EFF in the News
The FBI will now find it easier to hack your computer no matter where you are. The change, effective Thursday, affects Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,
which are proposed by the US Department of Justice and approved by the
US Supreme Court. It will allow federal investigators to seek permission
from a magistrate judge in, say, Texas, to plant hacking software on a
computer that's disguising its location. Andrew Crocker, a staff
attorney at the privacy-oriented Electronic Frontier Foundation, said
the change is more than procedural. "Realistically," he said, "a court
is going to say, 'This is more authorized than before.'"
Changes to Rule 41 of the Criminal Procedure will make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack computers. The new provisions were backed by the Justice Department and approved by the Supreme Court and were set to automatically start on December 1 without congressional action. “Congress has never held a hearing on government hacking. That’s ridiculous,” said Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said Obama could have done more to adopt lasting protections against surveillance abuses. “The Obama administration’s approach was fixing internal rules” for its own actions, Cohn said. “That leaves it really ripe for change by the next administration.”
Snapchat—newly renamed Snap Inc.—has people scrambling across the country after mysteriously appearing vending machines to buy technology that’s been available to private eyes for years: camcorder glasses. Press the button on the rim to record. Video clips are sent to your phone’s Snapchat app, where you can decide to share or save them. “If you think that someone might not want to be recorded or aren’t expecting to be recorded, do more to inform them you are going to record, or simply just ask them,” advises Jeremy Gillula, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When should the public be concerned about Shadow Regulations encroaching on Internet freedoms? Whenever there is no space for transparency, accountability and user participation, very shady Shadow Regulations can be implemented. Mitch Stoltz, Senior Staff Attorney at EFF, explained, "It's an abdication of responsibility to pressure platforms like Facebook to come up with a policy and enforce it while government washes its hands [of any responsibility]."
Tech and civil liberties advocates are imploring the Obama administration to rein in the government's massive surveillance apparatus before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, fearful he will carry out his campaign promises to register Muslims, spy on mosques and punish companies that offer Americans unbreakable encryption. "The surveillance apparatus is going to be turned disproportionately against Muslims," said Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocate. "It's going to be turned disproportionately against people of color of all kinds, against immigrants.
"From the perspective of, I think, a lot of privacy advocates, facial recognition is a case of the technology leaping ahead of the law," said Adam Schwartz, senior lawyer with Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that researches technology and civil liberties issues.
Across the country, progressive nonprofits are reporting an unprecedented surge in donations, as disappointed Clinton voters channel their frustration into hard cash for the causes they support. One of the beneficiaries is Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on digital rights. Cindy Cohen is executive director. " We are seeing about four times as much financial support post election as in the days before it."
Facebook worked on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, according to a report in the New York Times. "Kudos to the Facebook employees who brought this to the attention of the New York Times," said the EFF's global policy analyst Eva Galperin."It's very nice to know there are some principled people still working there."