EFFector Vol. 16, No. 31 November 10, 2003
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 270th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Verify the Vote: Tell Congress to Fight for Secure Elections!
- Judge Speeds Case on E-Voting Company's Threats Against Critics
- FCC Adopts Hollywood Tech Mandate: "Broadcast Flag" Stymies Innovation, Fair Use, and Competition
- Deep Links (9): Penn State Students Look Napster Gift Horse in the Mouth
- Staff Calendar: 11.12.03 - Seth Schoen speaks on Trusted Computing at SDForum, Mountain View, CA
Verify the Vote: Tell Congress to Fight for Secure Elections!
The 2004 presidential election might not be flawed like the last one was; it might be even worse. Communities across America are purchasing electronic voting (e-voting) machines, but the technology has serious security problems that need to be addressed. Most of the machines use "black box" software that hasn't been publicly reviewed for security. Almost none provide voter-verifiable paper ballots to detect fraud. And despite the efforts of one voting technology company to silence its critics, the public has become increasingly aware of the problems with e-voting. The bill has momentum with 62 sponsors, but we need your help. Send your representative a letter supporting the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (HR 2239), which would require openly reviewed software and voter-verifiable paper audit trails for all new e-voting machines.
Judge Speeds Case on E-Voting Company's Threats Against Critics
May Prevent Diebold From Suppressing Evidence of Voting Machine Flaws
San Jose, CA - A federal district court judge last week set an accelerated schedule for consideration of a request to halt legal harassment of Internet publishers. The lawsuit, brought by a nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) and two Swarthmore college students, seeks to bar electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Systems, Inc., from issuing further legal threats against ISPs.
Diebold has been issuing cease-and-desist letters to ISPs that host websites that either publish or link to a corporate email archive indicating flaws in the company's voting machines. The archive includes email messages written by Diebold employees discussing how to resolve, or in some cases, obfuscate these problems.
EFF and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School are providing legal representation in this important case to prevent abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting, the very foundation of our democratic process.
"We are pleased that the court has recognized the urgency of our case against Diebold with an expedited schedule," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "Diebold must not be permitted to use unfounded copyright claims to stifle public debate over the accuracy of electronic voting machines."
Judge Jeremy Fogel of the federal district court in San Jose, California will hear Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Inc. (Case Number C-03-04913 JF) on November 17, 2003.
- Full press release
- Online Policy Group v. Diebold case archive
- EFF media release: "Security Researchers Discover Huge Flaws in E-voting System"
- Machine Politics in the Digital Age (Registration required)
- Diebold Voting Case Tests DMCA
- Diebold Threatens Publishers of Leaked Electronic-voting Documents
- Students Fight E-Vote Firm
FCC Adopts Hollywood Tech Mandate
"Broadcast Flag" Stymies Innovation, Fair Use, and Competition
Washington, DC - Claiming that it is an "anti-piracy mechanism," the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week issued an order mandating that consumer devices capable of receiving broadcast digital television (DTV) signals must implement content control technologies demanded by the entertainment industry. The "broadcast flag" mandate will go into effect by July 1, 2005.
"The FCC today has taken a step that will shape the future of television," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Sadly, this represents a step in the wrong direction, a step that will undermine innovation, fair use, and competition."
"The broadcast flag rule forces manufacturers to remove useful recording features from television products you can buy today," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen. "The FCC has decided that the way to get Americans to adopt digital TV is to make it cost more and do less."
Deep Links features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
- Mission: Creep
Enacted to fight terrorism, the USA PATRIOT Act is now being wielded in a corruption probe involving exotic dancers and politicians.
- Smile - It's Candid Cellphone
80 million camera-equipped cellphones have been sold since 2002. How will privacy law apply to a population that surveils itself?
- CD Sales - Correlation vs. Causation (Ad-view nonsense required.)
CD sales are having a resurgence, in tandem with the economy's. The recording industry insists that new sales are due to its litigation campaign, but this author is skeptical of the purchase-under-gunpoint theory.
- Penn State Students Look Napster Gift Horse in the Mouth
After striking a deal with the new Napster, Penn State is offering its students all the tethered, expiring, non-burnable, limited-inventory, major label downloads they can eat. For reasons that utterly escape us, some students have decided that the new service isn't worth the tuition money required to support it.
- Sony and BMG Propose Merger
The happy couple are now in line behind Time/Warner and EMI at the antitrust altar. If each union is blessed, we will have three major record labels instead of five.
- Is It Live, or Is It Terrorex?
Both. "Terrorex 04" is a "live threat simulation" activity at a convention billed as the premier government venue for homeland security strategy and technology implementation.
- Coding for Democracy
An open-source e-voting initiative, with software to be distributed under an open license. Programmers needed.
- New Zealander Jailed for Anti-war Email Message
A U.S. Embassy worker in Wellington took offense to an email message by Bruce Hubbard criticizing U.S. war actions; now Hubbard has landed in court.
- Hardware for P2P Radio
A Japanese company has introduced "PeerGarden," the first radio officially to use PeerCast's peer-to-peer webcasting system.
- EU Battles for Sane Patent Policy - Again
The EU Parliament voted to stop the software patent scourge, but the UK Patent Office is fighting the historic decision. Here's the color-coded scoop from the UK's Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, which is asking UK residents to fax their MPs.
For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit: http://www.eff.org/calendar/
- November 12 - Seth Schoen will be speaking on Trusted Computing at the SDForum Mountain Vew, CA - 7:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.
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