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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

Links 25/7/2018: Ubuntu 18.10′s New Community Theme, Slackware Creator ‘in Strife’

Wednesday 25th of July 2018 07:01:47 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Textricator: Data extraction made simple

    At MFJ, we’re committed to transparency and knowledge-sharing, which includes making our software available to anyone, especially those trying to free and share data publicly. Textricator is available on GitHub and released under GNU Affero General Public License Version 3.

  • Discover Photos from the Past with Natsukashii

    While Natsukashii does the job, it isn’t particularly elegant and fast. The script goes through the specified directory and all its subdirectories looking for files with the given extension (e.g., JPG). For each found photo, the script extracts its creation date and compares it with the current date. Obviously, this takes time and resources. So if you have several thousand photos on your machine, running the script may take some time. So it might be a good idea to set up a cron job that runs the script during the night.

  • BlueData Launches Open Source Kubernetes Storage Project

    BlueData has launched an open source project that seeks to make it easier to deploy big data and artificial intelligence (AI) application workloads on top of Kubernetes.

    Tom Phalen, chief Architect of BlueData, says the BlueK8s project is based on container technologies the company developed originally to accelerate the deployment of big data based on Hadoop and Apache Spark software. Since then, BlueData has replaced a proprietary container orchestration engine it developed with an open source Kubernetes engine. The company’s first open source project in the BlueK8s initiative is Kubernetes Director (KubeDirector), which makes it easier to deploy and manage distributed stateful applications using Kubernetes, says Phalen.

  • ReactOS 0.4.9 release metes out stability and self-hosting, still looks like a ’90s fever dream

    Open-source Windows wannabe ReactOS took another tentative step towards usability with a 0.4.9 release aimed at stability and self-hosting.

    Tweaks in this version fix the FastFAT driver to stem resource leakages, which might hit IO performance, but makes up for it in improvements to stability. Self-hosting – the ability to build ReactOS on ReactOS – also makes an appearance.

    The Windows-like shell receives a bit of polish, with in-shell opening of Zip files now supported and the Paint clone no longer crashing when users want some close-up pixel bothering. Just in time for Microsoft to deprecate the thing in Windows itself.

  • Motivating Open Source Developers

    One of the more important things to realize about the cryptocurrency protocols in general is that they are open source. For those of you who don’t know, open source software is software where users are granted the right to modify and distribute the software however they wish. This makes it a completely community driven software, with endless opportunities for change and evolution.

    From this, one question emerges: why do the developers do it? They clearly have the skills to make money doing something else, but are more than willing to donate their time to improving the coding behind certain protocols.

  • Events
    • Hackers On Planet Earth XII: The Circle Of HOPE

      As a long-time fan of free software, in the respect that the source code is available for user inspection, collaboration, and forking, it would have been silly to not hear what the biggest supporter of free software, Richard Stallman, had to say. Stallman has some seriously strong opinions, few of which I personally agree with, but he offers a ton of insight, and has some great ideas on how to reduce the amount of surveillance that’s done on us.

      Stallman, or RMS as he’s also known, gives many talks each and every year about free software, but this talk was different. Here, he tackled the angle of surveillance, which has truly become out-of-control, and could warrant content from us in the future as I personally grasp the totality of it all. In gist, I ask that you think about how bad our privacy is invaded, and then multiply the severity of the problem. In another talk, private investigator Steve Rambam told us that butt identification is a real thing. Where privacy invasion is concerned, there’s no limits.

  • Web Browsers
  • Databases
    • 6 Useful Tools to Monitor MongoDB Performance

      We recently showed how to install MongoDB in Ubuntu 18.04. Once you have successfully deployed your database, you need to monitor its performance while it is running. This is one of the most important tasks under database administration.

      Luckily enough, MongoDB provides various methods for retrieving its performance and activity. In this article, we will look at monitoring utilities and database commands for reporting statistics about the state of a running MongoDB instance.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.1 On Track for Mid-August Release as Second RC Is Out for Testing

      Coming only two weeks after the first Release Candidate, LibreOffice 6.1 RC2 (Release Candidate 2) is here to fix more of those annoyances and bugs that might block the final release. A total of 84 bugs have been squashed across various components in LibreOffice 6.1 RC2 compared to the first Release Candidate.

      While LibreOffice 6.1 is on track for its mid-August release, the development team still needs your help to test these Release Candidate versions and report any bugs or issues you may encounter, or just give positive feedback if everything works well for you during testing.

  • Education
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • OPNsense 18.7-RC2 released

      So far so good. Here is another batch of changes for the upcoming 18.7 release from assorted areas. Also included is the latest Suricata 4.0.5.

      We have bundled the firewall alias API progress under the hood, but it looks like we will miss our initial 18.7 target. Sorry about that. Though it should be worth the wait.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
    • GCC Patches Posted For Port To Chinese “C-SKY” CPU Architecture

      C-SKY is the 32-bit embedded CPU architecture developed in Hangzhou, China for the CK610/CK807/CK810/CK860 cores, among others.

      For months the Linux C-SKY Linux kernel port has been in the works though has yet to be mainlined, at least as of the current Linux 4.18 cycle. Happening concurrently has been the C-SKY port for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

    • The Free Software Directory needs you! IRC meetups every Friday

      The Free Software Directory is an essential catalog of free software online, composed and maintained by countless volunteers dedicated to the promotion of software that respects your personal liberty. Tens of thousands of people visit the Directory every month to discover free software and explore the information about version control, documentation, and licensing. Adding and maintaining entries to the Directory is crucial work to give people access to free software which has only free dependencies and runs on a free OS. All of this information is also exported in machine-readable formats, making it a valuable source of data for the study of trends in free software. The Directory is powered by MediaWiki, the same software used by Wikipedia.

  • Licensing/Legal
    • Should We Still Doubt About The Legality Of Copyleft

      The concept of Copyleft emerged from the libertarian activism of the free software movement, which brought together programmers from all over the world, in the context of the explosion of new technologies, Internet and the spreading of intangible property.

      Copyleft is a concept invented by Don Hopkins and popularized by Richard Stallman in the 1980s, with the GNU project whose main objective was to promote the free share of ideas and information and to encourage the inventiveness.

      Thousands of works are currently used, distributed, modified and shared under the aegis of Copyleft. And while jurists still argue that it has no legal value, there is no doubt that Copyleft has a real impact on the creation, distribution and sharing of works.

    • 3D Printing: Law & Challenges

      3D printing is keeping pace with many innovative technologies. Most of the innovative products are manufactured with this technology. However, lack of IP protection might affect several industries who are relying on IP rights in the long term. The House of Lords in CBS Songs Ltd v Amstrad Consumer Electronics Plc permitted manufacturer to produce types of machineries that can unlawfully use others’ IP rights.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Illumina Releases Open Source AI Software

      Illumina announced the release of open source, novel artificial intelligence (AI) software that can distinguish between potential disease-causing mutations, and the millions of benign genetic variants in individuals. The new AI software for genome interpretation has been publicly released through Illumina’s BaseSpace Sequence Hub and GitHub.

      “The open source release of our software demonstrates Illumina’s commitment to not only being the world’s largest enabler of DNA sequencing data, but also making widely available the AI tools that will enable clinicians and researchers to keep up with the enormous depth and breadth of genomic data being generated,” said Mostafa Ronaghi, Chief Technology Officer at Illumina, in a press release.

    • Amazing solar panel device is now open source

      Anyone who has wanted to generate their own energy and filter their own water can now do so with an amazing open source device.

      Speaking on stage at Inspirefest 2018, Chinese-Canadian mechanical and electrical engineer Eden Full Goh described what inspired her to develop a cheap, easy-to-build solar panel device called the SunSaluter.

    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • Discover the smallest Linux computer that is open source, customizable, & wireless

        The VoCore 2 is open source hardware. It has WIFI, USB, UART, and 20+ GPIOs, but it’s only one inch square. Amazing really, since it could be used to control your smart home.

        Also included in this deal is the Ultimate Dock, into which you can slide a microSD to give your gadget extra storage capabilities.

        The applications of this tiny computer are virtually endless. With a bit of easy-to-learn coding you could use it as a VPN gateway to secure your network, an airplay music streaming station, a private cloud to store your data, and so on. It’s a tech tinkering dream.

      • Open Source Power Converter For The Masses

        GaN or Gallium Nitride Transistors have been in the news for their high-frequency and high-efficiency applications. Anyone interested in the Power Converter domain will love this open-source project by Siemens. The offering is called SDI TAPAS and it is a multipurpose GaN FET based board with a TMS320F28x controller onboard.

        A quick look at the schematic reveals a lot of stuff going on like current and voltage sense chips along with a neatly designed GaN power stage with by-the-book drivers. There is a plethora of connectors on-board including one for the Raspberry Pi which is an added bonus. The git repository comes with sample code to get you off the ground, with examples running BLDC motors as well as connect it to Siemens MindSphere Cloud Platform.

      • UC San Diego selected to lead development of open-source hardware design automation tools

        The University of California San Diego has been awarded $11.3 million over four years from DARPA to lead a multi-institution project which aims to develop electronic design automation tools for 24-hour, no-human-in-the-loop hardware layout generation.

        The project, called OpenROAD (Foundations and Realization of Open, Accessible Design), supports the Intelligent Design of Electronic Assets (IDEA) program within DARPA’s larger Electronics Resurgence Initiative (ERI). ERI is led by DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO), and aims to address the impending engineering and economic challenges now confronting the advancement of microelectronics after 50 years of relentless progress.

  • Programming/Development
    • Git is already federated & decentralized

      Additionally, many popular email clients have bastardized email to the point where the only way to use git+email for many people starts with abandoning the email client they’re used to using. This can also be solved by having forges send the emails for them, and process the replies. We can also support open source mail clients by building better tools to integrate our emails with them. Setting up the mail servers on the other end can be difficult, too, but we should invest in better mail server software, something which would definitely be valuable even setting aside the matter of project forges.

    • Python – Tron Demo

      For SIGGRAPH, KDAB has been working on a new Qt 3D based demo. We decided that instead of using C++, it would be interesting to try out PySide2 and harness Python to drive the application.

      The idea behind this demo is to do with data acquisition of a car’s surrounding environment. Once the data is acquired it can be processed and used to display a 3D scene.

      The application is structured in two main parts. On the one hand, we use QtQuick and the Qt 3D QML API to declare the UI and instantiate the 3D scene. On the other hand we use Python for the backend logic, data processing and models and definition of the custom Qt 3D meshes elements we’ll need to use in the UI.

    • Building a Bare-Bones Git Environment

      How to migrate repositories from GitHub, configure the software and get started with hosting Git repositories on your own Linux server.

      With the recent news of Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub, many people have chosen to research other code-hosting options. Self-hosted solutions like GitLabs offer a polished UI, similar in functionality to GitHub but one that requires reasonably well-powered hardware and provides many features that casual Git users won’t necessarily find useful.

      For those who want a simpler solution, it’s possible to host Git repositories locally on a Linux server using a few basic pieces of software that require minimal system resources and provide basic Git functionality including web accessibility and HTTP/SSH cloning.

      In this article, I show how to migrate repositories from GitHub, configure the necessary software and perform some basic operations.

Leftovers
  • Science
    • How tech’s richest plan to save themselves after the apocalypse

      This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed in time.

      That’s when it hit me: at least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. …

    • Just 1 Year Of Smartphone Use Could Cause Memory Loss Among Teens: Research

      Countless times our elders have warned us about the dangers of using a smartphone. And yet, we never listen to them thinking they are merely blabbering without any research-backed data.

      Well now might be the time to apologize for ignoring their sixth sense. New research states that only one year of smartphone radiation is long enough to damage a teenager’s brain.

      [...]

      “This may suggest that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations,” said Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Exposures.

      It is important to note here that the negative impact on the brain occurred only while keeping the phone close to the head. Activities such as playing games, sending a text or browsing the internet don’t necessarily affect the brain since the radiations are far off from the head.

      Although, Martin Röösli warns out that more research is needed in this area to see how other factors like puberty have played out in the study. She clears out that phone radiations have a potential risk of damaging brains.

  • Hardware
    • Apple Reveals Why Your New MacBook Pro Slowed Down, Releases Bug Fix

      That came as a surprise for the users who had spent close to 2,800 dollars on their new MacBook Pro after Apple promised around 70% performance improvement. However, the issue is known to be visible when the CPU has to handle long, resource-intensive workloads. For instance, during 4k video encoding.

    • Apple Macbook Pro bug patched, unleashing full-speed performance (updated)

      Apple has been catching heat over the performance of its new MacBook Pro laptops, but the company is hoping its new software update will help cool off outraged power users.

      Following reports of heat issues leading to throttled performance, Apple has determined that a simple software bug was to blame, and has released what it hopes is a quick fix. In our initial testing, the MacOS update appears to correct the up-and-down CPU throttling, and we’re continuing to run additional tests.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Worst upgrade ever: there are bed bugs on airplanes now.

      Air travel sucks. It’s always cramped. One person, per plane, is paid to bring a tuna and onion sandwich on board so that its odor can be pushed through the air re-circulation system (FAA Regulations, yo), and there’s never enough booze in those wee bottles to make a proper drink from. But hey, at least you don’t have to worry about bed bugs!

    • Passengers complain of bedbugs on flights out of Newark airport

      Passengers on flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to India are complaining about bed bug infested seats.

      In one case this week a family complained their infant was covered in bites and bleeding by the time the 17-hour flight landed in Mumbia.

      Pravin Tonsekar tweeted Air India photos of his seat with apparent bed bugs on them.

    • FDA head warns of backlash against pharma innovators in attack on “anti-competitive” patent strategies

      US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb has condemned the acquisition of large numbers of follow-on patent rights by branded drugs makers to extend their market monopolies. This patent thicketing, he argued, is one of several “anti-competitive” strategies employed by biologics innovators to keep approved biosimilars out of the US market at great cost to American patients. The Trump-appointed FDA chief promised closer collaboration with legislators and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to clamp down on such activities.

    • UN Political Declaration On TB Finalised: No Commitment To TRIPS Flexibilities

      Members of the United Nations concluded negotiations on the draft of the Political Declaration on the Fight Against Tuberculosis on 20 July. After weeks of heated negotiations over the inclusion of references to TRIPS flexibilities in the operative paragraphs, with the Group of 77 pushing for inclusion and the United States against it, the final text of the political declaration reflects the deadlock of these positions. Due to the inability of member states to reach agreement, the final text does not include substantive reference to TRIPS flexibilities.

      If no countries object, this final draft of the Political Declaration on TB will be adopted by the General Assembly at the High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis, which will take place on 26 September at the United Nations in New York, and will serve as the authoritative agreement from which action plans will be drawn. According to sources, countries have until tonight in New York to decide whether to object, and G77 nations are considering their options.

  • Security
    • In the opaque world of government hacking, private firms grapple with allegiances

      According to the employee, these disclosures sometimes happened before anyone informed the victim. In many cases, the activity was never publicly detailed. Microsoft is a well-known partner of U.S. law enforcement.

      [...]

      When CyberScoop asked Microsoft to elaborate on the tech accord, the company refused to respond. Instead, the company sent a series of unrelated links to Microsoft’s software vulnerability disclosure policy. The disclosure policy does not answer whether Microsoft has informed or currently informs the U.S. government about cyber-espionage operations that it doesn’t publicly document.

    • DHS: Russian hackers [sic] got into control rooms of US utilities [iophk: "Microsoft Windows TCO + Windows mentality"]

      Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials told the Journal that hackers [sic] working for a state-sponsored group known as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear were able to get inside the networks of U.S. utilities to the point that they could have disrupted power service and caused blackouts.

    • Microsoft Pulls July .NET Framework Patches Following App Failures

      Microsoft acknowledged that some organizations were adversely affected by the .NET Framework monthly updates that were released almost two weeks ago on “update Tuesday” (July 10).

    • If at first you, er, make things worse, you’re probably Microsoft: Bug patch needed patching

      A remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows VBScript engine was left open for exploitation for two months after it was supposedly patched.

      In fact, the fix made things even worse by introducing another remotely exploitable bug in VBScript.

      This is all according to researchers at Qihoo 360, who today claimed a security hole in the scripting engine was only partially resolved in Redmond’s May Patch Tuesday, and was only permanently patched in this month’s batch of fixes.

      Designated CVE-2018-8174, the flaw was a use-after-free() vulnerability in the scripting engine that could be exploited by a booby-trapped web page, when opened with Internet Explorer, or a malicious document, when opened by Office, to execute arbitrary devilish code with the current user’s rights.

    • Dust yourself off and try again: Ancient Solaris patch missed the mark

      A vulnerability first detected and “resolved” years ago in Oracle’s Unix OS, Solaris, has resurfaced, necessitating a fix in Big Red’s latest quarterly patch batch.

      Rather than a Lazarus-like return from the dead, it’s more a case of security researchers discovering that the original fix, for a component that’s become known as Solaris Availability Suite Service, isn’t good enough.

    • “Crypto Bug” Affects OS Drivers And Bluetooth Implementations of Apple, Intel, Qualcomm
    • Many Bluetooth Implementations and OS Drivers Affected by Crypto Bug
    • EnduraData Ports Its Replication Software to OpenBSD, Announces Ransomware Solution

      EnduraData, a leader in cross-platform data replication solutions and data management software, today announced the availability of its EDpCloud™ software for the OpenBSD operating system, joining its Windows, Linux, Mac, and Unix versions. It also announced a major disaster-tolerance solution to help businesses, hospitals, and government entities survive ransomware attacks.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Security Keys Work for Google Employees, Canonical Releases Kernel Update, Plasma 5.14 Wallpaper Revealed, Qmmp Releases New Version, Toshiba Introduces New SSDs

      Google requires all of its 85,000 employees to use security keys, and it hasn’t had one case of account takeover by phishing since, Engadget reports. The security key method is considered to be safer than two-factor authentication that requires codes sent via SMS.

      Canonical has released a new kernel update to “fix the regression causing boot failures on 64-bit machines, as well as for OEM processors and systems running on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and other cloud environments”, according to Softpedia News. Users of Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 LTS should update to the new kernel version as soon as possible. See the Linux kernel regression security notice (USN-3718-1) for more information.

    • Mandatory keys cut successful phishing attacks on Google to zero
    • Let’s Encrypt recently passed 100M secured sites mark
    • Google: Security Keys Neutralized Employee Phishing

      Google has not had any of its 85,000+ employees successfully phished on their work-related accounts since early 2017, when it began requiring all employees to use physical Security Keys in place of passwords and one-time codes, the company told KrebsOnSecurity.

    • Intel Prepares “Enhanced IBRS” As Better Spectre V2 Protection For Future CPUs

      An Intel engineer has today published a patch providing support for enhanced IBRS within the Linux kernel, which aims to provide better Spectre Variant Two protection by default with future generations of Intel CPUs.

      The Enhanced IBRS (Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation) is simpler from the software perspective while also being able to yield greater performance than the basic IBRS method offered for current x86 CPUs.

    • Cybercrims use cameras, printers for DDoS attacks

      Kaspersky Lab has published its latest report on botnet-assisted DDoS attacks for the second quarter of 2018. Over the last three months, the company’s experts have observed cybercriminals recall old vulnerabilities, make use of cameras and printers for DDoS attacks, expand their list of victims, and monetise their efforts using cryptocurrency.

    • Linux bots account for 95 percent of DDoS attacks as attackers turn to the past

      Activity by Windows-based DDoS botnets decreased almost seven fold over the quarter, while the activity of Linux-based botnets grew by 25 percent. This has resulted in Linux bots accounting for 95 percent of all DDoS attacks in Q2, which also caused a sharp increase in the share of SYN flood attacks — up from 57 percent to 80 percent.

    • 11 Ways (Not) to Get Hacked

      Kubernetes security has come a long way since the project’s inception, but still contains some gotchas. Starting with the control plane, building up through workload and network security, and finishing with a projection into the future of security, here is a list of handy tips to help harden your clusters and increase their resilience if compromised.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • UK ‘accepts’ US death penalty for British Daesh fighters

      The United Kingdom (UK) has given the United States (US) a green light over the death penalty for a pair of British nationals caught fighting for Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

      Sajid Javid, the UK’s home secretary, sent a letter to Jeff Sessions, the US’ attorney general, saying Britain will not demand “assurances” over death penalty usage. In a document reviewed by the Telegraph, the UK government assessed that the pair may be sent to Guantanamo Bay without trial and that such an ending will not be opposed.

      “I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought,” Javid wrote, in the letter dated 22 June 2018.

    • The Guardian view on the death penalty: barbarism by jihadists is no justification

      Yet this is the chain of events that the home secretary, Sajid Javid, has set in motion with a letter to the US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, published in a newspaper on Monday. In it he states that the British government is prepared to waive its usual insistence that the death penalty should not be applied in the case of two men alleged to have been part of an Islamic State execution squad, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh. They are being held by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and appear likely to be tried in the US with the cooperation of the UK. The murders these men are alleged to have committed alongside two other British men – Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, and Aine Davis – were barbaric. The victims included two British aid workers, Alan Henning and David Haines, as well as three Americans, the journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and humanitarian worker Peter Kassig. Other westerners were held hostage and tortured. It is not an exaggeration to say the videos that the killers made, in which their captives gave statements before being beheaded, shocked the world. No doubt some people will feel that the sheer horror of such deeds means we need not worry too much about due process. Emwazi was killed by a drone strike in Raqqa in 2015, while Davis is in prison in Turkey. Kotey and Elsheikh have been stripped of their British citizenship, and since the men they are alleged to have killed included Americans, there is a case for trying them in the US.

    • UK silent on US death penalty concerns for alleged jihadis

      A furor has erupted over leaked documents showing that British officials are not requiring their U.S. counterparts to provide assurances that two alleged British jihadis linked to the Islamic State group will not be executed if they are eventually put on trial in the United States.

      The Daily Telegraph said Monday it had seen a letter from Home Secretary Sajid Javid to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions concerning two individuals who have been in custody in Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria since their capture in eastern Syria in January.

    • Isis Beatles: UK ‘must not let standards slip’ in face of terror, Ken Clarke warns

      The UK “must not let its standards slip” in the face of terror, Tory grandee Ken Clarke has said amid uproar over the government’s decision not to stop two Isis fighters being given the death penalty in America.

      The home secretary broke a decades-long policy of refusing to aid investigations that could result in capital punishment by sharing evidence against alleged “Beatles” Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh.

      Currently imprisoned by the Syrian Democratic Forces, they are to be transferred to the US after months of diplomatic wrangling over which country would take responsibility for their prosecution.

    • Trump and Putin: How About Getting Rid of Your Nukes?

      I, for one, was much disappointed by the Trump-Putin summit — but not for the reasons most others were. I was not hoping that Trump would punch Putin in the nose or insult him or declare new sanctions. Nor was I hoping he would cancel the meeting.

      Although Trump’s performance was characteristically tawdry, I don’t share the views of those who thought the meeting was a disaster because Trump didn’t throw a tantrum over Putin’s alleged order to attack American democracy by allegedly “interfering” in the 2016 election by allegedly hacking into the email accounts of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Allegedly. There’s a word that’s gone from the establishment media’s lexicon.

      That allegation has been the subject of many claims and indictments, but claims and indictments are not evidence — and that’s what some of us still await: evidence. Amazingly, some who regard themselves as liberals and progressives think that a demand for evidence is itself evidence that the demander is on Putin’s payroll. I’ve stated my lack of fondness for Putin, which may explain why I have yet to see ruble one.

    • Lawyers in Sept. 11 Case Claim CIA-FBI Collusion Taints All Interrogations

      Defense lawyers in the Sept. 11 case this week pushed forward their latest attack against the admissibility of statements their clients made at Guantanamo Bay 11 years ago, after they were brought to the island from CIA black sites.

      For years, the five defense teams have claimed that torture at overseas CIA prisons taints anything their clients said in more conventional interrogations conducted by FBI and Department of Defense personnel at Guantanamo starting in January 2007 – the so-called “clean team” interrogations. Prosecutors plan to use the “clean” statements at trial on the grounds that they were sufficiently “attenuated,” or distanced from, earlier coercive interrogations at CIA prisons.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Christine Assange, mother of WikiLeaks editor: “I’ve not been able to speak to my son for four months”

      Christine Assange, the mother of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, spoke at length with the World Socialist Web Site yesterday about the dangerous situation facing her son who, according to recent media reports, confronts imminent eviction from Ecuador’s embassy in London. Christine Assange commented on the US-led efforts to frame-up her son and extradite him to America on bogus espionage charges, as well as the perfidious role played by the Australian government, the opposition Labor Party and the mainstream media.

    • Lawyers Concerned About Ecuadorian Government Silence Over Assange’s Future

      The defense for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who resides at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, is concerned about the Ecuadorian authorities’ silence regarding his future, Assange’s lawyer Carlos Poveda told Sputnik.

      “We sent two letters to the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry 10 days ago and five days ago respectively and expressed concern about the issue of refusal to grant asylum [to Assange] and we have received no response,” Poveda said.

      Earlier in the day, the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said that the country’s President Lenin Moreno, who is currently in the United Kingdom, will not discuss the fate of Assange with UK authorities. This information comes amid media reports stating that the government of Ecuador allegedly plans to withdraw Assange’s asylum protection which has been in place since 2012, and then hand him over to the UK authorities.

    • Read newly released CIA transcripts of FBI and DC police calls regarding Watergate

      Files recently released to MuckRock include the transcripts of phone calls the Central Intelligence Agency received from Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate arrests. Previously unavailable, the only apparent reference to the tape is Congress’ request for a copy of it. According to the request, “it is not known what is contained in the tape, but its importance is obvious.”

    • Assange’s time in Ecuadorian embassy coming to a close: reports
    • Assange faces eviction from Ecuador’s embassy
    • Ecuador expected to hand Assange to UK

      Ecuador is to rescind Julian Assange’s political asylum, reports Reuters, effectively dooming him to arrest by British authorities for jumping bail.

    • What the Latest Mueller Indictment Reveals About WikiLeaks’ Ties to Russia—and What It Doesn’t

      When did Russian intelligence give WikiLeaks the e-mails that it hacked from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, and how did it transmit them? Shortly after the election, James Clapper, then the director of National Intelligence, testified before Congress that American intelligence officials could not clearly pinpoint these facts. “We don’t have good insight into the sequencing of the releases, or when the data may have been provided,” he said. Today, almost two years later, and after months of investigation, we know a lot more than we once did. But our insight into the timing—at least, from publicly available information—remains uncertain.

    • No Matter What You Think Of Julian Assange, It Would Be Harmful For Press Freedoms For The US To Prosecute For Publishing Leaks

      Let’s be clear: I know that many people — perhaps entirely reasonably — really, really dislike Julian Assange and Wikileaks. For some people that feeling has been there for years. For others it’s related directly to the role that Wikileaks played in helping to release hacked emails designed to impact the 2016 election. There certainly appears to be plenty of evidence that, at the very least, Wikileaks was in contact with Russian operatives and made plans to try to get and release documents at times that would have the maximum impact on the election. As I’ve said over the years, I don’t have much respect for Assange who, among other things, often appears to be a total hypocrite. However, I have also made clear that prosecuting him and Wikileaks for doing nothing more than publishing leaked documents would set a horrible precedent. I feel similarly about the DNC’s silly lawsuit as well.

      The DOJ has apparently has been trying to indict Assange for more than 8 years now with nothing to show for it yet. In large part, this is because what Wikileaks has done is really no different than what any news publication does when publishing leaked documents. There may be laws against leaking certain documents to the press, but the First Amendment completely bars lawsuits against the recipients of leaks then publishing them.

      This is in the news again as reports are brewing that Ecuador is expected to withdraw asylum for Assange, possibly handing him over to British officials, who may in turn hand him over to the US. When I discussed this on Twitter recently, a bunch of people responded angrily that Assange deserves to be in jail because of his role in the 2016 election. But when pressed to explain how what he did was any different than the NY Times or CNN in publishing leaked documents, people go quiet — or the say something silly like “but those other news orgs are based in fact.” But, that’s a silly argument. First of all, nothing that Wikileaks has published has been shown to be false or faked (the DNC made some claims to that effect but no one ever presented any evidence or pointed to any faked documents). Second, given the propensity of some — including the President of the United States — to argue that the NY Times, CNN, the Washington Post and others are “fake news,” do we really want to be setting the precedent that if you publish something false you can get prosecuted for it?

    • Wikileaks Refused To Publish Manafort Family Texts, So Someone Else Did

      We just wrote about why it would be a dangerous move for press freedom for the DOJ to prosecute Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents. In that post, we noted that even if you think Julian Assange is a horrible human being and proactively trying to undermine US electoral sovereignty, the mere act of publishing leaked documents should not be criminal. But, that doesn’t mean that Assange can’t be hypocritical and one-sided. Obviously, during the 2016 election, when Wikileaks helped spread both John Podesta’s emails and the DNC’s emails, some wondered if Assange would have published similar messages from the Trump campaign. While publicly Assange insisted he disliked both campaigns equally, other reports and leaked (of course) chat messages certainly suggested otherwise, as did at least some of his apparent attempts to ingratiate himself with Trump insiders, including asking Don Jr. to leak his father’s tax returns to Assange to “dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality.”

      Of course, when faced with an opportunity to post the equivalent of the Podesta emails on the Trump side, it appears that Assange decided not to do it. Public records-savant Emma Best recently chose to publish the entire collection of leaked Manafort texts in a searchable database. These texts have long been out there and available if you knew where to look — and had received widespread reporting in early 2017. However, beyond the excerpts, they were not fully available in a way that was searchable for most users.

      [...]

      There may be reasons why Wikileaks chose not to publish these texts, but the fact that it eagerly published the Podesta emails, yet held back on publishing these texts should at least raise serious questions. Obviously, every publisher makes different decisions on what to publish and what not to publish. And there’s no rule saying that you absolutely must publish every “equivalent” set of data or stories. But given all of the background here, and the high profile nature of this, it is noteworthy to point out the different approaches Wikileaks chose to take with two similar sets of data on different sides of the 2016 election.

    • Conspiracy Theorist 7/24: Portraying lies as facts

      But Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, denies he received the emails from Russian hackers. Not only that, Buzzfeed reported, “The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (D.C.) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers.”

      Some sources say the FBI never requested access to the computers. Others say the DNC denied the FBI access. It doesn’t matter which is true. Both are ridiculous. Either way, the conclusion that Russia hacked the computers was reached before any investigation began. No evidence of a hack was collected because it might have contradicted the conclusion.

      Yet the narrative not only persists, it’s presented as fact. The only person we know of who can contradict it is Assange. Rulers consider Assange one of the most dangerous people in the world because he’s a truth-teller. He exposes their evil secrets. They can’t control him the way they control the establishment media.

    • How WikiLeaks became a political Rorschach test

      Way back in the 1920s, Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach formalised a scheme for diagnosing schizophrenia that involved showing abstract patterns of ink-blots to patients, and drawing conclusions about their mental state from how they interpreted the images. Where one subject sees a butterfly in the enigmatic splatters, maybe you see a pair of wolves pole-dancing, or whatever, it’s on you.

      The WikiLeaks organisation has operated as a kind of political Rorschach test since at least 2010, when it exploded into mass consciousness with a video, “Collateral Murder”, of journalists and bystanders being executed by a US helicopter gunship over Baghdad. Prior to that, the organisation’s publication history reads like a quasi-random global tour of scandals and hidden violence: operating manuals from Guantanamo Bay (2007), Chinese repression in Tibet (2008), Australia’s notorious and short-lived internet filter blacklist (2009), and dozens of others.

    • Judges Hear Warning on Prosecution of WikiLeaks

      Prosecuting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing leaked documents related to the 2016 presidential election would set a terrible precedent for journalists, the top lawyer for The New York Times said Tuesday.

      Addressing a room full of federal and circuit judges at the Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference, David McCraw, the deputy general counsel for The New York Times, explained that regardless of how one feels about Assange and traditional news outlets receiving the same kind of deference over publishing leaked materials, his prosecution would be a gut punch to free speech.

    • There is simply no cogent argument for denying Julian Assange the basic rights of a publisher and Wikileaks that of a media organisation unless you are prepared to take a hammer to the free press.

      Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno arrived in London on Friday the 21st of July 2018, ostensibly to attend a global disability conference. If anonymous sources close to The Intercept are correct he will also meet with UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt to discuss ending Julian Assange’s asylum status in the Ecuadorian embassy.

      [As a side note, the UK are hosting a global disability conference less than a year after the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) labelled the Tory’s government’s treatment of disabled benefit seekers a ‘human catastrophe’.]

      Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian London embassy since 2012, but three months ago he saw his communication with the outside world completely shut off and remains isolated. Lenin Moreno took charge of Ecuador in 2017, and has looked to sweeten relations with the US, departing from the anti-imperialist policies of his socialist predecessor Rafael Correa. Since Moreno’s ascendancy the UK and US have viewed the more acquiescent leader as an opportunity to take terminal action against the whistleblowing advocate, and are making progress in convincing Ecuador to give up Assange’s asylum status.

    • There Is More at Stake in WikiLeaks Showdown Than Assange’s Fate

      As Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, visits London, reports indicate he is about to withdraw asylum for Julian Assange, exposing the WikiLeaks founder to eventual extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.

      State Department veteran Peter van Buren joins Peter B. Collins for this Radio WhoWhatWhy interview. Acknowledging the imperfections of Assange, van Buren makes the case that Americans, and especially journalists, should support Assange’s right to publish.

      And he warns that if Assange is prosecuted, some reporters may go to jail, and others will likely self-censor to avoid that risk; the result will be more government secrecy, and denial to the public of access to important government information.

      Van Buren thumbnails the history of the Pentagon Papers, characterizing the Supreme Court rulings as protection for publishers, but not leakers. He notes that the New York Times, which defied Nixon in publishing Dan Ellsberg’s leaks, has made wide use of WikiLeaks documents but doesn’t advocate strongly for the rights of Assange and his organization.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Trump to Seek Repeal of California’s Smog-Fighting Power

      The Trump administration will seek to revoke California’s authority to regulate automobile greenhouse gas emissions — including its mandate for electric-car sales — in a proposed revision of Obama-era standards, according to three people familiar with the plan.

      The proposal, expected to be released this week, amounts to a frontal assault on one of former President Barack Obama’s signature regulatory programs to curb emissions that contribute to climate change. It also sets up a high-stakes battle over California’s unique ability to combat air pollution and, if finalized, is sure to set off a protracted courtroom battle.

      The proposed revamp would also put the brakes on federal rules to boost fuel efficiency into the next decade, said the people, who asked to not be identified discussing the proposals before they are public. Instead it would cap federal fuel economy requirements at the 2020 level, which under federal law must be at least a 35-mile-per-gallon fleet average, rather than letting them rise to roughly 50 mpg by 2025 as envisioned in the Obama plan, according to the people.

    • Trump v Air

      Trump is wanting to “help” the auto-makers by blocking California and other states from regulating automobiles. Whatever happened to “states’ rights” advocates in the GOP? They fear Trump and Trump’s supporters.

  • Finance
    • 10 ways to learn more about blockchain

      Do you get nervous when blockchain comes up in a room full of your peers? With all the hype surrounding blockchain, if you have limited knowledge on the subject it can feel like everyone but you is in on the big idea. Don’t worry: Blockchain is a notoriously hard concept to understand – so much so that one expert compared it to a school lunch trade to help people get it.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Politicized Trolling Is Worse Than Fake News

      A report by the human rights lawyer Carly Nyst and Oxford University researcher Nick Monaco is an early attempt to study the phenomenon of state-sponsored trolling, or the digital harassment of critics. The case studies come from a diverse set of countries: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Ecuador, the Philippines, Turkey, the U.S. and Venezuela. They complement what is already known about the practice in Russia, whose achievements in the field of digital abuse have generated the most interest to date.

    • Sanders: Trump may pull ex-CIA directors’ clearance

      White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Trump is considering Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) suggestion to pull former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance as well as the security clearance for former CIA director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

    • Several ex-intel officers criticized Trump. Now he may revoke their security clearances.

      At a press conference on Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that in addition to Brennan, the president is considering revoking clearances for former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director and NSA Director Michael Hayden, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

      Sanders claimed the six former intelligence officials have “politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” adding that “making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate.” She did not say when the administration would make a decision.

    • Ex-CIA chief on possible removal of security clearance: ‘Won’t have any effect on what I say’

      Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Monday that President Trump removing his security clearance won’t have any effect on what he says or writes.

    • GOP on US Rep. Jim Jordan: crickets

      When Senator Al Franken was accused last year of sexual misconduct, his harshest critics were fellow Democratic senators. In a Facebook post, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said of her colleague that “it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.” A Democratic deluge followed, and Franken reluctantly resigned.

      US Representative Jim Jordan doesn’t need to fret over a similar response from Republicans.

    • Rand Paul to ask Trump to revoke former CIA director’s security clearance
    • Stalled Nominee for CIA Watchdog Job Withdraws Amid Whistleblower Criticism

      A veteran of several inspector general offices whose nomination to be permanent CIA watchdog was stalled in the Senate has withdrawn from consideration and is leaving the government, the agency confirmed.

      As the Associated Press reported on Friday, intelligence community whistleblowers and their advocacy groups had criticized Christopher Sharpley—who had 36 years in federal law enforcement—for alleged retaliation against employees who made disclosures, producing skepticism on Capitol Hill.

      Several senators questioned Sharpley during an October 2017 confirmation hearing about reports that he was under investigation for possible reprisals in multiple whistleblower complaints reported in detail by the journalism project ProPublica and the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight. The legal aid group Whistelblower Aid also raised objections to the nominee based on clients’ claims, resulting in a decision by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to delay voting on his nomination to be CIA inspector general.

    • Sending Letter To CIA Appealing For U.S Support Is A Serious Offence – Patriots

      The action of former Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) Research Division director-general Datuk Hassanah Abd Hamid in writing a letter to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) appealing for US to support former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration prior to the 14th General Election is a serious offence.

      National Patriots Association (Patriots) president Brig Gen Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said this was because inviting an outside party to delve into the country’s internal matters could threaten Malaysia’s security and sovereignty.

      “How could she invite an outside party (CIA) to delve into our internal issues (GE14)?

    • Lawyer: Letter to CIA detrimental to parliamentary democracy

      A lawyer has urged the police to take seriously a purported letter seeking the support of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to keep Najib Razak in power.

      SN Nair said all the police needed to do was file a report and begin an investigation.

      “They need not wait for the public to lodge a report before springing into action,” he told FMT.

      Nair, who was a former police officer, was responding to a three-page letter said to have been penned by Hasanah Ab Hamid, who led a unit under the Research Division of the Prime Minister’s Department.

      The letter was addressed to CIA director Gina Haspel.

    • Patriot: Letter to CIA is treason
    • Ex-servicemen question loyalty of top intelligence officer
    • Patriot to CIA letter author: Explain your actions
    • Claiming treason, ex-servicemen calls for probe into letter to CIA for Najib support
    • Police inaction over CIA letter angers veterans
    • Patriot lodges police report against CIA letter author
    • Claiming treason, ex-servicemen calls for probe into letter to CIA for Najib support
    • Championing Reality

      Trump’s antipathy toward the press, we noted, established a hostile stance that others have been willing to put into action. Thus, in May 2017, during his campaign as the GOP candidate in Montana’s special election for the House of Representatives, Greg Gianforte confronted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, first verbally abusing Jacobs and then body-slamming him to the ground. A spokesperson for PEN America, Gabe Rottman, noted, “A member of the House hasn’t physically assaulted someone this severely since the civil war, and we are unaware of any historical precedent for a lawmaker beating up a reporter.” Gianforte, whom Trump had previously endorsed, pled guilty to misdemeanor assault charges—and went on to win the election.

      More recently, on June 28, 2018, a gunman killed five people and injured two others in an attack on the Annapolis, Maryland, offices of the Capital Gazette, in what the county’s Deputy Police Chief, William Krampf, characterized as a “targeted attack.”

      There’s no definitive evidence, of course, that Trump’s verbal attacks encouraged Gianforte’s assault or the murders that Jarrod Ramos stands accused of committing. But Trump’s repeated condemnations of the press are virulent in the root sense of that term, which traces back to the Middle English for a poisonous wound, and especially one capable of infecting others.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Twitter May Be Demoting Controversial Accounts in Search Results

      True to Twitter’s inconsistent enforcement of policies though, some of the most inflammatory accounts remain discoverable in dropdown searches. Those include Jack Posobiec, a relentless proponent of the tinfoil-hat Pizzagate narrative, and Infowars, the conspiracy site which has been at the center of recent congressional hearings because of its propensity to attack the victims of mass shootings. Infowars’s editor-at-large, Paul Joseph Watson, appears to be among those with some reduction in search reach, while founder Alex Jones and the Infowars account itself are not.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Is Right

      The left is starting out with the most notorious cause — Nazis. These groups have no legitimacy and should be shunned in society. But the left’s calls for censorship go beyond that. I am no fan of the website Infowars and its conspiracy theory nonsense, but it is a place many people go to for “news” and information. Forcing Facebook to take a side against Infowars may seem easy, but then Facebook is getting directly into the role of determining whose content is good and whose content is bad when InfoWars unquestionably has an audience.

    • Is Holocaust Denial Free Speech? Facebook Needs to Be More Transparent
    • Want Facebook to Censor Speech? Be Careful What You Wish For

      This tangled and expansive Facebook free-speech debate actually comes down to one core issue: There are two definitions of “hate speech,” one legal and the other more vernacular. Which one we accept is the question.

    • We shouldn’t rely on Facebook to tell us what is true

      The calls to ban sites that promote these theories are far more dangerous. This would empower major multinationals like Facebook to act as arbiters of the truth, as adjudicators of acceptable political viewpoints. While there are outlets and users who take to Facebook to tell lies, turning Facebook into the Ministry of Truth would be a far greater assault on reasoned discourse.

    • Who are the new censors?

      Censorship is not the same animal that it was in the seventies. There is no censor waving his stamp and diligently adding disobedient authors to the growing list of state enemies.

      [...]

      This new system of media control even incorporates its own codes of criticism giving the illusion that it can be criticised from within in order to appear fair. But any criticism must have clear limits as to not corrode the basis of the illiberal state, the tailor-made identity of the nation or the interests of some media owners.

    • Whakawhanaungatanga, not censorship: A Māori perspective on ‘free speech’ [Ed: When white supremacists who spread hate and prejudice hide themselves behind "free speech"]

      The Free Speech Coalition are seeking to overturn Auckland Live’s decision to cancel Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern speaking at the Bruce Mason Centre. That decision on health and safety grounds came after Mayor Phil Goff made it clear they shouldn’t be speaking at council venues.

      The Free Speech Coalition are saying that we have a right to freedom of speech in Aotearoa and that they wish to defend that right no matter how objectionable the person’s view, providing they don’t (directly) incite violence.

    • The Daily Fix: Arbitrary censorship by public officials will leave India poorer

      If you are a comedian, making jokes about the Union government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi could jeopardise your career. That was the message that went out when Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat, on Saturday withdrew permission given to organisers to use an auditorium for a show by comedian Kunal Kamra. Kamra, who became a YouTube star in the aftermath of demonetisation, is known for his incisive observations about the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party government and the Hindutva groups that support it.

      Vice Chancellor Parimal Vyas directed the auditorium to cancel Kamra’s show following a representation made by 11 former students of the public university. Their letter to the vice chancellor claimed that Kamra was an “anti-national flagbearer”. It criticised him for allegedly “mimicking” the national anthem and supporting the “tukde tukde gang”, a phrase that has gained currency in some circles as a way of describing people allegedly working to splinter India. In reality, the term has now become shorthand for anyone who is critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party government.

    • Anti-trafficking Bill may lead to censorship

      The legislative business of the monsoon session of Parliament kicked off on 18 July with the introduction of the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, in the Lok Sabha. The intention of the Union government is to “make India a leader among South Asian countries to combat trafficking” through the passage of this Bill. Good intentions aside, there are a few problematic provisions in the proposed legislation, which may severely impact freedom of expression.

      For instance, Section 36 of the Bill, which aims to prescribe punishment for the promotion or facilitation of trafficking, proposes a minimum three-year sentence for producing, publishing, broadcasting or distributing any type of material that promotes trafficking or exploitation. An attentive reading of the provision, however, reveals that it has been worded loosely enough to risk criminalizing many unrelated activities as well.

      The phrase “any propaganda material that promotes trafficking of person or exploitation of a trafficked person in any manner” has wide amplitude, and many unconnected or even well-intentioned actions can be construed to come within its ambit as the Bill does not define what constitutes “promotion”. For example, in moralistic eyes, any sexual content online could be seen as promoting prurient interests, and thus also promoting trafficking.

    • House Judiciary Committee Falsely Claims Credit For Stopping 90% Of All Sex Trafficking Because Of FOSTA

      She kind of swallows that last “and ads” bit so you could miss it, but either way it’s utter and complete nonsense. I looked all over for any evidence of the claim that 90% of online sex trafficking has been stopped and there doesn’t appear to be an iota of support for that. The only stat I could find that is possibly being twisted to make this argument is that when Backpage was seized earlier this year — notably before FOSTA/SESTA was signed into law — a Reuters report claimed that 90% of Backpage’s ads were for “adult ads.”

      [...]

      Of course, there’s another oddity here. Why the hell is the House Judiciary Committee Republicans suddenly putting out such a video? The bill has already passed and it’s already doing lots of damage. So why is Congress spending taxpayer money on a professionally edited video talking up a bunch of nonsense? Perhaps, as many have suggested, a key part of FOSTA/SESTA was always about grandstanding about how these politicians are “tough on sex trafficking” even if that’s not accurate at all. And now that we’re heading towards election season, I guess they have to milk that grandstanding bullshit for all its worth. Go spend your constituents hard-earned tax money by lying to them! What a job!

      Of course, another reason for all of this may be the recent lawsuit claiming that FOSTA/SESTA is unconstitutional. While we’ve written about it already, the stories of some of the plaintiffs in that lawsuit tell the real story of how FOSTA/SESTA is harming people. Among those suing are a national alliance of Asian massage stores, who note that, thanks to FOSTA/SESTA their completely legitimate businesses are now being blocked from advertising, because some falsely assume that any Asian massage stores must be engaged in the sex trade.

    • Texas Judges Continue To Turn Expungement Orders Into ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Requests

      It appears the state of Texas is offering a limited “right to be forgotten” in county courts. A few years back, the state appeals court had to get involved and remind the county no such right exists in the Texas, much less the rest of the states Texas seems to be embarrassed to be associated with. At the center of the case was an expungement order for an attorney accused of forging other attorneys’ signatures on court filings.

      While his case may have been expunged, expungement only covers the official record. This would remove info from government databases. Texas law also provides for the removal of info from certain sites reliant on public records (mugshot sites, background check services), but the law does not go so far as to demand news sites and search engines purge themselves of articles related to now-expunged criminal acts.

      A lower court decided to drag Google into this, demanding it de-index anything covering the expunged crime. Google did not comply and the state appeals court reversed the lower court’s order, finding it not so much a violation of the First Amendment (which it is), but that it skirted due process by not allowing Google and the sites being de-indexed to argue against the removal order in court.

    • TV Station Ordered to Expunge Archived Story About Teacher’s Dismissed Domestic Violence Charges

      In many states, a person who has been charged with a crime can petition to expunge his records when the charges are dropped, as the charges against Barone were. (Indeed, even people who have been convicted of some kinds of crimes can petition to expunge their records some time after they finish their sentence.) These laws, though, on their face deal with the government’s own maintenance of its records; they order the removal (or the concealment) of records kept by courts, law enforcement, and the like. Texas calls this process expunction, but it’s more often called expungement.

    • California Supreme Court Strengthens Section 230 Protections for Online Speech

      Special thanks to legal intern Miranda Rutherford who was the lead author of this post.

      If someone sues you for a review you wrote on Yelp, can a court force Yelp to take the review down? This month, the California Supreme Court said “no” in the case Hassell v. Bird.

      This case concerned a dangerous misinterpretation of Section 230, the law that protects online platforms from liability for their users’ speech. We’re glad that the California Supreme Court corrected this misinterpretation and upheld Section 230’s protections for online speech.

      It all started with a bad review. Like many of us have, Ava Bird had a bad experience with a business—a law office headed by a lawyer, Dawn Hassell—and wrote a review on Yelp detailing her frustrations. Hassell wasn’t happy with the review and sued Bird for defamation. After Bird didn’t appear in court to defend the case, the trial judge entered a default judgment in Hassell’s favor, and ordered both Bird and Yelp to remove Bird’s Yelp review.

      Yelp refused to take down the review and filed a motion to have the default judgment and removal order vacated. Yelp argued that the court order violated due process because Hassell hadn’t named the company as a defendant in the lawsuit and so the company hadn’t had its own day in court. Yelp also argued that the court order violated Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230).

    • How Kunal Kamra found out laughter is a medicine that comes at a cost

      Political comedy, or rather comedy is a constantly evolving subject and art in India. It keeps pushing the envelope, reshapes intellectual boundaries and in more ways than one, helps us battle out life’s horrors. When Biswa mocks the education system, we all smile because we are a product of a crooked system that is still battling with its dark nooks and crannies. Ranveer and Arjun’s roast left a few offended but most of us were in splits. This is the subjective nature of comedy. You have as much right to be offended by it, as much as you may find it funny. But to silence comedians is harsh censorship. And in the name of nationalism? Without knowing the content that would have been produced? It is plain bizarre.

    • Matt Caldwell accuses Facebook of censorship after ad is removed
    • Liberal-Agenda Facebook Censors Caldwell’s Campaign Ad
    • Matt Caldwell says Facebook blocked his ad on guns, NRA endorsement
    • UMN Loses Another Donor Over Censorship of Ben Shapiro Lecture

      Another donor to the University of Minnesota (UMN) has pulled his financial support over the school’s censorship of an event featuring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro earlier this year.

      In May, a major UMN donor yanked his annual contribution to the school, saying the treatment of Shapiro “was clearly a case of discrimination.” Now another donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is following suit.

      In a letter to outgoing UMN President Eric Kaler obtained by Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the alumnus says he will no longer donate money to the school. Instead the money will go to the conservative organization that sponsored the Shapiro lecture.

    • Pro-life campaigners claim they are ‘victims of terrifying censorship’ after stall is taken down at Lambeth Country Fair

      Anti-abortion campaigners claim they have been victimised by “terrifying censorship” after having their stall removed from a family event in south London.

      Volunteers at the Life charity say they obtained full permission to attend the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park on Saturday (June 21) and Sunday.

      But when they arrived on the second day of the festival they discovered their stall had been taken down and shifted from their pitch, before, the volunteers said, they were told to take their belongings and leave.

    • Facebook bans Flemish paintings because of nudity
    • Facebook’s philistines back at it, now censoring art of Flemish masters
    • Barefaced cheek: Rubens nudes fall foul of Facebook censors
    • Facebook angers Flanders with Rubens ban
    • Facebook was mocked by a bunch of museums for censoring the nudes of a master painter
    • Flanders museums fight Facebook censorship with “nude police”
    • Belgian museums urge Facebook to allow artistic nudes in advertising after Rubens falls foul of censors
    • Facebook told to rethink its ‘censorship’ of artistic nudes
    • Facebook censorship: Nude paintings by Rubens run afoul of social network
    • See the Flemish Tourism Board’s Hilarious Response to Facebook’s Relentless Censorship of Peter Paul Rubens
    • Online Censorship in Full Swing as Vaccine Recall Scandal Erupts in China
    • Pharma Scandal Prompts Calls to Put Vaccine Data on a Blockchain

    • ‘They are devils’: China’s parents demand answers over vaccine scandal
    • China censors social media posts about vaccine scandal, monitor says, as tabloid suggests issue has been overblown
    • Chinese internet users employ the blockchain to share a censored news article
    • China censors posts, articles on vaccine scandal amid outcry

      Chinese censors yesterday deleted articles and postings about the vaccine industry as an online outcry over the country’s latest vaccine scandal intensified.

      Regulators said last week that they had halted production of a rabies vaccine at a large pharmaceutical company in the north-east after finding fabricated records and other problems during an inspection.

      It was just the latest in a series of health and safety scandals which have fuelled fear over the safety of basic food and medicine and anger at regulators asleep on the job.

    • Outrage in China over thousands of faulty vaccines for children
    • Xi Jinping Orders Probe Into Sale of Substandard Vaccines
    • The Rise of Artistic Censorship on College Campuses Should Worry the American Public

      Artistic freedom protects high and low art alike; notions of “good taste” and artistic worthiness are the realm of the artist or curator, not the bureaucrat. But at a number of American universities, controversy has been acting as the curator, leading to the degradation of both freedom of speech and students’ ability to interact with challenging artwork.
      The most recent campus to weigh artistic freedom against the demands of public pressure—and ultimately capitulate to the latter—is the University of Kansas (KU), where artist Josephine Meckseper
      ’s reimagining of the American flag no longer flies.

    • Peaceful protest at Havana’s Capitolio against Censorship Law
    • Facebook Quietly Opens Subsidiary in China Despite Hardening Censorship
    • Facebook quietly sets up subsidiary in China despite hardening censorship

      Facebook has set up a subsidiary in China with registered capital of $30 million, according to an official business registration, hinting that the U.S. firm may be ramping up its presence in the restrictive market where its social media sites remain blocked.

      [...]

      The filing listed Facebook Hongkong Ltd and no other entities as a shareholder.

      Facebook’s website remains banned in China, which strictly censors foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including content from Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Facing Facebook: Data Portability and Interoperability Are Anti-Monopoly Medicine

      Facebook should let users take back control of their own data. This doesn’t raise the same privacy problems as letting third parties suck up everything about all of us. If done with care, it can be accomplished without opening the door to shady actors like Cambridge Analytica. In addition, Facebook has to start thinking differently about how it interacts with third-party developers. Instead of granting them access to data but forcing them to work within its walled garden, Facebook should serve as a hub, allowing developers to create new experiences for users that build off of the core service it offers and hosts. Ultimately, Facebook does not have to be any less diligent about protecting users from malicious actors. It just has to stop “protecting” them from legitimate competitors.

    • UK Judge Says Accurate Journalism Is An Invasion Of Privacy In Cliff Richard Case

      Time for another reminder that the UK is not some sort of America analogue — one that favors pomp and circumstance to opinionated bumper stickers and stabbings to shootings. The UK government may say nice things about free speech, but when it all comes down to it, its citizens might as well be colony residents still seeking to break free from the Kingdom’s confines.

      Sir Cliff Richard has just won a lawsuit against the BBC, securing a large payout from the journalistic entity for its outrageous act of journalism. Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter has the details.

      [...]

      The BBC was tipped off by someone within the police department that Cliff Richards was under investigation and that his house would likely be searched. The BBC did what it could to verify this info and flew its helicopter over Richard’s house on the off chance it was being raided. Everything reported was a fact, but the judge in this case simply did not like how it was handled. Suddenly, normal journalism is an “invasion of privacy,” worthy of damages being awarded to the person being accurately reported on.

      The BBC isn’t happy with this decision, rightly noting that it upends the practice of journalism, especially in cases of public interest, like law enforcement investigations for instance. The lengthy decision recounts all the facts — including emails between the BBC and their police source. What can’t be found in the dozens of pages is anything justifying this ruling. This appears to be a personal decision by a judge who didn’t like how Sir Cliff Richard was handled by the BBC and decided to punish the press outlet for offending his sensibilities.

    • [tor-relays] FYI: Subpoena Received

      It turned out to be a pretty “non-event”. The jurisdiction was a relatively small one on the east coast of the US. The staff of the prosecutor’s office were all very professional and pleasant to work with. Phoul coordinated the production of a letter from the Tor Project in record time that I was able to attach to my subpoena response.

      In the end, the whole incident took ~4 hours to handle, and I suspect that any future ones would be much quicker now that I have all of the contacts in place and the attorneys up to speed.

    • Use of GCHQ data power unlawful, tribunal finds

      Since the 9/11 terror attack the British foreign secretary has been granted the power to direct GCHQ to obtain data from communications companies.

      However, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has now found this power was unlawfully delegated, allowing the agency unfettered discretion on what data to demand.

      It comes as a PSNI inquiry into data mistakenly given to loyalists under investigation by the Paramilitary Crime Task Force and National Crime Agency continues.

    • GCHQ spy agency given illegal access to citizens’ data
    • GCHQ snooping orders on private communications were handled unlawfully for more than a decade

      Orders on GCHQ’s snooping into private communications were handled unlawfully for more than a decade, a tribunal has found.

      Since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, Foreign Secretaries have had the power to order the listening base to collect data from phone and internet companies.

      But the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) found that in practice, the power to decide who and what to snoop on had been handed to GCHQ.

    • GCHQ Snooping Deemed Unlawful By Watchdog
    • GCHQ’s licence to snoop on citizens was ‘unlawful’ for more than a decade
    • GCHQ’s licence to unfettered mass snooping has been ruled illegal
    • UK Foreign Secretaries Illicitly Allowed GCHQ to Gather Consumer Data – Watchdog

      The UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled on Monday that the country’s successive foreign secretaries unlawfully gave rights to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to gather personal customer data from telecommunications companies until October 2016, Privacy International watchdog said in a press release.

    • Former Trump cyber adviser tapped for top intelligence role in UK

      Rob Joyce, President Donald Trump’s former cybersecurity coordinator, has been tapped to serve as the National Security Agency’s top representative in the United Kingdom, according to a former senior intelligence official and a second source familiar with the matter.
      As senior US liaison officer in London for the US’s top digital spy agency, which vacuums up communications from around the globe, Joyce “will be responsible for the full breadth of NSA mission in and to the UK government,” the former senior intelligence official told CNN

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Tall Poppy aims to make online harassment protection an employee benefit

      For the nearly 20 percent of Americans who experience severe online harassment, there’s a new company launching in the latest batch of Y Combinator called Tall Poppy that’s giving them the tools to fight back.

    • Revenge Porn Took My Career. The Law Couldn’t Get It Back

      In 2016, I took a yearlong medical leave from the DOE to treat extreme post-traumatic stress and anxiety. Since the leave was almost entirely unpaid, I took loans against my pension to get by. I ran out of money in early 2017 and reported back to the department, where I was quickly sent to an administrative trial. There the city tried to terminate me. I was charged with eight counts of misconduct despite the conclusion by all parties that my ex-partner uploaded the photos to the computer and that there was no evidence to back up his salacious story. I was accused of bringing “widespread negative publicity, ridicule and notoriety” to the school system, as well as “failing to safeguard a Department of Education computer” from my abusive ex.

    • Beware of Uber vomit fraud

      Uber passengers say they are being charged $100 or more for cleaning up vomit from inside of cars even though they didn’t vomit during the ride. When they complain, Uber favors the drivers.

    • It’s called vomit fraud. And it could make your Uber trip really expensive

      The next time you use Uber, check your bill. The trip could turn out to be expensive — not just for the distance but for a type of fraud that is on the rise.

      It’s called “vomit fraud,” a scam repeatedly denounced in social networks yet still taking place around the world.

      And Miami, of course, is a common spot.

      What is it? Passengers request Uber cars, which deliver them to their destination. So far so good.

    • Influential Texas Commission Says Blood Spatter Testimony in Joe Bryan’s Murder Case Was “Not Accurate or Scientifically Supported”

      An influential state commission said the blood-spatter analysis used to convict a former Texas high school principal of murdering his wife in 1985 was “not accurate or scientifically supported” and the expert who testified was “entirely wrong.”

      The findings of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, a national leader in forensic science reform, called into question the conviction of Joe Bryan, who has now spent more than 30 years in prison.

      Bryan was the subject of a two-part investigation by ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine in May that questioned the accuracy of the bloodstain pattern analysis used to convict Bryan, as well as the training of the experts who testify in such cases.

    • ‘Disability Issues Tend to Be Put on a Back Burner’

      July 26 will be the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability activist and writer Mary Johnson wrote for FAIR about the historic 1990 signing on the White House Lawn—at that point, and maybe still, the largest gathering ever of journalists for a “disability story.” And while celebration was in order, it was hard not to notice the shallowness of some press coverage. One story noted an empty wheelchair and suggested that “the occupant might have gotten up and walked on the waves of emotion.” And only a single wire piece pointed out that the White House itself lacked the accessible bathrooms that the ADA mandated.

      Media do tend to cover the ADA anniversary. But that reporting often takes a boring, “We’ve come a long way; there’s a long way to go” tone that implies that full human rights for people with disabilities are something less than urgent, and that presents the disability community as sort of waiting and hoping for acknowledgment and inclusion.

      The disability community has always been more complicated, more diverse, more active and more engaged than elite media suggest, and elections are chances to see evidence of that. Our next guest is Andrew Pulrang; he’s co-founder, along with Gregg Beratan and Alice Wong, of the #CripTheVote campaign. He also blogs at DisabilityThinking.com. He joins us now by phone from Plattsburgh, New York. Welcome to CounterSpin, Andrew Pulrang.

    • El Paso County Deputies Started A Fight Club To Reward Use Of Force Against Prisoners

      Sheriff’s deputies participated in a “fight club,” where the most violent guard was declared “champion.”

      Use of violent force is never something to celebrate. Any time law enforcement officers legitimately use force or violence against people in the communities that they serve, it is at best an unfortunate part of the job that should be kept to the minimum amount necessary to control a situation.

      Yet in the El Paso County Jail in Colorado, Sheriff’s Deputy Sandra Rincon was celebrated with a tiara, a “princess” plate, and a cake with the number “50” on top. The number, however, wasn’t her age. It referred to the number of times she had used force against prisoners, ranging from handcuffing to punching and kicking. She was the winner of what one of the county jailers called a “fight club,” crowning whoever used force most often as the champion.

    • New Hampshire Has a Confidential List of Officers With Credibility Problems

      The state’s process for identifying and disclosing problem officers is broken.

      Police misconduct is a national problem. Videos recording police interactions have led to a renewed focus on police misdeeds and an understanding that police officers’ descriptions of events are not always accurate. However, because law enforcement agencies largely act independently, police wrongdoing and dishonesty must be fought locally.

      In New Hampshire, police officers are given special protections not afforded to citizens in the private sector: Their personnel files are deemed confidential. At the same time, to ensure that criminal defendants can present a strong defense, both the New Hampshire and U.S. Constitutions require that defendants have access to evidence that might help their case, including exculpatory evidence in a police officer’s personnel file.

      The state’s “Laurie List,” named after a 1995 New Hampshire Supreme Court case, was created in an attempt to reconcile these two conflicting principles. Officers’ names may be placed on the list for incidents relating to their truthfulness or credibility. This would include, for example, lying under oath or falsifying evidence.

      There is one glaring problem with New Hampshire’s Laurie List, which consists of approximately 170 officers. It is secret. The public is left unaware of which officers in their towns have had issues concerning their truthfulness or credibility. And defense lawyers have no way to verify that proper disclosures concerning testifying officers are being made in their cases.

      And, on April 30, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and the state’s attorney general Gordon MacDonald made this system even worse. They announced that the Laurie List procedure would be changed so that a police officer under investigation for a potential credibility problem will not be placed on the list until the investigation is completed. Instead, officers are expected to “notify the prosecutor in any case in which they may be a witness that they are under investigation,” according to the memo. Proponents declared that these changes to the Laurie List were needed because the police “deserve the same robust due process protections as any criminal defendant would have in court.”

    • Catalonian Quest for Independence is Undeterred

      “Freedom for the political prisoners,” read banners hanging on hundreds of balconies from Placa Catalunya to La Ramblas, and from the Vila de Gracia to the Gothic Quarter. They were calling for freedom for the many grass roots activists demanding independence from Spain who were arrested and for the freedom of Charles Puigdemont, the ex-President of Generalitat de Catalunya, who was arrested in March by German authorities. A German judge rejected Spain’s extradition request on July 19 but he would face rebellion and sedition charges if he returned to Spain.

      Puigdemont had escaped to Belgium the day after the independence referendum on October 1, 2017 with Spanish police on his heels. Madrid’s secret service agents then hid a GPS tracker on the car he was traveling in from Helsinki, where he had attended a conference, back to Brussels. He is now in Hamburg, under surveillance by the German police.

      Eight ministers of the dissolved Catalonian government (vice-president Junqueras, Joseph Rull, Dolores Bassa, Meri Borras, Joaquim Forn, Charles Mund, Jordi Torull, Raul Romeva) are all being held in a Madrid prison, under accusation of having threatened the integrity on Spain. Seven independence leaders and intellectuals escaped to Scotland and Holland to avoid arrest.

    • Pew: Democrats choose IRS, FBI, CIA, over ICE

      In the biggest contrast, 65 percent of Democrats have a “favorable” view of the IRS, while 72 percent have an unfavorable view of ICE, according to the Pew Research Center.

      Even odder, the party that has a history of criticizing the FBI and CIA have embraced both. Some 77 percent of Democrats have a favorable view if the FBI and 63 percent of the CIA.

      All of those agencies have been caught up in the Trump administration and the president’s criticism. And his views appear to drive how Republicans and Democrats look at the agencies.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FCC Confirms Sinclair Misled Agency To Try And Get Its Megamerger Approved

      Last week, the FCC shocked many by sending the Sinclair Tribune merger to merger review purgatory. It was shocking, in part, because the FCC had spent the better part of the last year comically neutering decades-old media consolidation rules specifically at Sinclair’s behest, only to suddenly turn around and find fault with Sinclair’s logic, relegating the merger review to an administrative law judge (historically the death knell for similar deals). Many of these rules have traditionally had bipartisan support, since they prevent any one company from dominating local media and distorting public discourse.

      In a statement, FCC boss Ajit Pai indicated that the company appears to have misled regulators in its bid to pretend the deal would fall under the national media ownership cap, which bans any one broadcaster from serving more than 39% of the population. Again, a stark and sudden reversal for an agency that, until last week, had been taking an ax to decades-old media consolidation rules specifically to help grease the skids for the controversial deal, which would have given Sinclair ownership of more than 230 stations reaching 72% of the public.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Nikola Tesla’s Third Greatest Invention: The First Drone
    • Our 19th Century Patent System

      One’s view of the patent system depends on what perspective is taken. A narrow focus on the operational level of doctrinal implementation of patent law reveals significant instability and fluctuation in the patent system. A broader focus on the foundational and systemic characteristics of the patent system reveals such substantial stability for so long that the American patent system reasonably can be described as a 19th century patent system. And an even broader focus on the entire history of the American patent system reveals that this stability was only achieved after a period of significant change, diversity, and experimentation in the first few decades of the patent system. The result is a patent system disconnected in significant ways from the modern legal system but one that could be justified on the basis of stability, resilience, and the assumed wisdom of long-standing practice. At the same time, however, mistaking this long-standing practice and potential policy desirability for necessary, inherent, or mandatory features overlooks the instability, change, and diversity in the early decades of the American patent system.

    • Apple patent hints at better gesture control on the Apple Watch

      It looks like Apple is working hard at giving users new way to control the Apple Watch. While these days the Apple Watch is largely controlled by the touchscreen, one day it may also give users extensive control through different gestures, according to a new Apple patent.

    • New legislation and research adds to focus on why women and minorities lag in patenting

      Inequality in patenting rates has been thrust back into the spotlight thanks to proposed legislation in the US and a new report which highlights just how women and ethnic minorities lag in terms of the number of patents they receive. The bill – the “Study of underrepresented classes chasing engineering and science success act of 2018” or the “SUCCESS Act” – was introduced last week in the House of Representatives by Barbara Comstock.

    • SUCCESS Act Is A Good Start—But Could Be Improved

      Last week, Rep. Comstock (R-VA), along with 7 other cosponsors, introduced H.R. 6390, the “Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success Act of 2018” (SUCCESS) Act. The Act recognizes the gap in innovation activity faced by women and under-represented minorities, and requires the Small Business Administration and the PTO to study the reasons behind this gap.

      While this is a good start, there is room for improvement in the bill.

      [...]

      The bill makes a few explicit findings. The problem is that all of them effectively assume that more patents means more innovation; in reality, while patents can promote innovation, they can also prevent it. While some small businesses “depend on patent protections to commercialize new technologies,” as stated in the findings, others have the opposite experience. As one startup investor put it, “[w]hen companies spend money protecting their intellectual property position, they are not expanding; and when companies spend time thinking about patent demands, they are not inventing.”

      The bill only addresses increasing the number of patents applied for and obtained. It ignores the other half of the issue—ensuring that small businesses can protect themselves from overly broad demands and assertions, in addition to the separate problem of bad faith demand letter campaigns. These kinds of patent threats, even if they never lead to a lawsuit, can still have a significant impact on a small business. And an innovative small business is more likely to see the threat of patent lawsuits from others as a negative than that business is to see the their own patents as a positive.

    • SIPO reorganisation still a work in progress, insiders say

      The world’s biggest patent and trademark offices by annual application volume are combining as part of a government-wide re-org in China. Last week in Beijing, I had a chance to speak with IP owners and representatives of foreign organisations, as well as governmental figures, about how the new SIPO and its bureaucratic parent are taking shape. The overall takeaway is that it is very much still a work in progress.

    • Trademarks
      • U of I paying alum $7,500 to halt sales of Chief Illiniwek T-shirt
      • University Of Illinois Bullies Alum Out Of Making ‘Make Illinois Great Again’ Shirts Through Tiny Settlement

        You will recall that earlier this year we discussed the University of Illinois’ attempt to trademark bully an alumnus out of making orange and black shirts that read “Make Illinois Great Again.” The whole story surrounding the school’s actions is somewhat more complicated than it might appear. Part of the issue is that the shirts in question used the image of Chief Illiniwek, something of a mascot the school abandoned a decade ago, and one that was the source of controversy given its cartoonish mannerisms as related to Native American tribes. So, when the school first objected to Ted O’Malley’s trademark application, and then later filed suit against him, you should understand that it was done as the school remains under public pressure to disavow the previous use of this imagery. All of that being said, claims that the school’s trademark gives it the right to control the word “Illinois” on all apparel were obviously silly.

        But trademark bullying works, as we’ve stated many times in the past. And it tends to work all the more when the bully has a large war chest to fund its legal team and the victim is a much smaller, much less well-funded entity. Such appears to be the case with O’Malley, who has settled with the school and essentially agreed to its demands in return for a measly $7,500 payout.

    • Copyrights
      • Nintendo hits popular ROM sites with copyright infringement lawsuit

        Why it matters: Nintendo might be famous for the games and consoles it produces, but it’s also got a reputation for being a company that hates third-party emulators and ROMs. Now, the Japanese giant has launched a lawsuit against two ROM sites, one of which has already shut down.

        The sites in question—loveROMS.com and loveRETRO.co—are believed to be operated by Jacob Mathias and his Arizona company Mathias Designs LLC, reports TorrentFreak.

      • European football association scores against ISPs again

        The English High Court has extended a live blocking injunction for UEFA less than a week after it extended a similar order for the English Premier League. Other sports such as Formula One are tipped to follow suit

      • South Africa’s Proposed Copyright Fair Use Right Should Be A Model For The World

        Copyright laws the world over are under massive pressure to reform to fit the digital environment. One key area often in need of reform is in the exceptions to copyright that enable the digital practices. Without exceptions, common practices may be illegal, such as sharing photos on social media, making technical copies to send and stream, and uploading excerpts to closed networks for student access.

      • BitTorrent Inc. Officially Confirms Acquisition by TRON Foundation

        BitTorrent Inc, the parent company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, has confirmed its acquisition by the TRON Foundation. This means that the company, which once was one of Silicon Valley’s hottest newcomers, will now officially merge with the cryptocurrency startup.

      • Music Industry Lawyer Calls For Criminal Investigation Over Article 13 Vote

        A high-profile defender of artists’ rights is calling for a “full-blown criminal investigation” into what happened during the Article 13 ‘copyright filters’ vote earlier this month. Lawyer Chris Castle, who has an impressive music industry track record with various labels and groups, says that Google backed an “attack” on the European Parliament “for the purpose of policy intimidation”.

More in Tux Machines

Security: X.Org Server, USBHarpoon, Kubernetes Penetration Testing

  • Three New Security Advisories Hit X.Org's X11 Library
    It's been a while since last having any big security bulletins for the X.Org Server even though some of the code-base dates back decades and security researchers have said the security is even worse than it looks and numerous advisories have come up in recent years. But it's not because X11 is bug-free as today three more security bulletins were made public affecting libX11. Today's security advisory pertains to three different functions in libX11 that are affected by different issues. The security issues come down to off-by-one writes, a potential out of boundary write, and a crash on invalid reply.
  • USBHarpoon: How “Innocent” USB Cables Can Be Manipulated To Inject Malware
    Back in 2014 Black Hat Conference, crypto specialists Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell introduced the concept of BadUSB — a USB security flaw which allows attackers to turn a USB into a keyboard which can be used to type in commands. Now, a researcher from SYON Security has managed to build a modified USB charging cable that will enable hackers to transfer malware on your PC without you even noticing it. Behind the hood is the BadUSB vulnerability. [...] While BadUSB is gradually climbing the ladder towards the mainstream cyber attacks, people are also coming up with the corresponding firewalls to tackle the new age attacks.
  • Open Source 'Kube-Hunter' Does Kubernetes Penetration Testing
    Aqua Security released the open source kube-hunter tool for penetration testing of Kubernetes clusters, used for container orchestration. "You give it the IP or DNS name of your Kubernetes cluster, and kube-hunter probes for security issues -- it's like automated penetration testing," the company said in an Aug. 15 blog post. The tool -- with source code available on GitHub -- is also packaged by the company in a containerized version, which works with the company's kube-hunter Web site where test results can be seen and shared.

Linux-Friendly Hardware From Tranquil PC and Aaeon

  • Rugged, Linux-ready mini-PC showcases Ryzen V1000
    Tranquil PC open pre-orders on a fanless, barebones “Mini Multi Display PC” mini-PC with AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC, 4x simultaneous 4K DisplayPort displays, 2x GbE, and up to 32GB DDR4 and 1TB storage. Manchester, UK based Tranquil PC has launched the first mini-PC based on the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000. The Mini Multi Display PC is named for the Ryzen V1000’s ability to simultaneously drive four 4K displays, a feature supported here with 4x DisplayPorts. The NUC-like, aluminum frame system is moderately rugged, with 0 to 40°C support and IP50 protection.
  • Apollo Lake Pico-ITX SBC has dual GbE ports and plenty of options
    Aaeon’s Apollo Lake powered “PICO-APL4” SBC offers a pair each of GbE, USB 3.0, and M.2 connections plus HDMI, SATA III, and up to 64GB eMMC. Aaeon has spun another Pico-ITX form-factor SBC featuring Intel Apollo Lake processors, following the PICO-APL3 and earlier PICO-APL1. Unlike those SBCs, the new PICO-APL4 has dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, among other minor changes.

State Certifies LA County’s New Open-Source Vote Tally System

Los Angeles County’s open-source vote tally system was certified by the secretary of state Tuesday, clearing the way for redesigned vote-by-mail ballots to be used in the November election. “With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open-source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security and transparency,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Los Angeles County’s VSAP vote tally system is now California’s first certified election system to use open-source technology. This publicly-owned technology represents a significant step in the future of elections in California and across the country.” The system — dubbed Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP) Tally Version 1.0 — went through rigorous security testing by staffers working with the secretary of state as well as an independent test lab, according to county and state officials. Read more

Mesa and NVIDIA Graphics on Linux

  • Collabora's Mesa EGLDevice Work To Better Support Multiple GPUs
    As covered earlier this month, Emil Velikov at Collabora has been working on EGLDevice support for Mesa. These EGL extensions originally developed by NVIDIA are being pursued by Mesa developers for better dealing with the enumeration and querying of multiple GPUs on a system. Right now there is the DRI_PRIME environment variable to allow toggling between systems primarily with two GPUs (namely, Optimus notebooks have been the main use-case) but using EGLDevice support by the Mesa drivers the matter of GPU selection for OpenGL rendering can be made by the application/toolkit developer and for other scenarios like multi-GPU systems running without a display server.
  • NVIDIA 396.54 Linux Driver Released To Fix A OpenGL/Vulkan Performance Bug
    One day after announcing the GeForce RTX 2070/2080 series, NVIDIA has released a new Linux driver. But it's not a major new driver branch at this time (that's presumably coming closer to the 20 September launch date) with the Turing GPU support, but is a point release delivering a practical bug fix. The sole change listed in today's NVIDIA 396.54 driver update is, "Fixed a resource leak introduced in the 390 series of drivers that could lead to reduced performance after starting and stopping several OpenGL and/or Vulkan applications."