The Washington Post reports that FCC Chairman Genachowski is considering basing the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules on precisely the legal foundation discredited in a recent court ruling:
Specifically, he is exploring a legal push under the current legal framework for broadband, which is under Title I, that would make possible the FCC’s push for a new net neutrality rule and reforms under a national broadband plan, the sources said. That could include a legal push in courts where it would assert that the FCC has the mandate from Congress to deploy broadband to all Americans in a timely manner.
This is a bad idea, no matter what your views of the wisdom of the FCC's proposed net neutrality regulations.
"Connections." It's an innocent-sounding word. But it's at the heart of some of the worst of Facebook's recent changes.
Facebook first announced Connections a few weeks ago, and EFF quickly wrote at length about the problems they created. Basically, Facebook has transformed substantial personal information — including your hometown, education, work history, interests, and activities — into "Connections." This allows far more people than ever before to see this information, regardless of whether you want them to.
Wolfire Games is running an innovative pay-what-you-want promotion for five great indie video games with some proceeds benefiting EFF! Normally the five games would be valued at $80, but from now until Tuesday, 5/11, you can pay what you want for the entire game bundle including:
In March, we wrote about Playstation 3 owners who were up in arms after Sony announced that a new firmware "upgrade" would actually disable a feature that enables users to run GNU/LINUX and other operating systems on their PS3 consoles. In response, a class action lawsuit has now been filed against Sony on behalf of PS3 owners who purchased their consoles after November 16, 2006 and before March 27. The complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair and deceptive business practices.
Should US and European law enforcement agencies be given unrestricted access to commercial and travel transactions from individuals around the world without judicial oversight? That was the question on the table in a heated debate in the European Parliament this week.
Prolific author and blogger, tireless advocate of freedom in the networked world, Cory Doctorow's voice is needed now more than ever. His new novel "For the Win" hits the stores today, and he will be making a rare appearance here in San Francisco at EFF's Geek Reading on Wednesday May 19th.
Here's how his publisher describes the story:
Today, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan ordered the release of the previously-sealed warrant affidavit that led to the search of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s house. As expected, the affidavit confirmed that there was no legal basis for the search.
The results show that the overwhelming majority of Internet users could be uniquely fingerprinted and tracked using only the configuration and version information that their browsers make available to websites. These types of system information should be regarded as identifying, in much the same way that cookies, IP addresses, and supercookies are.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has added thousands of never-before-seen records to its online collection of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The treasure trove of government records, now up to date and posted on our website in its entirety, is the result of almost 200 FOIA requests and over a dozen lawsuits.
The document collection now includes for the first time:
Social network service providers today are in a unique position. They are intermediaries and hosts to our communications, conversations and connections with loved ones, family, friends and colleagues. They have access to extremely sensitive information, including data gathered over time and from many different individuals.
Here at EFF, we've been thinking a lot recently about what specific rights a responsible social network service should provide to its users. Social network services must ensure that users have ongoing privacy and control over personal information stored with the service. Users are not just a commodity, and their rights must be respected. Innovation in social network services is important, but it must remain consistent with, rather than undermine, user privacy and control. Based on what we see today, therefore, we suggest three basic privacy-protective principles that social network users should demand:
Are you an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States? If you are, EFF needs your help to fight spam-igation.
The U.S. Copyright Group has quietly targeted 50,000 Bit Torrent users for legal action in federal court in Washington DC. The defendants, all Does, are accused of having downloaded independent films such as "Far Cry," "Steam Experiment," and "Uncross the Stars" without authorization. U.S. Copyright Group has recently announced that it will also be targeting unauthorized downloaders of the film "Hurt Locker." News reports suggest that the attorneys bringing these suits are not affiliated with any major entertainment companies, but are instead intent on building a lucrative business model built from collecting settlements from the largest possible set of individual defendants.
Last week's news that Google's Street View cars collected the content of messages flowing over open wireless networks while mapping the location of those access points is a privacy wake-up call to the company and wireless users alike.
Google had previously represented that it did not collect or store what it calls "payload data" and what EFF and the law call communications "content" — the actual information that was being transmitted by users over the unprotected networks. But on Friday the company admitted that its audit of the software deployed in the Street View cars revealed that the devices actually had been inadvertently collecting content transmitted over non-password protected Wi-Fi networks. To its credit, Google publicly admitted the error.
Google has just announced that it is rolling out an encrypted version of its web search service, https://www.google.com. This is something we've been asking Google for privately and publicly for some time, and we're very pleased to see it come to pass.
Several important points about encrypted Google search:
A Wall Street Journal article today draws attention to yet another unexpected way in which Facebook's privacy practices have not complied with its public statements and have disregarded users' privacy rights. Just last week, when asked about Facebook's privacy practices with advertisers, Facebook executive Elliot Schrage wrote:
We don’t share your information with advertisers. Our targeting is anonymous. We don’t identify or share names. Period.
As the Wall Street Journal report shows, this was not true. In fact, Facebook's architecture at the time allowed advertisers to see detailed personal information about some Facebook users.
In response to a firestorm of criticism from EFF and others (), and after much internal debate, Facebook today announced a series of privacy changes to the social networking site as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised on Monday.
We will be publishing instructions on how to best take advantage of the new settings shortly. For now, though, we wanted to quickly share our first impression:
Today, Facebook announced new privacy controls and settings in response to the tremendous public outcry over its April changes. Here we explain step-by-step how to take advantage of the new settings and maximize your privacy on Facebook.
This is important because you must take affirmative steps to adjust your settings in order to take full advantage of the revised privacy practices. While some information, such as your name, profile picture and gender, will remain publicly available, these steps are designed to provide as much privacy as Facebook's new system allows. Please enjoy our video, which goes through each of the steps detailed below.
The file-sharing public faces yet another wave of predatory litigation, this time from the so-called US Copyright Group ("USCG"), which is suing BitTorrent users on behalf of various independent filmmakers. The Hollywood Reporter reports that more than 20,000 individuals have been sued, with more suits to come, and the producers of the Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker have also signed up with the USCG to go after BitTorrent users.
I've just finished Adrian Johns' 2009 book, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates, a 500+ page magnum opus stretching from the 1600s to the present. Johns is a noted University of Chicago historian, and his book is a fascinating and essential read for anyone interested in the history of the term "intellectual property" and development of the modern copyright and patent systems.
A warning to readers: you may not want to start at the beginning, unless you're really interested in the organization of pre-industrial printing in England in the 1700s. Because the book is organized chronologically, the first several chapters are, well, a bit less accessible.
Plenty of folks, from copyright lawyers to Internet entrepreneurs to investment bankers, have been watching the long-running legal battle between Viacom and Google/YouTube carefully, well aware that a decision in the case could have a profound effect on the future of the Internet. But most YouTube users probably haven't given it the same attention. They should, and in an amicus brief filed in support of YouTube last week, a group of YouTube video creators explains why.
Calling themselves "The Sideshow Coalition" (because Viacom has called their interests a "sideshow"), these creators tell their own personal stories of how YouTube has helped them find a broader audience than they had ever imagined they could reach, with all kinds of unexpected effects. A few examples from the brief: