February 20, 2009 | By Hugh D'Andrade

EFFector #500!

Since EFF was founded in 1990, we've seen digital technologies become increasingly central to our lives as citizens, consumers, creators, innovators and social beings. And over those nearly 19 years, EFF has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that these new tools are used to enhance and extend our freedoms, rather than to restrict them.

And for the past 18 years, we have kept our members and supporters informed of our work with an electronic newsletter delivered directly to their inbox every week or two — a novel idea in 1990. The first issue of EFFector was sent out on December 10, 1990 to a little more than 200 people. Today, we have just delivered the 500th issue to the inboxes of over 43,000 people.

Read on for a few highlights of our work that have been covered in EFFector:

May 1, 1991: EFF filed a complaint in Steve Jackson Games v. U.S. Secret Service, claiming digital communications require the same safeguards against unreasonable search and seizures as other communications.

April 16, 1993: EFF published criticism of the Clipper Chip proposal, a government plan to force communications technology providers to build government surveillance backdoors in their products.

December 19, 1996: EFF convinced a federal district court that software is speech in Bernstein v. DOJ.

July 17, 1998: EFF announced defeat of the government’s Data Encryption Standard (DES) in less than three days using relatively simple equipment and engineering.

January 20, 2000: EFF defended publishers of 2600 Magazine, which the MPAA had sued for distributing and linking to software that helps consumers make back-ups of their DVDs.

June 6, 2001: EFF brought suit in Felten v. RIAA, asserting security researcher Ed Felten's right to present a paper describing flaws in a proposed music watermarking technology at a conference.

June 6, 2002: In Newmark v. Turner Broadcasting Service, EFF filed suit against the entertainment industry in defense of customers' right to use a digital VCR for saving shows and skipping commercials.

June 30, 2003: EFF launched the Let the Music Play campaign to oppose RIAA attempts to shut down P2P networks and sue music fans.

September 30, 2004: EFF brought the first successful suit against abusive online copyright claims in Online Policy Group v. Diebold.

June 27, 2005: The Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster rejected an attempt to hold developers of devices with multiple uses automatically liable for infringing actions of their users.

January 31, 2006: EFF sued AT&T for helping the National Security Agency spy on millions of ordinary Americans in Hepting v. AT&T.

May 26, 2006: EFF successfully defended the right of online journalists to require their ISPs to protect the confidentiality of their sources in Apple v. Does.

June 16, 2007: EFF's FOIA project secured the release of documents concerning the FBI's use of National Security Letters. Revelations from the documents were cited during the Senate investigations that led to the resignation of then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

March 12, 2008: The Patent Busting Project hit the halfway mark on its Ten Most Wanted list, as the patent office granted EFF's fifth request for reexamination, this time on a bogus online gaming patent.

September 18, 2008: EFF filed suit directly against the NSA in Jewel v. NSA, seeking to stop the illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

Thank you, EFFector readers, for being with us every step of the way! Peruse the archive of past issues or sign up to get future issues here.


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