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EFFector - Volume 17, Issue 29 - Calling All Tech-Savvy Lawyers! Join EFF's Cooperating Attorneys List

EFFector       Vol. 17, No. 29       August 12, 2004

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 301st Issue of EFFector:


Calling All Tech-Savvy Lawyers! Join EFF's Cooperating Attorneys List

EFF receives thousands of requests for legal assistance from Internet users. Although we take some cases ourselves, we are often asked to refer cases to Internet-savvy attorneys. In the past few years, we've referred over $2 million worth of work and hundreds of pro bono cases to attorneys on the EFF Cooperating Attorneys list. It's a simple mailing list where we post short case descriptions noting the location, potential issue and basic case facts. We protect the clients' confidentiality, and interested attorneys simply drop us a note to get connected with the client.

If you are a tech-minded attorney and you want to be on the list, simply send an e-mail to katie@eff.org with a subject that says: "Add Me to Cooperating Attorneys." Thanks for your help!


Sunshine Sought for Texas Election Systems Examiners

Lawsuit Attacks Secrecy of Meetings Where E-Voting Machines Are Evaluated

Austin, TX - On Tuesday, August 10, the ACLU of Texas and a Texas voter filed a lawsuit demanding that the meetings of the state's voting examiners be held in public.

The voting examiners are responsible for studying electronic voting machines and other voting technologies and recommending to the Secretary of State which systems should be certified for use in Texas. In the past few years, the Secretary of State has routinely adopted the recommendations of the panel, yet he has rebuffed efforts by the public to observe the proceedings, claiming that the panel is not subject to Texas' Open Meetings Act.

Recently, the Texas Safe Voting Coalition obtained videotapes of previous meetings, including one involving Diebold, that suggest a lack of rigor and failure to properly address security and certification compliance issues.

"Texans deserve secure, reliable voting machines, and they deserve to see that the officials charged with certifying those machines are conducting a rigorous evaluation to ensure the systems are secure and effective," said Adina Levin of theTexas ACLU. "All aspects of the voting process in a democracy should be open and transparent, to give citizens confidence in their vote. The evaluation process should not be hidden behind closed doors."

The case, which will be handled by lead counsel Renea Hicks, seeks a ruling opening up the meetings prior to the upcoming August meeting of the examiners. The lawsuit comes on the heels of a letter filed with the Attorney General in July by Consumers Union that also argued that these closed meetings violate the Texas Open Meetings Act. "The public's interest in the state's certification of electronic voting equipment is high," noted Kathy Mitchell, Open Government Policy Analyst for Consumers Union. "The meetings of the examiners represent the critical point of deliberation during which key issues of interest to the public are discussed and debated."

"The country is beginning to look under the rug of election certifications and testing processes, and the scene is not pretty," added Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is serving as co-counsel in the case. "Opening up Texas certification processes should send a signal to testing and certification authorities nationwide that they must perform rigorous, public review of the systems that count our votes."

The Complaint is available here:

Texas Safe Voting Coalition (including clips of a January, 2004 examiner meeting):
http://safevoting.org/

For this release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2004_08.php#001809


Maryland E-Voting Suit Pushes to Decertify Diebold Machines

EFF and National Voter Rights Organizations Support Appeal to State's Highest Court

Maryland - On Monday, August 9, lawyers representing eight Maryland citizens filed a petition with the state supreme court seeking to decertify or fix Diebold voting machines that computer security experts have deemed insecure. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), working with over a dozen organizations concerned with voting integrity, has filed a friend of the court brief supporting the suit. Groups signing on to the brief include People for the American Way, Common Cause, Center for Constitutional Rights, America's Families United, and the Verified Voting Foundation.

In Schade v. Lamone, the plaintiffs ask that the state of Maryland address widely publicized security and reliability concerns with the Diebold machines and implement a voter verified paper ballot as required by state law. In the short term, the voters are seeking an injunction that would require the state to take steps to address these concerns before the November 2004 elections, including decertifying the machines altogether. The interim steps the lawsuit asks the state to take include implementing the same 23 basic security standards that California is now implementing, and offering Maryland voters the alternative of a paper ballot if they do not wish to have their vote counted by the Diebold machines.

EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said, "The Maryland court has the opportunity to make a more secure and accurate election in November."

If the Maryland supreme court agrees to hear the case, it would be the highest court in the country to consider this issue.

Friend of the court brief:
http://www.eff.org/Activism/E-voting/20040809_MD_Amicus.pdf

Documents in Schade v. Lamone:
http://www.truevotemd.org/petition.pdf

http://www.truevotemd.org/mandamus.pdf

For this release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2004_08.php#001807


Freedom Fest Roundup

EFF's Freedom Fest 2004 was another great success! Almost 2,500 people came to San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens, enjoyed fantastic music, surfed wirelessly, feasted on excellent fare, and learned more about EFF's work and recent victories. We couldn't have done it without help from our friends, and we would like to thank:

Austin Willacy and Paul Liszewski, Josh Fix and the Furious Force, the Megan Slankard Band, Red Hat Inc., Intel Inc., IDG World Expo, LinuxWorld Conference and Expo, Yerba Buena Arts and Entertainment, Metreon, Jillian's at Metreon, and EFF staff and interns.

Thank you!

For more information (including performer bios), please visit the EFF Freedom Fest 2004 page:
http://www.eff.org/freedomfest/


miniLinks


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

Developing Nations Choose Linux Over Windows
The price is right, and many are concerned about relying on Microsoft products.
http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-fg-linux9aug09,1,166750.story
(Registration unfortunately required.)

More Grassroots Opposition to the PATRIOT Act
The NY Times on "the 330 communities and 4 states that have condemned or expressed worry about the act."
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/08/national/08patriot.html
(Registration unfortunately required.)

Improving Canadian Copyright Law
Michael Geist examines the recording industry's proposed changes to Canadian copyright law and offers a few of his own.
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=231
(The Toronto Star)

Iran Cracks Down on Internet Use
A new law would increase jail terms for dissident speech and "give the police the power to search Internet users' homes or the premises of any legal entity involved in Internet activity, without a judge's authorisation."
http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_3200.shtml

555-SPAM Could Be Your Next Cellphone Number
A new bill may make it easier for cellphone spammers to send unsolicited text messages.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/06/junk_fax_sms_ok/

Napster Enrolls, Napster Enlists
The downloading service has been inking deals with colleges for over a year, and now they've agreed to let the U.S. military access the service for... drumroll... 10% off!
http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/news/editorial/9375301.htm

The Revolution Will Be Downloaded, then Televised
Farhad Manjoo on the important convergence of BitTorrent and RSS.
http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2004/08/11/must_download_tv/index_np.html
(Ad-view unfortunately required.)

Universities to School Acacia
Over 50 universities are coordinating a legal response to Acacia Media Technologies, which claims that the schools are violating its patents by using streaming audio and video in their courses. Acacia is on the EFF Patent Busting Project's "Most Wanted List."
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=232
(The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Oh Surveillance, You're So Complex
The ACLU recently launched a project on the privatization and buildup of our nation's "surveillance-industrial complex."
http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=16224&c=207


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