Since the first national security letter statute was passed in 1986, the FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters seeking private telecommunications and financial records of Americans without any prior approval from courts. Indeed, for the period between 2003 and 2006 alone, almost 200,000 requests for private customer information were sought pursuant to various NSL statutes. Prior to 2011, the constitutionality of this legal authority to investigate the records of Americans without court oversight had been challenged in court -- as far as we know -- exactly one time. EFF is today releasing FBI-redacted briefing from a major new ongoing case in which it is challenging one of the NSL statutes on behalf of a telecommunications company that received an NSL in 2011. Not only does this briefing show that the Department of Justice continues to strongly protect the FBI's NSL authority, it highlights a startlingly aggressive new tactic used by the Department of Justice: suing NSL recipients who challenge the FBI's authority, arguing that court challenges to such authority themselves amount to breaking the law.
National security letter statutes -- five in all -- are controversial laws that allow the FBI to easily bypass courts and issue administrative letters on their own authority to telecommunications companies and financial institutions demanding information about their customers. The NSL statutes permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing the fact that the demand was made, preventing them from notifying either their customers or the public. While the statute has many deficiencies, one of the core constitutional issues (already recognized by one federal appeals court) is that it turns the First Amendment's procedural prior restraint doctrine on its head by allowing the FBI to issue a never-ending prior restraint on its own, then requiring the recipient service provider to undertake a legal challenge. Another fundamental problem with the NSL statutes is that courts are all but written out of any part of the process: the FBI can issue demands for records and gag provisions without court authorization, and recipient telecommunications and financial companies have no way to determine whether and how the government might be overreaching or otherwise abusing its authority. Not surprisingly, given these significant structural barriers, legal challenges are extraordinarily rare.
EFF brought its challenge on behalf of its client in May of 2011, raising these and other fundamental due process and First Amendment concerns about the structure of these problematic statutes. In response, the Department of Justice promptly filed a civil complaint against the recipient, alleging that by "stat[ing] its objection to compliance with the provisions of" the NSL by "exercis[ing] its rights under" the NSL statute to challenge the NSL's legality, the recipient was "interfer[ing] with the United States' vindication of its sovereign interests in law enforcement, counterintelligence, and protecting national security." While it ultimately agreed to a stay, temporarily suspending its suit against the recipient, the government has moved to compel disclosure of the subscriber information and to uphold the gag. The petition to set aside the NSL is currently pending before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Whether the recipient will be permitted to speak out about its specific experiences -- and whether the FBI will be permitted to issue NSLs, at least in one district -- should soon be known.
Australia is the latest democratic nation to introduce new national security measures that would vastly expand governmental surveillance powers, following an alarming legislative pattern that’s also unfolded in the United Kingdom and Canada in recent months.
Just as EFF sounded the alarm about the UK’s attempt to move forward with a mass surveillance bill and kept the pressure on before Canada’s online surveillance bill was temporarily shelved in the face of an outcry from privacy advocates, we’re ready to join Australians in pushing back against this latest bid for greater online spying powers Down Under.
Last week, Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon submitted to Parliament a package of proposals intended to advance a National Security Inquiry in an effort to expand governmental surveillance powers. In a 60-page discussion paper, Roxon calls for making it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to spy on Twitter and Facebook users, which would likely be achieved by compelling companies to create backdoors to enable surveillance. The proposals also revive a controversial data retention regime. And an especially problematic proposal would go so far as to establish a new crime: failure to assist law enforcement in the decryption of communications.
The bulleted list of proposed reforms, which Roxon submitted to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security committee, reflects a wish list of Australia’s intelligence agencies. The discussion paper proposes to revise four laws relating to the surveillance activities of Australia's six intelligence bodies, at great cost to Australians’ civil liberties. The proposed changes are divided into three categories: those that the government “wishes to progress,” those it’s considering, and those it’s seeking advice on.
On a broad level, the discussion paper makes it clear that intelligence agencies are seeking nothing less than a radical overhaul of Australia’s wiretapping laws. “The magnitude of change to the telecommunications environment suggests that further piecemeal amendments to the existing Act will not be sufficient,” the paper states, in reference to the Telecommunications Interception and Access (TIA) Act of 1979. “Rather, holistic reform that reassesses the current assumptions is needed in order to establish a new foundation for the interception regime that reflects contemporary practice.”
If approved, the revisions would amount to what the Sydney Morning Herald characterized as “the most significant expansion of the Australian intelligence community's powers since … reforms following the terrorist attacks of 2001.” A readers’ poll that accompanied the article showed that 96 percent of respondents were opposed to any plan that would force telcos to store telephone and Internet data.
"These proposals are one of the biggest threats to the privacy of all Australians for many years,” said Nigel Waters, of the Australian Privacy Foundation and Privacy International. “Governments seem to have an insatiable appetite for more and more information about us all that is none of their business, and when history shows that they can't make effective use of the intelligence they already collect."
Concerned citizens have only until August 6 to weigh in on Roxon’s initial package of reforms. To have your say, go here.
The Return of Mandatory Data Retention
The proposed “OzLog” mandatory data retention policy, which Parliament rebuffed in May, sought to require Australian Internet service providers to store information about each and every individual’s web usage history for two years. EFF has been mounting resistance to mandatory data retention policies since before the European Union’s 2006 adoption of the highly controversial Data Retention Directive, and we continue to sound the alarm when similar proposals arise.
The attorney general’s paper references a “tailored” data retention scheme, which would nevertheless require providers to store data for a full two years. As a point of comparison, the European Union Data Retention Directive -- which has not been universally adopted and Courts in in Germany and the Czech Republic have declared unconstitutional -- requires data storage lasting just six months, with the possibility of an increase to two years in certain cases.
Data retention was included under the category of proposals the attorney general is “seeking advice” on, suggesting that it might not be politically tenable to charge ahead with the controversial measure with the same zeal as before. It was the inclusion of this agenda item that drew the strongest initial responses to the proposal.
"This inquiry will likely be used to again expand the powers of spy agencies when Australians are already under a phenomenal amount of government surveillance,” said Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens communications spokesperson. "This extreme proposal is based on the notion that all our personal data should be stored by service providers so that every move we make can be surveilled or recalled for later data mining. It comes from a mindset that imagines all Australians as potential criminal suspects, or mindless consumer drones whose every transaction should be recorded and mapped."
Sounding a similar note, Rodney Serkowski of the Australian Pirate Party also seized on data retention as one of the most odious proposals. “It is not possible for the government to adequately ensure that the vast databases of highly personal data would not be at risk or subject to abuse of third parties,” he wrote in an email. “Indiscriminate data retention, as opposed to judicially sanctioned, targeted surveillance of a specific person for specific reason, is incompatible with human rights, and should never be considered legal or legitimate.”
New Rules for ISPs and Telecoms
The proposal would broaden online surveillance powers for Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies by compelling Internet companies to make it easier for authorities to conduct digital eavesdropping efforts. “The exclusion of providers such as social networking providers and cloud computing providers creates potential vulnerabilities in the interception regime that are capable of being manipulated by criminals,” the discussion paper states. “Consideration should be given to extending the interception regime to such providers to remove uncertainty.”
Yet another proposal would sacrifice the privacy of law-abiding citizens for the sake of zeroing in on criminal suspects. It calls for allowing intelligence officials to tamper with a computer belonging to an uninvolved third party who is not under investigation in order to access a targeted computer.
To justify the dramatic expansion of surveillance powers, the discussion paper attempts to portray the intelligence agencies as helpless, claiming that a revolution in communications technology has rendered existing wiretapping laws outmoded and inadequate. “Substantial and rapid changes in communications technology and the business environment are rapidly eroding agencies’ ability to intercept,” the paper states. “Adapting the regime governing the lawful access to communications is a fundamental first step in arresting the serious decline in agencies’ capabilities.”
No New Surveillance Powers Needed
A radical expansion of police surveillance powers is not the answer. This proposal poses a serious threat to online privacy and it’s important to keep the pressure on, just as Canadian privacy advocates pushed back against a similar bill. The revisions floated in Australia’s National Security Inquiry should be met with stiff resistance from Internet users everywhere.
“These proposed changes, if implemented in their entirety, would appear to amount to a massive expansion of surveillance activity across the entire community, accompanied by a corresponding reduction in accountability for that surveillance activity, and are therefore a potentially significant threat to the civil liberties and privacy of all Australians,” Jon Lawrence of Electronic Frontiers Australia wrote in a recent blog post.
Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia, said the Australian Government seems to have found the straw that might break the back of the growing trend towards excessive surveillance in Australia. "People – your average Joe – are at last waking up that free speech and privacy matter, and are worth fighting for,” Rowlings said. “The 'Arab Spring' in the West might well be fought over such freedoms, rather than freedom of association, as in the Middle East."
Stay tuned as EFF continues monitoring this proposal.
 “Equipping Government Against Emerging and Evolving Threats: A Discussion Paper to Accompany Consideration by the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security of a package of National Security Ideas Comprising Proposals for Telecommunications Interception Reform, Telecommunications Sector Security Reform and Australian Intelligence Community Legislation Reform,” Australian Government Attorney General’s Department, pp. 17
EFF Joins Mozilla, Fight for the Future, Public Knowledge and Others in Launching the Internet Defense League
Earlier this year, EFF worked with Internet defenders across the globe to beat back SOPA, a U.S. Internet censorship bill that would have sacrificed the free speech rights of users in the name of fighting online “piracy.” Concerted action by millions of Internet users killed SOPA, but we know that protecting online rights takes vigilance. In fact, SOPA supporters are already pushing their censorship agenda through new bills, secret international trade agreements, and “voluntary” agreements negotiated between Big Content and service providers. And the threats don’t stop there: our rights to communicate and browse the web in private are also at risk, thanks to proposed Big Brother surveillance measures.
We know that when we work together, we can protect our Internet. So, we’re joining with some of our friends from the anti-SOPA fight in creating the Internet Defense League to help Internet users, organizations, and companies fight back whenever online rights are threatened.
Here’s how you can be an Internet superhero
Sign up. If you have a website, the Internet Defense League will send you sample alert code to get working in advance. The next time there's an emergency, we'll tell you and send new code. Then it's your decision to pull the trigger.
Come celebrate with us. On Thursday July 19th, we’ll be celebrating Internet freedom at events in several cities. As Hollywood’s latest superhero movie opens in theaters for a midnight showing, IDL members in select cities can celebrate the launch around powerful spotlights rented for the occasion. The spotlights will beam the IDL’s “cat-signal” into the stratosphere, across obliging clouds, or onto neighboring buildings. Parties are being planned in San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, London, and even Ulaar Bataar, Mongolia. If you'd like to host an event in your city but don't have the funds, send an email to our partners at Fight for the Future (include thoughts on the location, the kind of crowd you can draw, and other ideas). If you can self-fund an event in your city, don't bother donating, just email Fight for the Future.
EFF staff members will be at the Spotlight Party in San Francisco, so come say hello. Join EFF staff members Marcia Hofmann, Rainey Reitman, Parker Higgins, Mark Burdett, Adi Kamdar, Jillian York, and Trevor Timm at the San Francisco Spotlight Party on Thursday July 19. The event will get started at 8PM at the Mozilla Offices, 2 Harrison Street, 7th Floor. RSVP here
Good news, TV fans! Aereo, a startup that lets viewers watch broadcast TV over the Internet from tiny, personal antennas, can stay up and running - at least for now. Several television networks are trying to sue it out of existence, beginning with a motion asking a federal court to shut it down until a legal decision is reached. It's a typical move, and one that forces many innovative startups into bankruptcy long before any court has ruled on whether their business is legal. Last week, however, Judge Alison Nathan of the federal court in Manhattan denied the motion and made Aereo the first Internet TV business of its kind to live long enough to defend its business model.
This decision is a win for free TV viewers and for innovation, but it may be just one battle in a long war. Rather than continuing to fight in the district court, the networks have filed an appeal in the Second Circuit appeals court, where they may try to overturn the 2008 Fox v. Cablevision decision that has made New York a friendly place for Internet TV entrepreneurs.
Aereo was founded by serial entrepreneur Chaitanya Kanojia with funding from media mogul Barry Diller. As we've described, the company set up a large array of dime-sized TV antennas atop a Brooklyn warehouse, in sight of the transmitters on the Empire State Building. Each user is assigned a unique antenna, effectively rented from Aereo. The local TV programming captured by that antenna can be recorded or watched live on Internet-capable devices, all under control of the user.
The lawsuit, filed in May of this year, revolves around whether Aereo is making "public performances" of copyrighted TV shows. Copyright law gives owners the right to license, or stop, public performances. Private performances - like a family and friends watching a movie at home - are beyond the law's reach. The case is also a battle of metaphors: the TV networks say that Aereo is doing the same thing as a cable system, while Aereo (assisted by EFF and Public Knowledge in an amicus brief) claims that it is simply taking the place of a personal "rabbit ears" antenna and a personal video recorder.
Judge Nathan ruled that Aereo's system was similar to the Cablevision "remote DVR" system that the Second Circuit found legal in 2008. That system, which let cable subscribers record and play shows from a personal hard drive at the cable company's facility, was deemed to be making private performances - essentially a service that empowered TV watchers to do what they could do anyway with their own personal equipment. Judge Nathan distilled the Cablevision decision to three items: under Cablevision, a video transmission is "private" and outside of TV studios' control if
1. It comes from a unique copy made for each subscriber;
2. The transmission to the subscriber comes from that copy; and
3. No other subscriber can view a transmission from that copy.
Because Aereo's system also had these characteristics, the judge said that it too makes "private performances" and doesn't violate copyright.
Judge Nathan's ruling was tied very closely to the Cablevision decision, which she was required to follow. The judge's order made it clear that were it not for Cablevision, she would have shut Aereo down. On appeal, it's likely that the studios will try to convince the Second Circuit to overrule Cablevision or confine it to a narrow set of facts. That would be a big step backwards. Cablevision has made the Second Circuit (which encompasses New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) a good place for Internet TV innovation. It lets customers in those states choose what TV shows to watch and what technologies to watch it with - without the content owners having a veto over the technology makers. That's a win for everyone, and EFF will keep working to preserve it.
In Wake of Carrier IQ Scandal, Berkeley Study Shows Americans Have Serious Qualms About Mobile Industry Practices
On Friday, EFF filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission about the privacy and data security practices of mobile wireless service providers. Mobile privacy is an issue we've been increasingly concerned about in the wake of the Carrier IQ privacy scandal, which was part of the inspiration for our Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights. Citing recent academic research as well as troubling industry practices, EFF called the FCC's attention to some of the major pitfalls in modern mobile privacy norms. We urged the FCC to consider consumer rights in evaluating carrier obligations to protect user privacy and called for more transparency about carrier data collection and retention policies.
Modern cell phones raise grave and well-known privacy and security issues. A recent UC Berkeley study of Americans' use of mobile phones and privacy
found widespread understanding that sensitive personal information such as text messages, contact lists, and voicemail is stored on phones, and that substantial percentages of respondents with smartphones used them to engage in activities that might generate sensitive information, including visiting websites, using social networks, and using location services.... These activities can reveal communications with circles of contacts, health-related or other personal research queries, and a wide variety of intellectual and political interests, to name just a few revealing types of information.
The UC Berkeley study also found that Americans generally dislike the idea that carriers retain location data: 46% responded that carriers should not retain such data at all, while 28% answered that location data should be kept for less than a year. Obviously, Americans believe that this data should be private, and thus carrier retention policies do not meet the ordinary consumer's needs.
Current industry practices also raise concerns about the security of data on the device itself, which can be compromised by current carrier practices of delaying or even blocking security updates. EFF reported on this problem in 2011, noting that "[a]lthough Apple, Google, and Microsoft should develop security fixes faster, they are fundamentally limited by carrier intransigence."
These factors and others contribute to the perfect storm that allows companies to disregard the privacy of their users and gives users meager meaningful choice when it comes to safeguarding their data on mobile devices.
The FCC solicited feedback on mobile device privacy, and this is our first submission in the current round of filings. We expect to file reply comments at the end of the month. Read more about the FCC process or submit reply comments yourself.
In Bahrain and Oman, netizens are coming under fire once again. In Bahrain--where opposition activists have frequently been detained and maligned on social networks--Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, a fellow member of IFEX, wassentenced on July 10 to three months in prison for a tweet. Rajab was arrested in May and charged with inciting protest on social networks. After being released on bail, he was then arrested again on June 6 on charges of "insulting in public" after tweeting for Bahrain's rulers to step down. Rajab has been persecuted by the Bahraini government for more than a year for his activism as part of their broader crackdown on opposition. EFF once again calls on the international community to condemn the persecution of bloggers and citizen journalists at the hands of Bahrain's regime.
In neighboring Oman, where a spate of netizen arrests have occurred in the past year, four young men have received similarly harsh sentences for content posted to social networks. Hamoud Al Rashidi was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 200 rials, while Hamad Al Kharousi, Mahmoud Al-Rawahi, and Ali Al-Mikbali were all sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of 200 rials, all for "defaming" ruler Sultan Qaboos on social networks. Al Rashidi was convicted under Article 126 of Oman's Criminal Law, which criminalizes defamation of "His Majesty the Sultan or his authority publicly." The other three men were convicted under Article 126 and Articles 16 and 19 of Oman's Cybercrime Law. EFF condemns the sentencing of these four men and calls on the Omani authorities to immediately overturn the convictions.
Maldivian Blogger Attacked; Government Denies Political Motivation
Long before Egypt's infamous blackout, the Maldives was the first country to cut off Internet access to its citizens. In 2004, then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom cut off access in the wake of protests against his ruling regime. Although press freedom improved in the country following the end of Gayoom's 30-year rule in 2008, attacks on journalists have increased since demonstrations in January that resulted in the ousting of President Mohamed Nasheed.
Most recently, the country's best known blogger, Ismail Rasheed (more commonly known as "Hilath"), was stabbed in the throat and forced to flee the country. Though Rasheed, who has received death threats in the past has blamed the attack on Islamists, a Maldivian government spokesperson told the AFP that the attack had "nothing to do with religious extremism or his work as a journalist" and was the work of a rival gang. Another official condemned the stabbing but implied that Rasheed should have known he was a target, stating: "We are not a secular country. When you talk about religion there will always be a few people who do not agree."
Malaysian Blogger Detained; Government Invokes State Secrets Act
In Malaysia, where the Internet is uncensored but still far from free, blogger Syed Abdullah sits in jail awaiting charges following a complaint filed by thirty people claiming 64 of the blogger's articles were a "provocation, incitement, and insult" to the Sultan of the state of Johor. The blogger was arrested at a toll booth on July 4 and has remained in police custody since. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, officials are currently investigating the complaint and could charge Abdullah under the Official Secrets Act, which provides for harsh sentences for the dissemination of information classified as a state secret. If charged and found guilty, the blogger could face up to seven years in prison.
Human Rights Watch Releases New Study of Iraq's Proposed Cybercrimes Law
EFF has written before about Iraq's harsh proposed informatics crime law, which includes mandatory life sentences for vague "crimes" such as "compromosing the unity of the state" online. Now, a new 16-page report from Human Rights Watch provides detailed legal analysis of the bill and finds that the draft law is part of "a broad effort by Iraqi authorities to suppress peaceful dissent by criminalizing legitimate information sharing and networking activities." A second reading of the law by Iraq's Council of Representatives is expected this month. EFF will continue to monitor this egregious bill closely.
We just received new information today about drone flights in the United States, including extensive details about the specific drone models some entities are flying, where they fly, how frequently they fly, and how long they stay in the air. The 125 drone certificates and accompanying documents the FAA released today total thousands of pages and were released in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which has already uncovered the list of all entities licensed to fly domestic drones.
The 18 entities represented in the files include police departments from Seattle, Washington to North Little Rock, Arkansas; about 10 public colleges and universities; a few federal agencies, including the USDA and the Department of Energy—Idaho National Lab; and other entities like the City of Herrington, Kansas and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. For every entity, the files include the actual Certificate of Authorization (COA) application information submitted to the FAA (for each entity, that file is called "COA.xls"), and many other supporting records. The files go back several years and include COAs for every year that the entity has had drones. For some entities this is as early as 2004.
We’ve included the records below in zipped folders separated by entity. Given how voluminous the records are, we’ve only been able to perform a cursory review so far. We plan to review them in more detail over the next week and post analysis here once we do. In the meantime, we encourage you to download the files and find out more about the drones flying near you.
The FAA documents we received mainly address saftey issues with drone flights, but there are still many unanswered questions about the privacy implications of drones. EFF is asking the Internet community to help us push for more transparency around the use of drones for domestic surveillance. We're proud to be teaming up with MuckRock in this initiative. If you are curious about how your local law enforcement agency may be using drones to surveil Americans, please visit Muckrock's site to submit an online public records request.
This week, comments from Democratic Senators, a panel of witnessses, and the director of the National Security Agency (NSA) called on the Senate to enact cybersecurity legislation. But a new poll shows that Americans don't want to sacrifice civil liberties by allowing unfettered data exchanges between corporations and the government. Discussions this week were part of an effort to break the partisan stalemate over the Cybersecurity Act, a bill that would allow Internet companies to monitor the sensitive communications of users and pass that data to the government without any judicial oversight. The Cybersecurity Act would also give companies the right to "modify or block data packets" if they do it with "defensive intent," while offering little in the way of liability for companies that overstep their authority.
In response to ongoing delays in passing the bill, backers of the Cybersecurity Act have been attempting to drum up fears about catastrophic cyberattacks. Yesterday, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal called on the Senate to enact cybersecurity legislation despite the ongoing civil liberties concerns with the proposed legislation. Speaking to the Senate, Senator Blumenthal warned of doomsday scenarios, saying: "The consequences of a debilitating attack will be catastrophic for our nation."
Speaking in a similar vein earlier this week, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the Pentagon's Cyber Command, gave a speech cautioning against potential terrorist cyberattacks and warned that, "The conflict is growing, the probability for crisis is mounting." In response to civil liberties concerns, Alexander stated: "The reality is we can do protection of civil liberties and privacy and cybersecurity as a nation." This is a particularly ironic statement because Alexander, as director of the NSA, oversees the warrantless surveillance program begun by the Bush Administration which collects en masse the Internet communications and communications records of millions of Americans (like browsing habits, emails, and chats).
And in a hearing yesterday morning before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, witnesses who testified (which included no representatives from the civil liberties community1) urged passage of a cybersecurity bill. RAND Corporation's Brian Michael Jenkins said that it was more important to "get these things moving" than to find "the absolute perfect legislation."
We couldn't disagree more. While the perfect should never be the enemy of the good, cybersecurity legislation enacted in haste today could undermine the civil liberties of Internet users generations from now. Congress must take time to ensure all legislation it passes won't undermine fundamental online rights. None of the current cybersecurity proposals come close to fitting that criteria.
There was one bright moment in the hearing yesterday. In his written testimony (PDF), Dr. Stephen Flynn of Northeastern University called on the government to "resist the secrecy reflex" when it comes to security issues, adding:
[S]trict rules that preclude the sharing of homeland security information with unvetted individuals too often translates into leaving essential expertise on the sidelines. Even when security information is shared with vetted company security officers, they are precluded from passing along the details to their bosses who do not hold active security clearances. As a result, investment and operational decisions are often made with scant attention paid to the potential security stakes. The federal government should make a concerted effort to increase transparency with the broader public as well.
This week also saw the publication of a new survey that shows that the majority of Americans don't want to sacrifice their online privacy in the name of cybersecurity. A United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll found that 63% of those polled believed government and businesses should not be allowed to share information because it would hurt privacy and civil liberties.
In fact, the United Technologies/National Journal poll found that Americans were concerned about cybersecurity—67% of those surveyed were worried about the country's computer networks—but that didn't translate into support for proposals that could undermine online privacy rights. This matches with EFF's own stance. EFF has long advocated for better computer security through projects like our free HTTPS Everywhere browser add-on, our security audit of open source software, and our ongoing coverage of Syrian state-sponsored malware. But while we understand and appreciate security issues, we don't believe that safeguarding networked devices necessitates eviscerating all existing privacy law. Any cybersecurity proposal that gives the government free rein to snoop through our private communications without a warrant is the wrong solution.
The United Technologies/National Journal poll also reflected the party-line disagreements that have helped stall progress on cybersecurity legislation. While Democratic respondents were divided on the role of government regulation in cybersecurity issues, a large majority of Republicans and independent responders to the poll opposed government standards.
Unfortunately, our elected officials are doing little to assuage the concerns of Americans who cherish their online civil liberties. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to bring the issue to the floor for a vote before the end of July, leaving concerned citizens only a few weeks to speak out against the major privacy implications of this sweeping legislation. EFF is asking individuals to email Congress through our online form or call your Senator to urge them to oppose cybersecurity legislation that sacrifices online privacy.
1. Witnesses were Michael V. Hayden (Chertoff Group), Brian Michael Jenkins (RAND Corporation), Frank J. Cilluffo (Homeland Security Policy Institute, George Washington University), Stephen E. Flynn, Ph.D. (George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern University). See more here.