EFF in the News
The Federal Communications Commission has told wireless carriers it has “serious concerns” about plans that exempt in-house services like Verizon’s Go90 or AT&T’s DirecTV Now from counting against customers’ data caps. Verizon and AT&T also have “sponsored data” programs in which video providers or other app makers can pay the companies to get their services included in free-data offers. “This current skirmish with the (Federal Communications Commission) and AT&T is basically going to send a signal of what’s going to pass muster and what isn’t,” said Corynne McSherry, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The foundation opposes zero-rated programs.
WASHINGTON — Despite the rampant conspiracies that were shared widely during the presidential election and the subsequent uproar over fake news, disinformation, and propaganda, Congress is highly unlikely to take steps to regulate Facebook, even as the platform-titan presides over the distribution of news. “I don’t think there is a way to regulate them in a way that’s consistent with the First Amendment,” David Greene, the civil liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation told BuzzFeed News. “We don’t regulate the press in this country. Even if it were possible to define fake news, there’s still a lot of very strong First Amendment protection for false speech.”
With this category of toys — including dolls, cars, drones and robotics — expected to grow faster than any other this holiday season, according to data research firm NPD, parents need to pay more attention to privacy and security when they buy and register toys with manufacturers, cybersecurity experts warned. The vast majority of toy manufacturers do not invest enough in making sure a toy's hardware is secure, and collect far more data than they actually need for marketing purposes, said cybersecurity experts. "A lot of time manufacturers don't want to spend the money [to keep information safe]," said Corynne McSherry, legal director of digital watchdog the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Uber has been on thin ice with privacy-conscious users since late November, when its app update asked iOS users to grant Uber the ability to track their location continuously. Before the update, users had been able to choose between three settings for location tracking: “Never,” “While Using the App,” and “Always.” Uber eliminated the “While Using the App” option, which it said only allowed for data collection while its app was open on someone’s home screen and hindered its ability to glean important details of trips. The company said riders who wished to opt out of constant location tracking could select “Never” and enter their pickups and destinations manually. That explanation didn’t sit well with privacy advocates. The change has “absolutely no respect for user privacy, just none,” Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Quartz.
A court in Florida has said a suspected voyeur can be made to reveal his iPhone passcode to investigators.T he defendant was arrested after a woman out shopping saw a man crouch down and aim what she believed was a smartphone under her skirt. The decision was criticised by senior staff attorney, Mark Rumold, at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group. "I think they got it wrong," he told the BBC
It's not clear how Trump's administration will treat issues like mass surveillance — an area which was controversial for the Obama administration — but his Cabinet picks raise concern, said Corynne McSherry, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. McSherry said Pompeo poses a particularly worrying risk to American citizens' privacy, as he has advocated for things like the routine mass collection and use of "social data" from third parties, like Facebook and Alphabet's Google.
Cindy Cohn has a lot to do. The bespectacled 53-year-old civil rights lawyer has her hands full in her new job overseeing the digital advocacy work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a sort of ACLU for the tech set. Now there’s an extra sense of urgency. “Until the new administration is named, it’s pretty difficult to tell what they will be doing. The early signs are not good for civil liberties and may require us to fight some old battles in addition to the new ones,” she said.
The Wikimedia Foundation wants a judge to decide whether a major US surveillance program is constitutional. The US government says the organization has no business bringing the case to court. As privacy advocates see it, "This is a case about the warrantless collection of communications straight from the backbone of the internet," Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in an email. "Cases like this are important to establish that such unbounded surveillance violates the constitution."
But some companies are working to integrate facial recognition software into their bodycams—and without strong regulation, that could make them just another tool to catalog, track, and monitor individuals. It’s easy to think there’s nothing to worry about if you’re not doing anything criminal, but Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, pointed out that many social movements were once seen as unacceptable, such as LGBT rights.Imagine how things might be different had those communities been under constant surveillance by people who considered their behavior unlawful.
Armed with the support of human rights and civil liberties organizations, Google is at the Supreme Court of Canada on Tuesday to appeal a ruling it says poses a threat to freedom of expression and access to information both in Canada and around the world. We've argued essentially that they should only be ordered [to delete search results] in the most extreme circumstances, where the rights at issue are so fundamental that they outweigh any concerns about free expression or the right to receive information," said Vera Ranieri, a staff attorney with EFF.