EFF in the News
“The basic structure of copyright law never contemplated computers, let alone the idea that computers might need to learn from the world,” Eckersley told Vocativ.
Sophia Cope, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the harms-based approach outrageous and said it is "exactly what companies have been hoping for. It removes consumer choice and control over their privacy," Cope said in an email to ConsumerAffairs.
While the US government is giving ISPs free rein to track their customers’ Internet usage for purposes of serving personalized advertisements, some Internet users are determined to fill their browsing history with junk so ISPs can’t discover their real browsing habits. Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula is skeptical but hopes he’s wrong. “I'd love to be proven wrong about this,” he told Ars. “I'd want to see solid research showing how well such a noise-creation system works on a large scale before I trust it."
The congressional action to snuff the rule, which Flake has called a "midnight regulation" because it was passed late in former President Barack Obama's second term, has caused a furor among privacy advocates and consumer watchdogs. Thanks to Congress, "big internet providers will be given new powers to harvest your personal information in extraordinarily creepy ways," Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel for the San Francisco-based digital-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a written statement. "They will watch your every action online and create highly personalized and sensitive profiles for the highest bidder. All without your consent."
California lawmaker Ed Chau pulled a bill proposing to ban intentionally false stories about elections after critics called it “disastrous for free speech.” EFF’s investigative researcher Dave Maass told the Wrap: “Misleading statements have been part of politics since the very beginning of American politics and I don’t think a law in 2017 will change that.”
It is supposed to help protect human-rights activists, labor organizers and journalists working in risky environments, but a GPS-enabled "panic button" that Colombia's government has issued to about 400 people could be exposing them to more peril. The pocket-sized devices are designed to notify authorities in the event of an attack or attempted kidnapping. But the Associated Press, with an independent security audit , uncovered technical flaws that could let hostile parties disable them, eavesdrop on conversations and track users' movements. There is no evidence the vulnerabilities have been exploited, but security experts are alarmed. "This is negligent in the extreme," said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, calling the finding "a tremendous security failure."
Here we go again. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has said that end-to-end encryption in apps like WhatsApp is “completely unacceptable” and that there should be “no hiding place for terrorists”. Her comments resurface the debate over banning encryption – an idea that is realistically unworkable and potentially mathematically impossible. An outright ban on end-to-end encryption would mean no more online banking, no more online shopping, and no more online privacy. “Encryption is not just for terrorists, it’s for everyone,” says Jillian York at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Last week, a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform found that privacy experts were right to be concerned: the FBI uses facial recognition without complying with privacy laws; 1 out of every 2 Americans’ photo is in some kind of FRT database; and facial recognition technology can reproduce race and gender bias, “misidentifying female and African American individuals at a higher rate.” Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, testified about all the ways that police can use—and misuse—facial recognition. “Law enforcement officers can use mobile devices to capture face recognition-ready photographs of people they stop on the street; surveillance cameras boast real-time face scanning and identification capabilities; and the FBI has access to hundreds of millions of face recognition images of law-abiding Americans,” Lynch testified.
The Obama administration had put in place rules to make it more difficult for internet service providers to share your browsing and app activity without permission. But last week, Republican senators moved to roll back those rules. The measure now heads to the House where it's also expected to be passed. Now, consumer privacy activists are up in arms about this, and we wanted to know why. So we called Jeremy Gillula with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. MARTIN: So right now if I order a latte from a certain company that we all know, if I shop online or reach out to folks on Facebook, what happens to my browsing activity and do I have any say in controlling any of that? GILLULA: So right now that information would be collected by companies you'd expect, you know, Google, Facebook, ad networks, and they're going to see parts of it. You know, none of them is going to see the whole thing.
The ban prohibits travellers from certain Muslim-majority countries and in-bound carriers from the Middle East and North Africa to airports in the UK and US, from carrying electronics items that are larger than a standard mobile phone. Although the countries and carriers are slightly different for the US and UK, combined it could affect millions of travellers who would be forced to put their devices in check-in baggage now. "The government should be more transparent about the need for the new rule, which affects the privacy of our data," said Danny O'Brien, the international director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "Congress also needs to make it clear that agents need a warrant before accessing these electronic devices," he added.