Toward cybersecurity without trade protectionism

Source: Cato Institute
by Daniel J Ikenson

"Information and communications technology (ICT) products are to the modern economy what iron and coal were to the industrial revolution: building blocks essential to innovation and progress. But with this productivity-enhancing, living standards-boosting technology comes parallel potential for nefarious goals. Protecting critical economic and national security infrastructure from cyber-malfeasance is a legitimate responsibility of government. But, as with other areas in which governments are obligated to protect the public, success requires proper identification of the sources and nature of the threats, as well as recognition that risk mitigation brings its own set of costs." (09/18/17)

Feds wiretapped Trump campaign chairman both before and after election

Source: CNN

"US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe. The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump. … A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party, the sources told CNN. The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources. The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year." (09/18/17)

In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?

by Justin Raimondo

"One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1. Of course, some observers — e,g, Julian Assange — did see it coming, but the current trend to find 'fascists' under every bed in America may have obscured our ability to detect them where they really live — in Madrid, where the federal authorities are threatening to arrest Catalonian politicians who advocate independence. Madrid has mobilized 4,000 police to stop the referendum. They are seizing election materials, shutting down web sites, and invading the offices of newspapers: they have threatened 700 pro-independence mayors with arrest and prosecution." (09/18/17)

World Wide Web Consortium abandons users to support censorship, corporate welfare

Source: Ars Technica

"The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry body that oversees development of HTML and related Web standards, has today published the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) specification as a Recommendation, marking its final blessing as an official Web standard. Final approval came after the W3C's members voted 58.4 percent to approve the spec, 30.8 percent to oppose, with 10.8 percent abstaining. … The development of EME has been contentious. There are broad ideological and legal concerns; some groups, such as the Free Software Foundation, oppose any and all DRM in any context or application. Some do not object to DRM, per se, but are concerned by regulations such as the US' Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Under the DMCA, bypassing DRM is outlawed, even if the bypass is intended to enable activities that are otherwise legal. These concerns are particularly acute in the context of the Web; for many the Web should be open, without any kind of technological restrictions on what can be done with Web content." (09/18/17)

An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Cory Doctorow

"You have to search long and hard to find an independent technologist who believes that DRM is possible, let alone a good idea. Yet, somewhere along the way, the business values of those outside the web got important enough, and the values of technologists who built it got disposable enough, that even the wise elders who make our standards voted for something they know to be a fool's errand. We believe they will regret that choice. Today, the W3C bequeaths an legally unauditable attack-surface to browsers used by billions of people. They give media companies the power to sue or intimidate away those who might re-purpose video for people with disabilities. They side against the archivists who are scrambling to preserve the public record of our era. The W3C process has been abused by companies that made their fortunes by upsetting the established order, and now, thanks to EME, they’ll be able to ensure no one ever subjects them to the same innovative pressures." (09/18/17)

Dow, S&P 500 score back-to-back records; Nasdaq again lags behind

Source: MarketWatch

"U.S. stock benchmarks climbed on Monday, with the S&P 500 index and the Dow industrials closing at all-time highs for a second straight session, ahead of the start of a key gathering of the Federal Reserve. However, technology stocks lagged behind, limiting gains for the Nasdaq Composite Index." (09/18/17)

The dos and don'ts of talking liberty

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A Tucker

"The short summary of what we believe: the astonishing rise of government power over the course of the last one hundred years has truncated freedoms, human rights, and prosperity along with all the fruits of the human spirit. Government is the main enemy, but government hides under cover of social contract, social justice, democracy, religion, security, and a host of other changing veils. All of this is clear to those steeped in the tradition of liberty-minded thought as it has gradually emerged over the centuries. But it is obviously not clear to the vast majority of the human family, who continue to live under the illusion that giving government more power will magically cure society’s ills by infusing us with a greater reality of fairness, justice, morality — or whatever they claim. How best to correct this error? How best to share this knowledge? How best to bring others along to the same understanding. Here are ten rules — five don’ts and five dos." (09/18/17)

US Senate passes bill to blow another $700 billion on already bloated military

Source: CNBC

"The Senate passed a roughly $692 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Monday but failed to include an amendment that would have eliminated the automatic spending cuts under the controversial sequester mechanism. The NDAA, which sets forth the Pentagon's budget and major programs for the next fiscal year, does authorize an additional $8.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency to strengthen homeland, regional and space missile defense. That authorization is $630 million above the Trump administration's request." (09/18/17)

Time has come: ISIS improvising own killer drones

Jason Ditz

Source: The American Conservative
by Jason C Ditz

"Drones were once an exclusive technology of the United States, but it did not stay that way for long. America’s military is, after all, the world’s largest, and a shift in its priorities toward drone warfare did not go unnoticed by the rest of the world. This has meant the rise of cheaper combat drone manufacturers in China, opening the technology up to arsenals around the world. Even cheaper civilian technology has also emerged, giving terrorist organizations access to their own makeshift fleets. This is where it gets scary. Not surprising, mind you, but disturbing nonetheless. Tech-savvy ISIS is now at the forefront of developing improvised military drones." (09/18/17)

Trump pushes reform in United Nations debut, calls for "changing business as usual"

Source: Washington Post

"President Trump called on the United Nations to enact reforms to the world body, pledging Monday in his debut here at the annual General Assembly meetings that he and his administration will be 'partners in your work.' Speaking at the opening session of the four-day conference, Trump said the organization founded in 1945 has 'not reached its full potential' in recent years because of a bloated bureaucracy and 'mismanagement.'" (09/18/17)