As soon as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company's latest privacy changes last Wednesday, EFF published its immediate reaction and posted a simple video tutorial. EFF also opined about the changes at AOL News, in the New York Times, on the radio with NPR's All Things Considered, and on television with PBS' Newshour.
Update June 7, 2010 Yahoo! has changed it's Profiles feature into Yahoo! Pulse. Since the layout and URLs are a bit different, we have updated our opt out instructions below.
Earlier this week, Yahoo! announced a plan to try to leverage its Yahoo! Mail users' contacts into a social network of friends who will receive your Yahoo! Updates. Once the most visited website in the world, Yahoo! now ranks fourth worldwide, reaching about a quarter of all Internet users each day. Like Google Buzz's ill-fated launch using Gmail contacts, Yahoo! wants to jump start its social networking plans with the hundreds of millions of people who already use its email and messenger services.
At a time when users regularly turn to search engines to find information on the Internet, search privacy is of paramount importance. The search terms you give to search engines can be used to compose a telling portrait of your interests and concerns, a fact that has led privacy advocates to call for greater protection for individual users.
That's why it's great news that European privacy officials from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party" (WP29), which is an influential advisory body to the European Commission, have recently taken decisive action to push for stronger search engine privacy.
We've heard from many people who have been distressed to learn that their identity is being sought by the US Copyright Group, which purportedly represents various independent filmmakers, for allegedly having downloaded a movie such as "Far Cry" over BitTorrent. These people may want to contact an attorney in their state or Washington D.C. to discuss their individual circumstances and to decide how to proceed. EFF cannot advise each of these defendants, but we have assembled a list of attorneys who are willing to help advise and possibly represent subpoena targets.
UPDATE: Written Declaration 29 was finally adopted by 371 members of the European Parliament. The Declaration's author backpedaled on data retention for search engines, with a disjointed explanation that it is possible to have limited — and simultaneously blanket — search engine surveillance. Unsurprisingly, members of Parliament are still confused. Stay tuned for more on the fate of data retention in Europe.
The Defcon 18 Getaway Contest is getting down to the wire and things are heating up! One hundred twenty-four participants have raised over $4,000 so far!
Register today! You have until June 30, 2010 to raise as much as you can and win. The fabulous Grand Prize pool is still within your reach:
The Supreme Court today issued its decision (pdf) in City of Ontario v. Quon, addressing the question of whether a city government's search of transcripts of a public employee's text messaging over a city-issued pager violated the Fourth Amendment. EFF had filed an amicus brief (pdf) in the case urging the Court to avoid making any broad pronouncements on whether and how the Fourth Amendment protects the privacy of communications such as texts that are stored by third party communications providers, and instead to limit its decision to the privacy rights of public employees.
Today EFF and the Tor Project are launching a public beta of a new Firefox extension called HTTPS Everywhere.
This Firefox extension was inspired by the launch of Google's encrypted search option. We wanted a way to ensure that every search our browsers sent was encrypted. At the same time, we were also able to encrypt most or all of the browser's communications with some other sites:
Can public websites decide who is and is not a criminal through their terms of service? A brief EFF filed yesterday argues no.
The amicus brief is a follow-up to one we filed last month in Facebook v. Power Ventures. Facebook claims that Power breaks California criminal law by offering users a tool that aggregates their own information across several social networking sites. For some, it may be a useful way to access various social network information through one interface. The tool also makes it easier for users to export their data out of Facebook. In its suit against Power Ventures, Facebook claims that the tool violates criminal law because Facebook's terms of service ban users from accessing their information through "automated means."
As we now know, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — allegedly conceived to reduce the flow of fake physical goods across borders — could cut people off of the Internet, turn Internet intermediaries into copyright cops, and create a global framework that puts severe restrictions on innovation.
With the next round of high level negotiations taking place in less than a week, now is a great time to remind negotiators that ACTA must safeguard the fundamental rights of all citizens and not impede Internet innovation.
Yesterday, the Obama Administration's Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria Espinel, released the "Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement" that Congress ordered up when it created the IPEC position. The plan lays out 33 "enforcement action items" grouped in 6 categories, which are helpfully summarized in a two-page chart. The plan is the result of a months-long public process in which EFF submitted comments.
With the new iPhone 4 hitting stores this week, it seems like a good time to take a look at the impact Apple's business model has had on the stuff EFF cares about most – innovation and your digital rights and expectations.
But first, a little historical perspective. From our earliest days, EFF has been concerned about the ecosystem that exists around communications technologies. We used to refer to this work as our Open Platform Proposal, and we've spent the last 20 years fighting initiatives by governments and private companies that would have damaged the end-to-end interoperability of the Internet and interfered with innovation, free expression and the fundamental freedom to tinker.
Today Judge Louis Stanton of the federal court in the Southern District of New York granted YouTube's Motion for Summary Judgment in the Viacom v. YouTube litigation, rejecting the effort by Viacom and other copyright owners to hold YouTube responsible for infringing material uploaded by a tiny minority of YouTube users. EFF and a coalition of public interest and industry groups had filed an amicus brief supporting YouTube in the case.
In Henley v. DeVore, a federal court recently held that senatorial candidate Charles DeVore’s two political advertisements featuring the songs "The Hope of November" and "All She Wants to Do Is Tax" infringed Don Henley’s "The Boys of Summer" and "All She Wants to Do Is Dance," ruling against DeVore’s fair use defense.
The videos were core political speech, the most protected form of speech under the First Amendment. Yet the court blocked them, relying on copyright law. What happened?
Yet another country has decided to shut down key parts the Internet. Kathleen Reen at Internews reports that, as of this past Thursday, the Afghan Ministry of Communications mandated that all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Afghanistan filter websites falling under the following categories:
- Dating/Social Networking
Reen reports countrywide blockages of Facebook, Gmail, YouTube, and Twitter. The Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC), one of Afghanistan’s two largest telecommunication companies, is referring people with questions to the Ministry of Communications.
With less than two days left, the Defcon 18 Getaway Contest has raised over $5,000 to help EFF protect digital civil liberties! But it's not over yet. Contestants have until 11:59:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 to raise as much as they can through their referral links and compete for our amazing prizes!
Ending months of anticipation, yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court finally issued a ruling in Bilski v. Kappos, a business method patent case that, many hoped, would give the Court an opportunity to sharply limit these much maligned patents, or at least offer clear guidance on how business method patents are to be judged in the future. Unfortunately, the Court did neither one.
UPDATE (Monday, July 19, 2010): Thank you so much for your support of EFF and the Cartoon Art Museum! Unfortunately, Nina will not be able to appear in person as originally planned. However, she will join us via Skype immediately following the film for the Q&A session.
Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Cartoon Art Museum for a special evening with Nina Paley as we screen her award-winning animated feature film "Sita Sings the Blues," described by the creator as "the greatest breakup story ever told." Paley animated and produced the film single-handedly over the course of five years on a home computer, and will be on hand to take filmgoers behind the scenes.
Thousands of ISP subscribers targeted in mass copyright infringement suits will have a better shot at defending themselves as a result of a hearing held today in Washington, D.C. EFF appeared at a hearing as a friend of the court, arguing that the suits improperly lump thousands of defendants together, a shortcut that deprives the defendants of fair access to individual justice.