Today, a group of prominent academics, experienced engineers, and professionals published an open letter to members of the United States Congress, stating their opposition to CISPA and other overly broad cybersecurity bills.
We are writing you today as professionals, academics, and policy experts who have researched, analyzed, and defended against security threats to the Internet and its infrastructure. We have devoted our careers to building security technologies, and to protecting networks, computers, and critical infrastructure against attacks of many stripes.
We take security very seriously, but we fervently believe that strong computer and network security does not require Internet users to sacrifice their privacy and civil liberties.
[Update re: YouTube status below]
Just a few months ago in United States v. Cassidy, a court smacked down a prosecutor's attempt to use the federal anti-stalking law to punish a man for criticizing a religious leader on Twitter. The court ruled that the criminal charges brought against the critic ran afoul of his constitutional right to free speech. Because the law violated the First Amendment as applied to that specific Twitter user, though, the court chose not to go a step further and decide whether the statute is unconstitutional as written, which EFF had argued in a "friend of the court" brief.
The campaign of attacks targeting Syrian opposition activists on the Internet continues to intensify. Since the beginning of the year, Syrian opposition activists have been targeted using several Trojans, which covertly install spying software onto the infected computer, as well as phishing attacks which steal YouTube and Facebook login credentials.
Japanese agricultural and industrial organizations have paid for a wrap ad in the Washington Post today publicizing their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ahead of a summit meeting on April 30th between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and President Barack Obama. The coalition has put out the ad in the U.S. paper in order to raise awareness and rally Americans against this trade agreement.
The House of Representatives is now poised to vote on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which would allow companies to monitor our online communications and share private information about users with the government.
CISPA would let companies bypass all existing privacy law as long as they claim a "good faith" belief that they are doing so for cybersecurity purposes. These exemptions would allow a huge trove of data to end up in the government's hands with no judicial oversight.
House leadership is pushing for a vote on CISPA this week. Please call your Representative now and urge them not to sacrifice the civil liberties of Internet users in the name of cybersecurity legislation.
This week the House of Representatives is debating CISPA, the dangerous ‘cybersecurity’ bill that threatens to decimate Internet users’ privacy in the name of security. EFF and a wide variety of other groups have been protesting the law’s provisions giving companies the power to read users’ emails and other communications and hand them to the government without any judicial oversight whatsoever—essentially a giant ‘cybersecurity’ exception to all existing privacy laws.
EFF, along with the ACLU of Northern California, is a sponsor of the California Location Privacy Act of 2012 ("SB 1434"), a bill that would require California law enforcement officers and agencies to seek a search warrant before obtaining electronic location information. Yesterday, the bill passed through the California Senate Committee on Public Safety and is now on its way to the full Senate for consideration. But when it gets there, it will be missing a major, important piece of its text: its reporting requirement.
The House of Representatives kicked off their “cybersecurity week” yesterday with a hearing titled "America Is Under Cyber Attack: Why Urgent Action is Needed." Needless to say, the rhetoric of fear was in full force. A lot of topics were raised by members of Congress and panelists, but perhaps the most troublesome theme came from panelist and Former Executive Assistant Director of the FBI Shawn Henry, who repeatedly urged that good cybersecurity means going on the offensive:
“the problem with existing [...] tactics is that they are too focused on adversary tools (malware and exploits) and not on who the adversary is and how they operate. Ultimately, until we focus on the enemy and take the fight to them […], we will fail.”
This week, a flurry of amendments were introduced to try to salvage the Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a “cybersecurity” bill moving through the house that’s been criticized as giving companies free rein to spy on personal communications and pass unredacted content (like emails) to the government. Though numerous amendments were suggested, a package of five amendments were put together by the bill’s primary author Mike Rogers (R-MI) and are likely to get accepted without much debate. Below is an overview of what’s in the Rogers package and how it fails to address the grave civil liberties concerns inherent in CISPA.
At this point, EFF readers are doubtless well-familiar with the rise of -- and battles against -- copyright trolls. Techdirt is reporting today about a relatively new copyright troll tactic -- suing only Does that are unfortunate enough to be subscribers of ISPs that don't resist mass subpoenas. So we thought it was time to take note again of the ISPs that are challenging these outrageous lawsuits -- and, often, winning.
Hours ago, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. EFF condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.
"As the Senate takes up the issue of cybersecurity in the coming weeks, civil liberties will be a central issue. We must do everything within our power to safeguard the privacy rights of individual Internet users and ensure that Congress does not sacrifice those rights in a rush to pass vaguely-worded cybersecurity bills," said Lee Tien, EFF Senior Staff Attorney.
EFF works tirelessly to protect programmers and developers engaged in cutting-edge tech exploration through our Coders' Rights Project.
To help get the word out, today we're introducing the new Coders' Rights List with a short video, which could just be the coolest video about hackers, cats and robots you will see all day.
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was dealt a major blow on April 12 when MEP David Martin, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the agreement and member of the Committee responsible for delivering the recommendation [doc] to European Parliament to adopt or reject the agreement, announced that he would be recommending a “no” vote. While the prospects of the European Parliament ratifying the agreement seems to have fortunately lessened, it does not mean that it’s a fait accompli that the European Parliament will reject ACTA. As we’ve noted before, ACTA is a plurilateral agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property enforcement laws to the Internet. It was negotiated in secret by a handful of countries, in a process that intentionally bypassed the checks and balances of existing international IP norm-setting bodies without any meaningful input from national parliaments, policymakers, or their citizens. In our second post on the ACTA State of Play, we’ll look at what’s happening in Europe and why we should all be keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Brussels. (For those interested in US developments, please see our previous post here).
EFF gives a heartfelt thank you to the reddit community, which just raised over $7,500 for digital rights! Yesterday, a commenter on reddit politics asked "Why don't we form an Internet Freedom Association like the NRA has for firearms?" observing that "[t]hose in power know and have witnessed the populist organizing power the internet can have which is why they are in a rush to try to take control of it." Precisely. An astute redditor commented that the Electronic Frontier Foundation fights privacy threats like CISPA each day and the public should donate to support the cause. As a result, EFF received over 200 separate donations over the past 24 hours!
No sooner did a mandatory data retention law go into effect in Austria this month than thousands of Austrians banded together in a swift opposition campaign to overturn it. The Austrian law originated as the misshapen offspring of the 2006 European Data Retention Directive. Led by AK Vorrat Austria, a working group against mandatory data retention, the pushback against this mass-surveillance law demonstrates that opposition remains alive and well six years after the European Union adopted the infamous Directive.