Deeplinks

December 1, 2010 - 12:27pm 61186

This morning, the Federal Trade Commission released its long-anticipated privacy report. The report is the final result of a series of FTC privacy roundtables held earlier this year that solicited comments from leading scholars, industry figures and nonprofits including EFF about the consumer privacy challenges posed by new technologies.

December 1, 2010 - 1:58pm 61185

This week's news that the feds seized 82 websites based on allegations of copyright infringement demonstrated that government website seizures can silence innocent speech. But let's take a broader view for a moment. The domain seizure debacle, the COICA Internet censorship bill, ACTA, and many other short-sighted efforts to eliminate copyright infringement all depend on (a) the traditional entertainment industry's yowling wail that "piracy" on the the Internet is injuring the livelihoods of artists and (b) the US government's chronically uncritical acceptance of those complaints.

December 2, 2010 - 10:52pm 61188

Co-authored by Rainey Reitman and Marcia Hofmann

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment — but that doesn't help if the censorship doesn't come from the government.

The controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has begun to publish a trove of over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables, found itself kicked off of Amazon's servers earlier this week. WikiLeaks had apparently moved from a hosting platform in Sweden to the cloud hosting services available through Amazon in an attempt to ward off ongoing distributed denial of service attacks.

December 6, 2010 - 6:24pm 61118

With the 2010 holidays upon us, it's time to update EFF's E-Book Buyer's Guide to E-Book Privacy, which summarizes and comments on the privacy-related policies of several e-readers.

What's new. We've added in the iPad and also added in the software used by many libraries and devices for e-book access, made by Adobe called Adobe Content Server. Adobe doesn't keep a list of libraries that use their software, but it does have a list of supported devices. Remember that the list only tells you what information is available to Adobe, not what information may be made available to the device itself. The information about the Adobe Content Server comes directly to us from Adobe.

December 7, 2010 - 6:45pm 61190

Over the past few weeks, we here at EFF have watched as whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has fueled an emotionally charged debate about the secrecy of government information and the people's right to know. We have welcomed this debate, and the fact that there have been myriad views is the embodiment of the freedom of expression upon which this country was founded.

However, we've been greatly troubled by a recent shift in focus. The debate about the wisdom of releasing secret government documents has turned into a massive attack on the right of intermediaries to publish truthful information. Suddenly, WikiLeaks has become the Internet's scapegoat, with a Who's Who of American and foreign companies choosing to shun the site.

December 8, 2010 - 11:40am 61191

EFF has been monitoring the net neutrality debate with an eye to two main concerns, both stemming from our conviction that however laudable the goal of neutrality--and it is a laudable goal--the regulatory and legislative paths that get us there must not amount to a “Trojan horse” that we’ll all regret:

First, we have a well-founded fear of an open-ended grant of authority to the FCC to regulate the Internet, and attendant worries, especially about regulations that could create barriers to entry for the next generation of garage innovators.

December 8, 2010 - 11:44am 61189

EFF recently received documents in response to one of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that demonstrate a disturbing trend: the FBI's arbitrary application of FOIA exemptions to hide, or in some instances, reveal, its unlawful activities.

December 8, 2010 - 12:58pm 61192

Righthaven is attempting to make a business out of suing Internet websites for copyright infringement. It has filed 180 copyright actions so far —without ever first asking that a work be removed from the target website—in each case alleging “willful infringement” and attempting to extract settlements by threats of statutory damages (up to $150,000), attorneys’ fees and seizure of the domain name.

December 8, 2010 - 5:53pm 61194

When it comes to Wikileaks, there's a lot of fear out there on the Internet right now.

December 14, 2010 - 9:46am 61196

Wolfire Games releases the Humble Indie Bundle 2 on Tuesday, with some of the proceeds benefiting EFF. Like the first bundle launched this spring, the Humble Indie Bundle 2 is a collection of independently produced, DRM-free, cross-platform computer games. It's also an innovative fundraiser, competition, and holiday gift package, which will be available only this week.

With the Humble Indie Bundle, you pay what you want for five festive games and choose to divide your money between the game developers, Child’s Play, and EFF. We will be offering complimentary EFF Memberships with our top-shelf swag to the first 60 people who donate $100 or more (divided any way you choose) for the bundle found at humblebundle.com.

December 14, 2010 - 10:18am 61197

The past few weeks have highlighted the vulnerability of centralized information systems to censorship: online speech is only as strong as the weakest intermediary. Sites hosting legitimate speech were caught up in an anti-counterfeiting raid by the Department of Homeland Security, EveryDNS stopped hosting WikiLeaks.org’s DNS, Amazon refused hosting service to WikiLeaks, and independent protesters conducted denial-of-service attacks on businesses refusing service to WikiLeaks.

December 14, 2010 - 11:20am 61198

In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers. Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and postal mail.

December 14, 2010 - 2:59pm 61199

Are you a student who is passionate about protecting citizens' civil liberties and the free and open Internet? Do you love debating technology law and Internet policy issues? Then consider applying for a Google Policy Fellowship to work with EFF's international policy team next summer! Now in its fourth year, the Google Policy Fellowship program offers successful applicants the opportunity to work with one of 17 host organizations at the forefront of Internet and technology public policy —including EFF.

December 14, 2010 - 4:23pm 61200

The Ninth Circuit today issued its decision in the second of a trio of cases that raise the critical legal question of whether "magic words" in a end-user license agreement (EULA) slapped onto a consumer product can turn buyers (or gift recipients) into mere licensees, rather than owners. Following its previous ruling in the first of these cases, Vernor v. Autodesk, the court today said yes — but there’s a twist.

December 15, 2010 - 10:44am 61201

In EFF's second major privacy victory in as many days, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the government's request that it reconsider its September decision regarding government access to cell phone company records that reveal your past locations. That means the court's original opinion — holding that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records — is now the settled law of the Third Circuit, assuming the government doesn't seek review by the Supreme Court. Importantly, this victory won't just provide greater protection for the privacy of your cell phone records but for all other communications records that the government currently obtains without warrants.

December 15, 2010 - 2:54pm 61203

The full House Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Espionage Act and legal and constitutional issues raised by Wikileaks tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the hearing live here. We'll also be tweeting our impressions throughout the morning.

UPDATE: Technical difficulties interrupted the video stream at 9:45 AM on 12/16. If an alternate link becomes available, we'll post it here.

UPDATE: Alternate link: CSPAN -- featured under "National Security"

December 15, 2010 - 4:26pm 61065

Today EFF joined with Public Knowledge and other groups to urge the Supreme Court to reject a bogus copyright theory, and uphold your right to resell or even give away the products you own — even if they were originally sold abroad.

December 15, 2010 - 11:30pm 61204

It has been almost two weeks since cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website hosting leaked US diplomatic cables, was taken down, and the right of Wikileaks to publish truthful information was immediately besieged. Since then, human rights organizations around the world have condemned the attacks on WikiLeaks and have raised their voices to protect freedom of expression online.

December 16, 2010 - 2:41pm 61205

The House Judiciary Committee held a surprisingly subdued hearing this morning on the legal and constitutional issues surrounding Wikileaks' publication activities. Committee members repeatedly emphasized the importance of protecting First Amendment rights and cautioned against overreaction to Wikileaks. The seven legal experts called to testify agreed, almost all of them noting that:

December 16, 2010 - 4:28pm 61207

This year, EFF was proud to present one of its Pioneer Awards to Hari Prasad, an Indian security researcher who, along with his colleagues Alex Halderman and Rop Gonggrijp exposed serious flaws in the electronic voting machines used in India. The Indian government rewarded his hard work by arresting Prasad for alleged theft of the electronic voting machines which he had studied —the criminal charges made against him are still pending. Prasad came to the U.S. to accept the Pioneer Award from EFF a few months ago, then returned voluntarily to India.

December 17, 2010 - 9:46am 61202

It's no surprise to EFF members that the Internet is full of security flaws, some of them severe. Yet many Internet companies try to deal with these problems internally, or not at all. They don't encourage outsiders to report flaws discovered when using or testing a website, and may even be hostile toward those who reveal facts they don't want to hear. Well-meaning Internet users are often afraid to tell companies about security flaws they've found — they don't know whether they'll get hearty thanks or slapped with a lawsuit or even criminal prosecution. This tension is unfortunate, because when companies learn what needs to be fixed, their services will be better and their users safer.

December 17, 2010 - 10:43am 61206

The Internet is global, and so are threats to digital freedom. That’s why EFF works in a range of international policy venues and with partner organizations worldwide to defend your digital rights. Here are some of the great things EFF achieved this year with our global partners and supporters like you:

  • Protecting Freedom of Expression. EFF has defended Wikileaks’ right to publish truthful information and the rights of Internet users to read and comment on that information under Article 19 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. We are working with people across the globe to encourage governments and Internet intermediaries to take a stand against Internet censorship.

December 17, 2010 - 12:08pm 61208

It’s no secret that the US government has used its annual Special 301 Report to intimidate other countries into adopting more stringent copyright and patent laws by singling out particular countries for their "bad" intellectual property policies, and naming them on a tiered set of "watch lists". Listing results in heightened political pressure and in some cases, the potential for trade sanctions, which encourages foreign trading partners to change their laws to mirror those in the US.

December 17, 2010 - 12:14pm 61210

Viacom’s appeal of the district court’s decision in Viacom v. YouTube is well underway, and now the amicus briefs supporting Viacom have been filed as well. The arguments in Viacom’s opening brief largely rehash many of the same arguments Viacom made—unsuccessfully—the first time around: Generalized awareness of some infringing content, and failure to take down such unidentified content, disqualifies a service provider from the DMCA’s safe harbors; YouTube’s compliance with the DMCA proves its DMCA-disqualifying ability to control the infringing activity on its network; DMCA protection for YouTube’s “storage” of uploaded content does not include the display of the content on the site; and so on.

December 17, 2010 - 1:14pm 61209

Online privacy continues to be a hot topic in Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a staff report calling for greater protection of online consumer privacy. A House subcommittee heard testimony on the increasingly popular idea of “do not track” for the Internet. Soon thereafter, Microsoft announced a new tracking protection mechanism for Internet Explorer 9.

December 21, 2010 - 11:34am 61211

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #5, Location Privacy, where we predicted:

December 21, 2010 - 12:31pm 61212

This week, EFF will introduce new annual membership levels and benefits. The most exciting part is that new and renewing members at the Copper Level or higher will receive an EFF Member Card! Back by popular demand, the EFF Member Card lets you show your commitment to online civil liberties.

The majority of EFF's funding comes from passionate individuals like you, so we like to offer members tokens of our appreciation. Choose from several free gifts, including t-shirts available exclusively to EFF members. EFF membership lasts for 12 months and you can select a gift every time you renew! All members receive a "Proud Member" bumper sticker and discounts on General Admission to EFF events!

December 21, 2010 - 4:51pm 61216

The copyright troll Righthaven has brought over 190 cases—and counting—against bloggers, online journalists and others since March of this year. While EFF has taken on two of these cases directly (Democratic Underground and DiBiase) we have also been attempting to help those sued to secure counsel. If the tactics of these trolls trouble you and you are a member of the bar with experience in copyright litigation, these defendants need your help.

December 22, 2010 - 3:29pm 61215

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #8, Congress, where we predicted:

In retrospect, 2009 wasn't disastrous for online civil liberties in federal technology law. With Washington entirely distracted by health care reform, a lot of the most problematic proposed federal technology legislation was delayed, postponed or temporarily forgotten.

December 22, 2010 - 3:55pm 61217

Yesterday, following on his ruling this Spring that the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of an Islamic charity's lawyers in 2004 violated federal surveillance law, Judge Vaughn Walker in the Northern District of California federal court issued his final order in the case of Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama. The order granted the plaintiffs an award of $2.5 million in money damages and well-earned attorneys' fees for the government's violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the same law underlying many of the claims in EFF's ongoing lawsuits against the NSA's mass surveillance program, Hepting v. AT&T and Jewel v. NSA.

December 22, 2010 - 6:19pm 61214

Wikileaks isn't the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble.

Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, claiming that he "severely" violated the SiteGround Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. SiteGround explained that it had gotten a complaint from an upstream provider, SoftLayer, and had taken action "in order to prevent any further issues caused by the illegal activity."

December 23, 2010 - 1:47pm 61222

What do an online donation to the International Red Cross, a bank transfer to family members living in Vietnam, and a payment sent through PayPal for an expensive rug in Turkey have in common? The government wants to know about them. And, if new rules proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, go into effect, the government will — along with your name, address, bank account number, and other sensitive financial information.

In September, FinCEN, an agency component of the Department of the Treasury, proposed a set of rules (pdf) that would require banks and money transmitters to report to the government any cross-border electronic funds transfer. Yesterday, we submitted a comment (pdf) opposing the agency’s proposal.

December 23, 2010 - 2:35pm 61220

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #2, the future of books and newspapers:

Since 2000, the music industry has most spectacularly flailed (and failed) to combat the Net's effect on its business model. Their plans to sue, lock-up and lobby their way out of their problem did nothing to turn the clock back, but did cause serious damage to free speech, innovation and fair use.

December 23, 2010 - 4:34pm 61195

Your digital camera may embed metadata into photographs with the camera's serial number or your location. Your printer may be incorporating a secret code on every page it prints which could be used to identify the printer and potentially the person who used it. If Apple puts a particularly creepy patent it has recently applied for into use, you can look forward to a day when your iPhone may record your voice, take a picture of your location, record your heartbeat, and send that information back to the mothership.

This is traitorware: devices that act behind your back to betray your privacy.

December 23, 2010 - 4:39pm 61223

After a down-to-the-wire push, the Federal Communications Commission this week approved by 3-2 its long-awaited regulatory proposal on net neutrality. We haven’t finished combing through the actual rules document, all 200 pages of which were just released today, but nonetheless the summary documents gave us some important hints about what the rules contain.

December 24, 2010 - 3:43pm 61218

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #9, social networking privacy, where we predicted the following:

December 25, 2010 - 6:03am 61213

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #1, Attacks on Cryptography, where we predicted:

In 2010, several problems with cryptography implementations should come to the fore, showing that even encrypted communications aren't as safe as users expect. Two of the most significant problems we expect concern cellphone security and web browser security.

December 26, 2010 - 12:09pm 61221

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #4, hardware hacking:

December 27, 2010 - 10:56am 61226

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #6, Net Neutrality: The Rubber Hits The Road, where we predicted:

[W]hat will [net neutrality] mean when it makes the transformation from idealistic principle into real-world regulations? 2010 will be the year we start to find out, as the FCC attempts to implement the plan it adopts after its 107-page request for input about how to ensure a neutral Net.

December 28, 2010 - 6:41am 61225

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #10, Three Strikes: Truth and Consequences, where we predicted:

December 29, 2010 - 5:02am 61224

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #11, fair use of trademarks, where we predicted the following:

Parody and mockery have long been favorite tools for online political expression and activism. But the powerful entities being mocked sometimes lack a sense of humor about the situation. Increasingly, they're turning to trademark law to badger would-be jokers into silence.

December 30, 2010 - 6:23am 61227

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #3, Global Internet Censorship, where we predicted the following:

December 31, 2010 - 7:34am 61228

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #12, Web Browser Privacy, where we predicted the following:

In the late 1990s, when the conventions for the modern web browser were being determined, certain expectations were established for web browser privacy. Users who wished to take extra measures to protect their privacy could simply choose to de-activate or limit their browser's use of cookies. This would protect them from most of the worst online tracking practices.

December 31, 2010 - 12:44pm 61219

At the beginning of this year EFF identified a dozen important trends in law, technology and business that we thought would play a significant role in shaping digital rights in 2010, with a promise to revisit our predictions at the end of the year. Now, as 2010 comes to a close, we're going through each of our predictions one by one to see how accurate we were in our trend-spotting. Today, we're looking back on Trend #7, On-line Video, where we predicted:

Like the print business, the television business is being radically disrupted by the Internet. The disparate and powerful industries affected — telco, cable, satellite, ISP, software, and production — are engaged in a battle for dominance. But as big business dukes it out, consumer rights risk being left behind. [...]

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