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EFFector - Volume 16, Issue 4 - EFF Urges Support for Wyden-Feinstein Measure to Stop "Total Information Awareness" Program

EFFector       Vol. 16, No. 4       February 7, 2003     ren@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 243rd Issue of EFFector:

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ALERT: EFF Urges Support for Wyden-Feinstein Measure to Stop "Total Information Awareness" Program

Measure's Fate Now Rests with House/Senate Conference Committee

Washington, D.C. - There's growing opposition to the Defense Department's "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) program, which envisions creating technologies for scanning vast amounts of personal information in search of "suspicious" activity patterns.

Congress has taken a crucial first step toward protecting the civil liberties and privacy of innocent people in the United States. On Jan. 23rd, the Senate voted in favor of the Wyden-Feinstein amendment to the current omnibus appropriations bill (Senate Amendment No. 59) which would block the deployment of any TIA program until it has specifically authorized and appropriated funds. Exceptions in the amendment allow a TIA program to be used to support a lawful military operation or a lawful foreign intelligence activity conducted wholly overseas or wholly against non-U.S. persons, it should effectively preclude the use of TIA inside the United States against citizens.

The battle now shifts to a conference committee that will iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill (the House version does not contain the Wyden-Feinstein amendment). Defense Department representatives have been busy on Capitol Hill defending TIA in briefings to members of the conference committee. If they are successful, the Wyden-Feinstein amendment will be watered down or killed.

EFF believes that the amendment is needed to slow down the push for TIA. The Pentagon is already working with the FBI to plot the use of TIA programs for domestic surveillance and law enforcement. Further legislative action will, of course, be necessary to put a complete stop to TIA and similar initiatives that will vastly expand suspicionless government collection and use of personal information, like the CAPPS II (Computer Assisted Passenger Profiling System) program of the Transportation Security Administration.

EFF urges its members to demand that their representatives in Congress support the amendment, especially those who live in districts represented by legislators on the conference committee. If the amendment makes it through the joint committee, TIA will be halted for now. It's up to you and your Representative; stop TIA!

Links:

Use EFF's Action Center to make your voice heard. It's fast, free, and easy.

When you're done, feel free to make a donation to EFF:

Text of Wyden-Feinstein amendment.

EFF's TIA information page.


Verizon Continues its Attempts to Protect Customer Privacy

As EFFector readers know, Verizon has been waging a furious battle to protect its customers' privacy. The RIAA has claimed that it should be able to force Verizon and all other ISPs to turn over all identifying information about Internet users based solely on the RIAA's assertion that the person has infringed copyrights. The RIAA claims that a provision of the DMCA known as 512(h) grants it, and any other copyright holder, this sweeping new power. This would be a fundamental departure from the current law, which requires that a lawsuit be filed with legitimate evidence of actual infringement before a person's privacy is violated. This traditionally accepted principle -- that people have privacy until they are proven guilty -- is what the RIAA now wants turned on its head.

On January 30, 2003, Verizon filed a motion for a stay to prevent the District Court order from going into effect until it had a chance to appeal the decision. The next day, on January 31, 2003, the District Court set a schedule for briefs on the question of whether Verizon should get to keep its subscriber's name private until the appeal is heard. Under the schedule, a hearing will be held on this issue on February 13, 2003, at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 21 of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, DC.

EFF is continuing to monitor the case closely and will participate in the appeal. We're also keeping an archive of the case.


Winning (DMCA) Exemptions, The Next Round

EFF Hosts Seth Finkelstein's New Primer

EFF is pleased to announce the release of "Winning (DMCA) Exemptions, The Next Round," a wonderfully succinct guide to the comment-making process written by Seth Finkelstein, who proposed one of the only two exemptions granted in the last Library of Congress Rule-making.

Seth's guide explains the process in clear and simple English. The guide tells you how you can submit effective comments and participate in shaping copyright law policy. If you are having difficulties making lawful use of particular digital media because of a technological protection access control, we encourage you to submit comments to the Librarian of Congress.

Links:

"Winning (DMCA) Exemptions, The Next Round"

EFF is helping individuals fight for DMCA exemptions.


Deep Links

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


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