Putting digital rights in the spotlight in 2016
With a presidential election looming this fall, mass media and social media will be more focused on policy issues over the next several months than likely at any other point until 2020. We’ve put together a questionnaire for the candidates to invite them to explain their own policy platforms. We’ll let you know what they say, and in the meantime encourage others to ask these questions themselves at campaign events, fundraisers, town halls, or informal appearances.
We’ve put together a questionnaire for the candidates to invite them to explain their own policy platforms.
As a tax-exempt non-profit organization, we are forbidden from endorsing or opposing any candidate for office, so to be clear: we think voters can and should make their own choices. But we also think it's important for voters to know where the candidates stand on a variety of issues implicating digital rights, from the TPP to mass surveillance. These might not be the only issues that matter in choosing a candidate, but they are important to consider.
Here are a few questions that EFF is asking:
- What are your views regarding further restrictions on domestic surveillance to finish the job that Congress started with the USA Freedom Act?
- What are your views regarding the authority for domestic NSA surveillance under executive order 12333, which was announced in 1981 to authorize foreign intelligence collection but revealed in 2013 by a State Department whistleblower to have been frequently cited as a legal basis for secret domestic surveillance?
- Where do you stand regarding efforts by intelligence agencies to undermine encryption tools, such as the FBI's demands of Apple?
- What are your views regarding efforts to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to reflect recent reforms already adopted in states including California?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- Do you support the proposed TPP agreement? Why or why not?
- The TPP text was finally posted online after more than five years of negotiations. What are your views regarding whether to make trade agreements more transparent and democratic?
- Through various departmental grant programs, our federal government funds billions of dollars’ worth of grants intended to benefit the public. Do you think that federally funded research, educational materials, and cultural works should be made freely available to the public? Why or why not?
- What are your views regarding federal mandates requiring open licensing for federally funded content?
- Looking forward, one of the most crucial digital freedom issues is: who will control the hardware in your home, in your pocket, and in your own body. Will you work to protect consumers' right to circumvent access controls on products they own and otherwise defend our freedom to tinker, repair, re-use and modify our stuff?
- Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act forbids users from breaking DRM (digital rights management) on works subject to copyright, even if the purpose is a clearly lawful fair use. What are your views regarding reforms to address this issue?
- Would you endorse a comprehensive patent litigation reform bill to protect innovators from patent trolls?
- Would you endorse a venue reform bill, making it more difficult for parties in patent suits to shop for favorable forums?
- What are your views regarding whistleblowers who risk their careers to expose secret information important to the public interest?
- Under your administration, will there be consequences for intelligence officials who mislead Congress in response to direct questions at oversight hearings, or for agencies that misuse technology to cover up crimes, like when the CIA hacked into Congressional files to steal evidence of international human rights abuses?