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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 26 - Who Controls Your Computer? EFF Reports on Trusted Computing

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 26       October 5, 2003

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 265th Issue of EFFector:


Who Controls Your Computer?

EFF Reports on Trusted Computing

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Thursday published a
landmark report on trusted computing, a technology designed to improve security
through hardware changes to the personal computer.

The report, entitled "Trusted Computing: Promise and Risk," maintains that
computer owners themselves, rather than the companies that provide software and
data for use on the computer, should retain control over the security measures
installedhon their computers. Any other approach, says the report's author Seth
Schoen, carries the risk of anti-competitive behavior by which software
providers may enforce "security measures" that prevent interoperability when
using a competitor's software.

" Helping computer owners defend their computers against attacks is progress in
computer security, but treating computer owners themselves as the bad guys is
not," said Schoen. "Security architectures must be designed to put the computer
owner's interests first, not to lock the owner into the plans of others."

Links:


Passenger Profiling Violates Rights, Doesn't Improve Safety

Electronic Frontier Foundation Urges Privacy in Air Security

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with
PrivacyActivism, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, C.A.S.P.I.A.N., and others,
submitted formal comments on September 30th to the Privacy Office of the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), urging it to stop development of a
proposed airline passenger screening program administered by the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA).

"We're concerned that the Homeland Security Department's CAPPS II plan
sacrifices the privacy and civil liberties of travelers without a logical
connection to safety and security," said EFF Attorney Kevin Bankston, an Equal
Justice Works / Bruce J. Ennis Fellow. "The CAPPS II passenger profiling scheme
should not proceed until its proponents address serious questions about privacy,
due process, accuracy, and effectiveness, as Congress recognized last week when
it halted implementation of CAPPS II pending further review."

Links:


Total/Terrorism Information Awareness: Is It Truly Dead?

EFF: It's Too Early to Tell

Late in September, Congress ended funding for Terrorism Information Awareness
(TIA) by passing HR 2658, a fiscal 2004 Defense appropriations bill that has yet
to be signed by the President. But is TIA truly dead? EFF believes that it is
too early to tell.

Congress eliminated funding for the Office for Information Awareness, but it has
allowed the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue to
research and develop "dataveillance" tools, so long as they are not used within
the United States. While EFF is pleased that these tools will not be developed
specifically for domestic use, we are concerned that their development for
foreign intelligence purposes continues to pose civil liberties risks -
especially since it appears that they are to be developed under a classified
" black budget" with little, if any, public accountability.

In addition, Congress has also expressly allowed several former TIA programs to
continue, including the Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition
Technology (Bio-ALIRT), Rapid Analytic Wargaming, Wargaming the Asymmetric
Environment, and Automated Speech and Text Exploitation in Multiple Languages
(including Babylon and Symphony).

Finally, TIA was never the only domestic dataveillance program. EFF is
campaigning to stop implementation of the Computer Assisted Passenger
Pre-Screening System (CAPPS II), which gathers personal information about each
airline passenger from unidentified government databases as well as commercial
data sources. But CAPPS II is only one domestic surveillance initiative, and
neither it nor the other programs in development is subject to the TIA
"overseas-only" provision.

In light of these ongoing threats to citizens' privacy and civil liberties, EFF
concludes that even if TIA is "dead," the need for continued Congressional
oversight and a strong regulatory framework remains great. We ask for a status
report on the tools being developed for foreign surveillance, as well as on TIA
biometric programs. We also strongly support Senator Russ Feingold's (D-WI)
Data Mining Moratorium Act (S. 188) and Senator Ron Wyden's (D-OR) Citizens'
Protection in Federal Databases Act of 2003 (S. 1484), and we urge constituents
to join us in this support.

Links:


Plan for Library Book Tagging Generates Privacy Concerns

Electronic Frontier Foundation Advises Public Library

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sent a letter on
Wednesday to the San Francisco Public Library Commission (SFPLC) warning of
privacy concerns in the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging of
library books.

The SFPLC is considering a budget for RFID technology for the library system
starting in 2004 with implementation in 2005. Under the plan, San Francisco
libraries would place a computer chip in library books and other materials to
facilitate tracking of the books through the library system as well as on loan
to patrons. Library staff, as well as potentially other persons, could use RFID
sensor devices to determine the location, title, and potentially other
information about the library materials.

"RFID technology raises great privacy concerns because insecure RFID tags permit
inventorying of people's possessions and tracking of people via their
possessions," explained EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien in the letter.
" Libraries have long been very protective of library patron privacy given that
surveillance of reading and borrowing records chills the exercise of First
Amendment rights."

Links:


Digital Copyright Law Still Damaging After All These Years

Electronic Frontier Foundation Updates Landmark Report

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Friday released an
update of its landmark report on problems with digital copyright law entitled
"Unintended Consequences: Five Years Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act"
(DMCA).

"Congress intended the DMCA to target criminals who pick digital locks to engage
in mass piracy," said EFF Staff Attorney Gwen Hinze. "Yet in practice the DMCA's
anti-circumvention provisions have stifled the legitimate activities of
scientists, scholars, business competitors, journalists, publishers, consumers,
and the general public."

Additions to the report include sections that explore:

  • Chilling effects on scientific research and freedom of expression, including
    discussion of Andrew "Bunnie" Huang's book on X-box security vulnerabilities,
    which was dropped by publisher John Wiley
  • Anti-competitive uses of the DMCA and the stifling of technological
    innovation, including a briefing on the Chamberlain v. Skylink garage door
    opener case
  • New use of section 1201 as broad, general-purpose ban on accessing a computer
    system, including the story of a contract programmer held liable for accessing
    an ex-employer's computer system through a server via a virtual public network

"The DMCA has emerged over the past five years as a significant threat to a
number of important public policy principles," added Hinze. "Congress should
amend copyright law to preserve the constitutionally-mandated balance between
private incentives and public rights."

Links:


Unsafe Harbors: Abusive DMCA Subpoenas and Takedown Demands

DMCA 512 Horror Stories

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Friday published "Unsafe Harbors:
Abusive DMCA Subpoenas and Takedown Demands," a report tracking abuse of the
safe harbor provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

"Section 512 of the DMCA has often been used to invade the privacy of Internet
users, harass Internet service providers, and chill online speech - yet the
abuses tend to fall below the national radar," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy
Seltzer. "We hope to alert the public to the danger of giving copyright
claimants such sweeping powers."

The report includes examples garnered from the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse,
which maintains a database of cease-and-desist demands.

Links:


Australia's "DMCA" Under Review

Electronic Frontier Foundation Comments on Australian Digital Agenda

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed comments in Australia's
review of its own "DMCA" - the technological protection measures in the
Australian Copyright Act. EFF's comments are in response to an issues paper
released by law firm Phillips Fox, which is conducting a review of Australian
digital copyright law on behalf of the Australian Attorney General's Department.
EFF outlines the unintended consequences and misuses of the DMCA
anti-circumvention provisions in the United States, and recommends narrowing the
scope of the analogous section of the Australian Copyright Act in order to:

* Protect consumers' rights in digital media that they have purchased
* Provide leeway for scientists and computer researchers to conduct research and
engage in reverse-engineering
* Restore the balance in Australian copyright law between the rights of
copyright holders and those of the public

EFF also addresses ISP regulation, stressing the importance of procedural
safeguards and judicial oversight in any process adopted to identify ISP
subscribers, whether by subpoena or otherwise, as a safeguard to privacy. EFF
points out the deficiencies in the DMCA subpoena process, making note of
the recent erroneous and unjustified disclosures of subscribers' identities.

The Digital Agenda Review is the first review of the impact and operation of the
Australian anti-circumvention provisions, ISP liability, the interaction of
technology and copyright, and the impact of digital copyright law on libraries
and archives. A final report on the review process is expected in early 2004.

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), an Australian organization dedicated to
protecting the rights and freedoms of Internet users, also filed comments in
response to the issues paper.

Links:


Charity.com Names EFF "Charity of the Month."

Charity.com has chosen EFF as its "Charity of the Month." EFF is a member-supported nonprofit. Take the time now to join us or renew your membership!

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Deep Links

Deep Links features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.


Staff Calendar

For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit the calendar.


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