We wrote last week that Apple and Samsung would be better off — and their consumers would be better served — if the tech giants took their epic patent battle out of the courtroom and into the marketplace. On Friday, the jury found that Samsung infringed a host of Apple’s patents and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages. That's more than a billion less than Apple had demanded and a small drop for Samsung in the grand scheme of things. But it's real money nonetheless, and that's before the injunctions.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) endangers the Internet and digital freedoms on par with ACTA, SOPA, and PIPA, and it does so in two significant ways: First, its intellectual property (IP) chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedoms and innovation, and second, the entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy. The TPP is a major threat because it will rewrite global rules on IP enforcement and restrict the public domain.
Does the government need a search warrant to get information about your Twitter activity -- information like deleted tweets, other users you communicate with, and the list of IP addresses you used to connect to the service? Today we joined the ACLU, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and Public Citizen in telling a New York appeals court that the answer to that question is yes.
State Secrets Privilege Prevents Justice Again
Yet again, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit against the federal government under the ‘state secrets’ privilege, despite substantial public evidence that the plaintiff’s constitutional rights had been violated. In Fagaza v. FBI, Muslim community members alleged their First and Fourth Amendment rights were repeatedly violated by the FBI and its informant, who eventually turned on the FBI and cooperated with the plaintiffs.
A week before the judge’s ruling, NPR’s This American Life dedicated its August 10th program to the case, which you can listen to here.
The government has decided to return two domain names it improperly seized and held in its possession for well over a year, without so much as an explanation. This time, it was Rojadirecta.com and Rojadirecta.org, Puerto 80’s popular sports streaming sites, which the government seized back in February 2011.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with several other civil society organizations and concerned individuals, will be in Leesburg, Virginia in early September for the 14th round of negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). On September 9th, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) is hosting its "Direct Stakeholder Event." This consists of both a tabling event, where public interest groups, industry groups, private companies, and others will sit alongside each other at tables in a designated room outside the official secret meeting area, as well as a public "stakeholder presentation" where representatives from various organizations and companies can discuss an issue of their choosing relating to the content of the TPP.
The United States, Russia, and Malaysia have all recently protested proposed Internet censorship laws by having websites “go dark,” to demonstrate what the web would look like without them. Today Jordanian netizens have launched their own Internet blackout. In addition to the blackout, thousands have signed a petition addressed to Jordanian MPs, and participants are tweeting using the hashtag #BlackOutJO.
We asked several academics to let us know their thoughts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement, and it will do so in a way that will have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, privacy, access to information, and ability to innovate. Their responses are below.
"TPP is a failed war continued. Let's stop it."
Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University
Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.
The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has not ceased to claim that they are providing ample opportunity for public stakeholders to participate in negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Agreement (TPP). One such supposed opportunity is a "stakeholder presentation" where representatives from various organizations and companies can discuss an issue of their choosing relating to the content of the TPP.
Following on the heels of last month's first-ever public analysis of the elusive spyware FinSpy, security researchers at Citizen Lab have released an analysis of samples that appear to be FinSpy Mobile, the smartphone component in the FinFisher toolkit. As with last month's analysis, Bloomberg has published an early report summarizing the technical analysis and describing responses from the companies in question.
By Gabriela Manuli
For more than a year and a half, the Mexican government has been collecting an unprecedented amount of biometric data from minors ages 4 to 17 as part of a youth ID card program. The Personal Identity Card for minors, a document authorities say is intended to help streamline registration in schools and health facilities, comes embedded with digital records of iris images, fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature for each minor.
Australians are fending off threats to their right to privacy from all directions. First, there was Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon’s push to expand government online surveillance powers, submitted to Parliament in a package of reforms sought in a National Security Inquiry.
This morning, a bipartisan group of Representatives, led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), sent a pointed letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano protesting the recent spat of domain name seizures—executed on dubious copyright grounds—that have been censoring websites with no due process.
“Our concern centers on your Department’s methods, and the process given, when seizing the domain names of websites whose actions and content are presumed to be lawful, protected speech,” the letter said, which was also signed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut.).