This election day, EFF is once again assisting the Election Protection Coalition (EPC) in their nationwide voter-protection efforts. Right now, you can follow their work and keep an eye on election problems across the US live at OurVoteLive.org. We've already logged over 1,000 reports today (November 1), and are expecting to see tens of thousands tomorrow on election day.
It has been some time since EFF blogged about Hari Prasad. Earlier this year, a team of security researchers led by Prasad, Alex Halderman, and Rop Gonggrijp was able to study an electronic voting machine (EVM) in actual use in India. The study was limited, because the researchers had agreed to return the machine intact, thus preventing them (for example) from getting to the software source code that is baked into the CPU.
EFF is offering two complimentary VIP admissions (a $200 value) to the 19th Annual Pioneer Awards on November 8, thanks to a generous EFF donor. Meet the Pioneer Awards winners, host Cory Doctorow, EFF founders and board members, and other luminaries at the intimate VIP reception immediately preceding the awards ceremony, and then join us for the ceremony itself. Hors d'oeurves, wine, and beer at the VIP reception are included.
If you'd like the tickets, in 150 words or less, tell us how EFF inspires you to support digital rights. Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org before midnight PDT on Thursday, November 4, 2010. EFF staff members, at our sole discretion, will select the most inspiring response, and the winner will be notified on Friday, November 5, 2010.
Join Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl at Speakeasy: Berlin to discuss EFF's latest work and raise a glass to digital freedom. EFF's Speakeasy events are a series of local, informal gatherings that give EFF members a chance to meet the people behind the leading digital civil liberties organization in the world. It is also our chance to meet the members who make this work possible. Kurt will be in Germany to address Alliance '90/The Greens on "Shaping the Digital Society."
EFF Members-Only Happy Hour
Sunday, November 14th, 2010, at 6 PM
This is a free event for members and their guests. Space is limited. Cash bar. Germany-based members who accept email will receive a personal online invitation with location details by Friday, November 5, 2010. For more information, contact email@example.com.
EFF is pleased to announce our newest staff activist: Rainey Reitman. Rainey will be working with the rest of our activism team to fight for privacy, free speech, and innovation on the Internet and other technologies.
After a brief deliberation, a jury this week awarded $1.5 million in statutory damages ($62,500 per recording) to the record label plaintiffs in Capitol v. Thomas-Rasset. The case has repeatedly made headlines as the first action against an individual accused of illegal file-sharing to make it to the trial stage. As the litigation proceeded, however, the case (as well as another individual filesharing case, Sony v. Tenenbaum) has taken on new importance by shining a light on the irrationality of copyright remedies.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a long history of promoting commercial competition and consumer protection. Clearly recognizing that many of the trickiest issues facing consumers today are digital, the Commission has made the commendable decision of hiring Princeton professor of computer science and public affairs (and former EFF board member) Ed Felten as its first Chief Technologist.
UPDATE: On the morning of Thursday, November 11th, one of EFF's long-time supporters pledged to match new funds donated through this week's PayPal Challenge. We have only two days left to take advantage of this generous offer. Please help EFF by donating through PayPal today.
Check out our progress! Defenders of digital freedom have proven their commitment to EFF this week. We've raised over $50,000 in donations. Click here to see how much we've raised. As of Thursday morning, EFF is in first place for the PayPal Challenge. If we finish in first place, it means bonus funds for our organization!
Donate to EFF this week and you can double — or even triple — the value of your contribution! PayPal and Convio will match up to $5,000 in donations to EFF made via PayPal between Tuesday, November 9, and Friday, November 12, 2010.
First, double your donation through PayPal.
EFF is pleased to welcome yet another new addition to our team: Technology Director Chris Palmer. Chris is hardly a newcomer, however -- he's a former EFF technologist who is returning to the EFF fold after several years in the technology industry focusing on application security.
Most recently, Chris worked as a Senior Software Engineer at Google on securing the Android operating system for mobile devices. Before that, he was a Principal Security Consultant at iSEC Partners, a security engineering consultancy, where he hacked a wide variety of applications and platforms. Chris also worked as a developer at web app shops in San Francisco and Minneapolis, in addition to his previous tenure as an EFF Staff Technologist.
Congratulations to the winners of EFF's 2010 Pioneer Awards: Steven Aftergood, James Boyle, Pamela Jones and the website Groklaw, and Hari Krishna Prasad Vemuru! The 19th Annual Pioneer Awards ceremony was held this past Monday at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. We were all deeply inspired by the words of our award winners and our Master of Ceremonies, Cory Doctorow, and want to share the experience with all who weren't able to join us in person.
On behalf of the EFF staff, thank you for helping us to compete in PayPal's matching challenge. Together we raised over $70,400! Individual donors like you make EFF's work possible. EFF will also receive $5,000 in matched funds directly from PayPal, and additional matched funds from two very generous EFF members.
Don't forget to match your gift with your employer:
- Ask your human resources department if your employer matches donations.
- Fill out the paperwork and forward it to EFF for completion (if necessary).
- You're done! It's a simple step that maximizes your impact and keeps EFF going strong.
Even if you don't use PayPal or don't have funds to contribute, there are many valuable ways to help and get involved with digital rights. Thank you for all of the ways you support EFF!
UPDATE: EFF is happy to report that in recent interviews, Microsoft has demonstrated enthusiasm for the creativity of hardware hackers and researchers, ultimately embracing the first wave of Kinect innovation.
In the last few weeks, Facebook and Google have been engaging in a public tussle over an issue that is near and dear to EFF's heart: data portability. The crux of the issue is that when you sign up for Facebook, you can find your Gmail contacts or invite them to join the social networking service with a few quick clicks. But when you sign up for Google, Facebook prevents you from easily inviting all of your Facebook friends to Google, despite the fact that Facebook makes it easy for users to export their contacts to other services like Yahoo!.
EFF recently participated in the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Vilnius, Lithuania, advocating for the respect of citizens' fundamental rights online. The IGF is an experimental and influential multi-stakeholder policy forum convened by the United Nations Secretary General in 2006, where civil society, industry, the technical community, and decision makers discuss key aspects of Internet governance issues on an equal footing. The informal nature of the IGF is designed to promote the full and frank exchange of ideas on important Internet policy issues without the knock-down-and-dragged-out conflicts that characterize other international fora where recommendations or binding treaties are made. This year, IGF brought together over 1,400 participants from around the world.
EFF and a coalition of public interest groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief Tuesday to reject so-called "privacy" protections for corporate entities under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The case, Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, started when the company tried to block disclosure of records about its participation in the federal government's E-Rate program. AT&T, invoking FOIA exemptions that were created to protect an individual's private data like physical address or email address, argued that it was a "corporate citizen" entitled to "personal privacy."
Another partial victory for EFF's Patent Busting Project: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that it will reissue a narrowed version of a patent on Internet music files after we asked the PTO to take a second look. So far nine of the original Top Ten Patents named in our campaign have been busted, invalidated, narrowed, or had a reexamination granted by the PTO.
UPDATE: EFF is deeply disappointed to report that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the COICA Internet censorship bill this morning, despite bipartisan opposition, and countless experts pointing out how it would be ineffective, unconstitutional, bad for innovation and the tech economy, and would break the Internet.
The Transportation Security Administration has adopted "enhanced" security procedures — presenting people with the horrible choice of either submitting to body scanners that show passengers unclothed or submit to what are called "groping" pat-down techniques which include touching both breasts and genitalia. As some have noted these processes appear to have little likelihood of increasing the safety of fliers.
Good news: after some initial sword rattling, Microsoft has embraced hardware hackers for modifying the Kinect.
EFF and the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit over a notorious case of illegal government spying urged the U.S. Supreme Court last week to reject a government attempt to have the Court address constitutional questions about the state secrets privilege in a contract dispute case involving the privilege.
To provide greater protection for Internet users’ freedom of expression and privacy rights, EFF recommended that the European Commission (EC) should preserve limitations on liability for Internet intermediaries and clarify that Internet intermediaries should not be considered to have “actual knowledge” requiring them to takedown content unless they have received a court order or notification in comments filed recently as part of the EC's long-awaited public consultation on the workability of the 2000 EU eCommerce Directive.
Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it's been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here's EFF's guide for protecting your devices and sensitive data at the United States border.
The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so.
There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the kind of light we really need?
Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Microsoft’s appeal in a case that could make it easier to invalidate a patent. If successful, Microsoft’s challenge should help in the fight against bad patents by leveling the playing field for showing that a patent is invalid. A Microsoft win in the case would benefit not only Microsoft, but also the free and open source software community. That’s why EFF, joined by Public Knowledge, the Computer & Communications Industry Association and the Apache Software Foundation, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting Microsoft.
Over the past few days, the U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and nine U.S. Attorneys’ Offices seized 82 domain names of websites they claim were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works.
Welcome to the 21st century, where we all carry tracking devices in our pockets and where one morning you might find an FBI-installed GPS tracking device on your car. In this age of location-based-everything, the legal question of whether or not the government has to get a search warrant based on probable cause before secretly tracking you becomes all the more important. Three recent court developments from across the country — and a Congressional hearing — put a fine point on this key privacy controversy for the mobile era.