UK Officially Gives Up Any Pretense That It Is Not George Orwell's Nightmare Come True

The "Snoopers Charter" or more properly, the Investigatory Powers Bill is a formality away from becoming law in the UK. Once it has received Royal Assent, this far-reaching blanket surveillance implementation will be officially in place, effectively throwing UK Internet users under the bus as far as their privacy is concerned.

I was born in the UK, and I don't think it's too strong a statement to say that I am ashamed of what the government has wrought for their citizenry. I honestly don't think I could go back there to live anymore, it would just not seem like my homeland.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (father of the World Wide Web) said of the bill:
This snoopers charter has no place in a modern democracy - it undermines our fundamental rights online. The bulk collection of everyone's internet browsing data is disproportionate, creates a security nightmare for the ISPs who must store the data - and rides roughshod over our right to privacy. Meanwhile, the bulk hacking powers in the Bill risk making the internet less safe for everyone. 


VLC Media Player Does A 360 (Literally)

I always think of VLC player as the media player that will play back just about anything. That is now a more accurate notion, as VLC will now support 360 degree videos!
The company just unveiled a technical preview that enables its desktop app to play 360-degree videos, so folks can watch their dizzying footage on their computers. The preview is now available for Windows and Mac machines, and the full version will arrive with VLC 3.0 , which is expected at the end of the month.

Wayland Makes It's Way To Fedora Linux 25

I have been aware of the Wayland display server as a replacement for the hoary old X Windows for some years now. However, not really being what one might call a power user (no high resolution multiple displays, or bleeding edge games), I honestly never quite got what all the fuss was about. The traditional X system worked fine in my little world.

Things move on though, and Wayland makes it's appearance in the Red Hat world as part of Fedora 25 Workstation. Wayland is a set of libraries that works with a compositor such as Weston (the reference compositor).
...Fedora 25 Workstation delivers a host of new features, including the long-awaited official debut of the Wayland display server. Replacing the legacy X11 system, Wayland has been under development for several years and seeks to provide a smoother, richer experience for graphical environments and better capabilities for modern graphics hardware.


Hitachi Working To Slim Down Mobile Device Cameras

In the seemingly endless quest to make mobile devices slimmer and sleeker, we have yanked out headset jacks (looking at you, Apple) and made very skinny batteries. How to possibly get rid of (or minimize) the camera bump?

Hitachi is working on a "no lens" system that should do just that - although to me, the description sounds a bit like a fresnel lens, but what do I know?
With its new camera technology, Hitachi says you’ll be able to capture images without using a lens and adjust focus after the fact by replacing the lens with a film imprinted with a concentric-circle pattern.

US Army Takes The Fight To Hackers

Well aware of the potential for their websites to be hacked, the US Army is making a preemptive strike by launching a "Hack The Army" bug bounty program.
Announced by outgoing secretary of the Army Eric Fanning, the program asks hackers to vet and find flaws in the Army’s digital recruiting infrastructure. Unlike Hack the Pentagon, which only asked hackers to assess static websites, Hack the Army focuses on recruitment sites and databases of personal information about both new applicants and existing army personnel.


Android Fragmentation Rears It's Ugly Head Again

After almost 3 months since the introduction of Android 7, only about 0.3% of devices have the update (not 3%, that's 3/10 of one percent), and only about 25% have the previous version of Android after more than a year.
For comparison, Apple’s iOS 10 launched on September 13 and has been installed on 60 percent of devices as of October 25 (exactly five weeks). Another 32 percent of devices are running iOS 9 while just eight percent are using an earlier version, Apple says.


NIST Issues Email Security Guide

The NIST has issued a guide from the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence [NCCoE], speaking to security practices specific to email.
The hope of the 241-page publication [PDF] is to increase defenses as broadly as possible against phishing, man-in-the-middle, malware and various other types of email-based attacks. Given the recent high-profile hack of the Democratic National Committee's email system and Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, the guide can't come soon enough for some.