Star Wars Jedi Challenges Gets Lightsaber Versus Mode, Version 0.1 of Kubeflow Released, Arch Linux 2018.05.01 Snapshot Now Available and More

News briefs for May 4, 2018.

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is getting a free update called
“Lightsaber Versus Mode”, which adds local multiplayer to the previously
single-player game, The
Verge
reports. The update is available on the Google Play store, but it
also requires two of the Lenovo Mirage AR systems, two
headsets, two lightsaber controllers and two light-up tracking beacons set
to different colors. For this game, you can’t “just hack
away at your opponent; it procedurally generates a battle, using familiar
elements from the single-player dueling mode”.

The Arch Linux 2018.05.01 snapshot was released this week. This is the first
to include the Linux 4.16 kernel, with mitigations for Meltdown and Spectre,
updates for several drivers, improved KVM support and more. Note that this
snapshot is only for new deployments. (Source: Softpedia
News
.)

Google today announced the release of version 0.1 of the open-source Kubeflow
tool, which is “designed to bring machine learning to Kubernetes
containers”. According to TechCrunch, “the idea behind the project is to
enable data scientists to take advantage of running machine learning jobs on
Kubernetes clusters. Kubeflow lets machine learning teams take existing jobs
and simply attach them to a cluster without a lot of adapting.”

Google also has open-sourced gVisor, a new way to sandbox containers to
“provide a secure isolation boundary between the host operating system and
the application running within the container”, ZDNet
reports
. gVisor’s core is “is a kernel that runs as a
normal, unprivileged process that supports most Linux system calls. This
kernel, like LXD, is written in Go, which was chosen for its memory- and
type-safety”.

According to The
Register
, “researchers have unearthed a fresh new set of ways attackers
could potentially exploit data-leaking Spectre CPU vulnerabilities in Intel
chips”. Currently, there is only information on Intel’s plans for patches,
but there is evidence that some ARM CPUs also are vulnerable.

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Privacy Is Still Personal

Privacy Is Still Personal

Image

Doc Searls
Fri, 05/04/2018 – 06:30


We solved privacy in the natural world with clothing, shelter, manners and
laws. So far in the digital world, we have invisibility cloaks and the GDPR.
The fastest way to get the rest of what we need is to recognize that
privacy isn’t a grace of platforms or governments.

In the physical world, privacy isn’t controversial. In the digital world,
it is.

The difference is that we’ve had thousands of years to work out privacy in
the physical world, and about 20 in the digital one. So it should help
to cut ourselves a little slack while we come up with the tech, plus the
manners and laws to go with it—in that order. (Even though the gun has
been jumped in some cases.)

To calibrate a starting perspective, it might help to start with what Yuval
Noah Harari says in his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind:

Judicial systems are rooted in common legal myths. Two lawyers who have
never met can nevertheless combine efforts to defend a complete stranger
because they both believe in the existence of laws, justice, human
rights—and the money paid out in fees. Yet none of these things exists
outside the stories that people invent and tell one another. There are no
gods in the universe, no nations, no money, no human rights, no laws, and
no justice outside the common imagination of human beings.

And yet this common imagination is what gives us civilization. We are civil
to one another because of all the imaginings we share. And technologies are
what make many of those imaginings possible. Those come first. Without the
technologies making privacy possible, we would have none of the common
manners and civic laws respecting it.

First among those technologies is clothing.

Nature didn’t give us clothing. We had to make it from animal skins and
woven fabrics. One purpose, of course, was to protect us from cold and
things that might hurt us. But another was to conceal what today we
politely call our “privates”, plus other body parts we’d rather not show.

Second among those technologies was shelter. With shelter we built and
marked personal spaces, and valved access and exposure to those spaces with
doors, windows and shades.

How we use clothing and shelter to afford ourselves privacy differs between
cultures and settings, but is well understood by everyone within both.

With clothing and shelter, we also can signal to others what personal spaces
it is okay and not okay to visit, and under what conditions. The ability to
send, receive and respect those signals, and to agree about what they mean,
are essential for creating order within a civilization, and laws as well.

As of today, we have very little clothing and shelter in the digital world.

Yes, we do have ways of remaining hidden or anonymous (for example, with
crypto and Tor), and selectively revealing facts about ourselves (for
example with PKI: public key infrastructure). And services have grown up
around those developments, such as VPNs. (Disclosure: Linux
Journal
‘s
sister company is Private Internet Access, a VPN. See my interview in this issue with Andrew Lee,
founder of PIA, about the company’s decision to open source its code.) We
also have prophylaxis against tracking online, thanks to browser extensions
and add-ons, including ad blockers that also stop tracking.

As clothing goes, this is something like having invisibility cloaks and bug
spray before we get shirts, pants and underwear. But hey, they work, and
they’re a start.

We need more, but what? Look for answers elsewhere in this issue. In the
meantime, however, don’t assume that privacy is a grace of companies’
(especially platforms’) privacy policies. Here are three things worth
knowing about those:

  1. They can be changed whenever the company pleases.
  2. They are not an agreement between you and the company.
  3. They are theirs, not yours.

Alas, nearly all conversation about privacy in governments and enterprises
assumes that your privacy is mostly their concern.

Here’s how I framed an approach to solving privacy three years ago here, in
a column titled “Privacy Is
Personal”
:

So the real privacy challenge is a simple one. We need clothing with zippers
and buttons, walls with doors and locks, windows with shutters and
shades—that work the same for each and all of us, to give us agency and
scale.

Giants aren’t going to do it for us. Nor are governments. Both can be
responsive and supportive, but they can’t be in charge, or that will only
make us worse victims than we are already. Privacy for each of us is a
personal problem online, and it has to be solved at the personal level. The
only corporate or “social” clothing and shelter online are the equivalents
of prison garb and barracks.

What would our clothing and shelter be, specifically? A few come to mind:

  • Ways to encrypt and selectively share personal data easily with other
    parties we have reason to trust.
  • Ways to know the purposes to which shared data is used.
  • Ways to assert terms and policies and obtain agreement with them.
  • Ways to assert and maintain sovereign identities for ourselves and manage
    our many personal identifiers—and to operate anonymously by default
    with those who don’t yet know us. (Yes, administrative identifiers are
    requirements of civilization, but they are not who we really are, and we
    all know that.)
  • Ways to know and protect ourselves from unwelcome intrusion in our personal
    spaces.

All these things need to be as casual and easily understood as clothing and
shelter are in the physical world today. They can’t work only for wizards.
Privacy is for muggles too. Without agency and scale for muggles, the Net
will remain the Land of Giants, who regard us all as serfs by default.

Now that we have support from the GDPR and other privacy laws popping up
around the world, we can start working our way down that punch list.

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