Deeplinks

November 5, 2008 - 4:05pm 60507

Yesterday, a year-long collaboration between EFF and the Election Protection Coalition came to fruition. OurVoteLive.org, powered by EFF's Total Election Awareness project, helped EP's thousands of hotline operators and legal response teams document and respond to over 86,000 calls to the 866-OUR-VOTE voter-assistance hotline on November 4th and during early voting. Over 5,000 more calls were documented during the primaries.

Now that the election is over, Our Vote Live contains the largest database of voting-related inquiries, problems, and discrepancies ever created — all searchable and visible to the general public. While important prototypes were used in prior elections, Our Vote Live was by far the most comprehensive and most successful effort to date.

November 6, 2008 - 4:37pm 60508
November 7, 2008 - 10:36am 60509

This is the first post in a three part series directed at restoring some of the civil liberties we've lost over the past eight years. Today's post is about our privacy rights. We'll follow this up early next week with our thoughts on intellectual property rights and government transparency.

As new leaders prepare to move into the White House and Congress over the next few months, we'd like to call on them to restore Americans' privacy rights. Here's a little "wish list" we'd like to put forward:

November 7, 2008 - 5:37pm 60510

Last year, we reported that WIPO Member States had decided to postpone holding an intergovernmental diplomatic conference to adopt the controversial Broadcasting Treaty. For us, and the many others who had expressed concern about the proposed treaty, this was welcome news. But it was short-lived. In 2008, the Broadcasting Treaty is being pushed by its supporters with a vengeance. Surprisingly, the US seems to have reversed its most recent position, and expressed support for continuing treaty negotiations so long as it includes webcasting.

November 11, 2008 - 9:19am 60511

This is the second post in a three-part series outlining how the new leadership in Congress and the White House can restore some of the civil liberties we've lost over the past eight years. Today's post focuses on innovation, fair use and intellectual property. On Friday, we posted about privacy and surveillance, and tomorrow we'll discuss government transparency.

November 12, 2008 - 9:31am 60512

This is the final post in a three-part series outlining how the new leadership in Congress and the White House can restore some of the civil liberties we've lost over the past eight years. Today's post focuses on government transparency. Previously, we've written about surveillance and intellectual property.

The past eight years have seen an increase in government secrecy and a decrease in government accountability. These factors have led to record levels of distrust in our government. Here are three steps the new leadership should take to begin to restore that trust:

November 13, 2008 - 6:48pm 60513

Advocates for the opening of the "white spaces" were rewarded with a resounding victory earlier this month when the FCC unanimously voted in favor of allowing unlicensed use of the unused spectrum between TV channels. (For a more complete explanation of white spaces, check out our earlier blog post.) While FCC Chairman Kevin Martin had telegraphed his support for white spaces at the conclusion of technical trials, the landslide vote opens doors for innovation and is a victory for the public over the entrenched media incumbents.

November 17, 2008 - 3:00pm 60514

In a decision that could have significant negative consequences for online speech and commerce, Judge John Darrah of the Northern District of Illinois has refused to dismiss some of the most preposterous trademark claims we've ever seen (and that's saying something).

November 17, 2008 - 4:28pm 60515

Last week, the RIAA celebrated the signing of a ridiculous new law in Tennessee that says:

Each public and private institution of higher education in the state that has student residential computer networks shall:

[...]

[R]easonably attempt to prevent the infringement of copyrighted works over the institution's computer and network resources, if such institution receives fifty (50) or more legally valid notices of infringement as prescribed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 within the preceding year.

November 19, 2008 - 12:15pm 60516

A coalition of more than 25 organizations, including EFF, yesterday released "Liberty and Security: Recommendations for the Next Administration and Congress", a comprehensive catalogue of policy recommendations on a range of critical civil liberties issues.

This collaboratively-created transition roadmap, coordinated by our friends at the Constitution Project, contains 20 chapters providing policy recommendations on a wide variety of issues, from Guantanamo Bay to warrantless wiretapping. EFF has signed on as an ally in support of the recommendations in eleven of those chapters, concerning issues within EFF's mission to protect free speech and privacy on the electronic frontier.

November 19, 2008 - 5:17pm 60517

Yesterday, the New York Times ran the story "Early Test for Obama on Domestic Spying Views", describing the national security-related issues facing the incoming Obama Administration. Chief among them is the issue of immunity for telecoms that illegally assisted in the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program:

In perhaps the most critical test, civil liberties groups that are suing major phone companies that took part in the N.S.A. program are waiting to find out whether a federal judge will throw out the lawsuits based on immunity granted by Congress in June.

November 20, 2008 - 12:17pm 60519

Students interested in technology law and policy may be interested in applying to work with EFF next summer through the Google Policy Fellowship, a program that gives students the chance to spend the summer working alongside host organizations on topics of Internet and technology policy.

Much like how the Summer of Code project aims to develop and promote open source projects, Google is hoping that policy fellowships will advance debate on key policy issues affecting the public. Google is kindly offering fellows a $7000 stipend (for a minimum of 10 weeks in June to August 2009) for working with host organizations like EFF on various topics.

November 20, 2008 - 12:18pm 60518

[I wrote the following op-ed, which appeared in the Nov. 14 issue of The Recorder. Because that publication's website is not publicly available, I'm posting a copy here, with their permission.]

For most of the decade, Silicon Valley technology startups have assumed that Google would pay their legal bills. Not literally, mind you, but rather by taking on the big, high-profile cases about fair use, interoperability, and other digital intellectual property issues that would set precedents that all disruptive innovators could rely on.

Well, Google just put the Valley on notice that the free ride is over, which means more legal burdens for smaller technology companies that previously depended on Google clearing a path for them.

November 21, 2008 - 6:36pm 60520

Once again, thanks to DRM, a new product ends up less useful than the one it replaces. This time, it's the new family of Apple Macbook laptop computers that gets the downgrade.

November 24, 2008 - 12:37pm 60523

In counseling computer security researchers, I have found the law to be a real obstacle to solving vulnerabilities. The muddy nature of the laws that regulate computers and code, coupled with a series of abusive lawsuits, gives researchers real reason to worry that they might be sued if they publish their research or go straight to the affected vendor. By reporting the security flaw, the researcher reveals that she may have committed unlawful activity, which might invite a lawsuit or criminal investigation. On the other hand, withholding information means a potentially serious security flaw may go unremedied. I discuss this problem, and offer some ideas about what researchers can do about it, in a new document called "A 'Grey Hat' Guide". Constructive feedback is welcome, as I can use it to improve the paper.

November 25, 2008 - 11:33am 60521

Slashdot reports that Apple has sent a "cease and desist" email to bluwiki, a public wiki site, demanding the removal of postings there by those who are trying to figure out how to write software that can sync media to the latest versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Short answer: Apple doesn't have a DMCA leg to stand on.

November 25, 2008 - 2:29pm 60522

On November 12, 2008, a group of artists and activists unveiled a brilliant spoof of the New York Times, widely distributed to readers in New York and Los Angeles. This "July 4, 2009" version of the Times — which the real New York Times described as a "Grade-A caper" — boldly announced the end of the Iraq War, the nationalization of major oil conglomerates, the elimination of tuition at public universities, and the indictment of soon-to-be-former president Bush on charges of high treason.

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