EFFector Vol. 17, No. 44 December 21, 2004
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 316th Issue of EFFector:
- Support EFF This Holiday Season!
- EFF Joins Forces with Tor Software Project
- EFF Becomes Omidyar Network Partner
- 9/11 Legislation Launches Misguided Data-Mining and Domestic Surveillance Schemes
- EFF Seeks Summer Interns
- Come visit EFF at Macworld '05, January 10-15!
- MiniLinks (15): Don't Forget Poland! You Forgot Poland!
Support EFF This Holiday Season!
Dear EFFector readers,
2004 has been another amazing year here at EFF, with a number of important victories for freedom, privacy, and innovation:
- We helped eVisa.com win its fight against the Visa credit card dynasty over fair use of the word "visa" in domain names.
- We (with your support) helped derail the government's CAPPS II passenger-profiling system (although we need your help to continue to fight its evil reincarnation, Secure Flight).
- We won the Grokster case in the 9th Circuit. The Supreme Court has decided to hear this case in March 2005.
- We helped individuals assert their due process rights in cases brought against them by the recording industry.
- We put forth our voluntary collective licensing proposal, explaining how artists could get paid without suing music lovers.
- We won the case that got Diebold punished for misusing copyright law.
- We won the Bunner case, which held that republishing information about reverse engineering was not prohibited by trade secret law.
- We started a patent busting campaign and identified the ten most egregious patent threats to technology and freedom.
- We were a leader in the fight for a verifiable paper trail on electronic voting machines.
- We expanded our international work, participating in the Digital Video Broadcasting group and in WIPO.
- We defended Jibjab's fair use of "This Land Is Your Land" in its presidential parody "This Land" and in the process learned that the Woody Guthrie song had fallen into the public domain.
- We defended technologists using smart card readers from an overzealous DirecTV.
- We (with your support) helped make sure terrible legislation like the PIRATE Act and the Induce Act did not pass.
- We drafted a mock legal complaint to show how the Induce Act would kill off technologies like the iPod.
- We successfully challenged the Child Online Protection Act at the Supreme Court.
- We wrote and circulated a paper on best practices for Online Service Providers.
- We fought the expansion of the DMCA, writing amicus briefs supporting Skylink's right to make interoperable garage door openers and Static Control's right to make aftermarket printer cartridges. (We helped win both cases.)
- We represented (and continue to represent) Indymedia in an effort to uncover why their servers were seized and to assert their First Amendment rights.
- We formed an Advisory Board of some of the smartest people working on these issues.
A happy holiday to you and yours, and thank you for your support!
Peace and good wishes,
EFF Joins Forces with Tor Software Project
Civil Liberties Group to Support Development of Anonymous Internet Communications System
San Francisco - Today EFF announced that it is becoming a sponsor of Tor, a technology project that helps organizations and individuals engage in anonymous communication online. Tor is a network-within-a-network that protects communication from a form of surveillance known as "traffic analysis."
Traffic analysis tracks where data goes and when, as well as how much is sent, rather than the content of communications. Knowing the source and destination of Internet traffic allows others to track a person's behavior and interests. This can impact privacy in obvious and secondary ways. For example, an e-commerce site could choose to charge you more for particular items based on your country or institution of origin. It could also threaten your job or physical safety by revealing who and where you are.
"EFF is a great organization to work with," said Roger Dingledine, Tor's project leader, who, along with Nick Mathewson, is also a core developer. "EFF understands the importance of anonymity technology for everyone - from the average web surfer, to journalists for community sites like Indymedia, to people living under oppressive regimes. With their support and experience, we can focus on making Tor useful and usable by everyone."
"The Tor project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users," said EFF Technology Manager Chris Palmer. "Tor can help people exercise their First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online. And unlike many other security systems, Tor recognizes that there is no security without user-friendliness - if the mechanism is not accessible, nobody will use it. Tor strikes a balance between performance, usability, and security."
For the full press release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2004_12.php#002174 Tor Project:
http://tor.eff.org Non-technical introduction to Tor:
http://tor.eff.org/overview.html Technical research paper on how Tor works:
EFF Becomes Omidyar Network Partner
San Francisco - EFF is pleased to announce that it has been funded by the Omidyar Network, an organization that invests to help catalyze social change. This investment represents a partnership between two groups sharing key values and beliefs, and, ultimately, the goal of making a positive difference in the world.
"EFF's efforts are instrumental in preserving people's civil liberties as they extend to the online world," said Doug Solomon, Vice President of Investments at Omidyar Network. "The Internet, by design, is 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' and innovation depends on it staying that way."
"We hope that this is the beginning of a long and productive relationship," said EFF Director of Development Terri Forman. "Omidyar Network partners are dedicated to empowering innovation through bottom-up efforts. This perspective is very much a part of EFF's values."
For the full press release:
9/11 Legislation Launches Misguided Data-Mining and Domestic Surveillance Schemes
On Friday, President Bush signed into law the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), launching several flawed "security" schemes that EFF has long opposed. The media has focused on turf wars between the intelligence and defense communities, but the real story is how IRTPA trades basic rights for the illusion of security. For instance:
Section 1016 - a.k.a. "TIA II"
A clause authorizing the creation of a massive "Information Sharing Environment" (ISE) to link "all appropriate Federal, State, local, and tribal entities, and the private sector."
This vast network would link the information in public and private databases, posing the same kind of threat to our privacy and freedom that the notorious Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) program did. Yet the IRTPA contains no meaningful safeguards against unchecked data mining other than directing the President to issue guidelines. It also includes a definition of "terrorist information" that is frighteningly broad.
Section 4012 and Sections 7201-7220 - a.k.a. "CAPPS III"
A number of provisions that provide the statutory basis for "Secure Flight," the government's third try at a controversial passenger-screening system that has consistently failed to pass muster for protecting passenger privacy.
The basic concept: the government will force commercial air carriers to hand over your private travel information and compare it with a "consolidated and integrated terrorist watchlist." It will also establish a massive "counterterrorist travel intelligence" infrastructure that calls for travel data mining ("recognition of travel patterns, tactics, and behavior exhibited by terrorists").
It's not clear how the government would use the travel
patterns of millions of Americans to catch the
small number of individuals worldwide who are planning
terrorist attacks. In fact, this approach has
been thoroughly debunked by security experts. (See
Section 6001 - a.k.a. "PATRIOT III"
Straight from the infamous "PATRIOT II" draft legislation leaked to the public last year comes a provision that allows the government to use secret foreign intelligence warrants and wiretap orders against people unconnected to any international terrorist group or foreign nation. This represents yet another step in the ongoing destruction of even the most basic legal protections for those whom the government suspects are terrorists.
Sections 7208-7220 - a.k.a. "Papers, Please"
Just as EFF, the ACLU, and a number of other civil liberties groups feared, IRTPA creates the basis for a de facto national ID system using biometrics. Driven by misguided political consensus, the law calls for a "global standard of identification" and minimum national standards for birth certificates, driver's licenses and state ID cards, and Social Security cards and numbers. It also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish new standards for ID for domestic air travelers.
Identification is not security. Indeed, the 9/11 Commission report revealed that a critical stumbling block in identifying foreign terrorists is the inability to evaluate *foreign* information and records. Yet we are placing disproportionate emphasis on domestic surveillance, opening the door to a standardized "internal passport" - the hallmark of a totalitarian regime.
For this piece online:
For the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
of 2004 (IRTPA):
If you care about preserving your privacy and basic
constitutional freedoms, help us fight the good fight
by joining EFF today:
EFF Seeks Summer Interns
EFF invites outstanding law students to apply for summer internship positions at our high-energy office in San Francisco, where you can work with EFF's legal team to litigate cutting-edge issues surrounding new technologies.
Interns assist in all aspects of litigation, including legal research, factual investigation, and drafting of memoranda and briefs, while also helping with policy research, client counseling, and the development of public education materials.
Summer interships are unpaid and last for 10-12 weeks. Applications are due by February 25, 2005.
For details and an application, see:
Come visit EFF at Macworld '05!
EFF will be at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco on January 10-14. We'll have a booth with a wide range of EFF paraphernalia and other goodies, and we'll be spreading the message to all attendees. We hope to see you there!
Macworld Conference & Expo:
miniLinksminiLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
BSA: 1 in 5 Brits Buy from Spam
That's a lot of naughty Brits:
Don't Forget Poland! You Forgot Poland!
The patent lobby tried to force through EU software patents by Christmas, but Poland succeeded in striking them from the EU Council agenda until *after* substantive debate:
It's a Small World After All
Ed Felten and Alex Halderman have written a P2P application in only 15 lines of code to illustrate the futility of regulating the software. It's called TinyP2P, and it allows users to create "small world" networks for sharing files:
Hatch Is Out, Specter Is In, and What it Means for
The Washington Post on the coming shift in copyright politics as Senator Orrin "Induce" Hatch hands Judiciary Committee leadership to Senator Arlen Specter:
(Registration unfortunately required.)
More on the Satellite Radio/Time-Shifting Tussle
The amateur behind TimeTrax, the satellite radio-recording software, is now selling it professionally:
(NYT; registration unfortunately required.)
Putting the World's Greatest Libraries Online
Google is working with four university libraries - Stanford, Michigan, Harvard, and Oxford - and the New York Public Library in an ambitious plan to scan their holdings and put them on the Internet:
(San Francisco Chronicle)
Google Trounces Geico Already?
A district court judge in Virginia ruled in Google's favor: the company can use trademarked company names to trigger advertisements. We're listing that in the "Good for Consumers" column:
(E-Commerce Times) Transcript of the court proceedings: http://www.patentlyobviousblog.com/files/geico1215.txt
Wishing You an Un-Merry Christmas
For every $100 donated to EFF, Public Knowledge, or IPac during the month of December, Downhill Battle pledges to send a lump of coal to the RIAA and MPAA: http://www.downhillbattle.org/coal/
Apple Makes iPods Incompatible with Harmony
RealNetworks' Harmony music service doesn't work with the newest iPod software, leaving customers who upgrade with unplayable files. Aren't the DRM wars great?
BitTorrent Infringers Cross Finnish Line
Finnish police arrested 34 locals associated with a popular BitTorrent download site:
ACS Sues Google Over "Scholar" Trademark
Because when we think about scholarship and online research, we think about the American Chemical Society (ACS). Or maybe not:
Coverage at Madisonian Theory:
MD Spam Law Unconstitutional
The statute was found to improperly regulate interstate commerce and was tossed by a state judge:
To TiVo, or Not to TiVo?
The company says neither, since "TiVo" is a registered trademark that's not supposed to be used as a verb. Or else:
(Registration unfortunately required.)
Sony Picks on Blogger Over Jeopardy Spoiler
When blogger Jason Kottke posted an audio clip of Ken Jennings' final appearance on Jeopardy, he wasn't expecting the show's parent company to call in the lawyers. Sony didn't send nastygrams to the Washington Post or an ABC affiliate that disseminated the same info:
Patents as Toxic Waste of Dotcom-Bust
Our own Jason Schultz on the fate of some nasty patents granted at the height of the boom:
(Salon; paid registration or ad-view nonsense required.)
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