In Pakistan, where substantial online and offline censorship already exist, reports have emerged that users of the ISP Mobilink must add proxy 10.215.2.32 port 3128 to browse the Internet, resulting in censorship of key words and phrases in search engines, as well as several individual web pages, mostly related to Balochistan.
According to Shahzad Ahmad at the OpenNet Initiative, “Mobilink’s new filtering system will directly affect a large portion of Pakistan’s online community, which comprises 17 percent of the country’s population, or around 28 million people.”
Congress is considering a bill that would federalize E-Verify, creating a single, government-controlled database of highly sensitive, detailed information about every legal worker in the United States. EFF joined the ACLU, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Liberty Coalition, and dozens of other civil liberties and labor groups in urging Congress to uphold worker privacy and reject the Legal Workforce Act.
Eleven teams, comprised of the Bay Area's sharpest legal minds from law firms, universities and technology companies, faced-off last Tuesday at EFF's annual pub quiz trivia night. At stake: the coveted EFF Pub Quiz Cup and a year's worth bragging rights. The competition was fierce, with each team diving deep into their brains for the most trivial details in cases and statutes. Seven rounds later, the winners emerged:
EFF has called on companies to stand with their users when the government comes looking for data. (If you haven’t done so, sign the petition urging companies to provide better transparency and privacy.) This article will provide a more detailed look at the last of the four elements required for a company to earn a gold star in our campaign: Fight for user privacy in Congress.
In prior blog posts about the "Who Has Your Back?" campaign, we've explained that companies largely rely on internal policies when the government comes seeking data about users. If those policies are weak, murky, or left unshared, we as users are prevented from making informed decisions about the privacy risks we face.
Jobseekers be wary: the hard-won privacy rights granted to you by federal and state law might not follow you into the digital space.
With protests raging throughout the country, the Syrian government is responding with deadly force. Citizens seeking freedom are relying on digital tools to organize and communicate -- so much so that the government temporarily shut off Internet access. The parallels to the Iranian uprising in 2009 are striking, and they are not lost on the Obama Administration. In fact, President Obama explicitly linked the current Syrian situation with the Iranian uprisings of 2009, noting that “Syria has followed its Iranian ally” in violently responding to peaceful protests. “The image of a young woman dying in the streets is still seared in our memory,” he recalled, referring to the YouTube video of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan dying from a gunshot wound in Tehran.
Longtime readers will remember the WIPO Broadcasting Treaty, which EFF has opposed since 2004 because it would harm consumers, citizen journalists, the free flow of information on the Internet, and innovation. Since 2006, EFF and a broad coalition [PDF] of public interest groups, libraries, creative industry members, telecommunications and technology companies have been explaining how granting broadcasters and cablecasters the intellectual property rights envisaged by the draft Treaty would wreak havoc on the Internet community.
EFF would like to thank the contest entrants and the numerous team supporters for making our second annual DEF CON Getaway Contest a success! Together, we've surpassed last year's competition with a participant total of $7,542.04 for online rights defense — great work! This year, the battle for supremacy continued to the very end. Without further ado, here are this year's top contest fundraisers:
Grand Prize Winner: Team ISD Podcast!
Congratulations! You've won a standard suite at the Rio Hotel and Casino, two DEF CON 19 Human badges, two tickets to Vegas 2.0's (in)famous kickoff party theSummit, two badges for the ultra-exclusive Ninja Networks Party, two passes to the iSEC Partners party, AND an EFF Swag Super Pack!
EFF and other privacy and consumer groups like Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Consumer Action have publicly responded to industry allegations that effective privacy regulations would harm the economy and innovation. A letter by sixteen trade groups—including the American Advertising Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce—addressed to party heads of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, urged senators to ignore needed changes in privacy laws. The privacy coalition took issue with these claims, pointing to the very real privacy harms suffered by consumers online. Currently, most users are unaware of the pervasive nature of online tracking—and have no way to stop it. Helping consumers feel confident in their privacy will encourage innovation in the digital environment, spurring a robust online economy.
EFF and five news organizations recently filed an amicus brief (pdf) urging an Indiana appeals court to block a subpoena seeking to expose the identity of an anonymous speaker who posted a comment on the Indianapolis Star's website. This is a case of first impression in Indiana.
The subpoena stems from an underlying lawsuit filed by the former head of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, a non-profit whose mission is to teach children about business management and finance. Among other things, Jeffrey Miller alleges that Junior Achievement and two of its high-level officers defamed him by claiming that he misappropriated money from the organization.
This week, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and several other organizations released documents from a FOIA lawsuit that expose the concerted efforts of the FBI and DHS to build a massive database of personal and biometric information. This database, called “Next Generation Identification” (NGI), has been in the works for several years now.
Are you planning to be in Las Vegas during Black Hat, DEF CON, and BSidesLasVegas next month? EFF attorneys are available to provide legal information to security researchers about issues such as reverse engineering, vulnerability reporting, copyright, and free speech.
If you have concerns about security research you plan to present in Las Vegas, let us know by Friday, July 15. To set up a less time-sensitive appointment to speak with us at Black Hat, please contact us by Friday, July 22. If we can't assist you, we'll make every effort to put you in touch with an attorney who can.
We also highly recommend you print our one-page guide explaining what to do when the police ask for access to your device. Leave it by your workstation, tape it up in your server room, and slip a copy into your laptop case—anywhere you have sensitive information on a digital device.
Yesterday in Righthaven v. Democratic Underground a federal court in Las Vegas ordered the notorious copyright troll Righthaven to pay $5,000 in sanctions and to file the court transcript containing its admonishment in hundreds of other copyright cases. EFF represents Democratic Underground.
Righthaven tried to build a business out of suing hundreds of bloggers and websites for allegedly infringing the copyrights in Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper articles, but was stopped short by evidence EFF uncovered: the secret "Strategic Alliance Agreement" between Stephens Media (publisher of the Review-Jounal) and Righthaven, which showed that the assignment of the copyrights was a sham.
Unfortunately, patent trolls are not a new phenomenon. But, lately we’ve seen a disturbing new trend: patent trolls targeting app developers. Platforms such as iOS and Android allow small software developers the ability to widely distribute their work, which – for obvious reasons – is good for both developers and consumers. Just as these developers were finding new audiences, the patent trolls decided they wanted a piece of the action and started sending cease-and-desist letters demanding license fees, and in some instances even suing. Often, these developers cannot afford the time and money it takes to fight the trolls, leaving them with a stark choice: pay up or go out of business.
Watching the revolutions unfolding in the Arab world this springtime – and learning details first-hand from our friends on the ground – we at EFF struggled to find meaningful ways to support democratic activists and promote online freedom of expression. But we didn’t just want to lend a helping hand –we wanted to create a pathway so that anyone, anywhere in the world, could contribute to making the Internet more private and more resistant to censorship. From these discussions came our idea of launching the Tor Challenge.
In light of the recent spate of high-profile hacking campaigns, and the overall poor state of security on the internet, NextGov.com reports that parts of the US government are advocating for a separate, “secure” internet. The idea calls for segmenting “critical” networks (not yet fully defined, but presumably including infrastructure and financial systems) and applying two security mechanisms to these networks: (1) increased deep packet inspection (DPI) to detect and prevent intrusions and malicious data; and (2) strong authentication, at least for clients. The trouble is that this “.secure” internet doesn’t make much technical or economic sense: the security mechanisms are simply not powerful or cost-effective enough to warrant re-engineering an internet.
In the latest development in the first individual file-sharing case to go to trial (three times now!), Judge Michael Davis today reduced a $1.5 million damage award against the defendant Jammie Thomas-Rassett to just $54,000. Though he said he was reluctant to interfere with the jury's decision, the judge concluded that
[A]n award of $1.5 million for stealing and distributing 24 songs for personal use is appalling. Such an award is so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportioned to the offense and obviously unreasonable. In this particular case, involving a first‑time willful, consumer infringer of limited means who committed illegal song file‑sharing for her own personal use, an award of $2,250 per song, for a total award of $54,000, is the maximum award consistent with due process.
This article originally appeared in Index on Censorship.
While most Latin American countries have democratically-elected governments, many still fail to respect human rights, including the right to privacy. Across the region, there have been multiple scandals involving government officials and intelligence agencies engaged in illegal surveillance of communications. These include numerous chilling examples of how interception technologies are being misused to spy on politicians, dissidents, judges, human rights organizations and activists. Although privacy violations vary from country to country, and the full extent of government surveillance in the region remains largely unknown, newly disclosed data gathering programs hint at the architecture of surveillance lying beneath the surface of ostensibly democratic societies.
Say hello to EFF's second, limited-edition, DEF CON membership t-shirt! Only 340 premium-level donors who attend this year's DEF CON 19 in Las Vegas will be able to get these new "ENCRYPTION SAVES" shirts, specially designed by Joe Alterio of the creative charity Robots & Monsters. The front is emblazoned with a mashup of the DEF CON and EFF logos in a subtle homage to our mutual support (as well as a shout-out to EFF's advocacy for remix culture and fair use). Under UV light, the orange, white and blue design on the shirt's back glows white with acid green bits of code. In complete darkness, a secret message is revealed, illuminating the plain text truth that strong encryption saves lives. Mouse over the image below to experience the glow-in-the-dark awesomeness.
EFF has joined civil liberties and consumer organizations in publicly opposing H.R. 1981, a bill that would threaten online privacy and anonymous speech by requiring Internet service providers (ISPs) to retain logs of customer-identifying information that can be tied to the web sites that you read and the content that you post online.
The House Judiciary Committee will likely be voting this afternoon on whether to send the bill to the House floor, so there's still time to oppose this bill: contact your Representative now.
The ground-breaking Humble Indie Bundle asks customers to pay whatever price they want for five DRM-free games, and then gives customers the option of distributing their donation among the developers, promoters, EFF, and the Child's Play charity. Since first naming EFF as a non-profit beneficiary in 2010, the smart and savvy folks at Humble Bundle have rallied freedom-minded gamers throughout the world to donate over half a million dollars for the defense of digital civil liberties.
Despite serious privacy concerns being voiced by both Democratic and Republican leaders and by thousands of digital rights activists using EFF's Action Center, this afternoon the House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 10 to recommend passage of H.R. 1981. That bill contains a mandatory data retention provision that would require your Internet service providers to retain 12 months' worth of personal information that could be used to identify what web sites you visit and what content you post online.
–noun a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name.
There are myriad reasons why individuals may wish to use a name other than the one they were born with. They may be concerned about threats to their lives or livelihoods, or they may risk political or economic retribution. They may wish to prevent discrimination or they may use a name that’s easier to pronounce or spell in a given culture.
Online, the reasons multiply. Internet culture has long encouraged the use of "handles" or "user names," pseudonyms that may or may not be tied to a person’s offline identity. Longtime online inhabitants may have handles that have spanned over twenty years.