, under licensing agreements. The Access to Medicine Foundation has worked with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) to develop a framework for identifying which IP assets are most difficult for companies to share, yet most likely to speed up R&D of the medicines and vaccines needed by people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).


      The framework assesses 11 types of IP assets, all of which are valuable to product R&D for high-burden and priority diseases. The asset types are rated on a set of six criteria: 1) asset value to company; 2) risk to company; 3) effort for company; 4) asset value to researcher; 5) benefit to researcher; and 6) acceleration to market. Each asset type is given a weighting per criteria. The accumulated weights are used to place the asset type in one of three bands: assets in the ‘greatest’ category, for example, include those that pose a greater risk or effort to the company, but also have the greatest value to R&D that addresses global health needs.

    • Safety Breaches at US Meat Plants Spark Outcry in UK Over Possible Post-Brexit Trade Deal

      British food safety experts and lawmakers are raising concerns over a possible post-Brexit trade deal with the United States in light of newly-released records showing serious hygiene breaches in U.S. meat plants.

      “We cannot allow this to be a race to the bottom. We should insist the U.S. raises its standards, and guarantees food safety, before we are prepared to allow in U.S. meat imports,” said Kerry McCarthy, a former member of parliament and shadow environment minister.

      The outcry comes after U.S. government data showed several instances of safety failures at American packing plants, including the packaging of diseased poultry meat in containers used for food products and the discovery of fecal matter in meat bound for grocery stores.

      Health experts also raised alarm over a legal loophole that allows meat containing salmonella bacteria to be sold to Americans.

  • Security

    • Steep rise in malware threats to Mac: report

      Malware targeting Mac operating systems more than doubled from 2016 to 2017, according to a new report which reveals that in 2017 alone, Mac threats increased more than 270%.

    • Are Spectre and Meltdown just hype? [Ed: No!]

      Often, it’s the dramatic things that get our attention and what we see as a risk. We’re more scared of flying than of driving, and terrified of snakes and spiders when we’re more at risk from the common cold. So, do our fears lie in the right place?

      There has been much hype around the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities that emerged in January, a huge impact in the world of software vulnerabilities. While some of this is justified by the fact that those vulnerabilities affected a majority of all processors in the market, the reality is that this was just another vulnerability on top of all the others in the market, which security professionals need to assess and manage every day.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 87 – Chat with Let’s Encrypt co-founder Josh Aas
    • McAfee Security Experts Weigh-in Weirdly With “Fresh Kodi Warning”

      Something is not right in Tabloid Land. An article published this week in the The Express cites experts from McAfee talking about a “fresh Kodi warning” that “might stop you streaming illegally FOREVER.” Not only is no new threat even touched upon in the piece, but one of the McAfee experts thinks that Kodi “is a streaming site”.

    • Security firm says Sofacy is starting to target organizations in Middle East, Central Asia

      Kaspersky Lab researchers say that a hacking group widely believed to be linked to the Russian government has been executing cyberattacks against a new set of targets in the Far East, including military, defense and diplomatic organizations, according to a new report.

    • Masha and these Bears

      Sofacy, also known as APT28, Fancy Bear, and Tsar Team, is a prolific, well resourced, and persistent adversary. They are sometimes portrayed as wild and reckless, but as seen under our visibility, the group can be pragmatic, measured, and agile. Our previous post on their 2017 activity stepped away from the previously covered headline buzz presenting their association with previously known political hacks and interest in Europe and the US, and examines their under-reported ongoing activity in middle east, central asia, and now a shift in targeting further east, including China, along with an overlap surprise. There is much understated activity that can be clustered within this set and overlap in APT activity. Here, we examine current deployment, code, cryptography, and targeting.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Researchers find 29 types of USB attacks, recommend never plugging into a USB you don’t own
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir Wins $876 Million U.S. Army Contract

      Palantir will work with Raytheon Co. to replace the troubled Distributed Common Ground System now in effect. They beat out seven other proposals for a decade-long, $876 million contract, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Terms of the partnership between Palantir and Raytheon weren’t disclosed, and the companies didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    • Peter Thiel’s data company Palantir will develop a new intelligence platform for the US Army

      The Army will pay Palantir and defense contractor Raytheon $876 million over the next decade to develop a replacement for the Distributed Common Ground System, says Bloomberg. That system is used by the various branches of the US military to interpret intelligence from a variety of platforms “spanning all echelons from space to mud,” according to the US Army.

    • Ode to America

      So much for the city on the hill. Narcissism has changed to nihilism and solipsism: “climate change isn’t real”, and the ravages of history continue down the rabbit hole of memory.

      Take another look. Genocide and chattel slavery. The war against Mexico, the quite uncivil war, the Spanish-American war, the massacres in the Philippines, the two World Wars. Dust off a book and check out the post-WWII carnage. Three million dead in Korea, three to five million dead in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. A million or more in Indonesia where our CIA handed out kill lists to Suharto’s regime. Untold atrocities in Nicaragua. Juntas and death squads covering South and Central America, trained at Fort Benning, Georgia. Hundreds of thousands dead in Afghanistan, a million or more in Iraq. Refugees numbered 65 million last year, with 20 million worldwide at risk of starvation.

    • Youth, Gun Control and the Pentagon

      To my astonishment, I began receiving daily news updates from the Pentagon, innocuously named the Early Bird Brief, about a month ago. One particularly perverse news brief warrants mention: the number of out-of shape and unfit youth is an imminent national security crisis—not because they matter for themselves—but because, as one writer put it, they are “too fat to fight.”

      According to a report commissioned by the Pentagon, 7 of 10, or more than 24 million young Americans between the ages of are 17 and 24, are not qualified or eligible to join the military because of inadequate education, overweight, poor health and criminal records.

      Let’s dig more deeply into this, particularly in the light of the Pentagon’s overfed budget while education, health and social services budgets are starved of funding, and in the face of evidence that our government cares more about weapons and wars than the health and well being of our children and youth.

    • Learning the Power of Protest, Confrontation and Collective Action, Where Will America’s Students Go from Here?

      After experiencing a terrifying attack on their school by a tragically unhinged former student armed with an assault-style rifle who killed 14 of their classmates and three teachers and seriously injured another 14, they didn’t retreat into fear and victimhood. Instead, they are taking to the streets, taking to buses to the state capital in Tallahassee, and are using social media to organize a national youth campaign to get assault weapons and large-capacity magazines banned.

      In refusing to be silenced by the National Rifle Assn. and political charlatans like Florida Sen. Marc Rubio or President Trump, or co-opted by Democratic politicians eager to use the issue of gun control to win points in next November’s congressional elections, these students and the tens of thousands of high school kids who have joined them across the country in states blue, red and purple, they have in one stroke revived the idea of mass political action.

    • Brexit means…more arms dealing to human rights abusers

      It was one year ago that a triumphant Theresa May proudly announced from Ankara, Turkey, that the UK is “open for business.”

      She had reason to be upbeat. The UK prime minister had just secured a £100m arms deal that meant lots of money for ‘defence’ and ‘security’ manufacturer BAE, and some positive headlines about the UK’s post-Brexit future. The deal, she said, “[would mark] the start of a new and deeper trading relationship.”

      May didn’t just use her visit to sell arms though. She also used it to reaffirm her support for the President Erdogan, who, by that point, had already instigated a crackdown that had seen thousands of public sector workers purged from their jobs.

      There was no shortage of information available to her about the state of human rights in Turkey. Six months prior to her visit, Amnesty International, and others, had extensively documented the return of torture and abuse in Turkish prisons.

    • Nuclear Contradictions, Hypocrisy and Absurdities

      Ronald Reagan, like Donald Trump, was a star—a famous actor—and also a well-known Republican foreign policy hawk with an aggressive nuclear weapons posture.

    • NBC’s Clueless Boost for Putin

      “Complete nonsense,” was Putin’s reply (“polniy chush” in Russian — chush ringing with onomatopoeia and a polite rendering of “B.S.”). Putin explained that “9/11 and the missile defense system are completely unrelated,” adding that even “housewives” are able to understand that. He found occasion to use “polniy chush” (or simply “chush) several times during the interview.


      After one interruption, Putin said, “You keep interrupting me; this is impolite.” Kelly apologized, but dutifully went on to cover what seemed to be the remainder of her accusatory talking points. These included repeated insistence that Putin punish the click-bait farmers indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for violating U.S. law.

      No doubt fully briefed on the fact that Kelly sports a law degree, Putin asked, “Do you have people with legal training? … We cannot even launch an investigation without cause. … Give us at least an official inquiry with a statement of facts; send us an official paper.”

      Kelly: “Isn’t it enough that U.S. intelligence agencies … and now a Special Prosecutor (sic) with a criminal indictment — is that not enough for you to look into it?”

      Putin: “Absolutely not. If you do not have legal training, I can assure you that an inquiry is required for this.”

      Kelly: “I do.”

      Putin: “Then you should understand that a corresponding official inquiry should be sent to the Prosecutor-General’s Office of the Russian Federation.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Man arrested over murder of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh

      KT Naveen Kumar was arrested on suspicion of supplying the weapons used to kill Lankesh, according to a senior police officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to talk to media. More arrests are expected, he said.

      Lankesh, the editor and publisher of the Kannada-language newspaper Gauri Lankesh Patrike, was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru in September.

      The murder of Lankesh, a staunch advocate of secularism and critic of right-wing political ideology, sparked protests across India.

    • Death of investigative journalist sparks mass protests in Slovakia

      Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová, both 27, were found shot dead at their home near Bratislava on 25 February. Police have said Kuciak’s death was “most likely” related to an investigation of his that resulted in an article on alleged ties between Slovakia’s top politicians and the Italian mafia, which his employer posthumously published.

    • ‘Every place you go, you are being watched’: reporting from Xi’s China

      Days earlier, security forces had launched a now notorious “war on law” crackdown on human rights lawyers, rounding up hundreds of attorneys and activists, some of whom have yet to emerge from secret detention and have, supporters claim, been brutally tortured.

    • Assange Lashes Out: “Hypocritical Motherf*ckers… Remember How I Exposed Your Secret Deal With The Saudis”

      Assange – apparently not included in the UK’s definition of “free and independent media” (facing arrest and detention should he leave the Embassy), fired off a stunning reply – claiming that the UK’s has spent roughly twice as much spying on him as it has on their entire international human rights program.

    • The Foilies 2018

      Government transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act exist to enforce the public’s right to inspect records so we can all figure out what the heck is being done in our name and with our tax dollars.

      But when a public agency ignores, breaks or twists the law, your recourse varies by jurisdiction. In some states, when an official improperly responds to your public records request, you can appeal to a higher bureaucratic authority or seek help from an ombudsperson. In most states, you can take the dispute to court.

      Public shaming and sarcasm, however, are tactics that can be applied anywhere.

      The California-based news organization Reveal tweets photos of chickpeas or coffee beans to represent each day a FOIA response is overdue, and asks followers to guess how many there are. The alt weekly DigBoston has sent multiple birthday cakes and edible arrangements to local agencies on the one-year anniversary of delayed public records requests. And here, at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we give out The Foilies during Sunshine Week, an annual celebration of open-government advocacy.

    • For Eurasia’s activists, no place is a safe haven

      They spent the next 65 hours on the run.

      “We first went to the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It took us almost one full day to cross it. We were hiding nearby, looking for a place to cross. The guards with guns, flashlights and dogs, were in the vicinity and could get us any time. My son became so scared, he had a panic attack. I tried to calm him down… We found a smuggler who helped us cross the border by river. He carried my son, and I carried our bags. My legs were freezing as we waded through the icy water. I could barely move my feet, but I didn’t stop… Once in Kyrgyzstan, we caught a plane to Istanbul, and then on to Kyiv. We spent a day at acquaintances’ house, and then rented an apartment.”

      Since 2013, when she started covering the activities of Kazakh human rights defender Yermek Narymbayev, Akhmet had been frequently harassed by the government for her work. But in 2017, the Kazakh authorities launched three administrative and two criminal cases against her, including charges of political extremism, for her investigative reporting and news coverage, as well as jaywalking, for good measure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • 20,000 Scientists Underscore Alarm Over Changing Climate

      They show alarmingly accelerating carbon dioxide emissions (we were up worldwide again last year), declining access to fresh water, and endangered species and other dangers facing the globe.

    • How an Alabama Town Is Fighting Against Cancerous & Toxic Coal Ash Dumping—No Thanks to Trump’s EPA

      Residents of Uniontown, Alabama, have lived with the Arrowhead landfill, which is twice the size of New York’s Central Park, have protested shipments of toxic coal ash—the residual byproduct of burning coal—from a massive spill in Kingston, Tennessee, believed to be the largest coal ash disaster in U.S. history. For two years, nearly 4 million tons of coal ash was also shipped by rail from a mostly white Tennessee county to Uniontown. Coal ash contains toxins, including arsenic, mercury and boron, that can affect the nervous and reproductive systems and cause other health problems. According to the EPA, people living within a mile of unlined coal ash storage ponds have a one-in-50 risk of developing cancer. In 2013, some Uniontown residents filed a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. This week, the EPA dismissed the claim, saying there was “insufficient evidence.” We speak with Ben Eaton, vice president of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice and a resident of Uniontown, Alabama; and with Mustafa Santiago Ali, former head of the EPA’s environmental justice program.

  • Finance

    • KFC returns to original supplier after chicken shortage fiasco

      The American fast food chain was forced to temporarily close hundreds of stores after it ran out of chicken following the botched handover of its logistics contract to DHL and QSL. “To put it simply,” KFC tweeted at the time, “we’ve got the chicken, we’ve got the restaurants, but we’ve just had issues getting them together.”

    • Labour’s leavers are lukewarm for Brexit

      In recent times there have been no political soap operas with so ready a supply of bad faith actors as Brexit and the saga of Corbyn and Labour. Shadowy think tanks (Legatum), misrepresented wills of people (Farage et al), billionaire media (Murdoch, Barclay Brothers, Rothermere) the machinations of Labour’s Blairite rump, still spurned and licking its wounds. As so many of these quarters bemoan a supposed loss of truth, new research from the British Election Study (very neatly summarised here) details attitudes that reveal much about Labour’s crucial Leave voters, and in so doing offer useful, and corrective, advice to those still hoping to clinch remain from the jaws of leave. The research points strongly towards the idea that leaving the EU was a means and not an end.

    • How Brexit Won World War Two

      With Brexit now imminent, the country seems to be suffering a sense of leavers’ remorse.

    • Rumblings in the Tory Palace: Theresa May and the Brexit Troika

      What the Brexiteer cabal insists upon is the fantasy that the UK retains its mould as a dominant power, and that, left alone to its devices, will somehow manage to entertain the likes of India, China and Brazil on a better footing. Britain outside its European fraternity will be bolder, braver and more effective. Being within the EU customs union, on the other hand, entails negotiating as a bloc of states, a collective understanding.

      Figures like the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, demand an end to the “obsessive criticism” of Brexit. “Brexit,” he told Conservative Home last month, “is not a time bomb to be defused but a great opportunity to be embraced.” His overseas trips have been greeted with confidence; on returning, he meets an enervating “self-defeating pessimism that is too often on show from certain politicians, commentators and media outlets over here.”

      Britain’s links, however emotional they might be, remain tangibly linked to Europe. These will, in time, become more onerous and costly, and Brussels promises to be stringent on this. EU negotiators are doing their best to make sure that no benefits accrue to Britain in its departure. What matters now is how the Brexiteers manage to sell this to the voters.

      May’s Britain is flailing before weak leadership and chronic uncertainty, but a Britain with the likes of Johnson-Gove-Rees-Mogg would be an absurdly antiquarian sight, an anachronism that will see the country become a contender for the sick man of Europe. In destroying the country they claim to love in a fit of patriotic enthusiasm, they just might also destroy the reality of Brexit itself.

    • Liam Fox’s Brexit aims would require “a fairy godmother” – full speech by Fox’s former top official

      A devastating assessment of the government’s Brexit trade strategy of “rejecting a three-course meal for a packet of crisps”.


      “an immediate, significant and lasting negative impact”

      Against that background it is important to bear in mind that today’s UK economy is very much service based – around 80% of value added comes from services.

      UK exports account for around 21% of UK GDP (on a value-added basis) with services representing more than half of that total. Business services, finance and insurance, and the wholesale and retail sectors provide as much UK export value as the top twelve industrial sectors.

      The EU takes 46% of UK service exports; nearly four times what we export in services to the US, which in turn is roughly twice our total service exports to India and China combined. No other overseas services market is significant.

      The UK’s exports of goods to the EU are around 49% of our total sales abroad; just over four times our exports to the US and twelve times current exports to China.

      The distinction between what the statisticians define as services or goods is no longer as robust as it used to be. Recent estimates from the CER and Trade Policy Observatory find that services valued added directly linked to manufacturing exports, design, software etc., is worth more than £50bn annually, about the same magnitude as UK financial service exports.

    • Trade Wars and Diminished Credibility

      When Trump added imported steel and aluminum to his list of already announced tariffs for solar panels and washing machines, members of his own party joined the world in expressing their disapproval. Many business sectors reliant on raw steel expressed fears that the tariffs would ultimately lead to major job losses, not gains, throughout that U.S. economy. Though the action invoked Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the rest of the world knows that imported steel costs don’t represent security risks, whereas the alienation of allies actually does.

      As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “We strongly regret this step, which appears to represent a blatant intervention to protect U.S. domestic industry and not to be based on any national security justification.” He vowed that Europe would retaliate.

      There were three sets of tariffs proposed by the Commerce Department, run by billionaire Wilbur Ross, and the latest, a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports, are the harshest so far. For the president to circumvent Congress on tariffs, it must allegedly alleviate what would otherwise be a national security risk. That’s just the loophole Trump used to ostensibly deliver on his campaign promises to American steelworkers. The problem is that the tariffs could wind up hurting those and other workers, as well as American consumers, instead. It would also add fuel to the fire in an already existing trade war.

      Why is it already existing? Because Trump’s entire isolationist posture and dogma have already caused U.S. allies and adversaries to seek tighter relationships with each other, from a currency and trade agreement perspective. The latest tariffs are another element on the path away from diplomacy (which could be better used to create agreements that truly benefit workers on all sides of our borders) and toward the street-yard bullying tactics Trump adheres to.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • China makes historic move to allow Xi to rule indefinitely
    • Hong Kong democrats seek to recapture lost ground in key by-elections

      The by-elections will fill four legislative council seats once held by pro-democracy lawmakers who were ousted from public office after authorities deemed they’d failed to take valid oaths of office. Critics slammed the move as politically motivated to weaken the opposition.

      Sunday’s polls also coincided with a vote in Beijing’s parliament which is expected to remove the Chinese president’s term limits, setting the stage for President Xi Jinping to stay in office indefinitely.

      The news has stoked some unease in Hong Kong, worrying about its long-term implications given Xi’s relative tough line on the freewheeling Asian financial hub.

      “[Xi Jinping] just wants to be an emperor himself. Nobody would believe such a person would do any good for Hong Kong,” said voter Sophia Yiu, 23, who said she flew back to town from Australia just to vote.

    • Perpetual scandals at the White House give Trump the perfect storm he needs
    • Censorship in China rises as Xi prepares for a term with no limits

      Censors silenced him anyway, swiftly wiping his post from the internet. As China’s rubber-stamp legislature prepares to approve constitutional changes abolishing term limits for the president….

    • Statues are not safe in India

      Violent political activists in India, used to attacking fellow humans, have now turned their attention to statues. Within a week they demolished or damaged the statues of Lenin, Ambedkar, the Dalit icon, and Periyar, the social reformer who fought against upper-caste hegemony.

      In India statues of leaders command immense political significance which now characterise even the idols of Hindu Gods. These come in all sizes and colours. Prime Minister Modi is seeking to ensure that his home state Gujarat boasts the tallest statue of Sardar Patel, co-opted by his party, even though he was a life-long leader of the Congress and India’s Home Minister in Nehru’s Cabinet. Sardar Patel is being used as an instrument for diminishing Nehru!

      Towns are dotted with statues installed by the followers of one political party or the other. Statues are erected, defaced and made controversial, all for promoting political interests. A State Governor belonging to Prime Minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist party said what a democratically elected government can do can be undone by the next elected party! He was responding to reports of the demolition of a statue of Lenin in a state where the BJP ousted a communist government that had ruled the state for 25 years.

      One cynic says that after every election, the new Government can spend its first year in uninstalling the statutes erected by the previous regime. The old order changed in this north-eastern state and a commentator is sure that streets named after Lenin will now be renamed to glorify some Hindu nationalist leader!

    • Trump and a Lifetime Presidency

      This, of course, was a bizarre hybrid of wishful thinking and stupidity, both of which were on display throughout her odd musings. But today, it seems, someone else may be ‘stealing in’, not just to the presidency which he already has, but to a lifetime role at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

      In recent remarks, President Donald Trump commented on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent abolishing of presidential term limits. Said he: “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

      One might be tempted to simply dismiss this as the ramblings of the demented egomaniac who found his way into the White House in 2016. This entire election was just a bizarre aberration, one might say, that will be corrected in 2020, if not before.

      Not so fast, if you please. Let’s look at some of the facts that might prevent the easy dismissal of the nightmare of a possible Trump-for-life presidency.

    • Poverty, Poor Ben Carson, and a $31,000 Table

      It doesn’t seem fair. And the unfairness is especially apparent when it’s put in context. It is not as though he wanted to spend thousands of dollars on a personal phone booth, or use government funds to pay for charter or first class air travel around the world. And the criticism is not directed at him because he supports cuts to HUD programs contained in the Trump budget. Nor is it because he eliminated language in the HUD Mission Statement that promised inclusive and discrimination-free communities. Nor is it because he is opposed to equal rights for the LGBTQ community. It’s just because his wife was trying to do him a favor and all she wanted was a simple dining room table befitting the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development when entertaining guests in his office. Everyone would agree that food tastes better when nicely served.

    • Dictator for Life: The Rise of the American Imperial President

      The presidency will survive. The real question is what leads American presidents into the imperial temptation. When the American presidency conceives itself as the appointed savior of a world in which mortal danger requires rapid and incessant deployment of men, weapons, and decisions behind a wall of secrecy, power rushes from Capitol Hill to the White House.”—Historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

      I’m not a fan of Communist China.

      It’s a vicious totalitarian regime that routinely employs censorship, surveillance, and brutal police state tactics to intimidate its populace, maintain its power, and expand the largesse of its corporate elite.

      Just recently, in fact, China banned the use of the word “disagree,” as well as references to George Orwell’s novels Animal Farm and 1984. What’s really Orwellian, however, is China’s plan to use surveillance to create a “citizen score” that determines one’s place in society based on one’s loyalty to the government.

      China—an economic and political powerhouse that owns more of America’s debt than any other country and is buying up American businesses across the spectrum— now plans to make its president, Xi Jinping, president for life.

      President Trump thinks that’s a great idea.

      Trump thinks the idea of having a president for life is so great, in fact, that America might want to move in that direction. “Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” said Trump to a roomful of supporters.

    • What could a Corbyn government inside Europe mean for the future of the European Union?

      In twenty years’ time, we will look back on Brexit as a moment of terrifying global irresponsibility. We live in a world of creeping fascism in Russia, Turkey, China, Trump’s America not to mention the tendencies inside Britain, especially among the hard Brexiteers. The European Union currently represents a beacon for democracy and human rights. Of course, it is dominated by a neo-liberal ideology that threatens to undermine the euro-zone and with it the democratic values for which it stands; developments in Central Europe and the recent elections in Italy are a painful reminder of the dangerous possibilities.

      Nevertheless, there are tendencies for reform inside the European Union and if a Corbyn-led Labour Party were to win the next election, there is a unique – indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity – to reform the European Union and this means an opportunity to save us, Europe and perhaps the world. The current nostalgia for Britain’s role in WWII seems to neglect the fact that this was a struggle for democracy, human rights and decency and not just about nationalism.

      But we are so obsessed with the domestic British debate despite all the talk of a global Britain that nobody seems to be discussing or trying to diagnose the frightening scenario of everything going wrong and our role in that scenario. The current nostalgia for Britain’s role in WWII seems to neglect the fact that this was a struggle for democracy, human rights and decency and not just about nationalism. If we care about those values now, we should be worrying about the future of Europe and the world and how what happens in the rest of the world will affect us.

    • The Empty Piety of the American Press

      The press, giddy with its newfound sense of mission and purpose, is carrying out a moral crusade against Donald Trump. The airwaves and print have shed their traditional claims of “impartiality” and “objectivity.” They fulminate against Trump, charging—falsely—that he was elected because of Russian interference and calling him a liar, ignorant and incompetent. They give airtime to his bitterest critics and bizarre associates, such as Omarosa Manigault-Newman, a onetime star of “The Apprentice” and now a fired White House aide, and Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who says she had a sexual relationship with Trump. It is great entertainment. It is great for ratings. It is great for profits. But it is not moral, and it is not journalism.

      The empty piety is a mask for self-interest. It is accompanied by the veneration of the establishment politicians, generals, intelligence chiefs, corporate heads and hired apologists who carried out the corporate coup d’état that created our system of “inverted totalitarianism.” The corporate structures that have a stranglehold on the country and have overseen deindustrialization and the evisceration of democratic institutions, plunging over half the country into chronic poverty and misery, are unassailable. They are portrayed as forces of progress. The criminals on Wall Street, including the heads of financial firms such as Goldman Sachs, are treated with reverence. Free trade is equated with freedom. Democratic politicians such as Barack Obama—who assaulted civil liberties, transferred trillions of dollars upward to reigning oligarchs, expanded the drone wars to include targeted assassinations of American citizens, and used the Espionage Act to silence investigative journalism—are hailed as champions of democracy. Deference is paid to democratic processes, liberties, electoral politics and rights enshrined in our Constitution, from due process to privacy, that no longer exist. It is a vast game of deception under the cover of a vacuous morality.

    • Trump lawyers want to stop ’60 Minutes’ from airing Stormy Daniels interview: report

      The interview with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is set to air on March 18, according to BuzzFeed News. On Thursday, a source familiar with the program had told The Hill that Stormy Daniels would be on 60 Minutes “on a future date.”

      The interview was announced by Avenatti through Twitter.

    • U.S. politics projects tribalism

      Tribalism stems from primordial, visceral and oftentimes fanatical sentiments and emotions.

    • DeVos pressed on performance of public schools under policies she promoted

      The White House announced Sunday that DeVos will chair a federal commission on school safety. The panel will include local, federal and school officials, and will assess best practices for preventing future school shootings before making recommendations to the president.

    • [Old] These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

      This infographic created by Jason at Frugal Dad shows that almost all media comes from the same six sources.

      That’s consolidated from 50 companies back in 1983.

    • [Old] Illusion of choice: 6 corporations control 90% of US media outlets, 10 corporations control almost every product bought by consumers globally, 1 non-profit institution controls US presidential debates, 1 family owns the banks in all but 3 countries across the globe…
    • [Old] The Illusion of Choice: Ninety Percent of American Media Controlled by Six Corporations

      The promotion of shallow, materialistic, ego-centric values, and the obvious dumbing down of the American population is coming from these 6 corporations. Think about that. These are the companies that glorify consumption, obedience, ignorance, the hyper-sexualization of youth, the glorification of war and government surveillance, and so on. The advertisers that support these media companies have tremendous sway over what makes it on the airwaves. They help to control public perception.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Social Media Is Reshaping Sex Work—But Also Threatening It

      One morning last May, Melody Kush discovered that someone was using her Twitter photos to catfish people into paying for a Snapchat premium account that didn’t even exist. Kush is a sex worker—an erotic model, to be precise—and for someone who does much of her work via social media, that kind of scam isn’t just an inconvenience. It’s an existential threat to her brand. She asked the imitator to stop; they refused, and blocked her. So she screenshotted the person’s snapcode and asked her 114,000-person Twitter following to report the account for her.

      The next day, her Twitter account was permanently deleted—right before she was supposed to teach a social media seminar. “I lost all my content and my entire business,” she says.

    • Statement on incident at TEDxBrussels

      Today at TEDxBrussels, an independently organized TEDx event, speaker and performance artist Deborah De Robertis was forcibly removed from the stage by one of the event’s organizers, who objected to the talk’s content.

    • TEDxBrussels organizer drags presenter off stage during anti-censorship talk

      According to the TEDxBrussels website, the presenter, artist Deborah De Robertis, was in the middle of a piece addressing past censorship of her artwork. The forcible removal of her from stage was so absurd, reports the Netherlands newspaper NRC Handelsblad, that audience members initially applauded thinking it was a statement about censorship.

    • TEDxBrussels loses licence after incident with controversial artist

      TED is a prestigious series of talks in which speakers get a maximum of 18 minutes to spread innovative ideas and tell how they can contribute to a better world. It started off as a 4-day conference in the US state of California.

    • TEDx Brussels loses license due to censorship

      According to Focus Knack, TEDxBrussels – run by a group of volunteers – was told by De Robertis that she would not show images from her performances as part of her talk. When she did, they decided to shut it down. The New York-based Sapling Foundation, which owns TEDx, did not agree with the move.

    • Editorial: Spokane’s bona fide censorship of ‘Live PD’

      The Spokane City Council last week approved rules that will make it almost impossible for television crews embedded with law enforcement to broadcast what they film. Along the way, they ran roughshod over the First Amendment.

      At a time when verifiable facts are labeled as “fake news,” this is exactly the sort of thing our nation’s founders worked so diligently to avoid. The council seems to think it can recognize “bona fide news organizations” as opposed to “reality-based police shows.” In Spokane, some news sources are more equal than others, especially if it means protecting the city’s reputation.

      And our government, especially in today’s hyperpoliticized environment, has no place in making decisions about what is “bona fide news” and what isn’t.

    • China steps up internet censorship of criticism of Xi Jinping

      Outside China, censorship around the plan to abolish presidential term limits has attracted snickering attention. At one point, even the letter “n” (a reference to n as a mathematical representation of an unknown number) was blocked online in some places, as were words like “Winnie the Pooh,” a reference to Mr. Xi’s stout figure.

      All of it came after an extraordinary outpouring of criticism online from people furious at Mr. Xi’s plan to tear up convention and crown himself a new “emperor.”

      But for Yan and others, the consequences have been more serious in a country that has sought to smooth the way for a long-term leader in part by cracking down on those who dare question Mr. Xi or tarnish his state-media-crafted image of humble perfection.

      Two women in Wuhan, Huang Fangmei and Geng Caiwen, were detained, according to the The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. Ms. Huang had uploaded a video of her cheerily chanting “qing zhuyi daoche!”, a warning that a vehicle is backing up – and, in this case, a reference to China sliding backwards.

    • West Virginia, the class struggle and the fight against Internet censorship

      The growing wave of working-class unrest in the United States and internationally is exposing and clarifying basic political questions. Among them is the central purpose of the campaign by the tech giants, the US government and the mass media to censor the Internet, under the fraudulent pretense of combatting “fake news” and “Russian meddling.” The real target is the suppression of social opposition.

      This week is opening with an expanding number of working-class struggles. Although the unions managed to sell out and end the nine-day strike of 30,000 West Virginia teachers and school employees last week, the rebellion of educators across the US is spreading. Teachers in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona—organizing chiefly through Facebook groups that have added tens of thousands of users in the last few weeks—are pressing for West Virginia-like strikes to demand higher pay and secure pensions.

      This is part of a broader movement of the working class, including a strike by 1,400 Frontier telecommunications workers in West Virginia and Virginia, and a strike mandate vote by 18,000 registered nurses at hospital giant Kaiser Permanente in California. Although the contract for a quarter of a million United Parcel Service workers does not expire until midsummer, thousands of workers are using social media to press for strike action.

    • Main Turkey opposition website censored by court

      Censorship in Turkey has extended to the website of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), according to a report in Cumhuriyet newspaper.

      The report follows a ruling by an Istanbul court that ordered the blocking of a story about Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s business dealings on 22 websites, one of which was the CHP’s official website.

      Barış Yarkadaş, a CHP lawmaker said of the ruling, “Censorship has extended from newspaper pages to our party’s website. This is an international disgrace. It has been shown once again that they (the government) are intolerant of the truth.”

      He added that the court’s decision was illegal and that the judge responsible had not even examined the details of the case before making his decision.

    • Winnie-the-Pooh banned under Chinese censorship law

      Winnie-the-Pooh is one of Britain’s most beloved exports, but the cuddly teddy bear is now banned under new Chinese censorship laws.

      Following the Communist Party of China’s proposal to remove a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms, government censors are enacting a series of bans on several phrases, including Winnie-the-Pooh, on Chinese social media.

      Memes of Xi Jinping depicted as Winnie-the-pooh first began circulating on Chinese social media after a visit from then-president Barack Obama in 2013 and have since grown in traction.

    • Censorship tightens in Egypt as el-Sisi prepares for re-election bid

      Ahead of elections in Egypt later this month, in which President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is seeking a second term, the authoritarian leader’s government has further clamped down on press freedom, issuing warnings to the media and arresting critical journalists on “false news” charges. Even satirical TV shows have not been spared, with AFP reporting how the media regulator suspended broadcasts of the ONTV show “Saturday Night Live bil Arabi” last month over accusations that it violated ethical standards.

      Egypt’s Supreme Council for Media Regulation–a body set up in 2016 under a decree by el-Sisi–banned four other entertainment and satirical shows on moral grounds last month, according to news reports.

      Alongside the bans, and warnings by authorities in January that journalists deemed to be violating ethical or moral standards will be penalized, el-Sisi’s anti-press rhetoric has increased.

    • Twitter is not a public utility
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook Launches (And Deletes) Another “Security” App That Silently Tracks Your Data

      Facebook is up to its old tricks again after only a few weeks since the last controversy regarding Onavo Protect VPN app that allegedly tracks user data made headlines.

      This time it has come up with another “security” app called Bolt App Lock whose primary function is to lock other apps present on mobile phones. The app allows users to add additional security measures such as patterns, PIN codes, or fingerprint recognition to apps that they don’t want others to access easily.

    • Week ahead: NSA nominee heads before Senate Intelligence Committee

      President Trump’s choice to helm the National Security Agency will face lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee for his second confirmation hearing on Thursday.

      Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, the Army’s current cyber chief, was unanimously approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday to serve in the dual-hat role as NSA director and commander of U.S. Cyber Command.

      Nakasone is sure to face a flurry of questions about cyber threats to the United States, the U.S. intelligence mission, and the possible separation of NSA and Cyber Command, after Trump formally elevated the latter into its own warfighting unit last year.

    • Government postpones age checks for porn websites

      Over the weekend the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said it now hoped the measures would be in place by the end of the year.

    • Bad Actors Are Using Social Media Exactly As Designed

      Recognizing that these challenges—and others—emerging on modern communications platforms stem from their inherent features isn’t an indictment of the companies whose services we’ve all come to rely on; to the contrary, it shows just how hard these problems are. And it calls for a reorientation as to how the companies and the rest of us think about addressing these challenges.

    • Breaking up (with my smartphone) is hard to do

      Smartphones are designed to addict us – nagging us with notifications, disrupting us with noise, making themselves indispensable. Social media apps harness neuroscience to the same end, triggering dopamine hits that lock us into them for hours. A terrifying new book, How to Break Up With Your Phone, says we are rewiring our brains so they are less organised for deep thought; killing our attention span, destroying our memory, sleep and happiness. Phones have changed the world, too; advertisers use them to hoover up our attention. We are no longer just consumers, but product. As Ramsay Brown, co-founder of app-designers Dopamine Labs, has said: “You get to use [Facebook] for free, because your eyeballs are what’s being sold there.”

    • The GDPR In Full Effect: What Will Happen to WHOIS?

      It has been a long time coming, but the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is almost here. This new privacy regulation requires substantial changes to the collection and storage of data and will affect multiple disciplines, including the brand protection industry. One of the ‘victims’ of the new law is the WHOIS database. How will these changes affect its records?


      Regardless of the decision that ICANN takes on the update or complete change of WHOIS records – it will become difficult for you to find the contact details of a domain owner. The upswing of WHOIS privacy services already played its part in this problem, and it seems that the issue will only get bigger now that registries are starting to mask their registrant information.

      If you rely on WHOIS records to track down domain ownership, this created a serious challenge.

    • Fight Ahead Over Website Owners’ Data At ICANN Meeting This Week

      Some of the data collection practices of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), private overseer over the domain name industry, “appear to be excessive, disproportionate, and obtained without the free consent of the individual,” the International Working Group on Data Protection in Telecommunications (IWGDPT) wrote in a paper published on the eve of the 61st ICANN meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico (9-15 March). During the meeting, controversial discussions about ICANN’s just-published interim model for compliance with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be expected after ICANN published a “cookbook” for GDPR compliance.

    • Aadhaar: India’s Flawed Biometric Database

      It was only after the news had reached the front pages of leading Indian dailies and began circulating on the web that the administrators of the portal came out with a statement.

    • Jugaad: Fooling the IT returns system by using all zeros as Aadhaar number

      However, many still do not have an Aadhaar card and are holding out till the Supreme Court provides its judgement on the constitutionality of Aadhaar, in an ongoing case. Some of these people discovered they could just key in 0s or 1s and the tax returns were filed successfully.

    • Aadhaar linking deadline of March 31 may be extended; what you must know

      However, in case you have not yet linked your account, here’s the list of mandatory Aadhaar linkages: [...]

    • Sandvine’s PacketLogic Devices Used to Deploy Government Spyware in Turkey and Redirect Egyptian Users to Affiliate Ads?

      This report describes how we used Internet scanning to uncover the apparent use of Sandvine/Procera Networks Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) devices (i.e. middleboxes) for malicious or dubious ends, likely by nation-states or ISPs in two countries.

    • “We Know All About You” – MoviePass Is Secretly Tracking Its Customers’ Movements

      Anybody who bothered to look at MoviePass’s business plan would’ve immediately been confronted with the fact that the business was doomed to fail – barring some king of pivot that would bring in badly needed revenue for a company that buys movie tickets for $10 then sells them to its “customers” for 33 cents…

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • This Is History Now: Is the “American Dream” Over for Black Boys?

      Author Jawanza Kunjufu in his book, Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys refers to the “fourth grade failure syndrome,” when Black boys begin to lose interest in school. Unfortunately, this may also be a time that schools, teachers and administrators also lose interest in Black boys. Forty percent of Black boys in urban public schools drop out of high school. Boys who drop out of school are more likely to enter the school-to-prison pipeline by becoming involved in criminal activity or simply being outside of supervised, structured environments that can help to shield them from crime and danger.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Tim Berners-Lee: we must regulate tech firms to prevent ‘weaponised’ web

      Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, has called for large technology firms to be regulated to prevent the web from being “weaponised at scale”.

      “In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data,” Berners-Lee wrote in an open letter marking the 29th anniversary of his invention.

      These problems have proliferated because of the concentration of power in the hands of a few platforms – including Facebook, Google, and Twitter – which “control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”.

      “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms,” said the 62-year-old British computer scientist.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Links 10/3/2018: Amarok 2.9.0, Debian 9.4, Sparky 5.3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Supercomputing under a new lens: A Sandia-developed benchmark re-ranks top computers

      A Sandia National Laboratories software program now installed as an additional test for the widely observed TOP500 supercomputer challenge has become increasingly prominent. The program’s full name — High Performance Conjugate Gradients, or HPCG — doesn’t come trippingly to the tongue, but word is seeping out that this relatively new benchmarking program is becoming as valuable as its venerable partner — the High Performance LINPACK program — which some say has become less than satisfactory in measuring many of today’s computational challenges.

    • Bright Computing adds support for OpenHPC

      Today Bright Computing announced it has joined the Linux Foundation and will participate in the OpenHPC Community project. The latest release of Bright Cluster Manager provides the ability for Bright customers to easily integrate OpenHPC libraries and packages for use within a Bright cluster.

    • Kubernetes Becomes The First Project To Graduate From The Cloud Native Computing Foundation
    • Usenet, Authentication, and Engineering (or: Early Design Decisions for Usenet)

      A Twitter thread on trolls brought up mention of trolls on Usenet. The reason they were so hard to deal with, even then, has some lessons for today; besides, the history is interesting. (Aside: this is, I think, the first longish thing I’ve ever written about any of the early design decisions for Usenet. I should note that this is entirely my writing, and memory can play many tricks across nearly 40 years.)

    • The true costs of hosting in the cloud

      Should we host in the cloud or on our own servers? This question was at the center of Dmytro Dyachuk’s talk, given during KubeCon + CloudNativeCon last November. While many services simply launch in the cloud without the organizations behind them considering other options, large content-hosting services have actually moved back to their own data centers: Dropbox migrated in 2016 and Instagram in 2014. Because such transitions can be expensive and risky, understanding the economics of hosting is a critical part of launching a new service. Actual hosting costs are often misunderstood, or secret, so it is sometimes difficult to get the numbers right. In this article, we’ll use Dyachuk’s talk to try to answer the “million dollar question”: “buy or rent?”

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15.8
    • Linux 4.14.25
    • An Early Look At The Linux 4.16 Kernel Performance With AMD EPYC

      A few days back I provided some fresh Linux 4.16 kernel benchmarks compared to recent stable kernel releases while also toggling the KPTI and Retpoline security features on Linux 4.16 Git for seeing the impact of the Spectre and Meltdown mitigation techniques on this latest kernel while using Intel Xeon hardware. For this latest round of tests is a similar comparison while using an AMD EPYC system.

    • Some advanced BCC topics

      The BPF virtual machine is working its way into an increasing number of kernel subsystems. The previous article in this series introduced the BPF Compiler Collection (BCC), which provides a set of tools for working with BPF. But there is more to BCC than a set of administrative tools; it also provides a development environment for those wanting to create their own BPF-based utilities. Read on for an exploration of that environment and how it can be used to create programs and attach them to tracepoints.

    • Shedding old architectures and compilers in the kernel

      The kernel development process tends to be focused on addition: each new release supports more drivers, more features, and often new processor architectures. As a result, almost every kernel release has been larger than its predecessor. But occasionally even the kernel needs to slim down a bit. Upcoming kernel releases are likely to see the removal of support for a number of unloved architectures and, in an unrelated move, the removal of support for some older compilers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RenderDoc 1.0 Graphics Debugger Released

        RenderDoc 1.0 has been released, the open-source standalone graphics debugger that supports frame capturing and introspection of Vulkan, D3D11, D3D12, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES APIs across all major platforms.

      • Intel Developers Prepare More Cannonlake/Icelake Graphics Code For Linux 4.17

        Intel open-source developers are preparing the last of their feature work for the i915 DRM driver with the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        Work already staged in DRM-Next for this Intel Direct Rendering Manager driver in Linux 4.17 includes Cannonlake support being in good shape that it’s no longer hidden behind an alpha support flag, initial Intel Icelake graphics support for these “Gen 11″ graphics processors, and a lot of other internal code changes/improvements. A final batch of changes is now up for testing that will target DRM-Next for Linux 4.17.

      • New DRI3 v1.1 & v1.2 Bits Now Supported By Mesa

        Of the many features coming to X.Org Server 1.20 there is now Direct Rendering Infrastructure 3 (DRI3) versions 1.1 and 1.2. Mesa has now received its patches for making use of the new functionality.

        Landing in Mesa 18.1-devel Git yesterday was DRI3 v1.2 support within the Vulkan WSI (Windowing System Integration) code used by both RADV and ANV for supporting multiple planes and buffer modifiers.

      • Shared Virtual Memory Support For Nouveau With HMM

        It’s been a while since we last have seen any new Heterogeneous Memory Management patches even after its mainline introduction in Linux 4.14. But Jerome Glisse who masterminded HMM at Red Hat is now out with some Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) patches for Nouveau.

      • With Mesa Git You Can Now Run A Completely Open Graphics Stack On The Tegra X1

        With today’s Mesa 18.1-devel Git code, the last of the Tegra/Nouveau code has landed where it’s now rounded off for offering a completely open-source and accelerated graphics stack that works well on the Tegra210 (Tegra X1) SoC.

        Landing today in Mesa Git is the initial Tegra support for the K1 SoC and newer. There was the commit linked to and then several other related patches arriving in the tree a short time ago. This Tegra support in Mesa is needed for display support while the GPU is driven via the Nouveau NVC0 Gallium3D driver as a render node. This code is for the Tegra K1 and newer while it seems the X1 SoC is in best shape right now and there are already users of this code on this SoC running a completely open-source 3D driver stack. On the kernel side, there has already been Tegra DRM support in the mainline kernel.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

    • VLC 3.0 Vetinari review – The bleeding edge of goodness

      Vetinari is a pretty decent VLC release. One, it’s the familiar product, and there are no surprises there, which is good from the user perspective. Two, unassumingly, you gain a whole load of new options and features, and they cover the bleeding edge of the media technology. Three, all of that for free, on any which device you want.

      My testing shows there are still some rough edges, and that the setup in Linux should be easier, and 360-deg playback in Windows more intuitive. But I also know things will quickly get better as these small bugs are ironed out. One thing that VLC has proven in the past fifteen years is that it’s stable, robust, rich, and that it inexorably marches forward, into the storm of technology. Speaking of technology, VLC 3.0 grabs it by the horns and the balls. Perhaps 4K or 8K videos have no intrinsic value except to bleed your bandwidth and battery, but when it comes to fads, VLC has all the corners covered and then some, years ahead. It’s a tech demonstrator and a clear, undisputed leader. Job well done. Time to watch some movies, then.

    • The 10 Best Media Editing Applications for Linux

      Are you a professional vlogger looking to improve the quality of your content? Or maybe you’re an aspiring director envisaging the next big picture with a photographer who wants to deliver photos that would make Annie Leibowitz (photographer) jealous.

      Our list today compiles media editing applications that are accessible to every Linux user who wants to excel at media editing. And although the regular user can take advantage of this list, most of the apps have a steep learning curve so be ready to get your hands dirty.

    • Creating an email archive with public-inbox

      Keeping up with the free-software development community requires following a lot of mailing lists. For many years, the Gmane email archive has helped your editor to do that without going any crazier than he already is, but Gmane is becoming an increasingly unreliable resource. A recent incident increased the priority of a longstanding goal to find (or create) an alternative to Gmane. That, in turn, led to the discovery of public-inbox.


      In mid-February, Gmane stopped receiving emails from every mailing list hosted at vger.kernel.org; those include most of the kernel-related lists, but also lists for other projects like Git. Your editor posted a query and learned that delivery problems had forced Gmane to be dropped from all lists hosted at vger. While this was happening, the main Gmane web page also ceased to work. Since then, a handful of vger lists have returned to Gmane, though the bulk of them remain unsubscribed.

      Those lists could certainly be fixed too, if somebody were to find the right person to poke. But the fact that so many high-profile lists could disappear for a week or more without anybody even seeming to notice makes it clear that Gmane is not getting a lot of attention these days. The wait for the web interface to come back is in vain; it’s not at all clear that even what’s there now is going to last for much longer.

      Gmane has served the community well for years; and we all owe the people who have worked to make that happen a huge round of thanks. But all things must end, and it may well be that Gmane’s time is coming soon. So what is a frantic LWN editor to do to ensure his ability to keep up with the community?

    • Say No to Slack, Say Yes to Matrix

      Of all proprietary chatting systems, Slack has always seemed one of the worst to me. Not only it’s a closed proprietary system with no sane clients, open source or not, but it not just one walled garden, as Facebook or WhatsApp are, but a constellation of walled gardens, isolated from each other. To be able to participate in multiple Slack communities, the user has to create multiple accounts and keep multiple chat windows open all the time. Federation? Self-hosting? Owning your data? All of those are not a thing in Slack. Until recently, it was possible to at least keep the logs of all conversations locally by connecting to the chat using IRC or XMPP if the gateway was enabled.

      Now, with Slack shutting down gateways not only you cannot keep the logs on your computer, you also cannot use a client of your choice to connect to Slack. They also began changing the bots API which was likely the reason the Matrix-to-Slack gateway didn’t work properly at times. The issue has since resolved itself, but Slack doesn’t give any guarantees the gateway will continue working, and obviously they aren’t really interested in keeping it working.

    • On the demise of Slack’s IRC / XMPP gateways

      I have grudgingly joined three Slack workspaces , due to me being part of proejects that use it as a communications center for their participants. Why grudgingly? Because there is very little that it adds to well-established communications standards that we have had for long years decades.

      On this topic, I must refer you to the talk and article presented by Megan Squire, one of the clear highlights of my participation last year at the 13th International Conference on Open Source Systems (OSS2017): «Considering the Use of Walled Gardens for FLOSS Project Communication». Please do have a good read of this article.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • We Need To Go Deeper, a cooperative submarine exploration game adds Linux support

        Not to be confused with Abyss Crew that we recently covered, We Need To Go Deeper [Steam, Official Site] is a cooperative submarine exploration game currently in Early Access and it just added Linux support.

      • 2D RPG ‘By Any Means Necessary’ is now officially available on Linux

        In the mood to play a retro-inspired RPG with turn-based combat? By Any Means Necessary [Steam, Official Site] has officially added Linux support. They say it was not built with RPG maker, something they’re keen to note as it’s something that seems to get asked as soon as people see “2D” and “RPG” next to each other.

      • Dwarf Fortress inspired space station sim ‘Starmancer’ fully funded, demo updated with colonists

        Starmancer is a space station sim I’m pretty excited about, it’s currently on Kickstarter with six days left and they’re fully funded. They’ve managed to grab over $80K against their $40K goal, which is pretty good. Thanks to this, their first stretch goal to have expanded music has been reached—awesome! This is the same game I wrote about last month, where the developer gave us a fun little story about using Linux.

      • Habitica: a role-playing game for self improvement

        What if real-life chores could gain you fake internet points like in an online role-playing game? That’s the premise of Habitica, a productivity application disguised as a game. It’s a self-improvement application where players can list their daily tasks or to-do items in the game; every time one is checked-off, the game rewards the player with points or game items.

        The game dresses up the task-checking mechanics with the standard trappings of the genre; there are character classes, weapons, armor, and level progression. These are mapped onto real-life tasks in novel ways; it is designed to make daily chores fun. The game is hosted on the Habitica server and can be played from either a web interface or a mobile app (iOS and Android). Both the mobile apps and the server software are available under the GPLv3.

      • Action platformer ‘Bacon Man: An Adventure’ is being ported to Linux

        Bacon Man: An Adventure [Official Site], an action platformer from Skymap Games is currently being ported to Linux. It looks surprisingly good too!

        The latest post on Steam is from the end of last month, where a developer replied to a rather old forum topic that asked about Linux support back in 2016. Quite surprising really, to see a developer bring back such an old post to update people, but nice to see.

      • Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition release date announced for March 27th, day-1 Linux support

        Beamdog has announced that Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition [Steam, Official Site] will officially release on March 27th and it’s coming with day-1 Linux support.

        Announced on Twitter, where they also replied to our question to confirm Linux at day-1. We obviously knew it was already coming to Linux, but knowing it’s for sure at the same time as other platforms is indeed great news.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • i3 v4.15 Tiling Window Manager Released

      The i3 tiling window manager reached version 4.15 this weekend. The i3 v4.15 release contains a number of documentation improvements, additions to i3′s editor and terminal, new default capabilities, the swap command now works with fullscreen windows, non-integer Xfi DPI values are now rounded, and a wide range of bugs have been fixed.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Amarok 2.9 Released As The Last Step Before Qt5/KF5

        The KDE developers working on the Amarok music player released version 2.9.0 this week as their last expected release atop the aging KDE 4 libraries and Qt4.

      • Amarok 2.9.0 “Hibernaculum” released

        As it may be customary for the upcoming season the Amarok team did some spring cleaning and is proud to announce the immediate release of Amarok 2.9.0. While we realize that the clock has run out on KDELibs 4 and Qt 4, we wanted to bring 20+ bug fixes from 18 contributors to our users before the next major release will harness all the shiny new things provided by Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. In fact, the port is already progressing nicely in the Git ‘kf5′ branch, which is soon to become the new ‘master’ branch. We welcome everybody willing to help out to check out the source code and improve the next major version of Amarok!

      • [Development] Qt for WebAssembly

        As you may have noticed work on Qt for WebAssembly is underway. W

      • Qt Developers Begin Brewing Their WebAssembly Plans

        The Qt Company developers are soliciting feedback from developers and the community about what they would like to see out of WebAssembly support for the tool-kit.

        WebAssembly is now supported by all major web browsers as a binary format for allowing sandboxed executable code in web pages that is nearly as fast as native machine code. Many different projects are figuring out how to make use of WASM or offer support for it moving forward, including the Qt tool-kit.

      • What’s New in KaOS 2018.01

        KaOS 2018.01 is the latest release of KDE-focused Linux distro, KaoS Linux. This release features latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, includes Frameworks 5.42.0, Plasma 5.11.5, KDE Applications 17.12.1. All built on Qt 5.10.0. Also ships ships with an alternative desktop enviornment to KDE Plasma, called Liquidshell, which is a lightweight environment that’s still in development at the moment of writing.

        Powered by the latest Linux 4.14.14 kernel built with Retpoline support, Intel and AMD microcode firmware updates are also present. KaOS 2018.01 also ships with LLVM/Clang 5.0.1, Boost 1.66.0, ICU 60.2, Protobuf 3.5.1, Glib2 2.54.3, Libcdio 2.0.0, OpenCV 3.4.0, Ruby 2.5.0, and the Calamares graphical installer framework 3.2, which features experimental LVM support.

      • This week in Discover, part 9

        We need your help! Consider becoming a KDE contributor, and help make Discover the best Linux app store in existence!

      • Skrooge 2.12.0 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.12.0 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

      • More comics management: making proper ACBF files.

        Krita 4.1’s comic project management tools now support 90% of all ACBF features.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Getting GTK Global Menu Support

        For those relying upon GTK applications like LibreOffice, GIMP, and GNOME programs from the KDE desktop, the integration is taking a step forward with Plasma 5.13.

      • GTK Global Menu

        For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a way to get GTK applications talk to Plasma’s Global Menu feature. I came up with a little helper application called gmenu-dbusmenu-proxy that talks both GMenu and DBusMenu protocols. This way no adjustment on Plasma’s side is needed, it just sees a regular global menu enabled application.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Void Linux Review – For The Record

        Void Linux Review. Today I finally get to a requested review of Void Linux. Using Void Linux reminds me a little bit of using Arch, since it only installs what you ask it to. Void Linux configuration is straight forward, although as I mention in the video, the documentation is hit and miss.

      • Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Looks like a Brilliant Upgrade

        I have to say folks, Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is shaping up to be a one heck of a release.

        It’s no secret that I think the nimble GNOME-based Budgie desktop is one of the best alternatives to GNOME Shell or Unity. It is lighter and leaner than either of those, but has a more cohesive and modern design than MATE or XFCE.

        Naturally I’m also a fan of Ubuntu Budgie, the official Ubuntu flavor that uses the Budgie desktop by default. It provides all the benefits of Ubuntu and its ecosystem, but feathered beneath a clean, modern looking desktop interface.

    • New Releases

      • New Zenwalk Current ISO for March 2018

        I’m pleased to announce un new Current ISO for March 2018.

        This rolling release introduces native Qt support, wxWidgets support, and focuses on migrating to Python3. The Lollypop music collection manager replaces Gmusicbrowser with Kid3 as tag mass editor. VLC replaces mpv as default media player. Office suite is Libreoffice version 6.0.2, Web browser is Firefox 58.0.2. For packagers the new SlackBuild tool is included. Many other changes can be found in the changelog.

      • OSMC’s February update is here

        OSMC’s February update is ready with a wide range of improvements and fixes to keep your OSMC device running in tip-top shape. Team Kodi have now announced that they have started the official alpha release cycle for Kodi v18 (Leia). Test builds for Raspberry Pi and Vero devices are available in our forums.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 9: 9.4 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the fourth update of its stable distribution Debian 9 (codename “stretch”). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

        Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old “stretch” media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

        Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

      • Debian 9.4 Stretch Released
      • Stepping down as DAM

        After quite some time (years actually) of inactivity as Debian Account Manager, I finally decided to give back that Debian hat. I’m stepping down as DAM. I will still be around for the occasional comment from the peanut gallery, or to provide input if anyone actually cares to ask me about the old times.

      • Corydalis 0.3.0 release

        Without aiming for, this release follows almost exactly a month after v0.2, so maybe a monthly release cycle while I still have lots of things to add (and some time to actually do it) would be an interesting goal.

      • Derivatives

        • Neptune 5 Release

          This version marks a new iteration within the Neptune universe. It switches its base to the current Debian Stable “Stretch” version and also changes slightly the way we will provide Updates for Neptune. We will no longer strive to bring in more recent versions of Plasma, Kernel or other software on our own. With Snaps, Flatpaks and AppImages being more and more popular and mature these days we strongly believe these are the ways to go if you want to try out bleeding edge software. We on the other hand strive to provide the most stable and best Desktop user experience out there.

        • Debian-Based Siduction Linux OS Now Patched Against Meltdown and Spectre Flaws

          The developers of the siduction GNU/Linux distribution announced today the release and general availability of the siduction 2018.2.0 monthly release for February 2018.

          siduction 2018.2.0 is out as the first release of the Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution to ship with the latest Linux 4.15 kernel by default, which includes mitigations against the critical Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that were publicly disclosed in early January, and which put billions of devices at risk of attacks. This release is powered by Linux kernel 4.15.7.

          “Shortly after our last release 2018.1.0 the world made acquaintance with two vulnerabilities that will stay with us for a long time. In mitigating Meltdown & Spectre, siduction was as close to the kernel as possible to be able to get fixes in as soon as they roll out. Kernel 4.15.7 has most of the bases covered, even though there will be more coming with 4.16 expected in April,” said the devs.

        • Sparky 5.3

          There are new live/install iso images of SparkyLinux 5.3 “Nibiru” available to download.
          Sparky 5 follows rolling release model and is based on Debian testing “Buster”.

          Sparky 5.3 provides fully featured operating system with lightweight desktops: LXQt, MATE and Xfce.

          Sparky MinimalGUI (Openbox) and MinimalCLI (text mode) lets you install the base system with a desktop of your choice and a minimal set of applications, via the Sparky Advanced Installer.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Beta Released for Opt-In Flavors, Download Now

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) had one of the busiest development cycles, especially due to the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, but also because of other causes, including the not very well planned release schedule.

            For example, the opt-in flavors were supposed to get two alpha releases, the first one within a week and a half after the New Year’s Eve and the second one on February 1st. None of these alpha milestones happened, so that’s why we’re now seeing the beta.

          • 18.04 Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Ubuntu Flavors
          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets Compiler-Based Retpoline Kernel Mitigation for Spectre V2

            Canonical announced today the availability of a new kernel security update for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating systems running the Linux 3.13 kernel to fix the second variant of the Spectre vulnerability on both 32-bit and 64-bit installations.

            On January 23, 2018, Canonical updated the kernel packages of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) to version linux-image 3.13.0-141.190, patching the Spectre Variant 2 security vulnerability discovered by Jann Horn, for the 64-bit (amd64) hardware architecture.

            The Spectre flaw can be exploited by a local attacker to expose sensitive information from kernel memory on modern microprocessors with branch prediction and speculative execution capabilities. Canonical now added support for 32-bit hardware architectures as well for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS systems.

          • Give Your Linux Desktop a Fresh Look with the Canta Theme

            If your current Ubuntu desktop is looking a little dark and a little dated why not give it a refresh?

            And the perfect choice to help you do that is the Canta theme by serial theme maker Vince Liuice (of Vimix theme fame).

          • Kotlin Programming Language Now Available On Linux Distros As A Snap

            Over the past year, the adoption of Kotlin programming language has increased at a rapid pace. Apart from its long list of great features, Google’s announcement of making Kotlin an officially supported language for Android development was a major reason behind the same. Being a general-purpose language, Kotlin can also be used on various applications as well.

          • Mir Enables XDG Shell By Default, Dropping Mir EGL For Ubuntu 18.04

            There is just one month to go until the official debut of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” release and Canonical’s Mir team is busy as ever on the home stretch of final changes for this next release.

            Some of the Mir team’s recent progress with their focus the past few months on Wayland support includes:

            - XDG Shell v6 support is now enabled by default. XDG_Shell is the Wayland protocol addition for managing surfaces with window dragging/resizing/stacking and other actions mostly desktop focused.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Flavors: Download Now
          • Flavours and Variants

            • 18.04 Beta 1 Released For Opt-In Ubuntu Flavors

              Today marks the first beta release of opt-in flavors participating for the Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” development cycle.

              Ubuntu itself continues to skip these development releases in favor of focusing on daily quality of their ISOs. The flavors participating this round for today’s beta release are Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.

            • Bionic Beaver 18.04 Beta 1 Released!

              “The beaver told the rabbit as they stared at the Hoover Dam: No, I didn’t
              build it myself, but it’s based on an idea of mine”.
              – Charles Hard Townes

              The first beta of the Bionic Beaver (to become 18.04) has now been
              released, and is available for download!

              This milestone features images for Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Kylin,
              Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.

              Pre-releases of the Bionic Beaver are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a
              stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional,
              even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavour
              developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing
              bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 1

              We’ve been refining Ubuntu MATE since the 17.10 release and making improvements to ensure that Ubuntu MATE offers what our users want today and what they’ll need over the life of this LTS release. This is what’s changed since 17.10.

            • Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) Beta 1 Released!

              The first beta of the Bionic Beaver (to become 18.04) has now been released, and is available for download!

            • A Short Preview to elementary OS Juno

              elementary OS 5.0 codenamed “Juno” has not been released. But the development is already active, and fortunately we are able to try the components on elementary OS 0.4 Loki right now. I have installed some latest programs of Juno from elementary-daily PPA and show you how they look like here. In other words, this article is a short preview of the new elementary Installer of Juno, as well as AppCenter and some more Juno’s new stuffs. Not only that, I mention here how to get them on Loki so you can also try them, as the original announcement doesn’t explain that. Read on and have a try!

            • Linux Mint Monthly News – February 2018

              Many thanks to all the donors and sponsors who help fund our project. We received close to 500 donations in January. Many thanks to you for your support.

            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 11.60 Released

              The Black Lab Linux development team is pleased to bring you the newest release of Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 11.60. This release contains many security updates and application updates. Along with these updates also we have made many fixes. Black Lab Enterprise Desktop is a high performance high availability desktop for software developers, system administrators and power users.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources machine learning tech it used to find new planets

    Google will open source the machine learning technology that allowed it to discover new exoplanets, the tech giant announced in a Thursday blog post.

    In December, Google announced that it had found two exoplanets by training a neural network to analyze data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope and identify signals that could be coming from planets, our sister site ZDNet reported at the time.

  • China launches open-source platform as part of its quest to become AI world leader by 2030
  • China makes open-source platform to boost Artificial Intelligence

    China’s science and technology minister said on Saturday that the government had made an open-source platform to boost the development of artificial intelligence (AI), as part of a plan to make China a world-leader in this field by 2030. He said that offering AI on open-source platforms would help with its scientific development and help it rapidly expand, allowing the creation of a new generation of AI. “Open-source platforms are needed because AI can play a bigger role in development and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to resources,” Wan Gang said in a press conference to mark a session of the National People’s Assembly.

  • Ghostery Goes Open Source, Reveals Two Proposed Revenue Streams

    Ad-blocker Ghostery published its entire programming code on Thursday. By going open source, the company aims to clear the air on its old business model and invite others to contribute to its continuing development.

  • Events

    • Hands-On Learning at Open Networking Summit for Your SDN/NFV Deployments

      If you are attending ONS, you know the value of open source projects. You know they are going to play a critical role in your ongoing or upcoming SDN/NFV transformation. Open source projects have become very successful in the enterprise space and they are poised to do the same in the communications service provider (CSP) arena.

      That leads to a question—how can you learn more about these projects, determine their value for your specific environment and map out your organization’s next steps? Certainly, you can review online materials on your own. However, if you are like me and learn best when another human being is providing or explaining the material starting with the basics, at an unhurried pace, then the ONAP and OPNFV training sessions offered onsite at Open Networking Summit in Los Angeles are something to consider. These training courses will empower you to integrate open source into your NFV/SDN deployments.

    • Free Software Events in Europe in 2018

      If you know a Free Software and Open Source Software related event in Europe, happening in 2018, that is not yet listed here but that you think is in interest to the FSFE community, please leave it in this pad or contact me directly. All valid events will be imported from here into our wiki calendar.

      Valid events do not need to be a conference, they can be install fests or other activities. But to be in interest for our community, they have to be for the general public and happen in Europe.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TIL: Feature Detection in Windows using GetProcAddress

        In JavaScript, if you want to use a function that was introduced only in certain versions of browsers, you use Feature Detection. For example, you can ask “Hey, browser, do you have a function called `includes` on Array?” If the browser has it, you use it; and if it doesn’t, you either get along without it or load your own implementation.

      • Fun with Themes in Firefox

        At the core of this experiment are new theme APIs for add-ons shipping with Firefox.

        These APIs take inspiration from static themes in Google Chrome, building from there to enable the creation of dynamic themes.

        For example, Quantum Lights changes based on the time of day.

      • Mozilla’s Servo team joining Mixed Reality

        Servo had amazing year in 2017. We saw the style system ship and deliver performance improvements as a flagship element of the highly regarded Firefox Quantum release. And we’ve continued to build out the engine platform and experiment with new embedding APIs, innovations in graphics and font rendering, and graduate subsystems to production readiness for inclusion in Firefox. Consistently throughout those efforts, we saw work in Servo demonstrate breakthrough advances in parallelism, graphics rendering, and robustness.

        Coming in to 2018, we see virtual and augmented reality devices transitioning from something just for hardcore gamers and enterprises into broad consumer adoption. These platforms will transform the way that users create and consume content on the internet. As part of the Emerging Technologies and Mozilla Research missions to enable the web platform on these new systems, we will be adopting the Mozilla Servo team as part of the Mixed Reality team and doubling down on our investigations in virtual and augmented reality. Servo is already the platform where we first implemented support for mobile VR, extensions, such as, WebGL MultiView, and even our sneak peak running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 developer kit and compatible AR glasses from last September. Servo’s lean, modern code base and leading-edge strengths in parallelism and graphics are ideal for prototyping new technology for the web and growing the results into production code usable both inside and outside of Servo.

      • Mozilla Servo Team To Begin Focusing On VR / Mixed Reality

        Mozilla’s Servo team is being absorbed by the company’s Mixed Reality Team.

        Mozilla will be investing more into mixed reality / VR / mobile with their Servo developers now focusing their low-level work in these fields. Servo developers will work on implementing the GeckoView API and begin testing with various AR/VR devices.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Updated Oracle Roadmap Points To Post-11.4 Solaris Release Around 2020

      Oracle published a SPARC and Solaris road-map updated for March 2018.

      By now you should know about Solaris 11.4 that is currently in public beta.

      But their March 2018 road-map update now indicates a “Solaris11.Next” for H2’2018 or H1’2020. Note that it’s a “11.Next” and no mention of Solaris 12. It’s still not clear if a Solaris 12 will happen given all the rumors following the mass layoffs at Oracle over the past number of months, but at least for now it’s looking like it might be a Solaris 11.5 release around the end of next year or in early 2020.

  • BSD

    • Mike Larkin at bhyvecon 2018: OpenBSD vmm(4) update
    • How we conduct ourselves

      Overall, this self-censorship is a Good Thing™. When interacting with individuals from vastly different cultures, backgrounds or convictions, there are bound to be disagreements or clashes.


      I sincerely hope that I do not need to waste many keystrokes to state how awful this piece of text is. It is actively discriminatory, denies the hardships that some people may face, and censors criticism. It is extremely opinionated in its tone.

      Fortunately, the FreeBSD people had the sense to remove this section.


      But then why don’t the above rules mention anything about making fun of someone’s speech patterns or language skills (or lack thereof)? Surely disallowing those things is extremely relevant in an international community with many non-native speakers of English. As a matter of fact, an even more glaring omission is that it makes no statement on culture, country of origin, or nationality at all.

      Why does “misgendering”—an issue which affects a tiny fraction of the contributors—get a spot on that list, but not prejudice based on one’s skill in English, which affects a vast portion of contributors? Surely this can be included as well? But if we are going there, why not include even more? The Holocaust was a pretty bad thing that happened. Surely Holocaust denial should be somewhere on that list, too. Speaking of murder, perhaps we could also make it extra clear that it is not okay to boast about eating meat and other animal products in order to spite a vegan.


      The answer is not very surprising. The code of conduct is biased. It wears its bias on its sleeve: Feminism. Now, whether you are a feminist or not matters little. What matters is that the code of conduct tells you to practise inhibition around others, but practises none of it itself. I have conservatively marked all feminism-related (and LGBT-related) items with an asterisk. I could have been greedy and marked more items, but this seemed sufficient to me. If you start counting, you will see that give-or-take half of the items have an obvious feminist slant.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source technologies to usher in better future

      The Open Source Summit (OSS) 2018 was organized by Bahria University in collaboration with Open Source Foundation of Pakistan (OSFP) to collaborate, share information, learn about the latest technologies and gain a competitive advantage by using innovative open solutions.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Avoiding license violations in a large organization

      Over the years, I have heard people from the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) say many times that most free-software license violations are not intentional. Indeed, the SFC’s principles of community-oriented enforcement say that “most GPL violations occur by mistake, without ill will”. I’ve always had some difficulty in believing that; after all, how hard can it be to create a GPL repository on GitHub and sync the code into it? But it is also said that managing programmers is like herding cats. It was therefore interesting to hear a large-scale cat herder talk at FOSDEM 2018 about the license violations that occurred in their organization and what he and his colleagues did about it.

      Andreas Schreiber works for DLR, Germany’s national aeronautics and space research center. DLR has some 8,000 employees across 40 institutions at 20 sites; of those, around 1,500 work on software development. Schreiber said its annual budget of some €150M for software development makes DLR one of the largest software developers in Germany. However, it is primarily an academic institution. Unlike many large commercial software developers, its software is largely written by people employed because of their expertise in such fields as aeronautics and space transportation, who have no formal computer science background, and often no formal training in software development.


      Schreiber also noted that both NASA and ESA have developed their own open-source licenses, whereas DLR has deliberately chosen not to do that. Given widespread concerns about license proliferation, and that NASA’s license is both non-free and GPL-incompatible, this seems a good decision. In addition, in response to a later question, Schreiber said his group has tried mandating licenses for DLR projects, but that just did not work in the DLR culture, where researchers are used to doing what they like, how they like. Imposing a single institutional license would have been difficult; instead, the group provides advice and support, it will even recommend if asked to, but it doesn’t mandate.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Making climate models open source makes them more useful

        Here’s an example. In a paper from last yearI looked at the temperature and wind changes in the upper atmosphere close to the Equator. I didn’t need to know what happened in the ocean, and I didn’t need any chemistry, polar ice, or even clouds in my model. So I wrote a much simpler model without these ingredients. It’s called “MiMA” ( Model of an idealised Moist Atmosphere), and is freely available on the web.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google claims it’s going to build its proprietary AMP using Web standards

      Google has said that it wants to bring the benefits of its AMP specification to sites that stick with Web standards, offering them the same prominent search positioning that it currently only gives to sites using its proprietary tech.

      The 2015 introduction of Google’s AMP, “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” has been deeply contentious within the Web community. AMP is based on HTML, JavaScript, and other related technologies, with a bunch of non-standard alterations and restrictions to, Google says, achieve a number of things that are useful, especially for mobile browsers.


  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How To Break Your Phone Addiction

      Smartphones often lure us into multitasking. Think of all the ways you can use them when you’re also doing something else. (I don’t know that I’ve ever had a text conversation without simultaneously doing something else.) This can be fatal in the case of distracted driving or walking. And it can hurt your performance on the primary task at hand. We cannot effectively focus on two things at once, and it takes time for your brain to switch between tasks. That means multitasking actually doesn’t improve productivity, said L. Mark Carrier, an experimental psychologist at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Research suggests that for college students, multitasking while studying and during lectures negatively affects overall learning and grades, he said. A study by Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and colleagues shows that after only 20 minutes of interrupted work, “people reported significantly higher stress, frustration, workload, effort, and pressure.”

    • The screen time debate is pitting parents against each other

      Parenting now means having the “smartphone debate” — not just with your kids, constantly — but with other parents. And as Riddhi was about to find out, hell is other people’s screen time policies.

  • Security

    • Tamper-evident Boot Update: Making Heads More Usable

      We announced not too long ago that we have successfully integrated the tamper-evident boot software Heads into our Librem laptops. Heads secures the boot process so that you can trust that the BIOS and the rest of the boot process hasn’t been tampered with, but with keys that are fully under your control.

      Heads is cutting edge software and provides a level of security beyond what you would find in a regular computer. Up to this point though, its main user base are expert-level users who are willing to hardware flash their BIOS. The current user interface is also geared more toward those expert users with command-line scripts that make the assumption that you know a fair amount about how Heads works under the hood.

    • Keeper Security Reminds Everyone Why You Shouldn’t Use It; Doubles Down On Suing Journalist

      Back in December, we wrote about a blatant SLAPP suit filed by Keeper Security against Ars Technica and its reporter Dan Goodin. Keeper makes a password manager product, and Goodin wrote an article, based on a flaw discovered by Google’s Tavis Ormandy. The flaw impacted the browser extension that works with Keeper’s application. Keeper took offense to certain elements of the article, and in particular to the idea that Microsoft had forced people to install the flawed software (since the flaw was actually in the browser extension, which is optional). Keeper Security also felt that the article implied that users of its software were vulnerable to a broad attack that put their passwords at risk, when the details suggested it was a more narrow (but still pretty bad) flaw that would require a specific set of circumstances to expose passwords, and there was no evidence that such a set of circumstances existed.

    • New cryptojacking attack uses Redis and NSA exploits to infect machines

      After the script completed the Redis scan, it launches another scan process named “ebscan.sh”. This time the new process uses the masscan tool to discover and infect publicly available Windows servers with the vulnerable SMB version.

    • Cyberattack risks mounting for Aussie SMBs: report

      It’s only a matter of time before Australian small businesses are hit hard by a cybersecurity attack but there are things they can do to protect themselves, according to a newly published security report.

    • Memcached DDoS Attacks Slow Down as Patching Ramps Up

      Days after the largest distributed denial-of-service attack in internet history, the attack size of memcached DDoS attacks is now on the decline.

      On March 5, Netscout Arbor Networks reported a 1.7-Tbps DDoS attack that was driven by the amplification of misconfigured memcached servers. While there were some initial fears that the attacks would continue to grow in size, the opposite has happened.

      “We’re still seeing lots of them, but their average size is considerably smaller due to ongoing cleanup and mitigation efforts,” Steinthor Bjarnason, senior network security analyst at Netscout Arbor, told eWEEK.

    • Stack-register Checking

      Recently, Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) described a new type of mitigation he has been working on together with Stefan Kempf (stefan@)…

    • Master password in Firefox or Thunderbird? Do not bother!

      There is a weakness common to any software letting you protect a piece of data with a password: how does that password translate into an encryption key? If that conversion is a fast one, then you better don’t expect the encryption to hold. Somebody who gets hold of that encrypted data will try to guess the password you used to protect it. And modern hardware is very good at validating guesses.

      Case in question: Firefox and Thunderbird password manager. It is common knowledge that storing passwords there without defining a master password is equivalent to storing them in plain text. While they will still be encrypted in logins.json file, the encryption key is stored in key3.db file without any protection whatsoever. On the other hand, it is commonly believed that with a master password your data is safe. Quite remarkably, I haven’t seen any articles stating the opposite.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US Department of Homeland Security has pretty crap, er, cybersecurity

      Now the big problem here is that the systems in question hold not only run-of-the-mill unclassified data but also top secret information. With a lack of security updates, Homeland Security’s data is exposed to an all manner of risks.

    • The Illusion of War Without Casualties

      Last Sunday’s Oscar Awards were interrupted by an incongruous propaganda exercise featuring a Native American actor and Vietnam vet, featuring a montage of clips from Hollywood war movies.

    • Trump’s Video Game Summit: Developers On One Side, Partisan Hack Puritan Cosplayers On The Other

      As we wrote about, the White House’s announcement of a summit with video game executives was initially a one-sided affair, with nobody in the video game industry having any idea what Sarah Sanders was talking about. The White House clarified afterwards that it would be sending out invites to industry representatives after the announcement — which is weird! — and it made good on that promise. We learned several days later that several invites had been accepted from within the industry, such as Robert Altman of Bethesda, Strauss Zelnick of Take-Two, and Michael Gallagher from the Entertainment Software Association. These are pretty much the names you would expect to be called to discuss video game violence, given the games produced by each organization, such as the Grand Theft Auto series.

      Less expected was the list of fierce video game critics that were also invited, including Brent Bozell and Representative Vicky Hartzler of Missouri. Hartzler has been an avid critic of violent video games, while remaining a staunch supporter of gun rights, while Bozell is the founder of the Parents Television Council. The PTC is exactly the type of organization you’re already imagining: a money-making machine built on the premise of the desire for a puritanical entertainment culture and one that is about as partisan as it gets. One other attendee at this summit of great minds was Retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who trains police and advocates that they use more force rather than less, apparently at least in part due to his belief that officers that kill suspects will go on to have the best sex of their lives afterwards — but for some reason still insists that violent video games are horrible and anyone who disagrees is the equivalent of a Holocaust denier.

    • Gang of Four: Senators Call for Tillerson to Enter into Arms Control Talks with the Kremlin

      In a sad commentary on the parlous state of the U.S. media, a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from four United States Senators dated March 8 calling for opening arms control talks with the Kremlin ASAP is nowhere to be found in mainstream newspapers a day after its release on the Senate home page of one of the authors, Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Nothing in the New York Times. Nothing in the Washington Post. And so, it is left to alternative media to bring to the attention of its readership a major development in domestic politics, a significant change in what its own senior politicians are saying should be done about Russia that was brought to our attention by …..the Russian mainstream media including the agency RIA Novosti, RBK, Tass within hours of initial posting.

      What we have is, first, a genuine man bites dog story. Two of the senators who penned the letter, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), have in recent months been among the most vociferous promoters of the unproven allegations of Trump collusion with the Russians. Now they are putting aside for the moment their attacks on Trump and members of his entourage who dared shake hands or share a joke with a Russian ambassador. They are openly calling upon the Secretary of State to send U.S. personnel to negotiate with Putin’s minions over our survival on this planet.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • ‘Entirely your fault!’ Assange says Obama AG forced WikiLeaks to counter-attack with truth

      WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has pinned the blame for the website’s releases ahead of the 2016 presidential election on the Obama administration, as it put him in such conditions where he had “nothing to do but work 24/7.”

      Assange made the quip on Twitter Friday, responding to a two-week-old anti-Russian post by the former Attorney General Eric Holder.

      Holder, who headed the Department of Justice from 2009 to 2015, put forth the usual set of allegations against Moscow, claiming Russia would interfere with the upcoming US midterm elections.

    • Obama administration to blame for WikiLeaks releases, Assange says

      Julian Assange on Friday credited the Obama administration for putting him in place to publish sensitive documents through his WikiLeaks website, including Democratic emails released during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

      Mr. Assange made the remarks on Twitter in response to a tweet last month by Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general in office when the Justice Department initiated its investigation of WikiLeaks following its publication of classified U.S. diplomatic and military documents in 2010.

      “Russian threat to our upcoming elections: do something! Do anything. Impose sanctions overwhelmingly approved by even this dysfunctional congress. Are you simply unfit, without the necessary nerve or do they have something on you? We were attacked!” Mr. Holder tweeted Feb. 20.

    • Landis + Gyr Agrees to Leave Documents Up, Then Sends Notice to Take Them Down

      A Georgia energy company has made two separate attempts to take down public documents that let Seattle residents know how the “smart meters” on their homes work.

      Back in 2016, a local activist obtained two documents from the City of Seattle related to the smart meter technology. But some companies involved in making and maintaining that technology went to court and won a quick order that forcing the documents offline by arguing that information about the city’s meters constituted “trade secrets.”

      EFF fought back, defending Muckrock’s First Amendment right to publish public documents obtained from a public records request. After our intervention, a Washington state court reversed the takedown order. In mid-2016, a settlement was reached with Landis + Gyr and Sensus, two of the companies that had attempted to remove the documents. Lawyers for the two companies explicitly agreed that the documents could remain public and published at Muckrock’s website.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump Wants To Cut Clean Energy Research Funding In Half

      Climate change is expected to drive demand for clean energy in the decades ahead, giving an edge to countries that invest in the manufacture and export of low-carbon technologies.

      Despite this, President Trump is pushing to slash spending on clean energy research, even as America’s chief economic rivals aim to double public funding for the same. In doing so, experts say, the president is threatening to undermine US competitiveness.

      In recent years, technological advances have helped drive down the cost of wind, solar and other advanced energy technologies, boosting sales and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States. Much of that innovation has been fueled by federal funding. A 2013 study found the recent boom in wind and solar patents to be the result of “public investments in R&D and a fast rate of growth in markets for these technologies.”

  • Finance

    • Uber Calls Lenders for $1.25 Billion in Wall Street Shortcut

      [...] The company is seeking a $1.25 billion loan, according to people familiar with the matter. Its new Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi is expected to be there among senior management telling investors why this is a good deal.

      And given Uber’s cash burn and annual loss, investors will probably be asked to assess the company by other metrics. One might be its blended valuation of $54 billion by a SoftBank Group Corp.-led investor group. That made it the biggest venture-backed technology enterprise without a stock listing. Management may also tout the $4.5 billion of cash that company holds on its balance sheet as of December 2017, according to documents seen by Bloomberg.

    • The rules-based system is in grave danger

      Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminium would be just the start

    • West Virginia Strike Highlights Corporate Media’s Atrophied Labor Coverage

      On any given day, the American public can watch one of several Wall Street–focused cable news channels, read numerous high finance–oriented newspapers (as well as ubiquitous business sections in others), or click on a seemingly endless supply of online sites and news apps tracking the profits and losses of US businesses and corporations. It’s not a stretch to say that the business of modern American journalism is, to a stunning degree, about covering business.

      This is not a new phenomenon. In the late 19th century, the New York Times famously adopted a pose of “objectivity”—which soon became the profession’s national animating philosophy—in large part to appeal to a wider business audience and sell more ads. But for much of the 20th century, press attention paid to Wall Street and corporations was coupled with a similar focus on covering unions and labor movements.

    • Brain Prize Laureate Will Donate Some Winnings to Anti-Brexit Group

      Alzheimer’s researcher John Hardy calls the departure “an unmitigated disaster” for science and healthcare in Britain.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Russian [astroturfers] contacted Trump campaign officials through Facebook messages: report

      The Times obtained a copy of the Facebook interaction. However, the Russian account has since been deactivated, meaning only the messages from the Trump campaign page can be seen.

    • Fake news travels six times faster than the truth on Twitter

      An analysis of news stories tweeted by three million people between 2006 and 2017 shows that fake news spreads significantly more than the truth on social media.


      Truthful tweets took six times as long as fake ones to spread across Twitter to 1,500 people – in large part because falsehoods in the sample were 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than the truth, even after accounting for account age, activity level and their number of followers. The most viral fake news was political in nature.

    • 5 Ways to Tell If a Bill Could Actually Become Law
    • Let’s Get Real About Russiagate

      Some on the left are still waving away the inconvenient facts that don’t fit with their politics.

    • Empire strikes back: why former colonies don’t need Britain after Brexit

      The countdown to leave the European Union began in the British summer of 2016, but nobody in the country seemed to know in which direction they were headed. Those who voted to leave don’t know what kind of future they would like; those who voted to stay don’t know what they can do to stop the process they are certain will create only misery. British politicians from the two major parties – Conservative and Labour – aren’t helping.

      The Conservatives are led by a prime minister who voted to stay and seems reluctant to leave the EU; Labour is led by a man who never wanted the UK to join the EU, and must somehow convince voters who wish to remain that he can strike a better bargain.

      A decisive vote would have made the politicians’ job easier. But just over half (52%) voted to leave, and nearly half voted to stay. Britain sees itself as a trading country – the EU began as the Common Market with free movement of goods, capital and people across national borders. Leaving would be easy, some politicians said; there would be new trade deals with the United States and China, as well as with the Commonwealth. Ministers spoke eloquently about re-establishing old ties with Commonwealth countries.

    • Netflix may sign the Obamas in exclusive content deal

      While the types of shows or number of episodes are currently unknown, people familiar with the matter claim the Obamas may produce shows about “inspirational stories.” Other possible show ideas include one in which the former President moderates discussions about topics including health care, climate change, and voting rights, and one in which Michelle Obama highlights topics such as nutrition, something that she emphasized during her time as First Lady.

    • Billionaire Facebook board member Peter Thiel has access to Trump ‘anytime’

      One of Facebook’s first major investors has revealed that he has a direct line to US President Donald Trump, a comment certain to stoke the controversy surrounding the social network and its political influence.

    • The CIA Democrats

      An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.

      If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.

      Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.

    • Mohammed Bin Salman: The Truth Behind The Reformist Facade

      There was a revealing coincidence of timing yesterday. Philip Hammond made a speech in which he pleaded with the EU to allow the UK continued free access to their financial services markets, on the basis of mutually recognised standards. At the same time, Theresa May met the Saudi Crown Prince in Downing Street and discussed specific legal reductions of those standards in the City of London, to allow for the stock exchange flotation of part of Saudi state oil giant Aramco.

      It is symbolic because the toxic addiction of the ruling classes to Saudi cash has been lowering British standards of basic decency for generations. The most blatant example was when Tony Blair as Prime Minister intervened directly in the justice system to prevent the pursuit of corruption charges against the stench-ridden arms dealers of BAE, on grounds of “national security”. The myths about the impartiality of British justice have seldom been so comprehensively exposed. Where there is really dirty money, Blair is seldom far away.

      The use of British supplied weapons by the Saudis to maim and kill children in Yemen on an industrial scale has penetrated public consciousness despite the best efforts of mainstream media to sideline it, and Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely right to highlight the involvement not just of arms manufacturers but of the British military. The government and royal fawning has been accompanied by an extraordinary deluge of pro-Saudi propaganda from the mainstream media this last two days for Saudi Arabia and its “reforming” Crown Prince.

      There is no doubt that Mohammed Bin Salman has shown a ruthless genius in internal power consolidation in Saudi Arabia, with rivals arrested, shaken down or dying by accident. That he is seeking to end corruption appears less probable than that he is seeking to monopolise its proceeds and thus concentrate power, but time will give a clearer picture. There is no evidence whatsoever that Saudi Arabia is stopping its funding of Wahabbist jihadism across the Middle East and South Asia; indeed it has been stepped up by him, as has the bombing of Yemen.

    • Who’s Afraid of Talking With Kim Jong Un?

      And liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, while claiming that he is “all for negotiations,” focuses on his “fear” that Trump “has given North Korea what it has long craved: the respect and legitimacy that comes from the North Korean leader standing as an equal beside the American president.”

      Does Kristof really think peace will be easier to achieve by disrespecting Kim and insisting on his illegitimacy? Deep down, does Kristof care more about one-upmanship than preventing nuclear war?

    • Daniel’s attorney reveals 10 donors have offered to pay million dollar damage fines if adult star spills beans on Trump

      CNN anchor and talk radio host Michael Smerconish got Stormy Daniels attorney Michael Avenatti to reveal that at least ten individuals have come forward with offers to cover any financial repercussions resulting from the former porn star telling her full story about President Donald Trump in spite of a “hush money” settlement negotiated by Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

      Smerconish asked Avenatti about the “disgorgement clause in the contract.

      “What this essentially says that if she violates it, she owes $1 million for every episode that she goes out and speaks in violation of the confidentiality. It occurs to me that Michael Cohen may have made a wise business decision,” Smerconish noted. “Everybody is laughing about him giving her $130,00, if it came from him, but he will get a ten-fold return on that money if in fact she speaks and violates this agreement. That is not a bad return.”

    • Trump’s Travesty of Protectionism

      Trump’s series of threats this week was a one-two punch. First, he threatened to impose national security tariffs on steel and aluminum, primarily against Canada and Mexico (along with Korea and Japan). Then, he suggested an alternative: He would exempt these countries if they agree to certain U.S. demands.

      But these demands make so little economic sense that they should be viewed as an exercise in what academia used to call power politics. Or in Trump’s world, Us versus Them, a zero-sum game in which he has to show that America wins, they lose.

      It won’t work. Trump’s diplomatic ploy with Mexico is to say that he’ll be willing to exempt them from the steel and aluminum tariffs if they agree to (1) build the wall that he promised to make them build, and (2) give other special favors to the United States. He can then go to American voters and say, “See, we won; Mexico lost.”

    • The Irony: TEDx Presenter Censored During TEDx Censorship Conference

      In what was initially thought to be a touch of performance art at a March 5 TEDxBrussels talk concerning global censorship, a male event organizer forcibly dragged the female speaker off the stage. It was, however, not an act.

      TEDxBrussels presenter Deborah De Robertis was in the middle of a speech on censorship of her artwork, when she was forcibly grabbed by one of the organizers of the event, and dragged off the stage. The act was so audacious that audience members initially applauded, thinking that the assault was part of her speech.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Avid Bookshop claims discrimination and censorship, shuts down book fair

      Avid Bookshop shutdown their annual book fair at Athens Academy on March 7 in response to a parent complaining about a featured book that included a gay character.

      The book in question, titled “The Best Man,” is written by award-winning author Richard Peck and tells a “story of small-town life, gay marriage and everyday heroes,” according to Avid’s website. The book is classified as a children’s middle grade book by Penguin Random House.

    • Tech companies urge last-minute changes to sex trafficking bill

      Many platforms worry that carving out exceptions to Section 230 will hurt free speech online and burden smaller companies, while doing little to effectively combat online sex trafficking.

    • Indie Bookstore Cries Censorship After Gay Marriage Title Pulled from School Book Fair

      A book about gay marriage has sparked tensions in Athens, Ga., leading to a dispute between an indie bookstore and a private school. Avid Bookshop abruptly pulled out of a multi-day book fair at Athens Academy on Wednesday, after the school demanded that the bookstore remove copies of Newbery medalist Richard Peck’s The Best Man from its display.

    • School criticised for censorship of textbooks

      A state school has been criticised for removing references to homosexuality and women socialising with men from a GCSE textbook.

      An image of Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers was among the content blocked out by Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School – an Orthodox Jewish school in Stamford Hill, east London – in copies of the book seen by Humanists UK.

      A spokesman for the school said it was well known that it redacts textbooks, and this is done to “protect girls from sexualisation” in line with parents’ wishes and religious beliefs.

    • State-funded faith school bans internet and censors women’s knees

      A state-funded faith school has come under scrutiny regarding its policies that ban all internet use for pupils and censor photos in textbooks that show women’s legs above the knees.

      The Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School serves the Orthodox Jewish Charedi community in Stamford Hill, North London.

      Humanists UK accused the school of operating a “censorious, homophobic and misogynistic approach to education” – but the school said its policies were to “protect our girls from sexualisation”.

    • UK school criticised for censorship of textbooks

      A state school in England has been criticised for removing references to homosexuality and women socialising with men from a GCSE textbook.

      An image of Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers was among the content blocked out by Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School – an Orthodox Jewish school in Stamford Hill, east London – in copies of the book seen by Humanists UK.

    • Freedom to Speak panel talk censorship and accessibility

      TRU was host to a heated debate during the Freedom to Speak talk on Feb. 27 as part of the Freedom to Read week. A small panel of lawyers, journalists and library workers expressed their thoughts on matters such as censorship, book bans and the role of accessibility of media while Judy Moore moderated in place of Shelley Joyce.

      Panellists such as Mel Rothenburger were not afraid to speak to controversial issues, saying that we must embrace censorship and self-censorship within our society, as it is crucial to our democracy.

      “On the one hand, intellectual freedom, freedom of speech, is essential to the operation of our democracy, but in fact if we had absolute freedom of speech, democracy would collapse,” Rothenburger said, as he started the discussion.

    • How TRON (TRX) Is Going to Fight Online Censorship

      By now, most people are acquainted with the internet censorship efforts imposed by China, Russia and parts of the Middle East. However, there is a closer to home version of censorship taking place on social media platforms. YouTube has been accused by many, particularly those with a conservative (U.S. politics) viewpoint, of having their videos demonetized (i.e. not available for advertisement revenue) or removed altogether. Twitter has followed a similar tactic, banning accounts associated with the umbrella category of “hate speech,” despite no clearly defined guideline of what is and what is not acceptable for posting.

    • Google Is Back In Canadian Court to Fight Global Search Censorship

      Google made its case in court this week against Canadian courts having the ability to order the internet search giant to block search results worldwide.

      Google’s lawyer—who appeared in a British Columbia court earlier this week—was armed with a recent California ruling that said one country’s judges deciding what the rest of the world sees in their search results “threatens free speech on the global internet.”

      This week’s court appearances are the latest chapter in a legal drama that began in 2014. In that year, a lawsuit between two small companies (one had accused the other of selling knockoff goods online) resulted in an injunction ordering Google to de-list search results for the defendant’s company globally. That ruling was upheld by a BC appeals court in 2015, and again by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2017.

    • Senators Pressure Platforms for Private Censorship of Drug Information

      Last month Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Kennedy (R-La.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) separately wrote to Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Pinterest accusing them of facilitating trade in illegal narcotics and prescription drugs.

    • Censorship Stinks in Sibley, Iowa

      When the agricultural blood processing plant moved to Sibley, Iowa, five years ago, many people welcomed the prospect of new jobs to the community of just 2,800. But when the plant started making a smell that Josh Harms describes as being like “rancid dog food,” some people changed their mind.

      Harms, who grew up in Sibley, decided to use his skills as a web developer to help his community. He created a website called “Should you Move to Sibley?” that was critical of the city’s inaction in addressing the smell. But as an ACLU lawsuit filed this week on behalf of Harms details, the city of Sibley didn’t like his criticism and tried to intimidate him into silence.

    • Wikimedia’s Transparency Report: Guys, We’re A Wiki, Don’t Demand We Take Stuff Down
    • Free Speech Can Be Messy, but We Need It

      Two students found themselves embroiled in the biggest free speech controversies of recent years. Peter Cytanovic became the face of white nationalism when a picture of him snarling, holding a tiki torch at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville went viral. On the opposite end of the political spectrum, graduate Colin Kaepernick went on to the NFL and used his position to highlight police brutality and racial injustice by taking a knee during the national anthem. Both men became incredibly controversial for their speech. There were calls and campaigns for them to be expelled for their opinions.

    • Video Game Developer Says He Won’t Send a Takedown of a Bad Review, Does So Anyway

      Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we get into a Twitter fight with someone who gave our video game a bad review on YouTube. And when we say that we would never send a DMCA takedown for it. And when one mysteriously turns up anyway.

      This is one of the most confusing series of events ever to surround a takedown. First, Richard La Ruina, a man who claims to be a top pickup artist, created a somewhat controversial dating game called Super Seducer. Then, YouTuber IAmPattyJack (also known as Chris Hodgkinson) covered the game in his “_____ Is the Worst Game Ever” series.

    • If You Think SESTA Will Help Victims Of Sex Trafficking, Read This Now

      Earlier this week, I asked for anyone to explain how SESTA would actually stop any sex trafficking. No one had an answer. In that post, I detailed how it would actually make it harder to stop sex trafficking on various platforms. That’s not because I’m knowledgeable about sex trafficking — but I have spent 20 years documenting what happens when you make platforms liable for the actions of their users. And the result is never what the people pushing for such liability expect. It’s almost always incredibly counterproductive and dangerous.

      But someone who does understand issues related to sex work and sex trafficking is Alana Massey, who has written a really fantastic piece detailing just how much harm SESTA will do to both sex workers and victims of sex trafficking. We’ve already discussed how FOSTA expands the scope of the law away from just “sex trafficking” to cover all sex work. And in bolting that together with SESTA, which punches a giant hole (surrounded by vague untested standards) into CDA 230, it also creates a ridiculous moderator’s dilemma for any website. Massey details what that will actually mean.

    • If You Care About Sex Trafficking, Trust People in the Sex Trades — Not Celebrities

      In practice, that means that when a belligerent troll defames me on Facebook, I can’t hold Mark Zuckerberg legally responsible. If an icy-veined psychopath posts a YouTube rant about how One Direction was better without Zayn, I can’t bill my anger management class fees to Susan Wojcicki. And if an incensed and increasingly organized coalition of current and former workers in the sex trade takes to Twitter to call Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers a pair of hypocrites who wouldn’t know a decent joke if it literally killed them as the punch line, Schumer and Meyers couldn’t force Jack Dorsey to kick us off. (Though hey, he still might try to.)

      Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information. The nation’s largest network of anti-trafficking organizations, The Freedom Network, is all but begging legislators not to tamper with Section 230 of the CDA.

      This is because the new legislation would threaten to criminalize peer-to-peer resource sharing that makes people in sex work safer and more connected. The very websites that these bills enable law enforcement to criminalize are precisely where I found the generous communities and actionable advice I needed to get out of and avoid exploitative sex work situations going forward. Though the bill is meant to target sites hosting sex work advertisements, it covers online forums where sex workers can tip each other off about dangerous clients, find emergency housing, get recommendations for service providers who are sex worker-friendly, and even enjoy an occasional meme. These are often on the same websites where advertisements are hosted.

    • China silences critics of move to abolish term limits for Xi

      The day China’s ruling Communist Party unveiled a proposal to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely as Mao Zedong did a generation ago, Ma Bo was so shaken he couldn’t sleep.

      So Ma, a renowned writer, wrote a social media post urging the party to remember the history of unchecked one-man rule that ended in catastrophe.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Senators Introduce New Bill to Protect Digital Privacy at the Border

      Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced a new bill (S. 2462) that would better protect the privacy of travelers whose electronic devices—like cell phones and laptops—are searched and seized by border agents. While the new bill doesn’t require a probable cause warrant across the board like the Protecting Data at the Border Act (S. 823, H.R. 1899), it does have many positive provisions and would be a significant improvement over the status quo.

      The Leahy-Daines bill, which currently has the long title of “A bill to place restrictions on searches and seizures of electronic devices at the border,” applies to U.S. persons, meaning U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. The bill places separate restrictions based on the type of search conducted: manual or forensic.

    • Facebook’s Onavo VPN for iOS sucks up more data than you’d expect

      Following the news that Onavo Protect for iOS effectively installed spyware on iPhones and iPads, security researcher Will Strafach dug deeper into the issue and found that it was using the Packet Tunnel Provider app extension to syphon data back to Facebook even when the VPN wasn’t being used.

    • Facebook’s data-collecting VPN company has found a way to collect even more data

      Once Bolt is used to lock a given app, Onavo will know how often the user is unlocking that app, a crucial source of user data that can be funneled back to Facebook. The app also reports back general device and network information.

    • Facebook starts trialling controversial facial tagging feature in Europe

      The new facial recognition features, which Facebook first announced back in December, will allow users to find photos they haven’t been tagged in and to get alerts when a stranger uses their photo as their profile picture, a la Catfish.

      The biometric functionality, which will also look to help those with visual impairments by describing photographs.

    • What’s the Geek Take on the GDPR?

      The amount of geekery and hackage required to bring companies into compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR) must be huge.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ICE Cruelty Knows No Bounds

      In an act of senseless cruelty, U.S. immigration authorities separated a Congolese mother and six-year-old daughter who had come to the United States last November seeking asylum. But this isn’t an isolated incident.

      The mother, Ms. L, has said that after four days in detention, authorities came and took her daughter away with no explanation and flew the child 2,000 miles away to a shelter for “unaccompanied” minors in Chicago. Ms. L could hear her screaming from the other room.

    • Court Moves Business Owner One Step Closer To Getting Paid Back For Vehicle DEA Destroyed In A Failed Drug Sting

      Almost seven years ago, DEA agents borrowed a truck (and an employee) from Craig Thomas Expeditors. Craig Patty, proprietor and employer of Lawrence Chapa, had no idea this was happening. The DEA never approached Patty and, for all he knew, Chapa was taking the truck down to Houston for some service. This was all a ruse. The DEA loaded Patty’s truck with marijuana (and his driver) and went down to Houston to engage in a drug sting.

      This wasn’t the first sting the DEA had deployed using Patty’s truck and his driver. But it was the last. Instead of a controlled purchase followed by several arrests, the DEA ran into an ambush instead. Patty’s truck was riddled with bullets, as was Patty’s driver. In the middle of it all, a plainclothes cop from one Texas agency was shot by a plainclothes cop employed by another.

      After this debacle, Patty was finally informed that his truck and employee had been part of a tragic DEA misfire. He was also informed that the federal government would not be shelling out a single cent to repair the $100,000 worth of damage to the truck. (It said even less about the cost of the life it had taken from Patty’s driver.) The DEA said it did not have to pay anything for the damage because it occurred during a law enforcement operation. Patty’s insurance company said the same thing.

    • A sheriff’s deputy had his ex-wife arrested because he didn’t like what she wrote about him on Facebook
    • In an audit of supply chain partners, Apple found increased labor violations in 2017

      The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to the supply chain.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Trump Promises Copyright Crackdown as DoJ Takes Aim at Streaming Pirates

        President Trump says the US is “acting swiftly on intellectual property [sic] theft”, noting that the country cannot “allow this to happen as it has for many years.” Coincidentally, or not, a panel in Capitol Hill yesterday discussed the streaming box threat, with the MPAA revealing that the Department of Justice is looking at “a variety of candidates” for criminal action.

      • ISP Wants EU Court Ruling on Identifying ‘Pirating’ Subscribers

        Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof has appealed a ruling that requires the company to hand over subscriber data of alleged pirates to the police. Bahnhof maintains that this goes against EU regulations since piracy is not a ‘serious crime’. The provider is therefore requesting an opinion from the EU Court of Justice on the matter.

      • “Large Scale” Music Pirate Settles With BREIN For 10,000 Euros

        A pirate who uploaded large volumes of music to the Internet without permission has agreed to pay Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN 10,000 euros ($12,374) to avoid a lawsuit. Although the individual uploaded the content to the newsgroups, which are sometimes considered to be more secure, BREIN forced his Usenet provider to hand over his details, making it easy to track him down.

      • Streaming Link Search Engine Alluc Shuts Down

        After 13 years, the popular streaming link search engine Alluc is shutting down. The people behind the site, which was regularly used by pirates, say they will focus on other projects instead. The team still see a future for “uncensored search” and hope someone else will fill the gap the site leaves behind.

      • Court Orders Copyright Troll To Post $10,000 Bond After He Lied About His Client’s Licensing Agreement

        Richard Liebowitz of Liebowitz Law Firm has had a bad couple of weeks in court. Unfortunately for him, as one of the most prolific copyright trolls, that’s kind of where he makes his home. According to two recent orders handed down by two different judges, Liebowitz has filed more than 500 copyright cases in the Southern District of New York alone over the last two years, most often representing photographers.

        Booth Sweet LLP — which has gone head-to-head with other copyright trolls — pointed out the most recent loss Liebowitz has suffered. His lawsuit is still ongoing, but the court has ordered him to post a $10,000 bond to cover the legal fees he’ll be responsible for if he loses. And if a judge is ordering a bond, it’s likely because the judge expects the lawsuit to end badly for the person ordered to front the cash.

      • News Publishers Ask For Monopoly Powers To Fight Back Against Google/Facebook Monopoly

        Cool. Cool. More two wrongs make a right legislation is being routed through the federal government. The first wrong? Facebook and Google have “too much” power, apparently, and they’re strangling the life out of news agencies. Allegedly. This would seem to raise antitrust issues, if they’re actually big enough to throttle newspapers and other publishers into submission. That’s a big if, but why wait until the facts are in to decide? How do you fight a supposed monopoly? By allowing more monopoly, apparently.

      • U.S. Border Seizures of DMCA Circumvention Devices Surges

        New data released by Homeland Security shows that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized significantly more DMCA circumvention devices in 2017. The seizures, which includes mod chips for gaming consoles, increased 324% compared to the year before, although the actual number remains fairly low.


        What we did notice is that the International Intellectual Property [sic] Alliance (IIPA) recently framed streaming boxes as possible circumvention tools. The strong enforcement focus of rightsholders on these devices may have been communicated to border patrols as well.


Links 9/3/2018: GNOME 3.28 RC2, Nageru 1.7.0, LLVM 6.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Ad-Blocker Ghostery Just Went Open Source—And Has a New Business Model

    In privacy-focused, anti-establishment corners of the internet, going open source can earn you a certain amount of street cred. It signals that you not only have nothing to hide, but also welcome the rest of the world to help make your project better. For Ghostery though, the company that makes Edward Snowden’s recommended ad blocker, publishing all its code on GitHub Thursday also means clearing up some confusion about its past.

  • Ghostery tool for web privacy goes open source

    Ghostery, a browser extension that blocks advertisers and web publishers from tracking your online behavior, has opened up its code so anyone with some programming chops can see exactly what’s going on.

    Making Ghostery open-source software — a program anyone can copy, modify and distribute — means it’s now possible for interested outsiders to get involved in its development, said Jeremy Tillman, director of product at Ghostery. And it should help clear the air lingering around Ghostery because of how its owner until last year, Evidon, did business.

  • Ad Blocker Ghostery Is Going Open Source to Win Back Some Privacy Points

    The ad blocker Ghostery is shaking up its business model and open-sourcing its code in a bid to earn more consumer trust. The company faced criticism last year over its business model, which involved selling anonymized user data to businesses—not the kind of behavior you’d expect from a privacy tool.

    Now, Ghostery is ditching that model in favor of two new revenue streams: Ghostery Insights and Ghostery Rewards. Insights will be a paid analytics service that gives researchers access to data about ads and trackers that Ghostery picks up as it blocks them, Wired reports. Rewards is a consumer-focused affiliate marketing program. If users opt in, they’ll be offered occasional deals on products they might be interested in—a sort of tailored-down version of the ads they’d be seeing constantly if they weren’t using Ghostery.

  • Ad-blocker and privacy tool Ghostery goes open source, and has new ways to make money

    In an attempt to improve trust and transparency, ad-blocking tool Ghostery has gone open source. It comes after Ghostery was acquired by Cliqz last year and raised a few eyebrows with the business model it put in place.

  • Ghostery: open source and new business model

    The source code of the privacy extension Ghostery for the web browsers Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Edge, has been published on GitHub by the development company.

    Ghostery is a very popular browser extension. On Firefox, it is one of seven extensions with more than 1 million users; and on Chrome, it has more than 2.8 million active users.

  • Open Source Blockchain Developers For Hire Via FundRequest

    FundRequest is envisioned as a decentralized marketplace designed to help companies who need open source blockchain software work find qualified help. The platform, now in beta, will allow anyone to fund projects and reward developers for their work.

  • Unchained Capital Open-Sources Multisig Ethereum Smart Contract and dApp
  • Events

    • #ilovefs Report 2018

      On Wednesday 14th of February, our community celebrated the annual “I love Free Software Day”. A day to declare love to the communities most important to you as well as saying “Thank You” to the Free Software projects surrounding us every single day. The Free Software Foundation Europe also wants to thank everyone who cheered and contributed to make this day as special as it could be.

      We counted hundreds of Tweets, Toots and Posts both on Twitter and the Fediverse as well as tens of blog posts, photos and artworks all showing love to the countless of people out there contributing to Free Software every day, be it in the form of code, translations, documentation, community work, designing or managing. Thank you very much to all of you amazing people!

    • Looking for New Writers and Meet Us at SCaLE 16x
    • China SDN/NFV Conference

      China SDN/NFV Conference is the official annual gathering of the China SDN/NFV Industry Alliance. It is co-organized by China Institute of Communications (CIC) and China Communications Standards Association (CCSA). In addition, the Conference is further supported by China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, Ministry of Industry & Information Technology. This influential group represents the guiding light and driving force for accelerating the research and development, commercialization and enduser adoption of software defined networking and network function virtualization.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla experiment aims to reduce bias in code reviews

        Mozilla is kicking off a new experiment for International Women’s Day, looking at ways to make open source software projects friendlier to women and racial minorities. Its first target? The code review process.

        The experiment has two parts: there’s an effort to build an extension for Firefox that gives programmers a way to anonymize pull requests, so reviewers will see the code itself, but not necessarily the identity of the person who wrote it. The second part is gathering data about how sites like Bugzilla and GitHub work, to see how “blind reviews” might fit into established workflows.

      • Changing your primary email in Firefox Accounts

        Our team kept putting this feature off because of the complexity and all the components involved. While the final verdict on how well this retains users is not out, I am happy that we were able to push through these and give a long requested feature to our user base. Below is a usage graph that shows that users are already changing their address and keeping their account updated.

      • Setting the stage for our next chapter

        Building on this momentum, we are making two important changes to our leadership team to ensure we’re positioned for even greater impact in the years to come. I’m pleased to announce that Denelle Dixon has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Mark Mayo has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.

      • Theme API Update
      • HackRice 7.5: How “uFilter” was born

        uFilter is a smart web extension made to help people browse the web without seeing content they don’t like to see. Bringing the power to choose what to see back to users. The user has a list of buttons as filters they can choose. Either individual or more than one at a go. The process is simple and subtle: check off the type of content you want to avoid and let us handle the rest! Questionable content is blurred out, if you wish to see it nonetheless you can click to reveal the text.

      • MDN Changelog for February 2018
      • L10n Report: March Edition
      • A New Preferences Parser for Firefox

        Firefox’s preferences system uses data files to store information about default preferences within Firefox, and user preferences in a user’s profile (such as prefs.js, which records changes to preference values, and user.js, which allows users to override default preference values).

      • Hands-On Web Security: Capture the Flag with OWASP Juice Shop

        As a developer, are you confident that you know what you need to know about web security? Wait, maybe you work in infosec. As a security specialist, are you confident that the developers you work with know enough to do the right thing?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM 6.0.0 Release

      I am pleased to announce that LLVM 6 is now available.

      Get it here: https://llvm.org/releases/download.html#6.0.0

      This release is the result of the community’s work over the past six
      months, including: retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation,
      significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by
      default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86
      micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of
      -std=gnu++98, support for some upcoming C++2a features, improved
      optimizations, new compiler warnings, many bug fixes, and more.

    • LLVM 6.0 Released With C++14 Default, Intel/AMD Scheduling Improvements

      Today marks the long-awaited release of LLVM 6.0 as the slightly late half-year update to this open-source compiler stack and its sub-projects like Clang, LLD, etc.

    • Chrome 65, LLVM 6.0.0, Tumbleweed, Kubernetes and More

      The Chrome 65 release has moved to the stable channel. This release includes 45 security fixes and stronger ad blocking. See the log for more details.

      LLVM 6.0.0 is now available. This long-awaited release includes “retpoline Spectre variant 2 mitigation, significantly improved CodeView debug info for Windows, GlobalISel by default for AArch64 at -O0, improved scheduling on several x86 micro-architectures, Clang defaults to -std=gnu++14 instead of -std=gnu++98…many bug fixes and more.” See the release announcement for more info, and download it here.

    • syspatches will be provided for both supported releases

      Good news for people doing upgrades only once per year: syspatches will be provided for both supported releases.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • ​Linux beats legal threat from one of its own developers

      In a German court earlier this week, former Linux developer Patrick McHardy gave up on his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech Europe GmbH. Now, you may ask, “How can a Linux programmer dropping a case against a company that violates the GPL count as a win?”

      It’s complicated.

      First, anyone who knows the least thing about Linux’s legal infrastructure knows its licensed under the GPLv2. Many don’t know that anyone who has copyrighted code in the Linux kernel can take action against companies that violate the GPLv2. Usually, that’s a non-issue.

      People who find violations typically turn to organizations such as the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to approach violators. These organizations then try to convince violating companies to mend their ways and honor their GPLv2 legal requirements. Only as a last resort do they take companies to court to force them into compliance with the GPLv2.

    • prove you are not an Evil corporate person

      Google is known to be deathly allergic to the AGPL license. Not only on servers; they don’t even allow employees to use AGPL software on workstations. If you write free software, and you’d prefer that Google not use it, a good way to ensure that is to license it under the AGPL.

      I normally try to respect the privacy of users of my software, and of personal conversations. But at this point, I feel that Google’s behavior has mostly obviated those moral obligations. So…

      Now seems like a good time to mention that I have been contacted by multiple people at Google about several of my AGPL licensed projects (git-annex and either keysafe or debug-me I can’t remember which) trying to get me to switch them to the GPL, and had long conversations with them about it.

      Google has some legal advice that the AGPL source provision triggers much more often than it’s commonly understood to. I encouraged them to make that legal reasoning public, so the community could address/debunk it, but I don’t think they have. I won’t go into details about it here, other than it seemed pretty bonkers.

      Mixing in some AGPL code with an otherwise GPL codebase also seems sufficient to trigger Google’s allergy. In the case of git-annex, it’s possible to build all releases (until next month’s) with a flag that prevents linking with any AGPL code, which should mean the resulting binary is GPL licensed, but Google still didn’t feel able to use it, since the git-annex source tree includes AGPL files.

      I don’t know if Google’s allergy to the AGPL extends to software used for drone murder applications, but in any case I look forward to preventing Google from using more of my software in the future.

    • CLA vs. DCO: What’s the difference?

      In your open source adventures, you may have heard the acronyms CLA and DCO, and you may have said “LOL WTF BBQ?!?” These letters stand for Contributor License Agreement and Developer Certificate of Origin, respectively. Both have a similar intent: To say that the contributor is allowed to make the contribution and that the project has the right to distribute it under its license. With some significant projects moving from CLAs to DCOs (like Chef in late 2016 and GitLab in late 2017), the matter has received more attention lately.

      So what are they? The Contributor License Agreement is the older of the two mechanisms and is often used by projects with large institutional backing (either corporate or nonprofit). Unlike software licenses, CLAs are not standardized. CLAs can vary from project to project. In some cases, they simply assert that you’re submitting work that you’re authorized to submit, and you permit the project to use it. Other CLAs (for example the Apache Software Foundation’s) may grant copyright and/or patent licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The benefits of setting professional goals in the open

      Get the newsletter

      Join the 85,000 open source advocates who receive our giveaway alerts and article roundups.

      Self-assessments—reflection of your current abilities, and identification of areas that need focus to create future professional opportunities—are integral to personal development. In open organizations, self-assessments are most effective when they’re transparent and collaborative. I’d like to share the simple process I followed when opening up my own self-assessment, so you’ll have some ideas you can take forward to start your own collaborative skills assessment.

    • Open Data

      • Open-source data governance builds trust for accountability, security

        The challenge of managing data access, accountability and security, collectively known as data governance, is bringing companies together to create a standardized, holistic solution. Hortonworks Inc., an enterprise data management software company, is seeking to unify the data management experience across multiple industries by leveraging open-source technology to create a common trusted framework.

        “We don’t want to be just a streaming engine or just a tool for … creating pipes and data flows and so on. We really want to create that entire experience around what needs to happen for data that’s moving,” said Scott Gnau (pictured), chief technology officer at Hortonworks.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open standards in processor innovation with RISC-V

        Big data applications that analyze very large and disparate datasets using computations and algorithms are spawning. These applications reveal trends, patterns, and associations. These valuable insights connect and drive more precise predictions and enable better decisions to achieve better outcomes. Because big data analysis is based on information captured from the past, today’s applications also require immediate analysis of information as it happens.

        As a result, there’s a parallel track accompanying big data: fast data, where the immediacy of data is critical. Fast data has a different set of characteristics. Fast data applications process or transform data as it is captured, leveraging the algorithms derived from big data to provide real-time decisions and results. Whereas big data provides insights derived from “what happened” to forecast “what will likely happen” (predictive analysis), fast data delivers insights that drive real-time actions. This is particularly beneficial to “smart” machines, environmental monitors, security and surveillance systems, securities trading systems, and applications that require analysis, answers, and actions in real time.

  • Programming/Development

    • Celebrating 24 incredible women on International Women’s Day
    • Raising More than Capital: Successful Women in Technology

      One of my employees chooses a word at the beginning of each year to guide her personal and professional development efforts. Last year the word she selected was “Rise.” She told me it inspired her to elevate not only her skills, but the quality of her relationships, her attitude toward life and her self-confidence. As a female entrepreneur and the CEO of a growing global software company, our conversation led me to reflect on how successful women in technology rise above our challenges.

    • 9 tech influencers you should know

      In 2017, I published a list of ten fantastic people who inspired me. In this post, I’d like to recognize some of the people who have influenced and helped me in my open source and DevOps journey during the past year. This list is 100% personal; there is no particular rhyme or reason to the order. There are also a lot of terrific people I have not included.

    • A quick and easy way to make your first open source contribution

      The best way to level up your programming skills is to code more. The second best way is to read others’ code. What better way to do these things than collaborating in open source projects?

      First Contributions is a project to help you get started with contributing to open source projects. Excited to start your open source journey? Follow the instructions in Readme of the First Contributions project on GitHub.


  • Hybrid cloud security fundamentals: 4 things to know
  • Science

    • Hedy Lamarr – the 1940s ‘bombshell’ who helped invent wifi

      Lamarr’s invention didn’t become widely known until near the end of her life, in the late 1990s. It gained more traction when her obituaries were published in 2000.


      Bombshell is out on Friday.

    • The Psychopath Next Door

      A key to the success of psychopaths in the modern world is found in evolutionary mismatch — a concept that speaks to instances in which an organism finds itself in conditions that do not match the conditions that characterized the evolutionary environment that surrounded that kind of organism in the past. In our modern human social environment, evolutionary mismatch abounds. For the lion’s share of human evolutionary history, our nomadic ancestors lived in groups no larger than 150 (see Dunbar, 1992). Under modern conditions, many of us live in cities with populations that number in the thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. That is an evolutionary mismatch.

      In a careful analysis of the evolutionary origins of psychopaths, A. J. Figueredo and colleagues (2008) argue that modern large-scale societal conditions have unwittingly paved the way for psychopaths. Or, as the authors write, “Psychopaths flourish in mega-cities” (Figuredo et al., 2008).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Injured Nuclear Workers Finally Had Support. The Trump Administration Has Mothballed It.

      An advisory board of scientists, doctors and worker advocates helped ensure that nuclear workers exposed to toxins received proper compensation. The terms of nearly all board members expired last month — and no new members have been appointed.

    • ‘Our Healthcare Crisis Won’t Be Solved Until We Get Private Insurance Out’

      When you hear that Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon have a plan to “fix” healthcare, questions, shall we say, naturally arise about how transformative it’s likely to be, this plan of super-wealthy corporate executives that they insist would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints.”

      But if the plan comes from a group represented as liberal, and its spokespeople talk about “universal coverage” and “healthcare as a right,” and the New York Times declares it “a better single-payer plan,” well, what are you to think?

      Here to help us see what’s going on in a new healthcare proposal that you will be hearing about is Margaret Flowers. Margaret Flowers is co-director of Popular Resistance and coordinator of the national Health Over Profit for Everyone campaign. She joins us now by phone.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • It just got much easier to wage record-breaking DDoSes

      Now, two separate exploits are available that greatly lower the bar for waging these new types of attacks. The first one, called Memcrashed, prompts a user to enter the IP address to be targeted. It then automatically uses the Shodan search engine to locate unsecured memcached servers and abuses them to flood the target. Here’s a screenshot showing the interface: [...]

    • Push to bolster election security stalls in Senate

      But Lankford on Wednesday was forced to table an amendment to a bill moving through the Senate that was aimed at improving information-sharing between federal and state election officials on election cyber threats. State officials objected to the amendment.

    • Senate committee approves bill reorganizing Homeland Security’s cyber office

      A key Senate panel on Wednesday advanced legislation to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that includes a measure reorganizing the department’s cybersecurity wing.

      The bill includes language that would reorganize and rename the office within the department that protects federal networks and critical infrastructure from physical and cyber threats, currently known as the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Under the legislation, the entity would be transformed into an operational agency called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Memcached DDoS: This ‘kill switch’ can stop attacks dead in their tracks

      The 1Tbps-plus memcached amplification attacks that hammered GitHub and other networks over the past week can be disarmed with a “practical kill switch”, according to DDoS protection firm Corero.

    • Researchers Bypassed Windows Password Locks With Cortana Voice Commands

      In Windows 10, the default setting tells Cortana to respond to any voice calling “Hey Cortana,” even when the computer is locked. An alternate setting tries to limit this to just the computer owner by telling Cortana to “try to respond only to me.” With this setting, the user provides voice-command samples to help the virtual assistant fingerprint and recognize it.

    • Cryptojacking attack uses leaked EternalBlue NSA exploit to infect servers [Ed: Microsoft Windows back doors for NSA are now being exploited to infect servers]
    • NSA Exploit Leak is the Gift That Keeps on Giving
    • List Of Hackers Relased By An NSA Leak

      At the point when the leaked version of Territorial Dispute keeps running on a target computer , it checks for signs of 45 distinct sorts of malware—perfectly marked SIG1 through SIG45—via looking for unique documents or registry keys those programs leave on victim machines.

      SIG2 is malware utilized by another known Russian state hacker group, Turla.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • To Stop War, Do What Katharine Gun Did

      Daniel Ellsberg has a message that managers of the warfare state don’t want people to hear.

      “If you have information that bears on deception or illegality in pursuing wrongful policies or an aggressive war,” he said in a statement released last week, “don’t wait to put that out and think about it, consider acting in a timely way at whatever cost to yourself…. Do what Katharine Gun did.”


      Fifteen years ago, “I find myself reading on my computer from the Observer the most extraordinary leak, or unauthorized disclosure, of classified information that I’d ever seen,” Ellsberg recalled, “and that definitely included and surpassed my own disclosure of top-secret information, a history of U.S. decision-making in Vietnam years earlier.” The Pentagon Papers whistleblower instantly recognized that, in the Observer article, “I was looking at something that was clearly classified much higher than top secret…. It was an operational cable having to do with how to conduct communications intelligence.”

      What Ellsberg read in the newspaper story “was a cable from the NSA asking GCHQ to help in the intercepting of communications, and that implied both office and home communications, of every member of the Security Council of the UN. Now, why would NSA need GCHQ to do that? Because a condition of having the UN headquarters and the Security Council in the U.S. in New York was that the U.S. intelligence agencies promised or were required not to conduct intelligence on members of the UN. Well, of course they want that. So, they rely on their allies, the buddies, in the British to commit these criminal acts for them. And with this clearly I thought someone very high in access in Britain intelligence services must dissent from what was already clear the path to an illegal war.”

    • The National Endowment for (Meddling in) Democracy

      But meddling in other countries has been a favorite Washington pastime ever since William McKinley vowed to “Christianize” the Philippines in 1899, despite the fact that most Filipinos were already Catholic. Today, an alphabet soup of U.S. agencies engage in political interference virtually around the clock, everyone from USAID to the VOA, RFE/RL to the DHS—respectively the U.S. Agency for International Development, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Department of Homeland Security. The last maintains some 2,000 U.S. employees in 70 countries to ensure that no one even thinks of doing anything bad to anyone over here.

      Then there is the National Endowment for Democracy, a $180-million-a-year government-funded outfit that is a byword for American intrusiveness. The NED is an example of what might be called “speckism,” the tendency to go on about the speck in your neighbor’s eye without ever considering the plank in your own (see Matthew 7 for further details). Prohibited by law from interfering in domestic politics, the endowment devotes endless energy to the democratic shortcomings of other countries, especially when they threaten American interests.

    • Nevada Supreme Court Overturns Lower Court’s Abysmal Ruling On Las Vegas Shooting Coroner’s Reports

      Prior restraint gets another thumping in court following a truly lousy injunction issued against a Las Vegas newspaper. The Las Vegas Review-Journal requested autopsy reports on victims of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead. The coroner’s office refused and was sued by the newspaper. The judge ruled the paper had a right to access copies of the reports after they were stripped of identifying info.

      All went according to the First Amendment until a family of one of the victims went to court seeking to prevent the publication of Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield’s report. The family argued the report was “confidential” and not subject to disclosure under Nevada’s public record laws.

      This led to a bizarre ruling by the Las Vegas court. First, the court decided there was “no public interest” in the publication of the reports, which was obviously not true. Then it decided just to block the publication of Hartfield’s autopsy. Given the fact the reports were stripped of identifying info before the paper received them, the Las Vegas Review-Journal had no way of knowing which report belonged to the Las Vegas cop. No problem, said the court, we’ll just send the government and the suing family into your offices to retrieve it.

    • Coroner Releases Causes Of Death For All 58 Victims Of Las Vegas Shooting

      All 58 of the people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died of gunshot wounds, the Clark County County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined.

      Nearly all of the fatalities were caused by a single gunshot wound, though six victims died from multiple wounds. Most had been shot in the head, chest or back. The deaths were all ruled homicides.

    • North Korea and South Korea snooker Trump

      South Korean conservatives have had two nightmare scenarios about President Trump: that he would either embroil their country in a ruinous war with North Korea or that he would sell out their interests to the North.

      Trump spent his first year in office lending credence to the first concern. He threatened to rain “fire and fury” down on North Korea. He called its dictator, Kim Jong-un, “Little Rocket Man,” and bragged that his “nuclear button” was much bigger than Kim’s. Administration officials claimed that deterrence couldn’t work and discussed the possibility of a “bloody nose” strike that could have triggered a nuclear war.


      That strategy paid off spectacularly during the “sunshine policy” years of 1998-2008. Progressive governments in Seoul delivered approximately $8 billion in economic assistance and got nothing in return. North Korea reneged on its 1994 pledge to the U.S. to freeze its nuclear development and instead raced ahead with a secret nuclear enrichment program. South Korea’s current president, Moon Jae-in, was a top aide to President Roh Moo-hyun, one of the presidents who pursued the sunshine policy, and evidently he is has not lost his faith in negotiations with the North. Admittedly, from his perspective, it makes sense to do anything possible to stop Trump from starting Korean War II.

      Moon and Kim have, for their own reasons, snookered the credulous American president into a high-profile summit that is likely to end in disaster one way or another. Kim is evidently willing to suspend his nuclear and missile tests while the talks are under way, but this is a minimal concession that can easily be reversed. He is most likely willing to do even that much only to buy time for his engineers to finish developing a nuclear warhead that can fit on an ICBM capable of reaching the U.S.

    • False Alarms and Exaggerated Threats

      Today’s endless “war on terrorism” likewise requires that manufactured fear which be endlessly hyped. Dick Meyer reported for Newsday in 2015 how the threat of terror “is massively exaggerated in both the public and official mind.”

    • The University of Nuclear Bombs

      The University of California is once again bidding to manage Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab at a time when the threat of nuclear war is rising.

      When Nobu Hanaoka was 8 months old, the city where he lived and played was consumed by a fiery hell. On Aug. 9, 1945, a U.S. warplane released an atomic bomb over Nagasaki, Japan. The blast, heat, fire, and radiation from the bomb killed 40,000 people almost instantaneously. Roughly 70,000 died by year’s end. Three days prior, the U.S. military had also exploded an atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Those killed immediately numbered some 90,000. Those dying by the end of 1945 numbered some 140,000.

      Now 73, Hanaoka was too young to remember the blast. But he vividly recalls the sickness and frailty that overcame his mother and sister, who — like tens of thousands of others — died more slowly due to radiation exposure. They both died from leukemia when Hanaoka was 5 years old. “As far back as I can remember, they were both in bed looking very pale,” recalled Hanaoka, in a recent interview.

    • Britain can’t prove that Putin was behind the Skripal poisoning – but we must act nevertheless

      On a wall of GCHQ’s sprawling donut-shaped office in Cheltenham, there is a large screen showing a map of the world – and of cyber-attacks. It seems to show digital missiles being fired every few seconds from Russia and China, hitting targets in Britain and America. But as the spies know, this is little more than educated guesswork. There’s no doubt that the governments of both countries sponsor hacking of Western businesses on an industrial scale, but the serious cyber attacks are so well disguised that it’s almost impossible to trace where they came from. Without proof, it’s hard to complain – or retaliate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • President Trump’s Exaggerated and Misleading Claims on Trade

      In defending his embrace of steep tariffs — and in comments that seem to encourage a trade war — President Trump has repeatedly claimed enormous trade imbalances, unfair practices and an international system that benefits everyone but the United States.

      Mr. Trump’s promises to fix the problems he has identified through an aggressive trade agenda has appeared to unnerve markets, which fell when they opened on Wednesday. The dip came after Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, announced on Tuesday his plans to resign amid an internal White House struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

    • Top Court Throws Out Corporate Sovereignty For All Trade Deals Within EU; Those Involving Other Nations Likely To Suffer Same Fate

      This is a classic case of a government changing its policy, as governments often do, and a company demanding compensation as a result. What this — and the general theory behind ISDS — overlooks is that business is by its nature risky; profits are the reward for taking on risks successfully. Corporate sovereignty demands free insurance for foreign investors, guaranteeing that they will not lose out, whatever happens, without actually needing to pay for a formal insurance policy (which is in any case available for those that want such protection). That kind of guarantee is not something that members of the public ever get for free, so it’s not clear why corporates should either.

    • Mike Elk on West Virginia School Workers Strike

      West Virginia teachers and school staffers, among the lowest paid in the country, won a 5 percent pay raise for all of the state’s public sector workers, after a nine-day walkout over pay and surging healthcare costs. Much coverage, of what there was, was sympathetic; though some reports stuck to corporate media’s old recipe, like the AP piece that said the deal “ended a paralyzing strike that shut students out of classrooms statewide, forced parents to scramble for child care and cast a national spotlight on government dysfunction in West Virginia.” Media will need to shake up their reporting on how workers fight, because it looks like West Virginia won’t be the end of this sort of action.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Gary Cohn served Donald Trump for 14 months, and made billions for his old bosses at Goldman Sachs

      When Donald Trump announced that he would “drain the swamp” by filling his cabinet with lobbyists, billionaires, and political operators, we all braced for an onslaught of rules that benefited the fattest of cats at the expense of everyone else, but Gary Cohn outdid himself.

      During the 14 months that he served as Trump’s chief economic advisor, the former Goldman Sachs president helped deliver a 40% cut in corporate taxes (saving Goldman $1 Billion/year!), as well as a tax-holiday on $3 trillion in corporate money stashed in overseas tax-havens, saving billions more for Goldman’s largest clients. He also preserved the carried-interest tax loophole (which Trump promised to get rid of), ensuring that hedge fund managers would continue to pay a lower tax rate on their billions than their cleaners pay on the $7.55 they earn scrubbing toilets.

    • Raining on Trump’s Parade

      President Trump has asked the Pentagon to plan a military parade in Washington DC on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Democrats have decried the cost and authoritarian implication, and antiwar groups are planning a countermarch. I spoke to Margaret Flowers, medical doctor, Green Party activist, and co-founder of the movement news website Popular Resistance, who is among those organizing the countermarch.

    • Evidence Points to Murdered DNC Staffer as WikiLeaks Source for DNC E-mails

      When 27-year-old Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich was shot dead in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2016, the news had just broken that WikiLeaks was publishing a trove of embarrassing and damning DNC e-mails. And while the official story is that the leaked e-mails had nothing to do with Rich’s murder, that story falls apart under scrutiny.

      That official story is that Rich was killed during a robbery in an area of the city with escalating levels of crime, including armed robbery. But when Rich — who was shot twice in the back at close range — was found, nothing was missing. He was still wearing his watch and expensive jewelry, he still had his phone and his wallet. His father said, “If it was a robbery — it failed because he still has his watch, he still has his money — he still has his credit cards, still had his phone so it was a wasted effort except we lost a life.”

      Last week, The New American published a video of an exclusive interview with legendary political operative Roger Stone, who made it clear that he does not buy the official story. He said, “It is very clear that Seth Rich was murdered for political purposes” and not in a random robbery. He said Rich was murdered because he was the source of the DNC e-mails published by WikiLeaks.

    • How Many Terms Till You’re a Tyrant Ripe for Regime Change?

      Donald Trump caused some concern last week when he appeared to praise Chinese President Xi Jinping’s removal of term limits on the president from the Chinese constitution, clearing the path for him to become “president for life.” At a fundraiser in Florida, Trump said, “He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great.” He then added, to enthusiastic cheers: “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”


      That is a sentence that has recently come up for consideration in other countries too: none more troublingly than Honduras as far as the U.S. reaction goes. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Honduras removed the one-term limit on the president, clearing the way for Juan Orlando Hernández to run for a second term in office. The U.S. has supported Hernández’s bid for a second term though it is not clear the Honduran court had the authority to make that constitutional amendment without a vote by the people. It is also not clear that the court did legitimately make that amendment since a five-member panel and not the full 15-member court voted on the change.

      The same support was not offered to the previous Honduran president, the popularly elected Manuel Zelaya, though he didn’t go as far as Hernández. Zelaya did not touch the constitution, he did not change presidential term limits and he did not run for a second term. He merely opened the constitutional change for discussion. Zelaya only had to announce a plebiscite to see if Hondurans wanted to draft a new constitution for the hostile political establishment to falsely translate his intention into an intention to seek an unconstitutional second term and oust him in a coup.

    • False stories travel way faster than the truth, says study

      Twitter loves lies. A new study finds that false information on the social media network travels six times faster than the truth and reaches far more people.

      And you can’t blame bots; it’s us, say the authors of the largest study of online misinformation.

      Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016 — before Donald Trump took office but during the combative presidential campaign. They found that “fake news” sped through Twitter “farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information,” according to the study in Thursday’s journal Science.

    • How ISIS and Russia Won Friends and Manufactured Crowds

      The online battle against ISIS was the first skirmish in the Information War, and the earliest indication that the tools for growing and reaching an audience could be gamed to manufacture a crowd. Starting in 2014, ISIS systematically leveraged technology, operating much like a top-tier digital marketing team. Vanity Fair called them “The World’s Deadliest Tech Startup,” cataloging the way that they used almost every social app imaginable to communicate and share propaganda: large social networks such as Facebook; encrypted chat apps such as Telegram; messaging platforms including Kik and WhatsApp. They posted videos of beheadings on YouTube, and spoke to their followers on Internet radio stations. Perhaps most visibly, they were on Twitter, which they used for recruiting and for reach. Each time ISIS successfully executed an attack, they used Twitter to claim responsibility and tens of thousands of followers were ready to cheer them on with favorites and retweets. And in one of the pioneering instances of automated, manufactured crowds, thousands of bots were used for amplification and share-of-voice.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Rhode Island proposes blocking all online porn and charging $20 to unblock it

      Rhode Island Democratic state Senators Frank Ciccone (@senatorciccone) and Hanna Gallo (@hannagallo27) have proposed grandstanding, unworkable legislation, “Relating to Public Utilities and Carriers—Internet Digital Blocking” which would mandate the state’s ISPs to identify all the pornography on the [I]nternet, and then block it for all Rhode Islanders, unless those Rhode Islanders specifically requested their porn to be unblocked and paid $20 for the privilege.

    • Navy, Marine Corps leaders warn that China is ‘weaponizing capital’

      “I don’t think they want to fight us, personally, but I think they want to be able to impose their will and use intimidation.”

    • Stop SESTA/FOSTA: Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet

      The U.S. Senate is about to vote on a bill that would be disastrous for online speech and communities.

      The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) might sound appealing, but it would do nothing to fight sex traffickers. What it would do is silence a lot of legitimate speech online, shutting some voices out of online spaces.

      This dangerous bill has already passed the House of Representatives, and it’s expected to come up for a Senate vote in the next few days. If you care about preserving the Internet as a place where everyone can gather, learn, and share ideas—even controversial ones—it’s time to call your senators.

    • More People Realizing That SESTA Will Do A Lot More Harm Than Good

      At this point, it seems fairly clear that Congress simply does not care that SESTA is going to do an awful lot of harm for almost no benefit at all, and is rushing towards a Senate vote. But more and more people outside of Congress are recognizing the problems that it will cause. While all of the supporters of the bill are insisting they’re doing it to “protect” victims of sex trafficking, as we’ve explained SESTA will almost certainly make their lives worse — putting them at much more risk while doing little to nothing to stop actual trafficking.

    • Five Senators Agree: Search Engines Should Censor Drug Information

      The US government would like to be involved in the web censorship business. The anti-sex trafficking bill recently passed by the House would do just that, forcing service providers to pre-censor possibly harmless content out of fear of being sued for the criminal acts of private citizens. Much has been made recently of “fake news” and its distribution via Russian bots, with some suggesting legislation is the answer to a problem no one seems to be able to define. This too would be a form of censorship, forcing social media platforms to make snap decisions about new users and terminate accounts that seem too automated or too willing to distribute content Congressional reps feel is “fake.”

      For the most part, legislation isn’t in the making. Instead, reps are hoping to shame, nudge, and coerce tech companies into self-censorship. This keeps the government’s hands clean, but there’s always the threat of a legal mandate backing legislators’ suggestions.

      Key critic of Russian bots and social media companies in general — Senator Dianne Feinstein — has signed a handful of letters asking four major tech companies to start censoring drug-related material. Her co-signers on these ridiculous letters are Chuck Grassley, Amy Klobuchar, John Kennedy, and Sheldon Whitehouse. As members of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotic Control, they apparently believe Microsoft, Yahoo (lol), Pinterest, and Google should start preventing users for searching for drug information. (h/t Tom Angell)

    • Cross-border collaboration: the antidote to censorship and press intimidation in Thailand

      Facing prosecution, censorship and financial hardship, Thai reporters are finding it more and more difficult to hold the government and corporations to account.

      Thailand has a “strong investigative reporting culture,” said Prangtip Daorueng, an investigative reporter and a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. But attacks against freedom of expression in the recent years have been crippling.

    • Copyright, Censorship, Pepe & Infowars

      If you’re reading this, you’re probably well aware of Pepe the Frog, the cartoon character created by Matt Furie years ago that turned into quite the meme by the 4chan crowd. Over time, the meme morphed into one favored by Trump supporters and the alt-right (though, upset that Pepe has become too “mainstream,” that crowd has moved onto something of a derivative work known as Groyper). As you may have heard, Furie has now decided to sue Infowars over a poster the site is selling that puts together a bunch of… well… the crowd of people you’d expect to be fans of Infowars and Pepe.


      A year or so later, once Pepe had been adopted by the alt-right, Furie still appeared pretty laid back about the whole thing, while making it clear that he, in no way, agreed with the alt-right.

    • Parliament has passed the ‘internet censorship’ bill – here’s what it means for you

      On Tuesday (6 March), Parliament confirmed that the bill will now be transmitted to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, following which it is set to be signed off by the president and will officially come into law.

      The bill had previously come under scrutiny from members of industry and the public, over concerns that it would be used as a means of censorship for online content.

    • Parliament approves “Internet Censorship Bill” – What happens next

      The National Assembly has approved legislation that aims to allow the FPB to regulate the distribution of online content in South Africa.

      Known as the Internet Censorship Bill, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill includes provisions to give the FPB powers to have online content blocked in South Africa.

      This includes “user-generated content”, such as posts published to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media services.

    • Veteran broadcaster on media censorship: History seems to repeat itself
    • Man who complained of odor sues town he says threatened him

      An Iowa man who said his hometown smelled like “rancid dog food” because of an animal food processing plant sued the city Thursday after he says they threatened to silence him.

      Josh Harms with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed suit in U.S. District Court asking a judge to block Sibley officials from making legal threats or taking action to force him to remove criticism from his website.

      Harms created a website entitled, “Should You Move to Sibley, Iowa ?” to point out city officials’ lack of action on the stench from Iowa Drying and Processing, which makes a high-protein animal food supplement from pig blood.

    • Social media censorship is vastly more dangerous than the censored media

      I know objecting to Internet censorship makes me a right-wing Nazi-kissing literal Hitler in the eyes of many in this bizarre funhouse mirror world of online political discourse, but I insist that censorship by powerful corporations is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our fight to survive and thrive as a species in a world that is increasingly imperilled and dominated.

      It has become painfully obvious that political solutions to the problems we face are locked shut to us. Democracy does not exist in America in any meaningful way, and those of us who live outside of America are all subject to the whims of the power establishment which has loosely centralised itself there. Here in Australia, we have paper ballots, exit polls and ranked-choice voting, which is a wet dream for many American election reform advocates.

    • Queen’s Film Theatre accused of censorship in row over ‘gay therapy’ film

      The leader of a Christian organisation who says that gay people “can choose not to live out homosexuality” has accused Queen’s Film Theatre (QFT) of censorship after claiming that it refused to screen a film about people “emerging” from gay lifestyles.

    • Assange Slams UK Government’s Remarks on Freedom of Media in Other Countries

      WikiLeaks whistleblowing website’s founder Julian Assange criticized on Friday remarks of the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva on the situation with the freedom of media in other countries, saying that his own detention results from pressure on media in the United Kingdom.

      “And that is exactly why you have detained me without charge for eight years in violation of two UN rulings and spent over 20 million pounds [$27.8 million] spying on me… Your entire international human rights programme is £10.6m you pathetic frauds,” Assange wrote on his Twitter page.

    • UK is a ‘hypocritical mother f*****’ over free media claim, Julian Assange says

      Julian Assange has said the UK is “hypocritical mother f*****” made up of “pathetic fraudsters.” He was commenting on a tweet from the UK embassy in Geneva promoting “free and independent media.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Notes on Analytics and Tracking in Onavo Protect for iOS

      I found that Onavo Protect uses a Packet Tunnel Provider app extension, which should consistently run for as long as the VPN is connected, in order to periodically send the following data to Facebook (graph.facebook.com) as the user goes about their day:

      • When user’s mobile device screen is turned on and turned off
      • Total daily Wi-Fi data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Total daily cellular data usage in bytes (Even when VPN is turned off)
      • Periodic beacon containing an “uptime” to indicate how long the VPN has been connected
    • FBI again calls for magical solution to break into encrypted phones

      FBI director again laments strong encryption in remarks to Congress
      FBI Director Christopher Wray again has called for a solution to what the bureau calls the “Going Dark” problem, the idea that the prevalence of default strong encryption on digital devices makes it more difficult for law enforcement to extract data during an investigation.

    • FBI Director Says It’s ‘Not Impossible’ To Create Compromised Encryption That’s Still Secure

      Yet Wray continues to believe this can be done. He has yet to provide Senator Ron Wyden with a list of tech experts who feel the same way. The “going dark” part of his remarks is filled with incongruity and non sequiturs. Like this, in which Wray says he doesn’t want backdoors, but rather instant access to encrypted data and communications… almost like a backdoor of some sort.

    • Whistleblower: NSA Spying on Hacking Groups to ‘Swindle’ Congress Out of Money

      A group of Hungarian researchers examined leaked National Security Agency (NSA) documents and reported that the NSA was tracking as many as 45 hacking groups, many of them state-backed in nature.

      John Kiriakou, co-host of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, discussed what this revelation means with William Binney, a famous whistleblower who spent 30 years with the National Security Agency (NSA) before leaving the agency over what he has described as its “totalitarian” approach to surveillance: “better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had.”

    • Supreme Court of Texas Recognizes Patent Agent Privilege

      Texas now recognizes an independent patent agent privilege in Texas state courts. In re Andrew Silver, No. 16-0682 (Texas 2018).

    • FBI Documents Show More Evidence Of Agency’s Sketchy Relationship With Best Buy’s Geek Squad

      Thanks to an FOIA lawsuit, the FBI has finally started handing over documents to the EFF detailing the federal agency’s “partnership” with Best Buy Geek Squad employees. The too-cozy-to-be-Fourth-Amendment-compliant relationship was uncovered during discovery in a child porn prosecution. Produced documents showed the FBI not only paid Geek Squad members to search for child porn, but it actively engaged in recruiting efforts at Best Buy locations.

      The problem with this relationship is the relationship. And the money. While tech repair personnel are expected to turn over discovered child porn to authorities, the active efforts of the FBI alter the incentives, pushing Geek Squad members towards digging through customers’ computers for illicit material, rather than simply reporting what they come across during the course of their work.

    • Google attempts to kill off landlines with voice calling on Google Home

      Google Assistant will be updated this week on Home devices to allow WiFi calling to any number in your contacts or any business in its directory. It doesn’t require a landline and doesn’t cost anything.

    • ISPs a Greater Threat to Online Privacy than Facebook, Google, or the NSA: Survey

      Of the 1,000 individuals who responded to the survey, 25 percent fingered their ISPs as the most likely organization to violate their right to privacy. Facebook ranked second, followed by Google, the National Security Agency (NSA), and e-commerce giant Amazon.

    • FBI paid Geek Squad staff to be informants, documents show

      FBI agents paid employees in Best Buy’s Geek Squad unit to act as informants, documents published Tuesday reveal.

      Agents paid managers in the retailer’s device repair unit to pass along information about illegal content discovered on customers’ devices, according to documents posted online by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital rights group sued the FBI for the documents last year after the bureau denied a Freedom of Information Act request.

    • NSA tracking program watched foreign hackers in action

      According to a report by The Intercept, which obtained the research prior to its official reveal at the Kaspersky Security Summit on March 9, the NSA tracking program aimed to gather information by infecting the same target system as an APT to understand not only when and who threat actors will attack but to find out what was being stolen in real time.

      The NSA tracking tools included instructions to abandon a target system if there was too much risk of being discovered, including when the agency came across unknown malware, as well as instructions to seek help when known malware or “friendly tools” were discovered.

      Satya Gupta, co-founder and CTO at Virsec, a cybersecurity company headquartered in San Jose, Calif., said this was evidence of “the eternal dilemma of spying.”

    • CCTV footage of Kampala hotel where Finnish businessman died was doctored, says ISO

      The Internal Security Organisation (ISO) on Tuesday said the footage that is currently in the hands of security and intelligence agencies on the death of the Finnish national who died at Pearl of Hotel on February 6, in Kampala was manipulated.

    • Fake video? New twist in case of Finnish businessman’s death in Uganda

      Aliganyira said that local police were using doctored footage which contained “insertions, removal of images, creating someone to look like [the victim] yet it wasn’t him.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • SF tech company fired software engineers seeking to organize, union claims

      Most of the engineers were fired Friday, about 10 days after they filed a petition seeking union representation, according to the complaint filed by the CWA’s Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A hearing to determine a date to hold the union vote was scheduled for Thursday.

    • Clinton Township teen charged with felony for school threat

      An 18-year-old student at Chippewa Valley High School was formally charged Monday for a school-related threat posted on social media.

      A few hours after Jacob Michael Graham of Clinton Township was arraigned in 41B District Court, township police arrested another student in an unrelated, similar threat.

      Graham is accused of posting the words “next school shooter” along with a photograph of him holding an AR-15 rifle on Instagram, police said.

    • All This National Champion Wrestler Wants Is a Chance to Compete

      The National Collegiate Wrestling Association won’t let Marina Goocher wrestle men, which means she can’t wrestle.

      Marina Goocher just wants an equal opportunity to wrestle in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association. The NCWA’s response: Build your own women’s team.

      Goocher, a national champion college wrestler in her junior year, is a favorite to win another national championship in a few days. Yet she has been benched for the entire last three regular seasons in her wrestling league, the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA). Despite the male team at University of Michigan-Dearborn having abundant opportunities to train and attend NCWA competitions throughout the season, NCWA rules prohibit Marina from wrestling.

    • Police Union Boss Attacks New DA For Daring To Speak To Police Recruits About Deadly Force

      The residents of Philadelphia elected new District Attorney Larry Krasner because he wasn’t like the long line of police misconduct enablers that preceded him. Fed up with crumbling relationships between law enforcement officers and the people they served, Krasner secured the position by promising to clean house and start representing the people’s best interests, rather than just law enforcement’s.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Senator Introduces Fake Net Neutrality Bill Championed By ISPs Then Pretends He’s Fighting Against Them

      The bill, introduced by Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, mirrors legislation that has been pushed in the House that would enshrine the ability for ISPs to screw you over.

    • Cable’s Top Lobbyist Again Calls For Hyper Regulation Of Silicon Valley

      For years telecom monopolies have downplayed the lack of competition in the broadband sector, and the chain reaction of problems this creates for everybody (from privacy infractions to net neutrality violations). At the same time, large ISP lobbyists (and the regulators, politicians and policy flacks paid to love them) have insisted that it’s Silicon Valley companies the public really need to worry about. As a result, ISPs like Comcast and AT&T routinely insist that we need new regulations governing companies like Google and Facebook, but entrenched natural monopolies should be allowed to do pretty much whatever they’d like.

      This of course requires you ignore a few things. One, that the lack of competition in broadband makes the two sectors an apples to oranges comparison. Customers frustrated by Facebook’s bad behavior can vote with their wallets, something most Comcast customers can’t do. You’re also supposed to ignore the fact that large ISPs are simply trying to saddle Google and Facebook with additional regulation because they’re increasingly trying to challenge them for advertising revenue in the video and media space.

    • “Dig Once” rule requiring fiber deployment is finally set to become US law

      The Dig Once policy “mandates the inclusion of broadband conduit—plastic pipes which house fiber-optic communications cable—during the construction of any road receiving federal funding,” an announcement from Eshoo said.

    • GOP senator offers his own net neutrality bill

      For their part, Democrats are pushing legislation that would use authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the FCC’s repeal vote. Their CRA bill currently has 50 Senate backers, including GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), meaning it needs just one more Republican supporter for it to pass the chamber.

    • GOP tries to block state net neutrality laws and allow paid prioritization

      Republicans in Congress are continuing to push a net neutrality law that would preempt state net neutrality rules and let Internet service providers charge online services for prioritized access to Internet users.

      The Open Internet Preservation Act would prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful Internet content but clear the way for paid prioritization or “fast lanes.”

    • Terrified Of Losing In Court, ISPs (With Senator John Kennedy’s Help) Push Hard For A Fake Net Neutrality Law

      ISPs are worried that the FCC’s assault on net neutrality won’t hold up in the face of court challenge. And they should be.

      By law, the FCC has to prove that the broadband market changed substantially enough in just a few years to warrant such a severe reversal of popular policy. And the numerous lawsuits headed the FCC’s direction (including one by nearly half the states in the union) will also take aim at all of the shady and bizarre behaviors by the FCC during its ham-fisted repeal, from making up a DDOS attack to try and downplay the John Oliver effect, to blocking a law enforcement investigation into the rampant fraud and identity theft that occurred during the public comment period.

      With the FCC repeal on unsteady legal ground, ISPs have a back up plan for in case the FCC and its mega-ISP BFFs lose in court: bogus net neutrality legislation.

      Last fall, AT&T-favorite Masha Blackburn introduced one such bill in the House dubbed the “Open Internet Preservation Act.” While the bill’s stated purpose was to reach “compromise” and “put the net neutrality debate to bed,” the bill’s real intent is notably more nefarious. While the bill would ban behaviors ISPs had no real interest in (like the outright blocking of websites), it contained numerous loopholes that allowed anti-competitive behavior across a wide variety of fronts, from zero rating tactics that exempt an ISPs own content from usage caps, to interconnection shenanigans or anti-competitive paid prioritization.

  • DRM

    • Vendor lock-in, DRM, and crappy EULAs are turning America’s independent farmers into tenant farmers

      “Precision agriculture” is to farmers as Facebook is to publishers: farmers who want to compete can’t afford to boycott the precision ag platforms fielded by the likes of John Deere, but once they’re locked into the platforms’ walled gardens, they are prisoners, and the platforms start to squeeze them for a bigger and bigger share of their profits.

    • America’s Farmers Are Becoming Prisoners to Agriculture’s Technological Revolution

      Big data, proprietary systems, and restrictive EULA agreements threaten farmers, but the right to repair movement shows they are fighting back.

    • The Right to Repair Battle Has Come to Silicon Valley

      Right to repair legislation has considerable momentum this year; 18 states have introduced it, and several states have held hearings about the topic. In each of these states, big tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, John Deere, and AT&T and trade associations they’re associated with have heavily lobbied against it, claiming that allowing people to fix their things would cause safety and security concerns. Thus far, companies have been unwilling to go on the record to explain the specifics about how these bills would be dangerous or would put device and consumer security in jeopardy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 11 Asia-Pacific states to sign revamped TPP trade deal without United States

      But the revamped deal, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), is still a significant achievement that sends a message of openness, its supporters said ahead of the signing ceremony in Santiago, Chile.

    • Trademarks

      • US Generic-Named Food Industries Cry For US Government Help Against ‘Relentlessly Aggressive’ EU

        Something that was unimaginable just a few years ago: What if Americans could not buy ordinary bologna, feta or parmesan cheese? Or worse, make them and export them under those names? The industry group in the United States representing a range of products like those today called on the US government to help them defend their products and their jobs against what they called “purposeful,” “relentless” and “aggressive” efforts by Europe to promote adoption of geographical indications (products named for places and with particular characteristics) to the detriment of the US common-named goods.


        “Unfortunately, our members repeatedly witness the EU trying to abuse this respect for truly unique products by expanding their GI monopolies to cover clearly generic names,” the group said. “An example of this indefensible voracious behavior is the EU’s approach to dealing with the GI Parmigiano Reggiano. The EU is not content with having the unique right to just this legitimate term but instead is pushing in many markets to go beyond any reasonable scope of rights in order to bar use by all non-Italians of the generic term “parmesan”. Of course, this is outrageous as parmesan is a type of cheese that has always been recognized around the world as generic.”

    • Copyrights

      • Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week 2018 Highlights Balance in the Copyright System

        The fifth annual Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week took place February 26–March 2, 2018, growing to 153 participating organizations—as well as numerous individuals—celebrating the important and flexible doctrines of fair use and fair dealing worldwide. This year’s event was organized by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and participants included universities, libraries, library associations, and many other organizations, such as Authors Alliance, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the R Street Institute, and Re:Create. Sixty ARL member institutions contributed a wide range of resources this year. Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week was observed around the globe by participants in such countries as Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, and the United States.

      • Playboy Decides Not To Appeal Silly Boing Boing Lawsuit In The Most Petulant Manner Possible

        Well that all happened remarkably quickly. In November, we wrote about Playboy filing a particularly ridiculous lawsuit against the blog Boing Boing for linking to (but not hosting) an Imgur collection and YouTube video highlighting basically all Playboy centerfold images. Boing Boing explained to the court in January that linking is not infringement and the judge dismissed the case in February. And while the court left it open for Playboy to file an amended complaint, it also made it clear that Playboy had basically no chance of winning the case.

      • Torrent Tracking Evidence is Flawed and Unreliable, Alleged Pirate Argues

        The operator of a Tor exit node has asked a federal court in Oregon for a summary judgment of non-infringement. The man, who is accused of sharing a pirated copy of Dallas Buyers Club, argues that the evidence gathering software is flawed and unreliable.


Links 8/3/2018: Vulkan 1.1, Cockpit 163

Posted in News Roundup at 7:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • What is open source programming?

    At the simplest level, open source programming is merely writing code that other people can freely use and modify. But you’ve heard the old chestnut about playing Go, right? “So simple it only takes a minute to learn the rules, but so complex it requires a lifetime to master.” Writing open source code is a pretty similar experience. It’s easy to chuck a few lines of code up on GitHub, Bitbucket, SourceForge, or your own blog or site. But doing it right requires some personal investment, effort, and forethought.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Clang Now Compiles Chrome For Windows

        This is simple story until you start looking just below the surface. The simple part is that Google has manged to use the Clang compiler to compile Chrome targeting Windows. The real question is why?

      • Google Chrome 65 Now Rolling Out to Android Devices to Fight Malvertising

        After releasing the Chrome 65 web browser for Linux, Windows, and Mac operating system, Google now announced today that it started rolling out to Android devices as well.

        Google Chrome 65 (65.0.3325.109) is the first version of the Chromium-based web browser to come with a built-in ad-blocking feature that promises to fight malvertising by preventing websites with abusive ads from opening tabs or new windows and ruin your entire Chrome browsing experience.

    • Mozilla

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Report from the Geniatech vs. McHardy GPL violation court hearing

      Today, I took some time off to attend the court hearing in the appeal hearing related to a GPL infringement dispute between former netfilter colleague Partrick McHardy and Geniatech Europe

      I am not in any way legally involved in the lawsuit on either the plaintiff or the defendant side. However, as a fellow (former) Linux kernel developer myself, and a long-term Free Software community member who strongly believes in the copyleft model, I of course am very interested in this case.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2018

      Given that we’re into March, it seems like a reasonable time to publish our Q1 Programming Language Rankings. As always, these are a continuation of the work originally performed by Drew Conway and John Myles White late in 2010. While the means of collection has changed, the basic process remains the same: we extract language rankings from GitHub and Stack Overflow, and combine them for a ranking that attempts to reflect both code (GitHub) and discussion (Stack Overflow) traction. The idea is not to offer a statistically valid representation of current usage, but rather to correlate language discussion and usage in an effort to extract insights into potential future adoption trends.

    • On standards work

      All of the students are using JavaScript. Where did it come from? Who made it? Who maintains it? Who defines it? Who is in charge? When we talk about open source we think about code, tests, documentation, and how all of these evolve. But what about open standards? What does working on a standard look like?

    • This Week in Rust 224

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed.

    • GitHub open sources Licensed for OSS license compliance

      GitHub announced it is open sourcing its internal tool for automating the licensing process of building and maintaining open source products. The tool, Licensed, is designed to help engineers streamline one of the most complex and crucial parts associated with building open source projects: maintaining code functionality and compliance.

    • GitHub gives businesses a helping hand to open source project licensing

      GitHub has introduced a new way for companies to license their open source projects, with an open source program.

      The company has open sourced ‘Licensed’, which is an internal tool used to automate various open source projects licensing processes that GitHub runs. The program aims to help programmers reduce the time it takes to track down licenses for open source projects, putting their efforts elsewhere.

      Licensed will enable developers to effectively use their code’s open source licensing by spotting potential problems with a program’s dependency license early in its development cycle. By spotting these problems early can help prevent larger issues happening.

    • Why Your Engineers Should Spend More Time Writing Open Source Software Code


  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Hackers Can Use Cortana To Compromise A Locked Windows PC [Ed: Misses the point that Microsoft, by virtue of turning all these PCs into listening devices for Big Brother, already compromised them all.]

      Cortana is the AI-powered digital assistant that has one of its homes in Windows 10. It can do various tasks such as opening apps, doing simple math, suggest discount coupons, etc. But an Israel-based researcher duo, Tal Be’ery and Amichai Shulman, have discovered another thing Cortana can do. It can provide hackers a way to hack a Windows 10 PC, even if it’s locked.

      An attacker can issue voice commands to Cortana and redirect the computer to a non-HTTPS website. The task is accomplished by attaching a USB network adapter to the target PC which intercepts the traffic and redirects the computer to the attacker’s malicious site to download malware.

    • iPhone Locked For 48 Years After 2-Year-Old Enters Wrong Passcode [Ed: Worry not, there are back doors for this bogus privacy and bogus security as FBI has already proven]

      What is the worst thing that can happen when you enter a wrong passcode on your iPhone? Ask this Chinese woman who is the mother of a two-year-old.

    • Open-source Exim remote attack bug: 400,000 servers still vulnerable, patch now [Ed: Liam Tung makes an anti-FOSS piece out of admins who did not patch their server. Is CBS lacking actual news to report?]