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Month: April 2017

One Cookie Popup? We demand Hundreds of them!

You can’t read any website anywhere in Europe without getting a completely useless “We too are using Cookies” overlay. This has been such a unmitigated success that there exists a separate “Kill all Cookie banners” category in every Adblocker available.

But, says the Article 29 group of European Privacy Commissioners, is by far not annoying enough, we can do worse. Consent cannot be given in general, you need to make this more specific.

That is, they demand hundreds of these overlays on each site (PDF).

Page 17 of that PDF:

The end-user must be able to give separate consent per  website or app for tracking for different purposes (such as social media sharing or advertising). […]

For both browsers and data controllers this means it would be invalid if they would only offer an option ‘to accept all cookies’, since this would not enable users to provide the required granular consent.

Right. How is this even practical.


FrOSCon 2017

TL;DR: Submit your FrOSCon proposals to Deadline is 23-May 2017

Call for Papers FrOSCon 2017

The Free and Open Source Software Conference (FrOSCon), an annual summer conference for users and developers of FOSS, will be held on the August 19-20 at the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg in Sankt Augustin near Bonn, Germany. It is organized by the University’s Department of Computer Science in collaboration with the student body and the FrOSCon e.V.

As its key feature, volunteer speakers will deliver a comprehensive range of talks and workshops. Additionally, the event offers space and facilities to Free Software developers and projects to organize their own meetings or subconferences. The event also hosts an exhibit hall with booths from both FLOSS projects and companies.

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Fossil Fuel Feminism and Inclusivity

The Koch Brothers are highly invested into hydrocarbons and desperately need more time to get out of their investment while the world is switching to renewables. So how desperate are they, exactly? Think Progress has a money quote:

Cooke told ThinkProgress that the organization’s fossil fuels art contest is rooted in inclusivity. “Fossil fuels seem to get left out of the Earth Day celebration,” she said via email. “As an energy feminist — pro-choice in energy sources — I feel it’s important to have hydrocarbons equally represented.”

As a friend put it: »If she’s delivering this with a straight face, she’s worth every cent of her salary as a PR-woman.«

(via Florian)

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Wind Power in Texas, of all places

Technology Review has an article about wind power in Texas.

With nearly 18,000 megawatts of capacity, Texas, if it were a country, would be the sixth-largest generator of wind power in the world, right behind Spain.

Texas profits from an electric power network built in 2007, whose purpose is to bring wind power generated in the desolate west and north parts of the state to the big cities in the south and east.

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New York Noise

Nautilus has an article about anechoic chamber in New York at 20 DB, and how New York runs on noise:

Noise is the single greatest quality-of-life complaint New Yorkers have (we lodged 18,000 phone complaints with the Department of Environmental Protection last July alone). We all love to hate the noise. And yet sitting in silence, I do not feel as if I’ve found an escape from pain: I have simply traded it for a new variety. Shockingly, I realize I want to trade back.

At the same time, the New York Times reports on Doug Wheeler’s Desert Silence, a 10 DB anechoic chamber as an art project:

The sound engineers Doug is working with (Raj Patel and Joseph Digerness from the firm Arup) can identify things utterly imperceptible to us. They identified an electronic buzz from a panel on the eighth floor, a floor above us, coming through a concrete slab.




Washington Post on “Brexit and Britain’s delusions of empire“: The article goes through the former British colonies and checks how much they need the British and their trade to succeed. TL;DR: They don’t.

The Guardian on “Up to 100,000 UK jobs at risk as Merkel and Juncker ally warns on euro clearing“:

“EU citizens decide on their own money,” Weber said during a press conference in Strasbourg on Tuesday. “When the UK is leaving the European Union it is not thinkable that at the end the whole euro business is managed in London. This is an external place, this is not an EU place any more. The euro business should be managed on EU soil.” […]

Clearing houses are independent parties that sit between the two parties in a trade and are tasked with managing the risk if one side defaults on payment. London clears around three-quarters of all euro-denominated trades.

And German Die Zeit has an article titled simply “Vergesst Großbritannien!” (“Forget Britain!”), an interview with Labour-Politician and EU Trade Commissar Perer Mandelson.


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IKEA without screws

IKEA is experimenting with furniture that has wooden click fittings instead of screws.

»We believe that easy assembly will be important for IKEA and our customers. When we were kids, we built treehouses. Today, kids grow up with a phone in their hands. It doesn’t come as natural to them to assembly furniture with a screwdriver.«


Antivirus assisted attacks

Christian Wressnegger, Kevin Freeman , Fabian Yamaguchi, and Konrad Rieck from TU Braunschweig and University of Göttingen have been experimenting with “Antivirus assisted attacks” (PDF). What is that?

They have been searching for signatures of malware in common Antivirus software that consists of printable characters only. Using these byte sequences, the following becomes possible:

As a consequence, an attacker may finish each iteration over a list of guessed passwords with a set of malicious markers, i.e., specially crafted login names that correspond to anti-virus signatures. If the attacked host is running a virus scanner configured to delete or quarantine viruses, any file containing such a malicious marker is deleted or at least moved to a different location. This not only makes manual investigation of the attack hard but may also inhibit the functionality of tools analyzing log files to stop password guessing, such as fail2ban.

Similar approaches are “making mbox files unavailable by poisoning them with printable malware signatures”, or “using malware signatures as cookie names”.