Today Facebook announced three new features that help move the social networking giant closer to satisfying EFF's Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Networking. While EFF continues to have outstanding issues with Facebook, we greatly appreciate these important steps toward giving Facebook users more transparency and control when it comes to how the information they post to Facebook is shared, and more power to take their Facebook data with them if they ever choose to leave the service. While Facebook has taken some good steps here, and we recognize that this is just the first iteration of the new features, we do have several additional recommendations, noted below. We will continue to dialogue with Facebook on these issues.
UPDATE: The video was restored on October 8. We thank YouTube for its willingness to restore the video so promptly.
With just weeks to go before Ohio votes on its next governor, the contest has devolved into a copyright squabble that is keeping a political video off YouTube on the basis of a bogus copyright claim.
A couple of days ago, Congressman John Kasich put out a commercial that featured a man dressed as a steelworker discussing Governor Ted Strickland’s record. It turns out that the steelworker depicted in the commercial wasn't an actual steelworker, but paid actor Chip Redden.
EFF recently received new documents as a result of our FOIA lawsuit on social network surveillance, filed with the help of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Clinic, that reveal two ways the government has been tracking people online: surveillance of social networks to investigate citizenship petitions and the Department of Homeland Security’s use of a “Social Networking Monitoring Center” to collect and analyze online public communication during President Obama’s inauguration. This is the first of two posts describing these documents and some of their implications. (Read part one.)
One great trend for Internet users' privacy and security has been that search engines — among other popular sites — are making their services available in a secure HTTPS form.
But users can still run into a privacy problem when they click on search results: the destination page could be unencrypted, potentially revealing lots of information to eavesdroppers about a user's interests and activities. For instance, suppose you search for [coronary artery disease] on a search engine, and you click on the search engine's outbound result link to Wikipedia's page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronary_artery_disease. Even if your connection to the search engine was protected by HTTPS, your connection to Wikipedia won't be!
As noted in our first post, EFF recently received new documents via our FOIA lawsuit on social network surveillance, filed with the help of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Clinic, that reveal two ways the government has been tracking people online: Citizenship and Immigration’s surveillance of social networks to investigate citizenship petitions and the DHS’s use of a “Social Networking Monitoring Center” to collect and analyze online public communication during President Obama’s inauguration. This is the second of two posts describing these documents and some of their implications.
EFF has long pointed out that technology companies are complicit in human rights violations when they knowingly sell customized human surveillance technologies to repressive regimes that are then used to target people for arrest, torture, and disappearance. Now a lawsuit filed recently against Nokia Siemens in Virginia by Isa Saharkhiz, an imprisoned Iranian dissident, and his son Mehdi Saharkhiz, brings this issue to the fore. The lawsuit accuses the Nokia Siemens Network of:
"knowingly, negligently and willfully provid[ing] the infamous, abusive and oppressive Iranian government with sophisticated devices for monitoring, eavesdropping, filtering, and tracking mobile phones."
Last Friday, in a brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama Administration continued the government's half-decade-long battle to ensure that no judge ever rules on the legality of the National Security Agency's warrantless dragnet surveillance program, a program first revealed in 2005 by the New York Times and detailed by technical documents provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today on yet another major Facebook privacy blunder. Despite Facebook's various polices and promises about users' privacy when using apps, apps have been feeding Facebook users' information to advertisers and Internet tracking companies regardless of the individual user's Facebook privacy settings.
[W]e're in favor of strong encryption, robust encryption. The country needs it, industry needs it. We just want to make sure we have a trap door and key under some judge's authority where we can get there if somebody is planning a crime. - FBI Director Louis Freeh, May 11, 1995
California and other states are moving towards a "Smart Grid" -- touted by the federal government as a way to boost reliability, security, and conservation in America's electrical systems. But while a Smart Grid has great potential for consumers, there are still critical questions unanswered about the privacy and security of customers' information.
Back in 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a video to YouTube of her children dancing and running around in her kitchen. Stephanie wanted to share the moment with her family and friends. But they weren't the only ones watching: a few months later, Universal Music Corp. had the video removed from YouTube, claiming that the video infringed its copyright.
This week, EFF is taking part in the 32nd Annual Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, where we urged the Privacy Authorities to call for the repeal of the European Union's 2006 Data Retention Directive, which requires Internet service providers operating in Europe to retain telecom and Internet traffic data about all of their customers' communications for a period of at least six months and up to two years, for possible use by law enforcement.
Co-authored by Richard Esguerra
The Identity Project notes on its blog today that the Department of Homeland Security singled out EFF, along with other activist groups and media representatives such as the ACLU, EPIC, Human Rights Watch, AP, etc, for an extra layer of review on its FOIA requests. Records posted online by the DHS in response to one of the Identity Project’s FOIA requests show that the agency passed certain requests through extra levels of screening. According to a policy memo from DHS’s Chief FOIA Officer and Chief Privacy Officer, Mary Ellen Callahan, DHS components were required to report “significant FOIA activities” in weekly reports to the Privacy Office, which the Privacy Office then integrated into its weekly report to the White House Liason.
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