Among all those years that many people invited you to boycott Black Friday, this might be the most serious one that you should listen to. Black Friday is tempting, I can’t lie. I really would like to buy a thing for less than half of its usual price but it’s affecting more than an individual.

Black Friday usually only takes effect on online shops like the evil Amazon and/or some big chain stores around the U.S. or some other countries and this just helps those stores to grow and get more powerful thus makes people have less power to change the way they behave.

This year, the case is more special than other years. With the pandemic and everything going on, the economy of many countries are collapsing and many shops are suffering from it.

Also, local stores suffer a lot. Since the pandemic began, close to 100,000 businesses have permanently closed. Small businesses ― defined as private companies with fewer than 500 employees ― have especially struggled to survive this year due to less cash flow and smaller operating margins.

This is not just during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, many local stores were suffering from Black Friday because many people get attracted to those big (usually chain) stores and never shop from local stores again.

Local businesses are struggling to survive and Black Friday is not good news for them.

Black Friday also produces tons of waste. Aside from the physical and financial toll that Black Friday has on shoppers, there are also environmental consequences.

The promise to deliver items in just a couple of days (looking at you, Amazon Prime) requires putting thousands more trucks and ships in service, adding to the pollution that’s already in our air and water. There’s also the ridiculous amount of packaging involved, which floods recycling centers and ends up in landfills.

That’s not to mention how so much of the crap that’s purchased during the Black Friday shopping frenzy ends up in the hands of people who don’t even want it. In fact, 61% percent of Americans say they received at least one unwanted gift over the holidays, according to a 2019 survey by Finder.com, a consumer savings site. That equates to $15.2 billion spent on unwanted gifts. Clothing and accessories make up the most gifted but unwanted items, fueling the carbon-intensive fast-fashion industry that contributes to overflowing landfills.

Radio Farda, Persian branch of RFE/RL has reported that a day after the execution of 21 prisoners in Nasiriyah, Iraq, Michel Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called the move “deeply worrying” and warned that several hundred more prisoners in the country were in imminent danger of execution.

Medical and police sources told AFP that 21 Iraqi men were hanged on November 17 in the famous Nasiriyah prison in southern Iraq.

The details of these individuals’ crimes are reportedly unknown, and some of them are said to have collaborated with ISIS; This, according to Amnesty International, increases the likelihood of individual “revenge” against these prisoners.

“I urge the Iraqi authorities to stop further executions,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Boroumand Foundation has been informed that Mr. Hadi Rostami, accused of robbery and imprisoned in Urmia Prison, is waiting to have four of his fingers amputated.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had upheld the verdict of amputation of the four fingers of his right hand and three others.

HRANA also reported that Mr. Rostami was facing a new charge of “disrupting prison order.” The information received by HRANA and the Boroumand Foundation shows that he is under a lot of pressure.

Under international law, amputation is considered a cruel and inhumane sentence.

Other reports indicate that three other people were sentenced to amputation of a finger last month, two of which were upheld by the Supreme Court.

The names of those who, in addition to Hadi Rostami, are in danger of being victim of this sentence in Urmia Prison are: Mehdi Shahivand, Mehdi Sharafian, Kasra Karami, Mehrdad Teymouri, Shahab Teymouri, and Arash Ali Akbari.

I’ve talked about Apple’s definition of privacy before and explained how horrible it is but they took this to the next level. Apparently the new version of Apple macOS informs Apple every time a user runs a program on its machine.

Many Apple fans and/or developers including Apple Inc. itself have tried to justify this privacy violation by explaining how it is secure or is not a big deal but sadly they are wrong.

Apple is not a privacy hero. They are not keeping all data to themselves and even if they were, it does not justify stealing our data and sneaking in our machines and collecting our very personal data.

What they did is stealing. Exactly like a thief who sneaks into our homes and collects/steals our belongings.

I have explained about the ridiculous “data protection” and how companies are misleading people about their privacy by using this word. This is exactly how Apple is doing it. Apple claims that it doesn’t share data with others while we know for a fact that it’s a lie. Now with that claim, they suddenly decided to consider themselves entitled to control everything.

It’s a disaster. Imagine how insecure and horrible this is. Apple doesn’t even follow the terms of stupid data protection. Jeffrey Paul, a security expert who reported this, wrote:

  1. These OCSP requests are transmitted unencrypted. Everyone who can see the network can see these, including your ISP and anyone who has tapped their cables.
  2. These requests go to a third-party CDN run by another company, Akamai.
  3. Since October of 2012, Apple is a partner in the US military intelligence community’s PRISM spying program, which grants the US federal police and military unfettered access to this data without a warrant, any time they ask for it. In the first half of 2019 they did this over 18,000 times, and another 17,500+ times in the second half of 2019.

Vice has reported that the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook. “That’s shocking. There is nothing in the privacy policy that addresses that,” Pat Walshe, an activist from Privacy Matters who has analyzed Zoom’s privacy policy, said in a Twitter direct message.

Upon downloading and opening the app, Zoom connects to Facebook’s Graph API, according to Motherboard’s analysis of the app’s network activity. The Graph API is the main way developers get data in or out of Facebook.

This is what you get when you use proprietary software, specially ones that are backed by corporations like GMAFIA and its friends.

According to the FTC, Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years. This is one of the obvious perils of nonfree (proprietary) software: you can’t verify that the software isn’t abusing you, you just have to take their word.

Ars Technica has reported that Zoom has agreed to upgrade its security practices in a tentative settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which alleges that Zoom lied to users for years by claiming it offered end-to-end encryption.

“Since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered ‘end-to-end, 256-bit encryption’ to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security,” the FTC said in the announcement of its complaint against Zoom and the tentative settlement.

Despite promising end-to-end encryption, the FTC said that “Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.”

After removing the popular tool for claims of copyright infringement, GitHub has done a 180-degree turn on that decision. Vice has reported that GitHub reversed its decision over removing youtube-dl and reinstated it.

Following a counter-notice from EFF, and severe criticism and threats from software communities (including Free Software Community), GitHub is now claiming that it stands with [free] software developers.

“We are taking a stand for developers and have reinstated the youtube-dl repo,” GitHub CEO Nat Friedman tweeted on Monday. “Section 1201 of the DMCA is broken and needs to be fixed. Developers should have the freedom to tinker. That’s how you get great tools like youtube-dl.”

“Although we did initially take the project down, we understand that just because code can be used to access copyrighted works doesn’t mean it can’t also be used to access works in non-infringing ways,” Abby Volmer, director of platform policy at GitHub, wrote in an announcement posted to GitHub that said the tool is coming back online. “We also understood that this project’s code has many legitimate purposes, including changing playback speeds for accessibility, preserving evidence in the fight for human rights, aiding journalists in fact-checking, and downloading Creative Commons-licensed or public domain videos.”

It is really funny how they are now claiming that they stand with people (and developers) while we know for a fact that Microsoft (the owner of GitHub) really doesn’t care about communities and software other than its own.

Microsoft is one of the biggest violators of software freedom and privacy of people. They are famous for calling software libre and GNU+Linux a “cancer” and we never never forget they did and still do everything they can to make all software proprietary for their own benefit.

However, someone/something’s past should not affect our judgement on its future. I hope Microsoft and GitHub learn from the past and do good in future regarding software libre communities.

The Register has reported that Google on Thursday was sued for allegedly stealing Android users’ cellular data allowances through unapproved, undisclosed transmissions to the web giant’s servers.

The complaint contends that Google is using Android users’ limited cellular data allowances without permission to transmit information about those individuals that’s unrelated to their use of Google services.

Google, among other GMAFIA, are heavy privacy violators. “Google designed and implemented its Android operating system and apps to extract and transmit large volumes of information between Plaintiffs’ cellular devices and Google using Plaintiffs’ cellular data allowances,” the complaint claims.

RT has reported that protesters in Bangkok have shown their disrespect for the Thai King by turning their backs on a royal motorcade as it passed. People have been rallying for months, demanding the resignation of the PM and reform of the monarchy.

I’ve never been to Thailand and I’ve never spoken to Thai person so I don’t know how much, generally, people respect the king. However, no matter how good or bad he is and no matter how much power he really has, a kingdom is against people.

Being a king means being in power, which is not given to by people, and the result of being in power for a long time is corruption. Sadly, some countries are still kingdoms.

I personally can’t accept a person being considered higher level just because long time ago its tribe or family took over some land and forced people to live under their ruling.

People should throw down kingdoms and establish real democracy all around the world so everybody can live in peace in justice. All humans are born equal and should live equally and nobody should be considered better or premier.

The Guardian has reported that the Dalai Lama has appealed to world leaders to take urgent action against climate change, warning of ecological destruction affecting the lives of billions and ruining the planet, including his birth country, Tibet.

As declaring this, he has brought a new book saying if Buddha returned to this world, “Buddha would be green”.

He warned that “global warming may reach such a level that rivers will dry” and that “eventually Tibet will become like Afghanistan”, with terrible consequences for at least a billion people dependent on water from the plateau “at the roof of the world”.