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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 3 - Don't Let the INS Violate Your Privacy

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 3       January 31, 2003     ren@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 240th Issue of EFFector:

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ALERT: Don't Let the INS Violate Your Privacy! (Feb. 3rd Deadline)

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has proposed a new rule that would require all individuals leaving or entering the United States -- including U.S. citizens -- to provide detailed personal information in advance of an aircraft or vessel's arrival in or departure from the United States. This rule harms personal privacy and flies in the face of Americans' Constitutional right to travel. It has also been rushed through Washington without adequate time for public comment. EFF only recently became aware of the rule-making which ends on Monday, February 3rd.

Tell the INS how you feel about this program with the EFF Action Center! It's fast, free, and easy. Learn more and take action here:

http://action.eff.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=2436

The proposed INS rule is available at:
http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/02-33145.htm

EFF Submits Comments to FCC Requesting More Open Spectrum

EFF recently filed comments on the report of the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Spectrum Policy Task Force, asking the Commission to continue to investigate new models for spectrum allocation. EFF specifically suggested techniques that would result in reduced spectrum scarcity and increased options for unlicensed use of the airwaves. The creation of the unlicensed "ISM" (Instrumentation, Scientific and Medical) band paved the way for WiFi, Bluetooth, and other innovative wireless technologies. The FCC is investigating ways of building on the success of this experiment, and EFF is pleased to be a part of that policy-making process.

Links:

EFF's spectrum filing

Stanford's upcoming conference on open spectrum:
Spectrum Policy: Property or Commons?
Stanford Law School
March 1-2, 2003

EFF Submits Comments on "German DMCA"

As part of its ongoing effort to avoid the worldwide export of overbroad DMCA-type legislation, EFF submitted comments this week to the German judicial commission, which is considering draft DMCA-type legislation. The German judicial commission is currently holding hearings on draft German legislation to implement the 2001 European Union Copyright Directive (EUCD). Article 6 of the EUCD requires European member countries to pass national legislation to provide "adequate legal protection" for "technological measures." Member countries were required to pass national legislation by December 21, 2002, but so far only two European countries have decided to do so.

EFF's comments focus on the U.S. experience with the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, including the chilling effect those provisions have had on free speech and scientific research, their use to stifle innovation and competition, and their use to drastically reduce consumers' existing fair use rights. EFF's comments focus on the scope of protection that should be provided to copyright owners' "technological measures" and recommend provisions to protect German consumers' existing legal rights to make private, non-commercial uses of copyright works and to maintain the copyright balance inherent in German law.

Links:

EFF's comments

Transcript of Oral Argument Before FISA Appeals Court now Available

Last November, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR) allowed the Justice Department to use special foreign intelligence surveillance powers in criminal investigations.

The transcript of the 3-hour, first-ever oral argument before the FISCR (Sept. 9, 2002) provides an unprecedented look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) after it was amended by the Patriot Act.

A coalition of civil liberties groups, including EFF, had opposed DOJ in a brief amicus curiae submitted after the oral argument.

The case began in May after the lower Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rejected a DOJ proposal to allow FISA to be used for criminal investigations and to allow prosecutors to direct and control FISA surveillance. Instead, the FISC modified the DOJ proposal, reciting a history of government abuse that included serious errors in at least 75 cases (PDF).

EFF hopes to have a text version in a few days and thanks the office of Senator Patrick Leahy for the hard copy.

Links:

Skipping Commercials is not a Crime

Attention ReplayTV Owners:

As many of you know, Hollywood bigwigs have started claiming that skipping commercials is a violation of copyright law. Based on this ridiculous claim, they have unleashed their lawyers on SonicBlue, the creator of the ReplayTV. In response to concern from ReplayTV customers, EFF brought a lawsuit on behalf of Craig Newmark of Craigslist.org and four other ReplayTV owners to declare that the use of the ReplayTV, including the commercial skipping feature, is completely legal.

We are preparing the case for trial (currently scheduled for October, 2003) but we need your help. In order to counter Hollywood's claims, we need to hire one or two expert witnesses to dig through Hollywood's claims about the potential effect of consumer use of the ReplayTV on the markets for television and movies on TV. We have experts who are willing to do the work, but they need to be compensated for the substantial amount of time this will take.

We're asking for special, targeted donations from ReplayTV owners and others so that we can hire these experts and put on the best case possible for Craig and co.

Willing to help out? Become an EFF member or one-time donor by visiting:

https://www.eff.org/perl/join/

In the Comment section, note that the funds are for "Experts in the ReplayTV Case." You can get more information by emailing:

barak@eff.org

Who Controls Your Digital Media? Shouldn't it Be You? (19 Days Left!)

Have you had trouble playing a CD in your car or computer? Do you hate the inability to fast forward through the advertisements on your DVDs? Ever been unable to play a foreign DVD on a player you bought in the U.S.? If so, you know there's something wrong with this picture.

You may not know it, but these kinds of problems are made possible by a U.S. law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Every three years, the Librarian of Congress looks at how the DMCA is working and decides whether to make exemptions for people who want to use their digital media in legitimate ways. The process ends on February 19th and will not be open again for three years.

This may sound complicated, but making a difference can be simple.

What You Can Do

We're looking for real world examples of how access to digital media is being hampered, and that's where you come in. All you need to do is tell the Librarian that you're sick of not being able to use the stuff you buy in the ways you want.

This is your chance to stand up and fight! Your story will be submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of our efforts to seek DMCA exemptions.

We can only accept stories that fall into these categories:

  • Copy protected CDs that won't play in devices like your car stereo or computer
  • Region-coded DVDs that don't work in a player you purchased in the U.S.
  • DVDs with promotional material you couldn't skip
  • DVDs of public domain movies that you can't use in a way that you want

If you don't personally have examples but know of someone who does, please tell us about them or let them know about our search and encourage them to contact us.

So jump up from the sidelines and transcend the borders of your web browser! Now you can do something concrete to stop our digital freedoms from becoming just fond memories. Visit this page to fight for your rights:

http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/2003-DMCA-1201-comments.php

SXSW Giveaway for EFFector Subscribers

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival, scheduled for March 7-11 in Austin, TX, is offering EFFector subscribers a chance to win one of two free registrations. Value of each registration is $250. Travel expenses are not included

To be eligible to receive one of these freebies, send an email titled "EFF/SXSW Registration Giveaway" to "hugh@sxsw.com." Please include in this email a two-sentence explanation of why you are most deserving to get the free registration; more than two sentences, and your entry will be disqualified.

All entries must be received by 5:00 pm CST on Monday, February 3. One winner will be selected randomly from all entries received; the other winner will be selected on the merit of the two-sentence mini-essay. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 5.

The SXSW Interactive Festival brings together some of the web's most creative people. EFF Outreach Coordinator Cory Doctorow will talk about "The Hollywood Agenda" on Tuesday, March 11. Others scheduled to speak at SXSW 2003 include Lawrence Lessig, Bruce Sterling, Joshua Davis, Steven Champeon, Heather Champ, Derek Powazek, Justin Hall, Jesse James Garrettt, Po Bronson, Philip Kaplan, Jeffrey Zeldman and numerous others.

For more information, see:
http://www.sxsw.com/interactive

Thanks to Mailman Developers

EFF would like to thank the developers of the open source mailing list program Mailman for version 2.1. Thanks also to Jon Carnes for writing a special patch for EFF, making it possible for us to upgrade the software.

Deep Links

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

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Editor:
Ren Bucholz, Activist
  ren@eff.org

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