Tor Browser 12.0 Released

Tor Browser 12.0 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory. This new release updates Tor Browser to Firefox Extended Support Release 102. Once again, the time has come to upgrade Tor Browser to Firefox’s newest Extended Support Release. As part of that process, anything that may conflict with Tor Browser’s strict privacy and security principles has been carefully disabled.

— source | Dec 7, 2022

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France bans Office 365 and Google Docs in schools

The French Ministry of National Education has urged educational institutions to stop using free versions of Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 for schools and students. The Ministry said the offerings are incompatible with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Schrems II judgment of the European Court of Justice and France’s internal doctrines.

France’s privacy watchdog (CNIL) recommends that institutions use collaborative suites offered by service providers “exclusively subject to European law” which “host the data within the European Union and do not transfer it to the United States”.

The minister added that “the deployment of Office 365 is prohibited in French administrations“. In fact, France’s interministerial digital director issued a circular published in

— source | | Nov 22, 2022

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List of Open Source suicides and accidents

Volunteers are currently working to try and decode the Frans Pop Debian Day suicide. Here at the Fellowship we thought it would be helpful to look at Pop’s case in the context of all the other suicides and accidental deaths across the entire open source ecosystem.

The Open Source mafia has been putting far too much pressure on volunteers in recent years. We decided to look at the cases of those who didn’t survive.

We feel these cases demonstrate there are issues in the open source challenge to work/life balance and the systematic pushing of volunteers to work for free.

If you know any other cases or if you have more evidence about the cases listed already, please write to
Frans Pop, Debian “Community”, 2010 (suicide confirmed)

— source | Jul 23, 2022

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Proprietary Software is Pollution

Proprietary waste

It remains mostly unnoticed that proprietary (non-free) technology is an indirect but enormous contributor to planetary pollution through e-waste and inefficiency. If you value the environment, stop buying it.

Electronic waste is wrecking planet Earth. 50 million tons of phones, household appliances, computers and gadgets are disposed of annually. Most of it is illegally shipped to India, China and Africa where it’s shredded and burned by child workers who are poisoned. Large amounts of toxic “forever chemicals”, dioxins, micro-plastics and heavy metals are released into the environment poisoning life all around the planet. (See Dannoritzer 2014 Dannoritzer14)

But we need technology, so what can you do? Well, one cause is that software goes out of

— source | Andy Farnell | 01.24.22

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Architecting Software for Freedom in Networked Services

Networked applications often adopt a client/server architecture, in which client software takes care of user interaction, while servers hold data and application logic. Maintaining and securing server software are challenges for home and small business users. Third parties do so with economies of scale that make them nearly irresistible for users. Adopting a different networked application architecture could protect users from such threats as censorship, Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS), and loss of autonomy, and avoid the risks of (re)centralization.

“SaaSS is equivalent to using a nonfree program with surveillance features and a universal back door” — Richard Stallman

Free Software history is full of examples of server software that users could install and run autonomously on their own computers, developed to promote server-side user autonomy and decentralization, but that third parties install and run for multiple users, defeating these motivations.

It has happened to such widely-used communication and publishing services as instant messaging, email hosting, blogging, social media, and source code hosting, and to domain-

— source | Alexandre Oliva | Aug 22, 2021

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Peer-to-Peer Databases for the Decentralized Web

OrbitDB is a serverless, distributed, peer-to-peer database. OrbitDB uses IPFS as its data storage and IPFS Pubsub to automatically sync databases with peers. It’s an eventually consistent database that uses CRDTs for conflict-free database merges making OrbitDB an excellent choice for decentralized apps (dApps), blockchain applications and offline-first web applications.

— source

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NoiseTorch Is A Real-Time Microphone Noise Suppression Application For Gnu/Linux

NoiseTorch is a real-time microphone noise suppression application for Gnu/Linux that can filter out unwanted background noise like the sound of your mechanical keyboard, computer fans, trains and so on. It currently only supports PulseAudio, but PipeWire support is planned for a future release.

The application user interface is built with simplicity in mind. If you only have 1 microphone, all you have to do is launch the application, then click on “Load NoiseTorch”. Once you do this, the application creates a virtual microphone called “NoiseTorch Microphone”. You can select this virtual microphone in any application in order to filter out background noises.
— source | Feb 24, 2021

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He spent 10 days in jail after facial recognition software led to the arrest of the wrong man

When Nijeer Parks walked out of a New Jersey prison in 2016, he returned to his family in Paterson and told them he was done messing up his life.

Twice convicted for selling drugs, Parks spent six years behind bars and said he decided after his release to earn an honest living. He found a job as a clerk at the local PriceRite, began saving money and made plans to marry his fiancé.

So when police last year filed numerous charges against Parks stemming from a shoplifting incident at a Woodbridge hotel in which the suspect hit a police car before fleeing the scene, the ex-convict who had worked eagerly to repair his life, tried just as hard to clear his name.

Parks didn’t drive a car, didn’t have a license and had to ask his cousin to drive him to the Woodbridge police station, after he learned police had a warrant for his arrest.

Moments after he arrived, he said, he was in handcuffs and later confronted by detectives who told him repeatedly, “You know what you did.”

Before everything was over, Parks would spend 10 days in jail, all of his life savings, and the next

— source | Anthony G. Attrino | Dec 28, 2020

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