EFFector Vol. 17, No. 26 July 15, 2004
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 298th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Induce Act Hearing Rescheduled - Keep Up the Pressure!
- CAPPS II Cancelled: Department of Homeland Security Puts Stake in the Heart of Passenger-Profiling System
- Citizens Unite for "Computer Ate My Vote" E-Voting Rallies
- The DoJ Report on PATRIOT: Style, Not Substance
- Audible (Not So) Magic
- Join EFF for Freedom Fest 2004 on August 4th - LinuxWorld Attendees Invited!
- MiniLinks (11): Breaking Down Councilman
- Staff Calendar: 07.23.04 - Wendy Seltzer speaks at BlogOn, Berkeley, CA; 07.26.04 - 07.28.04 - Wendy Seltzer speaks at PFIR's "Preventing the Internet Meltdown"; 07.30.04 - 08.01.04 - Kevin Bankston, Annalee Newitz, Seth Schoen, and Wendy Seltzer speak at Defcon 12, Las Vegas, NV; 08.04.04 - EFF
Action Alert: Induce Act Hearing Rescheduled - Keep Up the Pressure!
The Senate Judiciary Committee has taken the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (Induce Act, S.2560) off the fast track, scheduling a hearing on the bill next Thursday. This is good news for the public, but the recording industry is going on the offensive, turning up its rhetoric in an effort to scare common sense out of the debate. In a letter sent to the Judiciary Committee and all 100 senators, RIAA president Mitch Bainwol insists that critics of the bill are missing the point, and that the Induce Act is a "moral behavioral test that targets the bad guys."
But the wording of the legislation itself doesn't support Bainwol's claims. By making it illegal to "aid, abet, or induce copyright infringement," the Induce Act could make companies liable for violations committed by their customers. This extends liability so far that it threatens both current and future technologies. Under the Induce Act, creators of the next iPod or VCR would be forced to subject themselves to approval from every major copyright holder before even getting to market. That's too high a price to pay to satisfy the recording industry in its witch-hunt for peer-to-peer file sharing.
More than 6,000 EFF supporters have already written to their senators to stop the Induce Act from giving copyright holders this kind of veto power over new technologies. Now it's time to turn up the volume. Forward this message to five of your friends, family members, or co-workers, and ask them to support copyright balance, not copyright bullies.
Send a letter to stop the Induce Act today:
CAPPS II Cancelled: Department of Homeland Security Puts Stake in the Heart of Passenger-Profiling System
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced yesterday that development of CAPPS II - the government's controversial airline passenger surveillance program - will not continue.
According to USA Today, Ridge responded to the question of whether the program could be considered dead by gesturing "as if he were driving a stake through its heart," and answering, "Yes."
Said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien, "Finally, the Department of Homeland Security has recognized what EFF has been saying all along: the proposed CAPPS II system would be an ineffective, expensive, and unnecessary invasion of travelers' privacy."
For this breaking news item:
Citizens Unite for "Computer Ate My Vote" E-Voting Rallies
Activists Deliver 350,000 Petition Signatures to Support Election Integrity
On Tuesday, July 13, thousands of people in 19 states sent a powerful message to policymakers: election integrity matters. Participants in the "Computer Ate My Vote" Day of Action delivered 350,000 petition signatures calling for voter-verifiable paper ballots. They also asked local election officials to support auditable voting machines. The day was a huge success, generating major media coverage all across the country.
The "Computer Ate My Vote" rallies were sponsored by EFF, MoveOn.org, VerifiedVoting.org, TrueMajority, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Democracy for America, Common Cause, and countless local activists. Our friends at TrueMajority were kind enough to send these highlights:
Crowd estimates ranged up to 250 at the rally, which was attended by state officeholders and candidates in addition to long-time voting activists from Boulder and Denver. Things got exciting when about 50 of those folks crossed the street to deliver their 13,411 petition signatures to Secretary of State Donetta Davidson's office, where they were intercepted by building security and then city police. After some negotiation, the group was allowed into the building. They asked to see the Secretary or a representative, only to be provided with an unintentional bit of comic relief when the receptionist claimed "they're all out to lunch."
Ben Cohen - TrueMajority President and co-founder of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream - was joined by state senators and delegates of both parties at a rally in Annapolis staged by local activist group TrueVoteMD and attended by more than 100 citizens. Local television affiliates, National Public Radio, and at least six print journalists showed up to take in the festivities. Governor Robert Ehrlich would not accept our stack of petitions, citing "homeland security concerns," but did allow a delegation to speak to Lt. Governor Michael Steele. "It was really the best America has to offer," Cohen reported. "Average citizens who are concerned about our democracy, taking time out of their lives to help make sure our elections are fair."
About 150 activists packed a hearing room in the Texas statehouse, spilling out into the hallway and cheering the remarks of paper ballot activist Bev Harris and computer security expert Dan Wallach. "It got really rowdy," said Abbe Delozier, one of the rally organizers. Sign-toting Code Pink activists outside added to the atmosphere. Television news crews and major state print outlets like the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Observer asked so many questions that the event stretched on for two hours.
Over 200 folks rallied at the statehouse, along with balloons, banners, and a 6 foot-tall smoking, buzzing mockup of a malfunctioning voting machine. ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates attended, and two film crews recorded the delivery of the petitions.
There are a lot more good stories, but EFFector isn't big enough to hold them. Check out the links below for more information about e-voting, plus a sampling of the press coverage of this extraordinary day.
EFF "Verify the Vote" campaign:
"Voting Machine Critics Rally Across the Nation, Seeking Paper
Trail by November":
"Remember Chads? They've Hung Around":
"E-Voting Backup Is Demanded":
(The Salt Lake Tribune)
"Demand for Paper Trail Escalates":
The DoJ Report on PATRIOT: Style, Not Substance
Responding to growing public and congressional criticism of the USA PATRIOT Act, the Department of Justice this week released a new report singing its praises.
As other commentators have already pointed out, the DoJ report, entitled "Report from the Field: The USA PATRIOT Act at Work," contains precious little new or meaningful information. Instead, it functions primarily as a public relations vehicle, parroting the DoJ's well-worn party line about the benefits of the Act while failing to address specific and legitimate concerns about how PATRIOT is being used and whether the new investigative powers it grants are actually necessary for fighting terrorism.
For example, the report contains absolutely no discussion of the most controversial PATRIOT provisions, including sections 215 and 505, which gave the DoJ broad new authority to demand your private records with little or no judicial oversight, and section 213, which authorized delayed notice, or "sneak and peek," searches.
At the same time, the DoJ glosses over any problems with the PATRIOT sections that it deigns to cite. For example, the report speaks glowingly of PATRIOT's changes to the criminal definition of providing "material support" to terrorists, yet fails to mention that one federal court has already found this new definition unconstitutional.
PATRIOT was originally sold to Congress and the public as an anti-terrorism measure, but nearly a third of the cases the DoJ cites do not involve terrorism at all. Instead, provisions that strip us of our most fundamental rights as U.S. citizens are being used to investigate garden-variety crimes like credit card fraud.
Any incursion on our civil liberties must be clearly justified, but this report fails to show that pre-PATRIOT surveillance powers were inadequate. The only real benefit the DoJ cites, and repeats in example after example, is investigative speed - with fewer judicial safeguards to comply with, investigators were able to do their work faster. But speed alone does not justify removing these critical safeguards - if it were, we would dispense altogether with the constitutional requirement that investigators get search warrants to come into our homes, or wiretap orders to listen to our phone conversations.
"The Department of Justice report on PATRIOT is a prime example of 'style over substance,' offering little concrete information about the Act's uses or potential abuses," said Kevin Bankston, EFF attorney and Bruce J. Ennis/Equal Justice Works fellow. "The American people should not blindly accept the DoJ's PATRIOT propaganda, but, rather, should demand that Congress undertake a comprehensive review of PATRIOT's implementation."
Ask Congress to review PATRIOT:
More about the USA PATRIOT Act:
Audible (Not So) Magic
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been touting technologies offered by Audible Magic as the cure for peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing on university (and high school!) campuses. The company has also been making the rounds of congressional offices in Washington, DC, talking up its technologies as a silver bullet for P2P infringement.
While we at EFF support universities taking steps to educate staff and students about copyright law and control excessive bandwidth usage, it's important that universities are not sold expensive, ineffective solutions simply to appease the public relations needs of the RIAA. EFF Staff Technologist Chris Palmer took a close look at how Audible Magic's "filtering" technology works and argues that it's no silver bullet.
"Session encryption for file transfers based on ephemeral keys represents a cheap, easily implemented countermeasure that would effectively frustrate Audible Magic's 'filtering' technology," writes Palmer. "Based on publicly available information, it does not appear that this vulnerability can be easily remedied. Should Audible Magic's technology be widely adopted, it is likely that P2P file-sharing applications would be revised to implement encryption. Accordingly, network administrators will want to ask Audible Magic tough questions before investing in the company's technology, lest the investment be rendered worthless by the next P2P 'upgrade.'"
EFF analysis: "Audible Magic - No Silver Bullet"
Join EFF for Freedom Fest 2004 on August 4th - LinuxWorld Attendees Invited!
Join EFF and three Bay Area bands for an afternoon of live music and outdoor fun at EFF's Freedom Fest 2004, generously sponsored by Red Hat. The free outdoor concert will be held at Yerba Buena Gardens on Wednesday, August 4th, 2004 from 5-8 p.m. just across the street from the LinuxWorld Conference at Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. Featured artists are Austin Willacy, Josh Fix and the Furious Force, and Megan Slankard Band.
miniLinksminiLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
Fair Use or "Fair and Balanced"
Lawrence Lessig's recent op-ed on the fair use argument for using clips from Fox News to criticize its reporting:
Understanding the Media Monopoly
A great introduction to the FCC's controversial media ownership rules (or lack thereof). Required reading:
Big Content/Big Tech Form New DRM Consortium
The new conglomeration will focus on finding ways to jam Hollywood-friendly restrictions into home networks:
Breaking Down Councilman
Orin Kerr with a wonderful post on why the decision is such bad news for privacy:
The students at FreeCulture.org announce a unique campaign to promote free speech and fair uses of copyrighted material:
Fair Use and Academic Publishing - Q & A
An online colloquy by the Chronicle of Higher Education, featuring EFF's Wendy Seltzer:
Bionic Mexican Politicos Vow to Fight Crime
We're totally serious. Mexico's attorney general says that a microchip implanted in his arm - and the arms of other staffers - gives him access to a futuristic crime database and allow him to be located if kidnapped:
Canadian P2P Redux
The RIAA's analog in Canada, the CRIA, appealed the recent ruling that essentially legalized P2P:
100% Increase in Number of Files Downloaded Using P2P
Two new studies suggest that peer-to-peer file sharing is booming, despite a yearlong campaign of lawsuits and congressional saber-rattling. We're not going to say we told you so, but...
The Evils of...Used Books?
Publishers are scared that easy-to-find offerings from used-book vendors will sink the industry:
(Registration unfortunately required.)
Dispatch from the Copyright Wars
Dan Gillmor's Sunday column looks at recent developments - good and bad - in the legislative battles over copyright reform:
Plot Hole Discovered in Hollywood's Story on Piracy and Profits
A new study from Tinseltown says that movie piracy is on the rise. But last week they also announced that the industry is healthier - and more profitable - than ever before:
Ask Not for Whom These Copyright Bills Toll
PC World examines this year's crop of copyright bills and finds that business interests are once again trouncing the public's rights:
Who's Really Looking Out for Artists Online?
P2P companies are developing ways to pay artists - without the support of record labels:
Aussie Faces Extradition for Copyright Infringement
This is the first that we've heard about extradition for copyright offenses, but it probably won't be the last:
Hollywood Rolls Out New Piracy-Resistant Screeners
Will it work? We think this quote from Academy President Frank Pierson may turn out to be accidentally prescient: "It certainly looked foolproof to us":
VoIP Running the Regulatory Gauntlet
The budding Internet telephony industry is under a number of government microscopes. Declan McCullagh wonders if it will survive the scrutiny:
EFF on the application of pre-existing wiretap laws to VoIP:
Squatters Leave Kerry-Edwards Campaign Homeless on the Web
Domain name speculators have snapped up the most obvious choices for the Democratic ticket's web presence:
(Registration unfortunately required.)
California Email System Springs a Leak, Sends Employee Data to...
Sweden? The strange story of a Swedish company that's been randomly receiving sensitive emails - employee salary data and financial info, for instance - from a California county for two years:
For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit the full calendar.
July 23 -
Wendy Seltzer speaks at BlogOn UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Berkeley, CA 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
July 26-28 -
Wendy Seltzer speaks at PFIR's "Preventing the Internet Meltdown Los Angeles, CA
July 30 - August 1 -
Kevin Bankston, Annalee Newitz, Seth Schoen, and Wendy Seltzer speak at Defcon 12, Las Vegas, NV
August 4 -
EFF holds Freedom Fest 2004 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Yerba Buena Gardens San Francisco, CA
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