Today the Ninth Circuit handed the Internet a bittersweet and crucial victory by affirming a district court's holding that the safe harbors created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protected Veoh, a now-defunct video hosting site, from copyright liability. The case has been pending since 2007, when Universal Music Group (UMG) sued Veoh based on allegedly infringing content in UMG music videos that Veoh users uploaded.
It's a hefty decision, but here are some highlights:
The sweet: The appellate court squarely rejected UMG's assertion that the DMCA safe harbors do not apply to any service that "displays" or "distributes" copyrighted material rather than simply "storing" it. As EFF (with several other public interest groups) pointed out in an amicus brief on which the court expressly relied, every web hosting service "displays" and "distributes" the material that its users upload -- that's how the Web works. Quoth the court:
UMG's theory fails to account for the reality that web hosts, like Veoh, also store user-submitted materials in order to make those materials accessible to other Internet users. The reason one has a website is so that others may view it. As amici note, these activities define web hosting -- if the web host only stored information for a single user, it would be more aptly described as an online backup service.
If UMG's arguments had been accepted, virtually every hosting service could lose the DMCA safe harbors. That, in turn, would mean that it would be too dangerous to host content without first clearing every bit with every conceivable copyright owner. If this were the law, the Web would be transformed from an open platform for amateur creativity into something a lot more like television, where nothing gets on the air until every clip is "cleared" by an army of lawyers.
The court also dismissed UMG's claim that general awareness that one's site hosted some infringing videos is enough to deprive a service of the safe harbors. UMG's theories, the court explained, would render the safe harbors "a dead letter." Instead, the DMCA requires that service providers act expeditiously when they have specific knowledge of particular infringing activities -- such as information provided by a proper DMCA notice. That is consistent with Congress' intent in drafting the DMCA: to encourage service providers and copyright holders to cooperate in policing infringement but not, as the Ninth Circuit has repeatedly held, to shift the burden identifying and documenting infringement to service providers.
The bitter: The cost of defending the case effectively drove Veoh out of business years ago. If Hollywood manages to get Internet blacklist bills SOPA and PIPA passed, expect to see many more innovative startups meet the same sad fate -- or never get off the ground in the first place. UMG will doubtless claim that this decision is why it needs more arrows in its online enforcement quiver. Given that UMG never bothered to send a single DMCA notice to Veoh before filing suit -- meaning, it never bothered to take advantage of the tools it already had -- this case actually sends a very different message: Don't give Hollywood new ways to impede online innovation and expression.
In the not-so-aptly-named Democratic Republic of Congo, SMS was banned by the government last week in an attempt to maintain public order in the wake of contested elections that have left Kinshasa at a standstill. The country joins a growing list of nations, including Syria, Egypt, and Libya, that have cut off communications this year in an attempt to prevent unrest.
Aside from the obvious implications on free speech, DRC's decision to shut off SMS functionality is having a serious impact on the country's deaf population, as BBC News points out. In a country where Internet penetration hovers at less than one percent, SMS is a vital tool for the hearing impaired; in Kinshasa, community groups that support the deaf population say that text messages are an essential tool for security at a time when going out into the streets can be dangerous.
EFF condemns the DRC's ban on text messaging and urges the government to respect the inalienable rights of all its citizens.
Kazakhstan cuts communications inZhanaozen
On Saturday, reports emerged that the government of Kazakhstan had shut off communications in the western city of Zhanaozen. The city is the site of an ongoing oil workers' strike that turned violent on Friday after a group of unidentified men destroyed equipment set up for Independence Day celebrations in the town center.
According to Human Rights Watch, the government has cut off access to "at least some mobile, voice, and text services in Zhanaozen" and "access to Twitter.com and other news sites reporting on the unrest had been blocked by the authorities."
EFF joins Human Rights Watch in calling for Kazakhstan to immediately restore access to communications networks.
Pro-SOPA study on DNS filtering cites censorship research
A recent paper written by Daniel Castro of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and promoted by the MPAA on Capitol Hill argues in favor of DNS filtering to block access to copyright-infringing sites. In an effort to argue the effectiveness of DNS filtering, Castro cites research from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society that suggests that "no more than 3 percent of Internet users in countries that engage in substantial filtering use circumvention tools."
What is worth noting here is that the countries cited in the Berkman Center paper--China, Iran, the UAE, Armenia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, Burma, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam--are all countries that engage in pervasive censorship of the Internet. Therefore, Castro is basically saying that since DNS filtering works for repressive regimes, it can work in the United States too!
It is also worth noting that the US Department of State has put significant resources into more than a dozen circumvention tools over the past few years. In other words, those same tools that Castro hopes American citizens won't use to access pirated content are in fact funded by the US government.
Yesterday and today, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has hunkered down in the Capitol for markup sessions of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. The basic facts looked bleak: this Internet blacklist bill is a disaster that stands at odds with the Constitution, but the deep pockets of its legacy media backers managed to make it enough friends in committee that its quick passage seemed possible. Judiciary Committee Chairman, author of the bill, and “Hollywood’s Favorite Republican” Lamar Smith scheduled just a single hearing, stacked the deck in his bill’s favor, and rushed it through to markup now, at the end of the legislative session.
But then a funny thing happened: the Internet fought back. It started in bits and pieces, from our coverage of the bill’s introduction to the citizens who took our action alert and told their Congressmembers that Internet censorship is unacceptable. Then more and more people began realizing the dangers of SOPA and finding their voice against it. One month ago today, American Censorship Day counted almost 6000 participating sites, tens of thousands of people called their Representatives, and more legislators started coming out against the bill.
It was clear then that Congress wouldn’t be able to slip SOPA through under the public radar. But this week was the most important one yet, with the bill heading to markup and possibly even to the floor. That’s why EFF, with a broad coalition of organizations (of all political stripes), tech companies, innovators, and users, declared this week a Week of Action Against Censorship.
But the most important thing to happen this week was that thousands of people took action to oppose the bill, calling their representatives and spreading the word via blogs, tweets, social media videos and word of mouth.
And it looks like it made a difference. In a marathon markup session yesterday, which we covered on our live-Tweeting stream @EFFLive, a persistent group of Representatives attacked SOPA from all fronts. Although there wasn’t enough opposition to kill the bill outright, the messages we’ve been sending for weeks — that the bill would create blacklists for online censorship, harm cybersecurity efforts, set a bad international precedent and lead to a fractured Internet — couldn’t be ignored.
During a markup session earlier today, Chairman Lamar Smith acknowledged that the Judiciary Committee didn’t yet have all the facts, especially on the cybersecurity questions. After an amendment vote he abruptly announced that markup would be suspended, and consideration of the bill would be resumed at the next practicable opportunity — which is tentatively scheduled for next week, but could be pushed to late January.
Legislators’ considering facts when crafting new laws is a good thing, and we commend Chairman Smith for recognizing it. We also want to acknowledge Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Darrell Issa, Jared Polis, and Jason Chaffetz, who brought refreshing perspective and expertise to the markup session. Their input — and actual amendments — stand in clear contrast to SOPA proponents’ common refrain that the opposition doesn’t contribute any real suggestions. (Another fact belying that refrain: there is an alternative bill already on the table: the OPEN Act proposed by Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Darrel Issa. It’s not perfect, but it takes the conversation in a better direction, and we urge Internet users to go the http://www.keepthewebopen.com to contribute their views on it.)
We've written before about Maikel Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd El Fattah, two Egyptian bloggers under fire. Though their cases differ dramatically--Sanad was arrested for content written on his blog, while Abd El Fattah was charged in relation to his alleged involvement in the October 9 Maspero massacre--the two men have two things in common: both are being targeted for their opposition to military rule, and both--as civilians--have refused to recognize the right of a military court to try their cases.
Though Sanad had successfully appealed an earlier sentence of three years, on Wednesday he was sentenced once again, and this time to two years in prison by the Supreme Military Court of Appeals. Because Sanad, a civilian, was tried by a military court, the decision cannot be appealed.
On Thursday, 27 out of 28 detainees arrested in relation to the events of October 9 were released, leaving Abd El Fattah the sole detainee left in prison. According toThe Daily News Egypt, lawyers said that since Abd El Fattah had already filed appeals that were rejected, he legally has no right to file another appeal for 30 days, whereas the released detainees had not appealed earlier decisions. Abd El Fattah, who is charged with stealing army weapons, refused to be interrogated by a military prosecutor on the grounds that the military is guilty of crimes that took place during the events of October 9. Human Rights Watch has called Abd El Fattah's detention "a blatant effort to target one of the most vocal critics of the military."
EFF reiterates our call for the immediate release of both Maikel Nabil Sanad and Alaa Abd El Fattah, prisoners of conscience in the Egyptian military's ongoing efforts to clamp down on freedom of expression.
The Internet Blacklist bills — the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) — would have a disastrous effect on online freedom of speech. In order to understand the ways a site placed on the blacklist could be denied a chance to connect with an audience, we’ve used our Free Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link chart.
PLATFORMS & WEBHOST
The Internet Blacklist bills would subject non-domestic platforms and webhosts to the possibility of court injunctions that could require to payment interruptions or even DNS blocking in the U.S. Preparing for and responding to this legal action would be expensive, and would create an incentive for those platforms to impose more restrictions on user uploads. Further, platforms that haven't yet been developed will have more difficulty getting off the ground without a legal team.
The Internet Blacklist Legislation would allow the U.S. government and individual rights holders to seek court orders requiring payment processors and ad networks to stop doing business with blacklisted sites – even if those sites contain non-infringing content.
DOMAIN NAME SYSTEM
The Internet Blacklist Legislation would require service providers to limit access to a blacklist of sites that the attorney general or a court has deemed to be infringing. PIPA explicitly mentions DNS blocking as the technique to block sites. The latest version of SOPA requires only “the least burdensome, technically feasible, and reasonable means designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site that is subject to the order” but also that “Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible." But, realistically, the consensus is that DNS blocking, in spite of its tendency to fracture the Internet geographically, is the technique ISPs are most likely to use.
Under the Internet Blacklist Legislation search engines would be required to remove blacklisted sites from their results. PIPA uses the term "information location tools", which refers to section 512(d) of the DMCA. SOPA refers to "Internet search engines", and requires them to "prevent the serving, in response to a query, of a direct hypertext link" to a blacklisted site.
Today, a group of 83 prominent Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to members of the United States Congress, stating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA Internet blacklist bills that are under consideration in the House and Senate respectively.
We, the undersigned, have played various parts in building a network called the Internet. We wrote and debugged the software; we defined the standards and protocols that talk over that network. Many of us invented parts of it. We're just a little proud of the social and economic benefits that our project, the Internet, has brought with it.
Last year, many of us wrote to you and your colleagues to warn about the proposed "COICA" copyright and censorship legislation. Today, we are writing again to reiterate our concerns about the SOPA and PIPA derivatives of last year's bill, that are under consideration in the House and Senate. In many respects, these proposals are worse than the one we were alarmed to read last year.
If enacted, either of these bills will create an environment of tremendous fear and uncertainty for technological innovation, and seriously harm the credibility of the United States in its role as a steward of key Internet infrastructure. Regardless of recent amendments to SOPA, both bills will risk fragmenting the Internet's global domain name system (DNS) and have other capricious technical consequences. In exchange for this, such legislation would engender censorship that will simultaneously be circumvented by deliberate infringers while hampering innocent parties' right and ability to communicate and express themselves online.
All censorship schemes impact speech beyond the category they were intended to restrict, but these bills are particularly egregious in that regard because they cause entire domains to vanish from the Web, not just infringing pages or files. Worse, an incredible range of useful, law-abiding sites can be blacklisted under these proposals. In fact, it seems that this has already begun to happen under the nascent DHS/ICE seizures program.
Censorship of Internet infrastructure will inevitably cause network errors and security problems. This is true in China, Iran and other countries that censor the network today; it will be just as true of American censorship. It is also true regardless of whether censorship is implemented via the DNS, proxies, firewalls, or any other method. Types of network errors and insecurity that we wrestle with today will become more widespread, and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.
The current bills -- SOPA explicitly and PIPA implicitly -- also threaten engineers who build Internet systems or offer services that are not readily and automatically compliant with censorship actions by the U.S. government. When we designed the Internet the first time, our priorities were reliability, robustness and minimizing central points of failure or control. We are alarmed that Congress is so close to mandating censorship-compliance as a design requirement for new Internet innovations. This can only damage the security of the network, and give authoritarian governments more power over what their citizens can read and publish.
The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We cannot have a free and open Internet unless its naming and routing systems sit above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry. To date, the leading role the US has played in this infrastructure has been fairly uncontroversial because America is seen as a trustworthy arbiter and a neutral bastion of free expression. If the US begins to use its central position in the network for censorship that advances its political and economic agenda, the consequences will be far-reaching and destructive.
Senators, Congressmen, we believe the Internet is too important and too valuable to be endangered in this way, and implore you to put these bills aside.
Vint Cerf, co-designer of TCP/IP, one of the "fathers of the Internet", signing as private citizen
Paul Vixie, author of BIND, the most widely-used DNS server software, and President of the Internet Systems Consortium
Tony Li, co-author of BGP (the protocol used to arrange Internet routing); chair of the IRTF's Routing Research Group; a Cisco Fellow; and architect for many of the systems that have actually been used to build the Internet
Steven Bellovin, invented the DNS cache contamination attack; co-authored the first book on Internet security; recipient of the 2007 NIST/NSA National Computer Systems Security Award and member of the DHS Science and Technology Advisory Committee
Jim Gettys, editor of the HTTP/1.1 protocol standards, which we use to do everything on the Web
Steve Deering, Ph.D., invented the IP multicast feature of the Internet; lead designer of IPv6 (version 6 of the Internet Protocol)
David Ulevitch, David Ulevitch, CEO of OpenDNS, which offers alternative DNS services for enhanced security.
Elizabeth Feinler, director of the Network Information Center (NIC) at SRI International, administered the Internet Name Space from 1970 until 1989 and developed the naming conventions for the internet top level domains (TLDs) of .mil, .gov, .com, .org, etc. under contracts to DoD
Robert W. Taylor, founded and funded the beginning of the ARPAnet; founded and managed the Xerox PARC Computer Science Lab which designed and built the first networked personal computer (Alto), the Ethernet, the first internet protocol and internet, and desktop publishing
Fred Baker, former IETF chair, has written about 50 RFCs and contributed to about 150 more, regarding widely used Internet technology
Dan Kaminsky, Chief Scientist, DKH
Esther Dyson, EDventure; founding chairman, ICANN; former chairman, EFF; active investor in many start-ups that support commerce, news and advertising on the Internet; director, Sunlight Foundation
Walt Daniels, IBM’s contributor to MIME, the mechanism used to add attachments to emails
Nathaniel Borenstein, Chief Scientist, Mimecast; one of the two authors of the MIME protocol, and has worked on many other software systems and protocols, mostly related to e-mail and payments
Simon Higgs, designed the role of the stealth DNS server that protects a.root-servers.net; worked on all versions of Draft Postel for creating new TLDs and addressed trademark issues with a complimentary Internet Draft; ran the shared-TLD mailing list back in 1995 which defined the domain name registry/registrar relationship; was a root server operator for the Open Root Server Consortium; founded coupons.com in 1994
John Bartas, was the technical lead on the first commercial IP/TCP software for IBM PCs in 1985-1987 at The Wollongong Group. As part of that work, developed the first tunneling RFC, rfc-1088
Nathan Eisenberg, Atlas Networks Senior System Administrator; manager of 25K sq. ft. of data centers which provide services to Starbucks, Oracle, and local state
Dave Crocker, author of Internet standards including email, DKIM anti-abuse, electronic data interchange and facsimile, developer of CSNet and MCI national email services, former IETF Area Director for network management, DNS and standards, recipient of IEEE Internet Award for contributions to email, and serial entrepreneur
Craig Partridge, architect of how email is routed through the Internet; designed the world's fastest router in the mid 1990s
Doug Moeller, Chief Technology Officer at Autonet Mobile
John Todd, Lead Designer/Maintainer - Freenum Project (DNS-based, free telephony/chat pointer system), http://freenum.org/
Alia Atlas, designed software in a core router (Avici) and has various RFCs around resiliency, MPLS, and ICMP
Kelly Kane, shared web hosting network operator
Robert Rodgers, distinguished engineer, Juniper Networks, signing as a private citizen
Anthony Lauck, helped design and standardize routing protocols and local area network protocols and served on the Internet Architecture Board
Ramaswamy Aditya, built various networks and web/mail content and application hosting providers including AS10368 (DNAI) which is now part of AS6079 (RCN); did network engineering and peering for that provider; did network engineering for AS25 (UC Berkeley); currently does network engineering for AS177-179 and others (UMich)
Blake Pfankuch, Connecting Point of Greeley, Network Engineer
Jon Loeliger, has implemented OSPF, one of the main routing protocols used to determine IP packet delivery; at other companies, has helped design and build the actual computers used to implement core routers or storage delivery systems; at another company, installed network services (T-1 lines and ISP service) into Hotels and Airports across the country
Jim Deleskie, internetMCI Sr. Network Engineer, Teleglobe Principal Network Architect
David Barrett, Founder and CEO, Expensify
Mikki Barry, VP Engineering of InterCon Systems Corp., creators of the first commercial applications software for the Macintosh platform and the first commercial Internet Service Provider in Japan
Peter Rubenstein,helped to design and build the AOL backbone network, ATDN.
David Farber, distinguished Professor CMU; Principal in development of CSNET, NSFNET, NREN, GIGABIT TESTBED, and the first operational distributed computer system; EFF board member
Bradford Chatterjee, Network Engineer, helped design and operate the backbone network for a nationwide ISP serving about 450,000 users
Gary E. Miller Network Engineer specializing in eCommerce
Jon Callas, worked on a number of Internet security standards including OpenPGP, ZRTP, DKIM, Signed Syslog, SPKI, and others; also participated in other standards for applications and network routing
John Kemp, Principal Software Architect, Nokia; helped build the distributed authorization protocol OAuth and its predecessors; former member of the W3C Technical Architecture Group
Christian Huitema, worked on building the Internet in France and Europe in the 80’s, and authored many Internet standards related to IPv6, RTP, and SIP; a former member of the Internet Architecture Board
Steve Goldstein, Program Officer for International Networking Coordination at the National Science Foundation 1989-2003, initiated several projects that spread Internet and advanced Internet capabilities globally
David Newman, 20 years' experience in performance testing of Internet
infrastructure; author of three RFCs on measurement techniques (two on firewall performance, one on test traffic contents)
Justin Krejci, helped build and run the two biggest and most successful municipal wifi networks located in Minneapolis, MN and Riverside, CA; building and running a new FTTH network in Minneapolis
Christopher Liljenstolpe, was the chief architect for AS3561 (at the time about 30% of the Internet backbone by traffic), and AS1221 (Australia's main Internet infrastructure)
Joe Hamelin, co-founder of Seattle Internet Exchange (http://www.seattleix.net) in 1997, and former peering engineer for Amazon in 2001
John Adams, operations engineer at Twitter, signing as a private citizen
David M. Miller, CTO / Exec VP for DNS Made Easy (IP Anycast Managed Enterprise DNS provider)
Seth Breidbart, helped build the Pluribus IMP/TIP for the ARPANET
Timothy McGinnis, co-chair of the African Network Information Center Policy Development Working Group, and active in various IETF Working Groups
Richard Kulawiec, 30 years designing/operating academic/commercial/ISP systems and networks
Larry Stewart, built the Etherphone at Xerox, the first telephone system working over a local area network; designed early e-commerce systems for the Internet at Open Market
John Pettitt, Internet commerce pioneer, online since 1983, CEO Free Range Content Inc.; founder/CTO CyberSource & Beyond.com; created online fraud protection software that processes over 2 billion transaction a year
Brandon Ross, Chief Network Architect and CEO of Network Utility Force LLC
Chris Boyd, runs a green hosting company and supports EFF-Austin as a board member
Dr. Richard Clayton, designer of Turnpike, widely used Windows-based Internet access suite; prominent Computer Security researcher at Cambridge University
Robert Bonomi, designed, built, and implemented, the Internet presence for a number of large corporations
Owen DeLong, member of the ARIN Advisory Council who has spent more than a decade developing better IP addressing policies for the internet in North America and around the world
Baudouin Schombe, blog design and content trainer
Lyndon Nerenberg, Creator of IMAP Binary extension (RFC 3516)
John Gilmore, co-designed BOOTP (RFC 951), which became DHCP, the way you get an IP address when you plug into an Ethernet or get on a WiFi access point; current EFF board member
John Bond, Systems Engineer at RIPE NCC maintaining AS25152 (k.root-servers.net.) and AS197000 (f.in-addr-servers.arpa. ,f.ip6-servers.arpa.); signing as a private citizen
Stephen Farrell, co-author on about 15 RFCs
Samuel Moats, senior systems engineer for the Department of Defense; helps build and defend the networks that deliver data to Defense Department users
John Vittal, created the first full email client and the email standards still in use today
Ryan Rawdon, built out and maintains the network infrastructure for a rapidly growing company in our country's bustling advertising industry; was on the technical operations team for one of our country's largest residential ISPs
Brian Haberman, has been involved in the design of IPv6, IGMP/MLD, and NTP within the IETF for nearly 15 years
Eric Tykwinski, Network Engineer working for a small ISP based in the Philadelphia region; currently maintains the network as well as the DNS and server infrastructure
Noel Chiappa, has been working on the lowest level stuff (the IP protocol level) since 1977; name on the 'Birth of the Internet' plaque at Stanford); actively helping to develop new 'plumbing' at that level
Robert M. Hinden, worked on the gateways in the early Internet, author of many of the core IPv6 specifications, active in the IETF since the first IETF meeting, author of 37 RFCs, and current Internet Society Board of Trustee member
Alexander McKenzie, former member of the Network Working Group and participated in the design of the first ARPAnet Host protocols; was the manager of the ARPAnet Network Operation Center that kept the network running in the early 1970s; was a charter member of the International Network Working Group that developed the ideas used in TCP and IP
Keith Moore, was on the Internet Engineering Steering Group from 1996-2000, as one of two Area Directors for applications; wrote or co-wrote technical specification RFCs associated with email, WWW, and IPv6 transition
Guy Almes, led the connection of universities in Texas to the NSFnet during the late 1980s; served as Chief Engineer of Internet2 in the late 1990s
David Mercer, formerly of The River Internet, provided service to more of Arizona than any local or national ISP
Paul Timmins, designed and runs the multi-state network of a medium sized telephone and internet company in the Midwest
Stephen L. Casner, led the working group that designed the Real-time Transport Protocol that carries the voice signals in VoIP systems
Tim Rutherford, DNS and network administrator at C4
Mike Alexander, helped implement (on the Michigan Terminal System at the University of Michigan) one of the first EMail systems to be connected to the Internet (and to its predecessors such as Bitnet, Mailnet, and UUCP); helped with the basic work to connect MTS to the Internet; implemented various IP related drivers on early Macintosh systems: one allowed TCP/IP connections over ISDN lines and another made a TCP connection look like a serial port
John Klensin, Ph.D., early and ongoing role in the design of Internet applications and coordination and administrative policies; former IAB Chair and former AT&T Internet Architecture VP
L. Jean Camp, former Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, focusing on computer security; eight years at Harvard's Kennedy School; tenured Professor at Indiana Unviersity's School of Informatics with research addressing security in society.
Louis Pouzin, designed and implemented the first computer network using datagrams (CYCLADES), from which TCP/IP was derived
Carl Page, helped found eGroups, the biggest social network
of its day, 14 million users at the point of sale to Yahoo for around $430,000,000, at which point it became Yahoo Groups
Phil Lapsley, co-author of the Internet Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP), RFC 977, and developer of the NNTP reference implementation
Jack Haverty (MSEE, BSEE MIT 1970), Principal Investigator for several DARPA projects including the first Internet development and operation; Corporate Network Architect for BBN; Founding member of the IAB/ICCB; Internet Architect and Corporate Founding Member of W3C for Oracle Corporation
Glenn Ricart, Managed the original (FIX) Internet interconnection point
Ben Laurie, Apache Software Foundation founder, OpenSSL core team member, security researcher. Over half the secure websites on the Internet are powered by his software.
Chris Wellens President & CEO InterWorking Labs
Chris Morrow Network Security Engineer at Google, and previously at UUNET. Involved in several IETF routing and security working groups.
Dave Shambley, entrepreneur and IEEE member
Bill Jennings, who was VP of Engineering at Cisco for 10 years and responsible for building much of the hardware and embedded software for Cisco's core router products and high-end Ethernet switches
Bernie Cosell coauthored the original IMP code, Terminal-IMP [TIP] and monitoring code for the NOC.
Leonard Kleinrock, one of the "fathers of the Internet", created the mathematical theory of packet networks, ran the UCLA lab that served as the first node of the ARPANET, and supervised the transmission of its first message.
Rebecca Hargrave Malamud, helped advance many large-scale Internet projects, and have been working the web since its invention.
When Carrier IQ threatened Android developer Trevor Eckhart with a lawsuit for publishing commentary about its software, Trevor called EFF to help him assert his rights. EFF got Carrier IQ to withdraw its threat. What came next was a national firestorm of concerns about mobile privacy and security that could have been swept under the rug.
Whenever your rights to speak freely or innovate online come under threat, EFF is there. We fight for the users.
When you renew your support as an EFF member or give a year-end gift, you help fight not only for the greater good, but also for individuals whose voices should be heard.
"Anyone who believes in privacy, security research, free speech, or just enjoys rooting/jailbreaking their devices should support EFF. The work they do every day protects your rights." –Trevor Eckhart
For decades, EFF has fought attempts to squelch free speech and public debate. Support our activism and our work in the courts by donating to EFF today.
Yesterday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved a Recommendation on Principles for Internet Policy Making [pdf]. It contains a set of 14 principles intended as a blueprint guiding Internet policy development for its 34 member states. Many of these principles uphold core values we have long championed: fostering an open Internet, evidence-based policy-making, multi-stakeholder policy development, decentralized online decision-making, effective global privacy protections, and limiting Internet intermediary liability.
But all is not well on the Internet. In spite of this OECD policy framework, efforts at online censorship and spying abound. Members of the U.S. government itself are attempting to push through legislation measures that would subvert many of the core principles found in this document. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) enable online censorship on a massive scale and threaten to break the Internet, all in the name of intellectual property enforcement. These bills could encompass any foreign site accessible from the U.S. They give the U.S. government and individuals the ability to leverage Internet intermediaries to ‘blacklist’ sites accused of copyright infringement. Such actions are inconsistent with OECD principles aimed at ‘limiting intermediary liability’. Finally, the DNS blocking contemplated by these bills would undermine the usability of the DNSSEC security measures that are meant to authenticate domains and deter tampering with the DNS system. The reliability and integrity of the DNS is an important part of OECD's aim of promoting Internet security, to which the United States is supposed to be committed.
Another OECD Principle aimed at promoting an open, decentralized and interconnected network is similarly undermined. Karen Kornbluh, U.S. Ambassador to the OECD, just remarked on the importance of decentralization a couple of months ago at a conference organized in the French Senate:
"The Internet is so powerful in part because no centralized authority governs it and no nation owns it … Instead, a decentralized system of public and private actors collaborates to ensure its function and expansion. What this means is that nations that choose to take a heavy-handed approach to regulating the Internet can reduce its value for every other nation and user."
SOPA and its counterpart in the Senate, PROTECT IP, would deliver that reduction in value. And the DNS-blocking those bills require would reduce that value not only by undermining critical infrastructure security efforts, but also by contributing to a globally fractured Internet.
Aside from directly undermining the ‘free and open Internet’ that the OECD Principles attempt to protect, U.S. measures to censor the Internet in the name of intellectual property rights are having a more insidious secondary effect. Countries such as China, with its well-known record of censoring Internet speech, have taken note and point to such double standards as vindication of their own censorship activities. The U.S. is quick to espouse the virtues of protecting Internet freedom in countries such as Iran and Russia, while ignoring the manner in which its own intellectual property agenda leads to similar results. Last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted in a letter, that “The State Department is strongly committed to advancing both Internet freedom and the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights on the Internet. Indeed the two priorities are consistent.” In this way, balanced intellectual property rights can be consistent with free expression. However, the U.S. overbroad enforcement agenda is far from balanced and will encourage censorship and surveillance. Moreover, intellectual property rights holders are now pointing to China as a model example of effective intermediary censorship—one the U.S. should emulate.
This U.S. agenda to defend ‘copyright at all costs’ threatens to undermine the Internet Principles adopted by the OECD yesterday. Last summer, U.S. initiated discussions resulted in a ‘Communiqué’--the precursor to this current set of principles--which EFF, and CSISAC, the voice of civil society at the OECD, opposed for privileging intellectual property rights over fundamental rights. While yesterday’s Recommendations included the Communiqué as an appendix “for informational purposes”, the OECD should be praised for ultimately excluding the troublesome elements of the Communiqué from the final legal Recommendation. The version adopted includes 14 high level Principles, but omits the more problematic text from the Communique which purported to interpret some of those principles.
OECD principles, such as the OECD Seoul Declaration and the Guidelines on Transborder Data Flows, will have legal influence on the ultimate interpretation of these new Internet Principles. EFF will continue to battle SOPA, PIPA, and other draconian domestic measures, and together with EDRI, CIPPIC, EPIC and civil society groups across the world we will keep fighting against international measures censoring Internet content. This includes our sustained pressure on the U.S. government to stop laundering policies in international venues, and to instead adopt truly pragmatic policies for a free and open Internet. In this way, EFF is committed to continue engaging in the OECD policy development process.