EFF in the News
Part 1: Our podcast czar Michael Catano speaks with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior staff attorney, Mitch Stoltz, and learns why wireless earbuds are also a clever way to stop music piracy.
In 1996, Congress passed Section 230 to protect the still nascent internet from being trampled by litigation. It was unreasonable, Congress felt, to expect websites to be able to police every single thing a user posted online. More importantly, such expectations would probably kill the young internet and stifle innovation. In a single, short statute, Congress protected websites from being sued or prosecuted for content posted by visitors. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called Section 230 “the most important law protecting internet speech.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling for the labelling of products encumbered with digital rights management – an increasingly important issue as we trust technology with our lives
Some find that prospect troubling. Digital rights groups have long expressed concerns over allowing Facebook and Twitter to be arbiters of free speech, and they fear that an automated system would lead to more widespread censorship. Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, cautioned in an email that "automation always comes with false positives," adding that "sometimes it's not merely the technology, but also the implementation or implementers, that are flawed." Joe McNamee, executive director of the Brussels-based advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi), said in an interview that efforts to automate content removal may actually hinder counter-speech, which a recent Google-backed study found to be an effective way of sparking online debate.
"I'm not sure how far these proposals will really get," Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Newstalk.com. "There are plenty of officials and parliamentarians at the EU level who understand that attempting to require companies to decrypt their messaging services won't work, and will undermine the security of millions of European users — and beyond."
As more IoT-related cases begin to test the regulatory framework, “the main thing that connects them is they’re going to have internet connectivity of some sort,” said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Regulating a Fitbit is very different from regulating an automobile or regulating an implantable medical device like a defibrillator.”
“This is easily the largest domestic use of hacking by law enforcement in U.S. history,” said Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital freedom and legal services nonprofit in San Francisco. “The problem is that there just aren’t a lot of rules on how they go about it.”
“I will not be surprised at all if we wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said. Critics also accuse the FBI of committing crimes more serious than it was investigating — distribution of pornography versus receiving it — and say the operation flies in the face of the Justice Department’s pronouncement that a child is re-victimized every time a pornographic photo is viewed or distributed.
But Cooper Quintin, a security researcher and chief technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, doesn’t bother running an anti-virus program on his computer.
And Bruce Schneier? The prominent cryptography expert and chief technology officer of IBM-owned security company Resilient Systems, won’t even risk talking about what he does to secure his devices and data.
“The stuff I do, I consider my business,” Schneier said. “I’m kind of a target.”
Just by keeping your software up to date, "you will be far less vulnerable to attacks," said Cooper Quintin, staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group.
It’s these trackers that result in “those annoying ads following you around and kind of creeping you out,” said Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group in San Francisco.