DTNS Guest Post: Fallout from Airline Flight System Hack Will Result in Rise of Grumpy Pilots

Hey, it’s that Joe Pilot guy again. It just so happens I’m on reserve again and have a lot of time to write. It also seems like we have more aviation related stories these days, maybe?

I wanted to calm down the worries on this LOT airlines DDoS. Firstly, this is no reflection on your reporting, just wanted to give you a heads up.

Flight planning doesn’t have anything to do with aircraft flying at the time, it is simply the written/printed PLAN for the flight. It’s not uncommon (at least domestically) for these flight plans to change in the cockpit. That’s not to say it is unimportant; they are important because they are a piece of the safety net we employ at every airline to keep something awful from happening. That also doesn’t mean if the flight plan is wrong— or the pilots don’t notice it’s wrong immediately— anything bad will happen, it just means one level of safety is compromised, the threat is trapped and we move on. Airplanes don’t crash because Dispatch misrouted a plane. Pilots don’t blindly follow plans and Air Traffic Control (ATC) doesn’t blindly clear airplanes through bogus routes. Not happening. A hacker wants to try and affect safety that way? Lots of luck buddy. There’s two people up front ready to laugh it off (until the delay comes and then we grind our collective teeth while apologizing to the passengers). Delays will occur. Nothing more. I promise. We’re safe up there with or without dispatch, and even safer if we’re already on the ground.

What does a flight plan mean?
An aircraft dispatcher (not an air traffic controller) creates a flight plan with a specific route the company has identified as appropriate, looking at best planning techniques, standard or preferred routes, weather, etc. This route is created to estimate winds as accurately as possible to give the pilots on the ground the best idea possible of the amount of fuel required. The printouts help the pilot check against what he’s programmed into the onboard computers (FMS-flight management system), and once in air, check against fuel loads en route to ensure they are close to on plan. When ATC changes everything, this plan sometimes goes out the window but there are other procedures for that.

Why would this DDOS attack matter?
The flight plans are created at an Operational Control Center for the airline (OCC or SOC or OC or AOCC) and have to be transmitted out. The system can have a few glitches at this point.

One: the flight plan has to be transmitted to a network so the gate agents or local airport operations can print the flight plan.

Two: The system simultaneously sends the flight plan to Tracon and their Flight Data department. Flight Data (FD) is trying to fix flight plans as they come in. They usually only have a five-minute window but they’ll need about 25 seconds because they kick ass. Then they kick the plans out to the sectors needing the CID strips.

(I forget what CID stands for, but if you’ve ever seen a Netflix documentary on airspace since the you’ve seen them. We’ve had those same stupid little paper strips stacked on ATC desks across America since the 1980s.)

Every time a flight plan is sent, FD does their best to move the strip on or kick it out if it’s junk (which sometimes happens apparently). A good FD department probably kicked out a few of the LOT Polish flight plans the hackers generated but it’s unlikely they figured out exactly what was happening until it was too late, and there’s a possibility the FAA/JAA (Federal Aviation Administration in US Joint Aviation Authorities in Europe) computers were overwhelmed at the same time.

So summary: Airline OCCs, the FAA/JAA computers or the staff might get overwhelmed, but none of these flight plans have made it to the pilots yet. The gate agent or operations staff at the airport for the airline are just confused why there are tens or hundreds of flight plans in their software for LOT Polish flight 001 to JFK or whereever.

And then there’s the delay. Even if LOT Polish sends the flight plan by fax after printing it out, the FAA/JAA has to be called by phone and each flight plan submitted by voice. If there are 100 flights going out that day and OCC responds immediately, you’re going to start losing time because the dispatchers will start getting behind on their planes ETA with each flight plan that must be submitted. It would be MAYHEM.

I had something similar happen when I was an aircraft dispatcher at JFK a decade ago. Except for us, the national power grid went down and JFK was the last sector to receive power some 45-55 hours after the event. It was a brutal couple days of running to the Port Authority General Aviation building across from JAL cargo who still had power (generators) and a working fax machine.

There isn’t a good way to get around this problem, flight planning systems like SABRE (my quick research shows at least some of LOT’s system is based off them) or especially LIDO (a Lufthansa system) are completely integrated airline operational systems which do everything from crew scheduling to flight planning to ticket sales (amazing). If you attack those you’ll probably shut down a whole airline for a day.

BUT BUT BUT, what about the planes in the air?
Nothing. We don’t use those systems in the air. The messaging system (SELCAL / ACARS) is sometimes sent by the company. Other groups, like ARINC or SITA, can get ahold of us too as a backup.

So besides passenger delay what WILL happen?
You’ll get a disgruntled pilot. Here’s why.

The dispatcher can call on a dedicated phone line the airline already pays for and tell them, “Tell LOT flight 26 that the First Officer needs to phone scheduling on the ground for a change to his schedule, the company ACARS is down for a while.”

Then the pilot in the front groans after reading the ACARS message and tells the Captain. If he gets junior manned again into a day off he’ll quit. OK, he won’t quit but he’ll be talking about it 10 years later because he didn’t have that 72 hour layover in NYC like he was bidding for to buy some fake Prada bags for his girlfriend, instead he’ll only get 36 hours and get business class back home or to Denver.

And that’s the worse case. A slightly entitled and disgruntled pilot says something mean about the company to another pilot once every two months for the next ten years.

In other news, malicious hackers suck.

Joe Pilot understands his experience with ATC and dispatch is limited compared to someone who is a working professional in either field. Comments clarifying (or correcting) are welcome but take it easy, I’m not trying to present myself as an authority on all of aviation.

It’s Spoilerin’ Time 76 – Inside Out, Jurassic World, Silicon Valley S2, True Detective

Movie Draft Update, Inside Out, Jurassic World, Silicon Valley Season 2, True Detective (201)

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04:25 – Inside Out

11:34 – Jurassic World

16:06 – Silicon Valley Season 2

27:44 – True Detective (201)

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DTNS 2521 – Google “Oh Sh** Button” 1.0

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comVeronica Belmont joins the show to talk about Google’s Unsend feature. Do humans have no impulse control? On the other hand is five seconds of delay even helpful?


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Show Notes

Today’s guests: Veronica Belmont

The Next Web reports Instagram has updated its app to let you find images by location. There’s also a tab called Explore in the US version that shows trending tags and features a curated selection of accounts, places and topics organized into collections. The update rolls out to Android and iOS today.

New Scientist reports on an experimental algorithm from Facebook that recognize people in photographs whose face is hidden. The algorithm looks at other features like hair, clothing, body shape and pose. The neural network had 83% accuracy in a test using 40,000 photos pulled from Flickr.

CNET reports Google Play Music has launched a free ad-supported version of the service. A blog post introducing the product was written by Songza CEO Elias Roman. Google bought Songza last July. Curated radio stations for mood, genre, decade or activity will be offered alongside the ability to pick a song and listen to a station of similar music. The free service launches in the US first, on the Web today and later this week to Android and iOS.

PC Mag reports that the task management app ToDoist is getting a refreshed Android version in the Material Design style. The simplified ToDoist app includes a “quick-add” option, and allows users to include start and end dates to capture recurring due dates. Dropbox also updated its Android app using Material Design, including the ability to take a photograph right from the file where it will be stored and move, rename and favorite options on the info pane. Both apps are available for download in Google Play today.

The Next Web reports that its Amazon Echo device is now available to all US customers. The voice controlled device has added support for Pandora, Audible, WeMo, IFTTT and Google Calendar since launch. It costs 179.99 and begin shipping July 14th. Alexa, add chocolate chips to shopping list.

IBM is opening up its Chef Watson web app to the world. It’s been almost a year since IBM teamed up with Bon Appetit magazine to begin working on the app, and it has spent the last eleven months testing it out. The app lets you choose at least one ingredient and then suggests recipes using that ingredient. You can also choose a particular type of dish or style of cooking. When you find a recipe you like you can save it to a folder in your account. You can take a look at ibmchefwatson.com.

The Independent reports that a German law prohibiting the sale or display of erotic materials during daylight hours is now being applied to ebooks. The change relates to a legal complaint regarding a German erotica eBook called Schlauchgelüste (Pantyhose Cravings). Adult ebooks will only be allowed to be sold between 10 PM and 6 AM and violators can be fined up to €500,000.

TechCrunch reports that Alibaba will fold its first effort at a US ecommerce company, 11 Main into social shopping service OpenSky. Alibaba will also fold in tits logistical enterprises, along with Auctiva, Vendio and SingleFeed into OpenSky and become a 37% owner of the combined company. The new combined business will have inventory from 50,000 brands and “millions” of shoppers. It’s not clear if 11 Main will continue to exist as a separate site or brand. The deal is set to be finalized at the end of July.

News From You: 

metalfreak sent us this story. It seems the US Navy will pay Microsoft 9.1 million dollars to keep approximately 100,000 Windows XP machines afloat according to PC World. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command signed a contract earlier this month for continued access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003. The Navy began a transition away from XP in 2013 but needs time to finish executing the plan. XP systems are still connected to both NIPRnet, the U.S. government’s IP network for non-classified information, and SIPRnet, the network for classified information.

starfuryzeta shared a “I want one of those” stories with us. Engadget is reporting that UK-based Malloy Aeronautics in co-operating with Maryland based defense firm Survice Engineering Co. is developing a hover bike for the US Army research laboratory. The current design features two pairs of horizontal adducted rotors placed in tandem– one in front of and one behind– the pilot seat. The project aims to create “a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV) that can replace some of work currently done by helicopters.

Discussion Section:



Pick of the Day:

Justin C writes:

I have a pick, if you’re interested:
The Stephen Baxter Manifold trilogy. Probably my favorite current-ish scifi. For fans of those who love massive space-operas and well-founded yet thoroughly creative fiction.


David Redding writes: 

I was just listening to your discussion about Taylor Swift’s open letter to Apple and how it’s only right to pay artists for their work. To bad she doesn’t practice what she preaches


Just another talking point

Niyas is a project manager with an airline and has some comments on the LOT airline grounding: 

“The design of an airline’s business IT network (business IT to distinguish from internal IT for office users) is pretty much the same as it would be for most other IT networks.

We are currently building a new data center …and these designs involve key components such as a web application filter and API manager (among others) to make sure that our systems are not vulnerable to cross site scripting, DDoS, even legitimate request overloading etc. Further, during the build, we do extensive stress testing to simulate these situations and make sure it doesn’t happen or to identify these vulnerabilities and patch them before the system goes live.

So… I take issue with the statement (from the CEO) that all airlines are vulnerable to this kind of attack. I’m sure there are many airlines that are vulnerable, just as there are many that are secure – as is the case with most industries. Just thought I’d throw in my two cents :)


Wednesday’s Guests: Scott Johnson

DTNS 2520 – Swift Justice

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comBreki Tomasson is on the show to talk about Taylor Swift’s ‘victory’ against Apple Music. Is Taylor Swift the Music Industry now? The Internet? Un unstoppable force that has already amassed too much power and become a queen terrible as the morning and the night?


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If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here or giving 5 cents a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

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Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests: Breki Tomasson

Google officially announced its new site called News Lab today. Tech Crunch reports that the goal of the program is to connect journalists with programs, data and other resources. There will be tutorials and tips on best practices when using Google products in reporting. The site will also showcase Google’s new media partnerships such as the YouTube newswire and other partnerships with Storify announced last week.

The Verge reports Sony is releasing the PlayStation 4 1TB Ultimate Player Edition. The updated machine will be 10% lighter, use 8% less power, and have a matte finish for the hard drive bay. It will release in Japan before the end of June and on July 15th in Europe and North America. Sony also released changes to the PlayStation companion app for iOS and Android letting users redeem gift codes without powering up a playstation console and display comments from viewers while streaming gameplay.

Ars Technica reports on documents leaked by Edward Snowden that show the US NSA and UK’s GCHQ attempted to subvert antivirus software in order to to succeed in attacks on intelligence targets. GCHQ attempted to reverse engineer antivirus software from Kaspersky Labs and others. The NSA intercepted email to Kaspersky containing malware samples. They used those samples to bolster their own network defenses and proposed reusing them to to attack other intelligence targets.

TechCrunch reports Docker, Google, Microsoft and Amazon are working with the Linux Foundation on the Open Container Project, a standard for software containers. Docker will contribute its container format and runtime to get the project started. Containers allow software to run on almost any server. The project will create a standard container that can work with any runtime whether its from Docker, CoreOS or someone else.

Reuters reports 1400 airline passengers were stranded at Warsaw’s Chopin airport Sunday when the flight plan system went down for five hours. LOT airline Spokesman Adrian Kubicki said the outage was due to a “capacity attack” essentially a DDoS.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Australian Senate passed the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, introduced into parliament by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull 37-13. Right’s holders can request a judge issue an order to block a website if its primary purpose is facilitating copyright infringement. Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, would then need to comply with a judge’s order by disabling access to the infringing location.

Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the US Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one year’s worth of data from the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum, a Tor developer who worked as a volunteer for WikiLeaks. The order also prevented Google from notifying Appelbaum. The Justice Department argued that Appelbaum had “no reasonable expectation of privacy”. The Justice Department asserted that “journalists have no special privilege to resist compelled disclosure of their records, absent evidence that the government is acting in bad faith”. Google’s attempt to overturn the gag order was denied by magistrate judge Ivan D. Davis in February 2011 and denied on appeal in March 2011.

Remember the emotional robot Justin Robert Young and I talked about last week that was going on sale in Japan this past weekend. CNET reports that Softbank’s Pepper robot sold out– 1,000 robots– in one minute. Pepper costs 198,000 yen (USD $1,610). SoftBank plans to produce 1,000 units a month, with the next batch planned for launch in Japan in July.

Confused about whether you can get Windows 10 for free as a preview user without upgrading from a previous genuine install? The Verge has the answers. Tom Warren interprets Microsoft’s pythoness-like pronouncements to mean the following. Anybody who does a Clean install of Windows 10 preview edition and continues to receive pre-release updates can keep using the OS for free. Anybody else will have to prove they once had a genuine copy of Windows 7 or 8.

News From You: 

KAPT_Kipper sent us the news that Taylor Swift has changed the flow of time. I mean singer/songwriter Taylor Swift wrote a super polite open letter to Apple on Sunday morning, telling them that their plan to not pay artists during a user’s three month free trial of Apple Music was “shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company” and that she would be withholding her mega popular album 1989 from the service. By Sunday evening, Apple media chief Eddy Cue announced Apple would pay artists an undisclosed amount per stream for listens during the free trial. And all over the world, glitter fell from the sky and enlightened citizens of the tswiftverse rejoiced.

danielhprice1986 submitted the Globe and Mail article on how US intelligence officials followed Chinese hackers for more than five years then lost the trail last summer. It is alleged that these same groups gained admin privileges in the networks of the US Office of Personnel Management. The OPM suffered an attack that gained access to personnel records. Much of the data was stored on lightly protected systems because of the cheap available storage space.

Discussion Section



Pick of the Day

Vance wants to pick Android TV as set-top platform:

“It has been adopted as the smart TV interface for a number of TV manufacturers like Sony, Sharp, etc.” He likes the UI and says, “While it is lacking an Amazon Prime app, it makes up for that if you use Google Play Music or videos and has the best You Tube app going and a powerful voice search function (as you would expect).

The Nexus Player is $79 on Amazon, and while some find it a bit underpowered, at that price you not only the Android TV interface, but it serves as a Chromecast as well. I recently picked up the pricier nVidia Shield Android TV and am very impressed so far.


Alan writes:

Modern garage door openers (like since 1995) use rolling codes, the same tech on a car’s keyfob. Basically, it uses a random number generator to determine what code(s) to allow entry, with a +/- range to compensate for accidental pushes and multiple vehicles. Once a code has been accepted, it can no longer be used.

So garage doors are harder to spoof than you might think these days.



Tuesday’s Guests: Veronica Belmont

DTNS 2519 – Always Use a Condiment

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comDarren Kitchen is on the show to talk about Global Solution Networks. Awful management buzzword for NGOs or the key to solving world problems? Len Peralta is in to illustrate the show too. Be nice to him folks. He’s from Cleveland.


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A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes

Today’s guests:  Darren Kitchen, founder of hak5.org and Len Peralta, artist

The Next Web reports that Twitter is testing two new types of pages. First, dedicated pages for businesses where users can find information, images, related tweets and prices. And in great news for businesses, users can also buy products right from the app or web. The second page type is Collections, where you can aggregate products and places that might be of interest to your followers. So if you want to know what type of products Reese Witherspoon and William Shatner really love, this is your lucky day.

USA Today reports Google says it will honor requests to remove nude or sexually explicit images posted on the Internet without consent, the same way it honors requests to remove personal information like bank account and Social Security Numbers. An online form will launch in the coming weeks for submitting requests. Google normally only removes links subject to a valid legal request.

The US FCC has clarified its interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law to assert that text messages are the same as phone calls, and that phone carriers may block robocalls to consumers if asked.The Wall Street Journal reports that despite the creation of a national Do Not Call List, the FCC still receives more complaints about robocalls than any other issue. The FCC will also make it easier to remove consent for robocalls.

9 to 5 mac reports that the original iPad mini has disappeared from Apple’s website and is no longer available to purchase new from the Apple Store. The first iPad mini was introduced in October 2012. Refurbished iPad minis will remain available from the Apple Store for $209 and new iPad minis will be available from third-party resellers until they run out of stock.

Engadget passes along a report from Juventud Rebelde that Cuba’s telecom company will open WIFI hotspots in 35 locations across the country starting in July. An hour will cost $2 with speed capped at 1MB per user. Presumably meaning 1 MBps.

Reuters reports Nokia is finally admitting it wants to get back into the phone business. Nokia can’t sell its own phones until 2016 due to its agreement to sell its handset business to Microsoft. But Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri told Germany’s Manager Magazine that Nokia “will look for suitable partners” to design and license phones to be manufactured under the Nokia brand name.

News From You: 

d8uv would like you to know that the Heinz company had great idea to put a QR code on its Ketchup bottles so Ketchup enthusiasts could design their own labels. A German man named Daniel Korell thought that was a great idea, so he scanned the QR code on his phone. One problem: He was directed to a German porn site Fundorado. Turns out Heinz ran the contest between 2012 and 2014 and the link expired this year. Unlike the ketchup in Daniel Korell’s fridge, apparently. Korell wrote to Heinz on Facebook saying “Your Ketchup isn’t really for underage people.” Heinz’s social media team apologized and said Korell could still design his own label. Porn site Fundorado offered Korell a free year’s subscription to their site. So, pretty good day for Daniel Korell!

starfuryzeta submitted the IT World article that the US Court of Appeals for the ninth Circuit rules Thursday that Google Earth Images can be used as evidence in court. Paciano Lizarraga-Tirado claims he was on the Mexico side of the border when US agents arrested him and charged him with illegal reentry. The government has introduced GPS coordinates recorded at the arrest and used Google Earth to show the location. The court determined that machine results cannot be dismissed as hearsay though they can be contested on grounds for accuracy.

Discussion Section



The Internet For Good



BITNATION: Governance 2.0


Pick of the Day

Great discussion on robotics yesterday in DTNS 2518. This has been an area I’ve been paying closer attention to recently because as you stated we are now getting to the point where we have the option to buy robotics for our home. One point I wanted to raise is the impact this will have as our population ages. As Pew has highlighted the population pyramid (large base of young people with a small peak of older adults) is turning into a solid bar ( http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/age-pyramid/  ). That means we won’t have enough caregivers to take care of us in the same way that people are cared for today. While we may not all get a Rosie the Robot yet, we are seeing massive advances.

So here is a related pick of the day. The movie Robot & Frank (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1990314/) which talks about an ex-jewel thief whose kids get him a robot to take care of him. Really enjoyable film – but maybe as we get robot caregivers we’ll also need a few extra robot security guards!

Thanks again, love the show!



Tom – you’re brilliant! Your comment on garage door openers being just a little unsecure led to a flash of inspiration.

I’ve been setting up Belkin Wemo LED light bulbs, cameras, motion sensors and switches in my home. It occurred to me that I could set up two factor authentication for my garage door by using a Wemo switch as well as the garage door remote – as I arrive home I use the app on my phone to turn on the Wemo switch which supplies power to the door opener and then I use the remote to trigger the door opener. Hey presto!

Even if someone spoofs my remote while I’m not home the door won’t open because it doesn’t have power.

Of course this won’t stop someone physically forcing the door but a couple of antipersonnel mines should do the trick there :)

Cheers, Mike from wet and windy Western Australia.


Hey, guys. Really enjoyed yesterday’s discussion on technology and companionship. It brought to mind part of Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trend Report where she discussed messaging leaders.

Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Snapchat started out as relatively straightforward messaging platforms, but are now providing things like payments, games, taxi services, and even food delivery.

I think this transformation is fascinating because a more traditional software mindset would be to solve a particular problem (like food delivery), then tack a social element on as an additional feature. But we’re now seeing models emerge where human connection is at the heart of the service — where social is the platform — and then additional value is added from there.

In my mind, these types of approaches are a much better reflection of who and what we are — and hence, what we really want from our technology.



Friday’s Guests: Darren Kitchen and Len Peralta

DTNS 2518 – 00000001 is the Loneliest Number

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comJustin Young is on the show to talk about the many ways to save online journalism and how robots are stealing our hearts.


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A special thanks to all our Patreon supporters–without you, none of this would be possible.

If you enjoy the show, please consider supporting the show here at the low, low cost of a nickel a day on Patreon. Thank you!

Big thanks to Dan Lueders for the headlines music and Martin Bell for the opening theme!

Big thanks to Mustafa A. from thepolarcat.com for the logo!

Thanks to our mods, Kylde, TomGehrke, sebgonz and scottierowland on the subreddit

Show Notes
Today’s guests: Justin Robert Young


Mark Gurman over at 9 to 5 Mac has some sources who say Apple’s plans for Apple Watch 2 include adding a video camera with FaceTime functionality, a new wireless system for greater iPhone independence and new ways to be more expensive (also known as premium options). Battery life on the other hand is expected to be the same as the current Apple Watch. Apple will likely release a full next gen Apple Watch next year, but the camera could be pushed to a future edition.

BuzzFeed’s Matt Honan got a sneak peek at a Twitter project called Lightning that is targeted to launch later this year. Project Lightning brings photos, videos and tweets together in an event-based curated view that’s embeddable across the Web. So anything from breaking news to sporting events to award shows can be viewed whether you’re logged in or not. If you are logged in, you can view them in a separate section or follow an event and see it blended into your regular timeline. Twitter expects to have 7-10 events running on any given day.

The Next Web reports BuzzFeed itself has a new news app of its own available for iOS today. BuzFeed News shows you the most important real news of the day (not listicles) plus breakdowns by topic. You can opt-in to push notifications to from major breaking news to more specific categories like politics. You can also opt-in to specific story alerts like the FIFA corruption investigation.

Fortune reports on Google News Lab’s three new crowd-sourced journalism projects. YouTube Newswire is getting the most headlines . It’s a video platform collaboration with Storyful that features verified YouTube videos that news outlets can use or embed. Another project called First Draft Coalition will train folks in verification and ethics. And The WITNESS Media Lab is a Google Partnership with non-profit WITNESS that trains non-journalists in reporting injustice and human rights violations worldwide.

Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and WebKit project engineers announced that they have teamed up to launch WebAssembly, a bytecode for the web according to Tech Crunch. The new format lets programmers compile code for the browser (currently focused on C/C++), where it is THEN executed inside the JavaScript engine withour having to parse the full code, speeding up execution. The hope is that WebAssembly will provide developers with a single compilation target for the web that will become a web standard that’s implemented in all browsers. The team also plans a script that will convert WebAssembly to asm.js so that it can run in any browser — and add support for more languages and new tools over time.

TechCrunch reports on the EFF’s fifth annual privacy report that rates online service provider’s commitment to transparency and privacy. The report rewards up to five stars in categories like best practices, data retention, government data demands, government data removal demands and pro-user public policy, specifically opposing backdoors in digital services. 21 of the 24 companies evaluated met this last criteria. Nine companies got five stars including Adobe, Apple, CREDO, Dropbox, Sonic, Wickr, Wikimedia, WordPress.com and Yahoo. AT&T and WhatsApp received 1 star.

News From You:

KAPT_Kipper sent us this Verge story that as of June 29th, Reddit will be serving all of its pages over SSL encryption. The site already supports connections over SSL but the new system will automatically direct all connections to the SSL-protected version of the site.

starfuryzeta alerted us to this Ars Technica story that Sprint has stopped throttling its heaviest data users, even when its network is congested, to avoid potential violations of the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules. “For less than a year, Sprint used a network management practice that applied only at the level of individual congested cell sites, and only for as long as congestion existed… Upon review, and to ensure that our practices are consistent with the FCC’s net neutrality rules, we determined that the network management technique was not needed”

Discussion Section Links:  



Pick of the Day:

In response to a question Tom got at the Seattle meetup, where a gentleman who wanted to know how his would wife access DVDs and Blu-rays he ripped on her iPhone 6? I don’t know if the have any Macs in the house, but here’s one answer from listener Sara in Sunny Seattle:

WALTR by Softorino

According to their website:
Take the ‘SUCK’ Out of Copying Music & Video onto your iPhone/iPad.
Drag & Drop MKV, FLAC, MP3 to iOS for Native Playback without iTunes.


It’s an app for Macintosh. They say you can play any media in any format. Connect your iOS device to your Mac. Drag and drop the files, then open Videos or Music on iOS and play. Please watch the 1 minute video! It is much–how you say?–over the top?

Unfortunately, I don’t know the guy’s name or even which of your shows he listens to, but I suppose DTNS is as good a guess as any. (Or Cordkillers. Although maybe you should mention it on East Meets West just to be sure.)


Alan writes:

“I think Scott’s idea of using VR for exploration makes sense, especially when you consider Google working with Viewmaster, as well as Expeditions for schools. Most of his examples were exploration as a person, but VR could also change the scale, so you explore inside a human body, or even a cell, which would be fascinating. Or conversely, you could navigate the universe between galaxies. And if you could smoothly scale between the two extremes, that would be even better.”

t2t2 clarifies on a recent legal ruling in Estonia regarding a news website’s culpability to contents posted on the comment section :

As the residential Estonian dropping in to provide some background on the case

Most importantly, the judgement of the European court of human rights is ONLY WHETHER OR NOT THE RULINGS BY THE ESTONIAN COURT FOLLOWED THE EUROPEAN LAWS ON HUMAN RIGHTS or to more pinpoint it, ONLY APPLIES TO ESTONIA, NOT THE REST OF EUROPE. [/bold][/caps]

We now have to consider Estonian laws:

The comments were deemed (by the courts in Estonia) unlawful & against freedom of speech under §45 of the constitution [1]:

§ 45. Everyone has the right to freely disseminate ideas, opinions, beliefs and other information by word, print, picture or other means. This right may be circumscribed by law to protect […] the rights and freedoms, health, honour and good name of others.

According to the courts the local equivalent of safe harbour laws (specifically in this case, Restricted liability upon provision of information storage service [2]) does not apply because [3 & 4]:
Portal owner in this case isn’t a “hosting provider”, as defined by law [2]:
§ 10. (1) 1) the provider does not have actual knowledge of the contents of the information and, as regards claims for the compensation of damage, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which the illegal activity or information is apparent
Portal owner has ability to remove comments according to the rules they’ve decided on.
The actual authors of the comments could not modify or delete their comments once
they were posted, only Delfi had the technical means to do this.
Delfi was also found to have financial interest in leaving up controversial (and possibly illegal) comments. Estonian new websites are littered with ads, and more comments -> more clicks -> more profit! Hence the monetary compensation.

Lastly, there’s also the local element. Estonian internet comments (especially on Delfi) are 100 times worse than what you can consider the worst of youtube comments (NO EXAGGERATION). It was so bad, that (as noted by the human rights court’s press release [4]):

in September 2005, the Estonian Minister of Justice had had to respond to public criticism and concern about incessant taunting on public websites in Estonia, Delfi having been named as a source of brutal and arrogant mockery. In his response the Minister of Justice noted that victims of insults could bring a suit against Delfi and claim damages.

Also the 20 comments are documented and translated at http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-155105#_Toc422230309

And lastly to repeat, “this does not say anything about the laws of other countries, does not create an obligation for other countries to enact similar laws, and does in particular not create any obligations for website owners”

– t2t2 from the virtual e-estonia


Existing delivery trucks could be outfitted to support two drones. As a driver enters a dense delivery area/neighborhood he would send off his two drones to deliver smaller packages, and meet back up with him after 2 or 3 of his own deliveries have been completed. The truck could serve as a short range communications beacon/status monitor for the drones, as well as a recharging station.

Ron writes:

Fly the package to the (locked ) backyard…

Better yet, purchase a Bluetooth powered box that clips on your garage door opener button and the drone can open the garage, place the package inside & close the door, then return to meet up with the self driving UPS truck for a recharge before its next delivery.

Or put a “storage shed/box” in the back yard with a drone landing pad on the roof that opens for deliveries.


Friday’s Guests: Darren Kitchen and Len Peralta