EFF in the News
But more to the point, even if those actions were damaging or malicious, they don’t sound like the sort of misbehavior that should be addressed with a hacking law, says Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Instead, it sounds like the sort of employer-employee business dispute that’s usually solved with a civil lawsuit. “What this guy was alleged to have done was awful and he shouldn’t have done it, and he should be held accountable with civil law, and he should pay a price in money if what he did cost money,” Cardozo says. “Ten years in prison is insane.”
The Fourth Circuit, which takes up federal appeals from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, is the fifth appeals court in the nation to apply the third-party doctrine to cellphone location data. Electronic Frontier Foundation senior attorney Jennifer Lynch said this makes it less likely that the Supreme Court will take up the issue.
"In many cases, the Supreme Court will only take a case if there is a circuit split," Lynch said.
Andrew Crocker, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group; the EFF wrote an amicus brief to the 4th circuit court’s previous 3 judge panel in 2015 stating that citizens have an expectation of privacy in historical cell site records.
Danny O'Brien, International Director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation International Director, told the Daily Dot, "EFF is deeply disappointed in the crafting of this code of practice. With it, the EU companies have rubber stamped the widespread removal of allegedly illegal content, based only on flagging by third parties."
O'Brien noted that the code "does not address that different speech is deemed illegal in different jurisdictions, nor how such 'voluntary agreements' between the private sector and state might be imitated or misused outside Europe." He called it a "dangerous precedent," and explained its potential harms could have been revealed with the inclusion of international human rights groups.
"Civil society was systematically excluded from negotiations over this 'code of conduct,'" he said.
Despite the fact that many questions around the NSLs still remain, Kurt Opsahl, deputy executive director and general counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the disclosure is a small but important step toward greater transparency and gives Yahoo greater authority to engage in public debates about NSLs.
“Now Yahoo can actually go and talk about NSLs as a recipient and be able to point to the fact that [gag orders are problematic] with a little more gravitas,” he told WIRED. “It does make a difference that they can now say they received three NSLs.”
“The big concern is that the FBI is proposing to exempt NGI from any requirement that they update or correct data about somebody in the future,” said Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The EU generally does not protect free speech the same way the U.S. does, but advocates of Internet freedom say the deal could lead to abuse in other countries.
Danny O'Brien, international director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he was “deeply disappointed” with the agreement, which mends some of the troubles U.S. tech firms have faced for years in Europe over privacy concerns and protectionism.
The EU has “rubber stamped the widespread removal of allegedly illegal content, based only on flagging by third parties,” O’Brien said. “It does not address that different speech is deemed illegal in different jurisdictions, nor how such 'voluntary agreements' between the private sector and state might be imitated or misused outside Europe.”
Some U.S. privacy rights groups expressed concern that the agreement sets a dangerous precedent because the removals will be based on flagging by third parties.
“It does not address that different speech is deemed illegal in different jurisdictions, nor how such 'voluntary agreements' between the private sector and state might be imitated or misused outside Europe,” said Danny O’Brien, international director of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civic rights group.
Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the ruling relied on "a strained definition of what it means to 'voluntarily' give information to third parties."
"The use of a cell phone is all but a necessity in today's world, but the court sidesteps any consideration of the realities of how people use this technology and of how long-term location tracking can reveal the intimacies of people's lives," he said in an email.