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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 15, Issue 38 - End of Year Message from Shari Steele


EFFector - Volume 15, Issue 38 - End of Year Message from Shari Steele

EFFector      Vol. 15, No. 38       December 6, 2002 

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation    ISSN 1062-9424 

In the 237th Issue of EFFector:

  * End of Year Message from Shari Steele 
  * ALERT: Total Information Awareness: Big Brother Comes to America 
  * Court Considers Morpheus Peer-to-Peer Software Case 
  * Hollywood Gets Norway to Try Jon Johansen Three Years Later 
  * Holiday Party (With PGP Key-Signing Extravaganza!) 
  * Deep Links (5): An Inside Look at China Filters 
  * Administrivia 

For more information on EFF activities & alerts: 

To join EFF or make an additional donation:
EFF is a member-supported nonprofit. Please sign up as a member 


* End of Year Message from Shari Steele

Dear Friends, 

It's hard to believe another year has passed so quickly. The climate 
at EFF has been pretty intense over the past year. Our government has 
posed serious threats to freedom with the passage of the USA Patriot 
Act and the Homeland Security Act. These two laws provide 
unprecedented governmental surveillance of citizens, minus 
supervisory checks and balances. Equally troubling is the 
government's Information Awareness Office, which is researching 
methods for connecting databases in order to compile extensive 
dossiers on citizens. 

In addition, content industries -- record companies and movie studios 
in particular -- continue attempts to restructure technology that 
would bolster their current revenue streams. Unfortunately, this 
systematic redesign has serious ramifications that affect your 
ability to play CDs or record broadcast television programs. EFF has 
been attending standards meetings, fighting lawsuits and talking to 
Congressional and agency staffers about the inherent difficulties in 
Hollywood's stance. 

Ironically, while civil liberties are under serious attack from 
several fronts, non-profit fundraising has never been more daunting. 
So, once again, I'm asking for your assistance. 

There are currently over 30,000 individuals who receive EFFector. 
Only 7,500 recipients have taken the next step and become members of 
the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If we received commitments from 
even half of all EFFector subscribers, we could double our membership 
overnight. This is important to us for several reasons. Membership 
dues are used exclusively to maintain the essential functions of our 
organization. In addition, a larger membership base increases our 
influence with Congressional policymakers and within federal 

If you appreciate the work we do, please join now. If you're already 
a member, please consider showing your support for EFF with an 
additional gift before the end of the year to help sustain us in 

Both the board and staff of EFF extend a warm "thank you" for all the 
support you've shown over the past year. Without your generous 
contributions, our presence and power would be greatly diminished. 

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season, 

Shari Steele
Executive Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation 


* ALERT: Total Information Awareness: Big Brother Comes to America

This may sound like science fiction, but Total Information Awareness 
(TIA) is a *real* threat to your civil liberties. TIA is a Defense 
Department project that is creating a range of technologies for a 
surveillance society. Here's a taste of what it plans to do: 

~ Expand Communications Surveillance Capabilities - TIA wants 
computers to look and listen for "interesting" information and 
patterns in our electronic communications (phone calls, e-mail, 
instant messaging, websites, etc.) using speech-to-text, language 
translation and text-mining technologies. 

~ Link and Search All Public and Private Databases - TIA wants to 
build a virtual "meta-base" of information that would include 
everything from your child's medical history to what groceries you 
buy. This would also be passively searched for patterns. 

~ Biometric Identification - TIA proposes aggressive research into 
biometric surveillance technology like facial, iris, expression, and 
gait recognition. This technology would allow your movements to be 
tracked without your consent or knowledge. 
If TIA continues, the government will effectively have wiretaps, 
dossiers, and tracking devices for every American citizen. But don't 
worry, it's headed by John Poindexter. 

That's right. In a head-shaking lack of institutional memory, TIA is 
brought to you by Admiral John Poindexter. You may remember him from 
such classics as "Iran-Contra Affair" and "Felony Conviction for 
Lying to Congress" (later overturned on a technicality). As Senator 
Charles Schumer said in a recent New York Daily News interview, "If 
we need a big brother, John Poindexter is the last guy on the list 
that I would choose." 

Currently, TIA is a proposed set of tools with no concrete policy 
guidelines. Nobody knows who will have the authority to use these 
tools, whether they will have to get a warrant, or who they will 

Senators Dianne Feinstein and Daniel Inouye have recently called for 
increased scrutiny of TIA and promised to draft legislation freezing 
its funds pending a full review of the project. Tell Congress that 
snooping on American citizens like this is, well, un-American. Stop 
the TIA! 

Here's what you can do: 

1. Urge Senator Orrin Hatch (likely to be the next Chair of the 
Judiciary Committee) to hold public hearings! 

2. Tell Senator Ted Stevens (likely to be the next Chair of the 
Appropriations Committee) to cut TIA funding! 

3. Join EFF! 


* Court Considers Morpheus Peer-to-Peer Software Case

Lawyers Cite Consumer Rights and Technology Innovation

Los Angeles - Attorneys argued in federal court recently over a 
copyright lawsuit brought by entertainment companies against 
StreamCast Networks, maker of the popular Morpheus peer-to-peer (P2P) 

Federal District Court Judge Stephen Wilson will likely rule on both 
sides' motions for summary judgment within the next few weeks. 

Major entertainment companies sued the technology companies behind 
the Morpheus, Grokster, and Kazaa P2P software claiming the 
technology companies should be responsible for the public's use of 
the software to infringe copyrights. 

The entertainment companies asked that the court rule in their favor 
without a trial. StreamCast and Grokster filed motions arguing that 
these software companies are no more liable for copyright 
infringement than Sony was for distributing the Betamax VCR. 

After the two-hour session, Judge Wilson announced that he will issue 
a ruling shortly, but that the ruling may be a "speaking order" where 
he will invite the parties to give additional comment before a final 
ruling. No trial date has yet been set. 

"This case is broader than StreamCast and P2P technology," said Steve 
Griffin, Streamcast's CEO, who attended the hearing. "It is about the 
rights of consumers to share information freely and technology 
companies to innovate freely." 

"This case is not about stopping piracy; it's about controlling new 
technologies," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff 
Attorney Fred von Lohmann. EFF is serving as counsel to StreamCast 
along with the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. "The 
entertainment companies would like to transform copyright law into 
the power to crack down on technology innovators," said Charles 
Baker, attorney with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. "We don't think the 
judge will give them that power and look forward to his ruling." 

The case is MGM v. Grokster, CV 01-08541 SVW (PJWx), and is pending 
before Judge Wilson in the U.S. federal district court for the 
Central District of California. 

For this release: (coming 

Documents related to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer v. Grokster case: 


* Hollywood Gets Norway to Try Jon Johansen Three Years Later

Teenager Prosecuted for Watching His DVDs on Linux Computer
Oslo, Norway - The criminal trial against Jon Johansen, a Norwegian 
teenager who watched his DVDs on his Linux computer using a DVD 
descrambling program called DeCSS, will start in Norway this Monday, 
December 9. The trial is scheduled to last until Friday, December 13. 

After a request from the Motion Picture Association of America 
(MPAA), the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (OKOKRIM) charged Jon 
Johansen for unscrambling DVDs using DeCSS in 1999 when he was 15 
years old. 

Johansen is charged with violating the Norwegian Criminal Code 
section 145(2), which outlaws breaking into another person's locked 
property to gain access to data that one is not entitled to access. 

Johansen's prosecution marks the first time the Norwegian government 
has attempted to punish individuals for accessing their own property. 
Previously, the government used this law only to prosecute those who 
violated someone else's secure system, like a bank or telephone 
company system, in order to obtain another person's records. 

"Jon owned the DVDs and he's never been accused of copyright 
infringement or assisting in copyright infringement," noted EFF Legal 
Director Cindy Cohn. "Instead, he's facing criminal charges for 
taking the necessary steps to view his own DVDs on his own 

EFF assisted Jon in locating Norwegian counsel and setting up a 
defense fund. 

Johansen's indictment came more than two years after the MPAA 
initially contacted OKOKRIM prosecutors to request a criminal 
investigation of the Norwegian teen and his father, Per Johansen, who 
owned the equipment on which the DeCSS software was stored. The 
charges against Johansen's father were later dropped. 

Representing Jon Johansen in this case is Halvor Manshaus from the 
lawfirm Schjodt in Norway. 

For this advisory:

More on the Johansen case: 

Free Jon email list: 

Information on related DVD CCA cases: 


* Holiday Party (With PGP Key-Signing Extravaganza!)

WHEN: Tuesday, December 10th, 2002, at 7:00 PM Pacific Time
WHERE: Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA 94110 

No, we're not moving! But we are expanding to include the space next 
door. It is now the newest addition to EFF Headquarters. Come 
celebrate our new digs and the spirit of the holiday season with us. 
We'll have great food, beer, musical madness from the Funkmonsters, 
and the latest news on EFF from the ever-compelling John Perry Barlow 
and Shari Steele. 

This event is free and open to the general public. The Electronic 
Frontier Foundation ( is the leading civil 
liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital 
world. For more information, please see EFF's website. 

An RSVP is appreciated. Please contact: 

Let us know you're coming so we don't run out of food and holiday 

UPDATE: PGP Key-Signing Session at EFF Holiday Party! 

In response to popular demand, EFF will host a PGP key-signing 
session during the housewarming party. If you are a PGP user, you can 
help expand the web of trust by signing others' keys and getting 
others to sign your key. 

In order to participate, you will need to have a PGP key. 
the keysigning coordinator, Seth Schoen. If you do not send your key 
block beforehand, you will not be able to collect others' signatures. 
(Your key block is generated when you "export" your public key, and 
it begins with "-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----".) 

Additionally, you must bring a paper copy of your own key 
fingerprint, and you should bring identifying information sufficient 
to convince other attendees of your identity. 

If you have never attended a PGP keysigning event, you can see 

for general information on what a keysigning is and how to 

Note that EFF will facilitate the keysigning but will not itself sign 
any keys. Instead, you will collect signatures from fellow attendees. 

Again, in order to participate, send your key block to 
BEFORE the party! 


* Deep Links
Deep Links features noteworthy news items, victories, and threats 
from around the Internet. 

~ An Inside Look at China Filters 
Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman are back with a great report 
on China's Internet blockage.,1283,56699,00.html 

~ Madster Told to Pull the Plug
Judge orders embattled file-swapping service to turn off the power. 

~ FatWallet Fights Back! 
FatWallet is demanding payments for all damages, including costs and 
attorneys' fees, incurred in addressing some totally spurious DMCA 

~ Civil Rights Safe Zone
Cool grassroots initiative to get local communities to stand up for 
your civil rights. 

~ Paranoia Chic
Hilarious video on TIA from Mark Fiore. 


* Administrivia

EFFector is published by: 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax) 

Ren Bucholz, Activist 

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