December 3, 2012 - 10:42pm 72739

Last week, when the Assad regime shut down the Internet across the country for three days, one of the few IP addresses to stay online was the address implicated in the ongoing campaign of surveillance malware targeting Syrian dissidents since November 2011, including a fake anti-hacking tool, a fake Skype encryption tool, and fake documents allegedly pertaining to the formation of the leadership council of the Syrian revolution. Now EFF has detected two new campaigns of surveillance malware associated with the same IP address--the first we have detected since this summer.

December 4, 2012 - 12:42pm 72741

The U.S. and other governments are meeting yet again to hash out the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), this time in New Zealand. International trade agreements may seem far removed from our daily lives. Why should people in the U.S. take action against TPP?

December 4, 2012 - 3:13pm 72742

Right now, EFF representatives in Auckland, New Zealand are being shut out of the 15th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe. Hundreds of delegates and private representatives from the 11 participating nations are gathering at an Auckland casino to discuss this contentious trade agreement. EFF joins KEI, the Stop the Trap Coalition, Derechos Digitales and many other organizations representing public interest concerns to sound the alarm over the TPP's intellectual property chapter.

December 5, 2012 - 11:43am 72468

View EFF's new Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations in a larger window.

Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.

December 5, 2012 - 5:00pm 72754

A number of independent Egyptian news outlets shut down this week in protest of language in President Mohamed Morsi's draft constitution that poses a potential danger to free expression. About a dozen of Egypt's most prominent papers, including Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Tahrir, Al-Wafd, Al-Watan, Al-Youm Al-Sabae, Al-Fagr and Al-Ahrars took part in the strike on Tuesday. Several TV channels, including ONTV, Dream TV and CBC, ceased broadcasting on Wednesday.

The Egypt Independent showed the following message on their website as part of the strike: "You are reading this message because Egypt Independent objects to continued restrictions on media liberties, especially after hundreds of Egyptians gave their lives for freedom and dignity."

December 6, 2012 - 10:56am 72756

On December 14th, EFF is back in federal court challenging the NSA’s domestic spying program in our long-running case Jewel v. NSA. In anticipation of our court appearance, we’ve launched a new section of our website to give everyone a clear understanding how the NSA warrantless wiretapping program works and why we’re challenging it as unconstitutional.

While the government claims the NSA’s infamous program is too secret to be litigated, it isn't a secret—and we’ve catalogued the trove of information that has become public since it was first revealed by the New York Times in 2005. This including declarations under oath by an AT&T whistleblower and three NSA whistleblowers, sworn testimony before Congress, investigations by government Inspectors General and stories by major media organizations based on highly placed sources, along with public admissions by government officials.

December 6, 2012 - 4:17pm 72755

EFF works to inform the world about breaking issues in the world of technology policy and civil liberties. And one of our best ways of communicating with our friends and members is through our nearly-weekly newsletter, EFFector. Last week, we sent out a very special EFFector - a deep dive, single-issue edition that got into the nitty-gritty of electronic privacy law. We liked it so much, we decided to publish it here on the blog as well.

Did you miss it? Don't worry, you can sign up for EFFector here so you're never out of the loop again.

Want to know what's cooking at EFF even sooner? You can find us on Twitter,, Facebook, and Google+.

December 6, 2012 - 4:40pm 72744

In 1996, while debating the intricacies of a bill that would massively overhaul the telecommunications laws of the United States, two astute Congressmen introduced an amendment that would allow the Internet to flourish.

The amendment—which would become Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230)—stated that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech—blogs, review sites, social networks, and more—are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do.

December 7, 2012 - 8:12am 72799

Join our call for liberty onlineDangerous digital rights policies have a habit of crossing borders, but you can help to defend Internet freedom for all users. Donate to EFF today to support a better digital future worldwide.

When Syria disappeared from the Internet last week, we responded swiftly to promote protective technology and safe access for journalists and citizens throughout the beleaguered country. And now that Syria is back online, we're collaborating with leading technologists to warn users about dangerous surveillance malware.

December 7, 2012 - 10:25am 72801

A controversy arose in Lebanon this past week over revelations that the country's Internal Security Forces (ISF) demanded the content of all SMS text messages sent between Sept ember 13 and November 10 of this year, as well as usernames and passwords for services like Blackberry Messenger and Facebook. The requests were submitted to the Ministry of Telecommunciations.

December 10, 2012 - 12:00am 72875

“O direito internacional é claro: não importa quem você é ou onde você vive: a sua voz conta. Neste dia, vamos nos unir para defender seu direito de se fazer ouvir”, disse Ban Ki-moon, Secretário-Geral da ONU


December 10, 2012 - 9:09am 72860

"El derecho internacional es claro: No importa quién eres o dónde vives, tu voz cuenta. Unámonos en este día para defender tu derecho a ser escuchado" Ban Ki-moon, secretario general de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas.

El 10 de diciembre se conmemora el Día de los derechos humanos, fecha que marca el 64 aniversario de la adopción de las Naciones Unidas de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos (DUDH). A medida que nos acercamos a 2013, las amenazas digitales están erosionando esos derechos humanos bien establecidos y que van más allá de lo que los autores de esta Declaración podrían siquiera haber imaginado en 1948.

December 10, 2012 - 10:55am 72039

This is the first part in a series of posts about the importance of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230). CDA 230 provides websites, blogs, and social networks that host speech with protection against a wide range of laws that might otherwise hold them legally responsible for what their users say and do.

We talked to Aaron Schur, Senior Litigation Counsel at Yelp, about why CDA 230 is fundamental to the website's existence. Yelp, which was founded in 2004, is a website that lets users find and review businesses. A monthly average of 78 million unique site visitors have written over 30 million reviews—meaning Yelp hosts a lot of free speech.

December 10, 2012 - 1:18pm 72836

If, just a few short decades ago, someone had proposed that the Internet would be instrumental in the promotion and maintenance of human rights around the world, their proposal would have been met with skepticism. And yet, examples of Internet users campaigning for human rights abound: From the Take Back the Tech campaign to end violence against women to the global response to speech-limiting bills like SOPA and PIPA and to new projects like, the role of the Internet in the promotion of human rights is growing.

December 10, 2012 - 6:45pm 72843

Cada año, Google recibe miles de solicitudes de distintos gobiernos de todo el mundo que buscan información sobre sus usuarios. Cada persona que utiliza alguno de los servicios online gratuitos de este gigante buscador - como por ejemplo Gmail, YouTube, Google+ o Blogger- deja a cada paso una huella digital. Y los pedidos de las autoridades para acceder a esa información van en aumento. Para concientizar sobre esta situación, Google publica cada seis meses su Informe de Transparencia, documentando cuántas solicitudes de datos de usuarios recibió, y de qué países. Twitter comenzó a hacer algo similar hace poco tiempo.

Los Estados Unidos solicitan información de forma mucho más frecuente que cualquier otro país

December 11, 2012 - 12:45pm 72834

The 15th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations in New Zealand concluded this week, locking out civil society participation in an unprecedented way. The TPP is a trade agreement between eleven Pacific nations and it covers a wide range of regulatory issues including transnational investment, services, tobacco, and textiles. The chapter that EFF and other digital rights groups around the world find alarming covers intellectual property. EFF is also looking into issues of free flow of information and cross-over issues that may appear in the ecommerce and service chapters.

December 11, 2012 - 1:58pm 72844

"International law is clear: No matter who you are, or where you live, your voice counts. On this Day, let us unite to defend your right to make it heard," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

December 10 marked Human Rights Day, the 64th anniversary of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). As we approach 2013, digital threats are eroding these well-established human rights far beyond what the authors of this Declaration could have possibly imagined in 1948.

December 12, 2012 - 10:00am 72847

Luxembourg-based patent troll ArrivalStar has sued a number of U.S. transit agencies and other defendants for infringing on patents that probably shouldn't ever have been issued. For instance, patent 7,030,781 generally refers to a technology that notifies you if your bus or package is arriving early, late, or on time. Despite the fact that automatic vehicle location and package tracking technologies had already been proposed, prototyped, and patented, ArrivalStar still managed to secure a patent over the technology.

December 12, 2012 - 12:50pm 72855

Big news: if you donate to EFF in the next 2π (~6.28318530718) days, you can triple the value of your donation! Challenge grants, provided by generous donors committed to our mission of digital freedom, will match up to $70,000 in gifts. But this opportunity will only last a few days.

Every dollar donated during Power Up provides three dollars to EFF, even if you've already given this year. Now's a great time to power up your support for free speech online, freedom-enhancing technologies, digital innovation, and the fight against illegal surveillance.

Letting others know about keeping the Internet free and open is a crucial part of this growing movement. Feel free to use this for various status posts:

December 12, 2012 - 4:33pm 72842

It shouldn't be controversial to demand evidence-based policies in the copyright space. But over and over, Congress has failed to engage in an informed discussion over which copyright policies advance the public interest, and which ones cause harm. That's why we're supporting our friends at Fight for the Future in their launch of a campaign to urge Congress to engage in a reality-based debate about our copyright policy.

December 12, 2012 - 5:21pm 72849

EFF has been calling since July for the immediate release of open source software engineer and Creative Commons volunteer Bassel Khartabil, detained in Syria since March of this year. Many other groups and thousands of individuals have professed support for Bassel, expressing deep concerns to the Syrian authorities and signing onto a letter of support.

Unfortunately, his situation may have taken a turn for the worse recently., a news source run by a coalition of his friends and supporters, is reporting he has been transferred to a military prison where he will be denied a lawyer. Needless to say, this development is both dangerous and worthy of urgent attention.

December 13, 2012 - 12:59pm 72862

We could be celebrating the New Year by ripping out the fiber optic cables that are sending copies of all our emails to the National Security Agency. But instead, Congress is planning on ringing in 2013 by re-authorizing parts of the FISA Amendments Act, the controversial 2008 bill that allows Americans speaking to people overseas to be surveilled without warrants.

December 14, 2012 - 8:45am 72859

A few weeks ago, we asked for your help to identify patent applications that threaten to stifle innovation in the 3D printing community. Now more than ever, it's critical to make sure the free and open source community and others who work in the space have freedom to operate and to continue to innovate.

With your help, we have identified a lineup of top-priority patent applications that seem both overly-broad and dangerous to the free and open source community. Now it's time to find proof that these patent applicants do not deserve the monopolies they are asking for: that what they are trying to patent was known or was obvious before the patent was filed.

December 17, 2012 - 8:10am 72876

On the morning of Monday, December 4, journalists received a press release from Victoria’s Secret about its new campaign for the holidays. It announced that PINK, the underwear line marketed towards high school and college students, was going to set aside slogans like “Sure Thing” and “Unwrap Me” on its underwear for ones supporting female empowerment and a culture of consent, aiming with phrases like “Ask First” and “Respect” to normalize and make sexy the idea that sex should always start with explicit consent. The website for the new PINK Loves CONSENT campaign,, went up at noon and soon had over 50,000 visitors. Support for the campaign rocketed through social networks.

December 17, 2012 - 4:27pm 72841

Today, a group of free expression advocates and journalists are launching the Freedom of the Press Foundation to promote aggressive, public interest journalism that takes aim at excessive government secrecy. Its goal is to crowd-fund donations for a variety of organizations that work to expose government mismanagement, corruption, and law breaking. EFF is proud to serve as legal counsel for this new nonprofit, which will allow the public to support transparency journalism through funding "bundles."

December 17, 2012 - 6:01pm 72895

A little over a year ago, EFF raised concerns about the UK government's plans to force Internet service providers (ISPs) to enact automatic filtering to rid the Web of pornographic content. Now, thanks to efforts led by organizations like the Open Rights Group (ORG), the plans have been thwarted, with a joint report from the country's Home Office and Department for Education claiming that the UK public has "little appetite" for default filtering.

December 17, 2012 - 8:24pm 72881

It seems like only yesterday that the Colombian government misused United States’ aid to spy on political opponents and human rights activists. Back in 2009, the "Las Chuzadas" scandal surrounding former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe landed former head of the intelligence agency Jorge Noguera in jail for 25 years for targeting political activists and collaborating with paramilitary death squads. This, and other various surveillance scandals, ultimately led to the dissolution of the Colombian intelligence agency.

But despite this history of human rights abuses, the Colombian Ministry of Justice and Technology has issued a decree that will further undermine the privacy rights of law-abiding Colombians.

December 18, 2012 - 12:35am 72900

Facebook subsidiary Instagram recently revised their terms of service, adding a few controversial new terms that will allow the company to monetize your photos.  They broadened the license you give to the photo-sharing service to allow Instagram to sub-license your photos, adding a broad grant of permission:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

December 18, 2012 - 1:30pm 72443

This is the second part in a series of posts about the importance of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA 230). CDA 230 limits the liability of a number of Internet services that host user-generated content.

One of the largest hosts of third-party speech is the site With over 38 million sites all over the world, the site has empowered users to speak their minds and comment on each other's creative content.

We spoke with Paul Sieminski, General Counsel of Automattic, the owner of, about the importance of CDA 230 on free speech online.

What types of complaints or legal threats have you encountered regarding user behavior or content?

December 18, 2012 - 3:33pm 72911

After four years of intense negotiation and ongoing pressure from civil society, country members of the World International Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) moved to set a diplomatic conference in June 2013 to sign a treaty that will standardize cross-border rights for the blind and people with visual disabilities.

December 18, 2012 - 4:18pm 72912

The European Court of Human Rights decided today that, unsurprisingly, Turkey had violated their citizens' right to freedom of expression by blocking Google Sites,

Turkish law prohibits any insult towards Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the nation, as well as any general insult towards "Turkishness." This form of censorship has led, as one might expect, to some examples of egregious government overreach.

December 18, 2012 - 9:02pm 72914

On Friday, EFF urged a federal judge in San Francisco to reject the U.S. government's stale arguments about "state secrets" and finally let our lawsuit against illegal NSA untargeted spying on millions of Americans get its day in court.  If you weren’t able to attend in person, you can still get an inside look: the three-hour hearing was recorded by the court, and is available to the public here (unfortunately it is in a proprietary format).  EFF Fellow Richard Wiebe argued for the plaintiffs in Jewel.

December 19, 2012 - 1:15am 72916

The Senate is about to vote on an extension of the controversial FISA Amendments Act—the unconstitutional law that allows the NSA to warrantless spy on Americans speaking to people abroad. Yet you wouldn't know it by watching CSPAN because the Senate isn't debating it.

When Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, despite deep privacy concerns by Americans across the political spectrum, they included an expiration date of December 31, 2012 to ensure that the law would get a thorough review. Yet Senate leaders have so far refused to schedule any time on the Senate floor for debate or consideration of vital privacy-protecting amendments. Worse, they won't even tell the American public when they're going to vote on it. It's possible they may vote on this bill—with no privacy protective changes—without any debate at all, and we won't know until it is happening.

Contact your Senators today to tell them how important this is.

December 19, 2012 - 1:35pm 72918

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on how a little-known government agency—the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC)—got the keys to government databases full of detailed, personal information of millions of innocent Americans. Using the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with officials, the Journal obtained emails and other information detailing how the massive new spying program, which the Attorney General signed off on in March, was approved by the White House in secret—over strenuous objections from government privacy lawyers.

December 20, 2012 - 2:44pm 72934

Despite at least five smackdowns by federal judges, copyright trolls are still accusing Internet subscribers of "negligently" allowing someone else to download porn films without paying. Last week, subpoena defense attorney Morgan Pietz fought back by asking the Northern California federal courts to put all of the open "negligence" cases filed by a prolific troll firm in front of a single judge - a judge who already ruled that the "negligence" theory is bogus.

December 21, 2012 - 11:56am 72938

Earlier this week, EFF reported that many Senators were trying to avoid debate on the expiring FISA Amendments Act, which hands the NSA broad powers to warrantlessly spy on Americans who communicate with anyone abroad. The 2008 law is set to expire on December 31 and despite its huge implications for civil liberties, the Senate is poised to vote on it without any changes.

US citizens deserve debate over the law and Senators should be able to offer amendments to fix its worst problems. As we described earlier this week, the bill’s powers are sweeping and dangerous:

December 21, 2012 - 12:03pm 72939

Earlier this week, we were extremely concerned when Instagram1 proposed a set of changes to its terms of service and privacy policy that would have expanded the ways in which the service was permitted to use uploaded photos in advertising. In addition to concern about user photos being sold to the highest bidder, we were troubled to see the company modified language that previously protected the privacy of user photos. We’re happy to note that, after intense public pressure, Instagram has reverted to the prior policy with regard to advertising on the site and ownership rights of photos. Before seeking users’ agreement on new permissions, Instagram has promised that it will propose a specific program, so users can make a more informed choice.

December 21, 2012 - 12:26pm 72940

Last year, we published a holiday wishlist of concrete things we'd like to see happen for Internet freedom. We did receive a few of them over the course of the year—thanks! (Feel free to have a look back at the 2011 list if you're an Internet company looking for a good deed to do—we're still waiting on lots of items from last year.) One area of particular progress has been in HTTPS deployment; 2012 has been a particularly excellent year on that front, as more and more of the web has become encrypted by default.

This holiday season, we've continued the tradition and put together with a new wishlist.

December 21, 2012 - 12:32pm 72932

A new and important decision by the Vermont Supreme Court could go a long way to safeguard privacy by ensuring police computer searches remain narrow.  EFF together with the ACLU and ACLU of Vermont filed an amicus brief in the case, which empowered courts that issue warrants to include specific instructions on how the police can conduct a search so they remain narrow and "particular."

December 21, 2012 - 3:18pm 72945

During the second Global Congress on Intellectual Property last week in Rio de Janeiro, one of the major debate topics was how international trade agreements are driving the expansion of maximalist intellectual property laws and enforcement around the world. EFF was there presenting and discussing some of our main concerns.

The Internet has taught us a lot over the years: not only about cats and their skills in performing amazing tricks, but also about how our choices to adopt and fight for open content and open infrastructure affect our digital civil liberties. One thing that we have been repeatedly reminded of this year is that the Internet itself is not necessarily an agent for positive and open outcomes. It can be perverted through surveillance, through intermediaries, and especially through short-minded policymaking.

December 22, 2012 - 3:56am 72947

Facebook recently started rolling out a new "experiment" that would allow any individual to pay a small fee to send a message to your inbox. Your Facebook messages page has two folders: "Inbox" and "Other." Currently, most friend and group messages go to the inbox, while messages from everyone else automatically go to the Other folder. Facebook is testing a feature that would make this no longer true: now anybody can pay ($1 is the latest rumor) to make sure her message goes straight to your inbox.

Even before this change, one could not have a private profile—all profiles are now searchable. But this new experiment takes it even further, where a stranger can not only find your profile, but can also ensure that a message reaches you.

December 22, 2012 - 7:31am 72949

It's always pleasant to have a company change its privacy settings in a way that makes it easier for users to control their data. Yesterday, Facebook started rolling out easier-to-access privacy controls.  A number of privacy controls - such as controlling who can see your content on Facebook - will be accessible with a single click to an icon on the right side of the top bar of Facebook. We are particularly pleased that Facebook is informing users about these controls with a notification at the top of the page after a user logs in.

After so many years of controversy around Facebook privacy, it's heartening to see Facebook making privacy and control more accessible to users. We hope this interface will inspire users to review the privacy settings of their content. 

December 22, 2012 - 4:39pm 72879

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. From SOPA blackouts to huge wins for location privacy, from government surveillance to new absurdity in software patent suits, 2012 was a huge year for digital freedom. And thanks to the support of our members, EFF remains at the forefront of these issues.

As we move into 2013, we published a series of articles revisiting watershed moments in 2012, listed below. You can follow also our series by subscribing to EFF on Twitter,, Facebook, Google Plus.

2012 in Review Series

December 22, 2012 - 4:40pm 72880

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

It seems like a fairly straightforward principle: when the government interprets a law in a way that affects citizens, the public is entitled to know the interpretation and understand its effects.

December 23, 2012 - 2:17pm 72863

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

The "first sale" doctrine expresses one of the most important limitations on the reach of copyright law. The idea, set out in Section 109 of the Copyright Act, is simple: once you've acquired a lawfully-made CD or book or DVD, you can lend, sell, or give it away without having to get permission from the copyright owner. In simpler terms, "you bought it, you own it" (and because first sale also applies to gifts, "they gave it to you, you own it" is also true).

December 24, 2012 - 4:59pm 72738

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

December 25, 2012 - 12:44pm 72902

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

December 26, 2012 - 8:26am 72874

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

After years of complaining that our email privacy laws were hopelessly outdated, 2012 saw a promising beacon of light peek out from the most unlikeliest of places: a sex scandal. 

Although email has been the bedrock of Internet communication for decades, its legal protection has long suffered a two-pronged assault.

December 27, 2012 - 8:55am 72959

Today is an incredibly important vote for the future of your digital privacy, but some in Congress are hoping you won’t find out.

Finally, after weeks of delay, the Senate will start debate on the dangerous FISA Amendments Act at 10 am Eastern and vote on its re-authorization by the end of the day. The FISA Amendments Act is the broad domestic spying bill passed in 2008 in the wake of the warrantless wiretapping scandal. It expires at the end of the year and some in Congress wanted to re-authorize it without a minute of debate.


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Backdoors have been discovered in Arris cable modems. This is why we need a security research exemption to the DMCA.

Nov 27 @ 2:15pm

Censorship powers, data retention, and vague hacking crimes: Pakistan's terrible cybercrime bill has it all:

Nov 25 @ 5:11pm

While Bangladesh blocks social messaging apps, locals are turning to Tor and Twitter:

Nov 25 @ 3:50pm
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