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EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 23 - Action Alert: URGENT - Last Chance to Stop Renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act


EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 23 - Action Alert: URGENT - Last Chance to Stop Renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 23       July 14, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 339th Issue of EFFector:

Action Alert: URGENT - Last Chance to Stop Renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act

Congress is poised to vote on bills that would renew some of the most dangerous parts of the privacy-corroding USA PATRIOT Act — while potentially giving the FBI even more power to snoop on your mail and private records. The debate on the House floor could begin as soon as Wednesday, July 20, with a bill reaching the Senate floor shortly thereafter. Now is your last, best chance to convince your legislators to let these dangerous provisions expire and safeguard your rights by introducing new checks and balances. Don't let Congress decimate your civil liberties — say no to PATRIOT renewal now!

Make your voice heard with the EFF Action Center:

Help EFF Hunt Privacy Weasels

EFF is starting a new project to shed light on bad privacy policies, and we're looking for examples of privacy policy language that makes particularly empty promises, where the promisor is weaseling out of offering any real privacy protection. Here are a few examples of this sort of language, with the plain English translation:

Weasel language: "The information we collect in connection with our online forums and communities is used to facilitate participation in these online forums and communities and, from time to time, to offer you products, programs, or services."

Translation: "Anything you say or do in the forum can be used to sell you things."

Weasel language: "Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personally identifiable information that we collect will never be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Notice."

Translation: "You can't sue us if we violate our own policy."

Weasel language: "We may include Web beacons in promotional email messages or our newsletters in order to determine whether messages have been opened and acted upon."

Translation: "We know when you've been sleeping, we know when you're awake, we know when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake."

If you come across any particularly weasely language in a privacy policy, please drop us a note at - and make sure to include the URL!

Dan Gillmor Joins BayFF on Bloggers' Rights, July 19

We're pleased to announce that EFF Pioneer Award winner Dan Gillmor will participate in our bloggers' rights panel discussion this upcoming Tuesday, July 19.

Dan Gillmor is the founder of Grassroots Media Inc., a project aimed at enabling grassroots journalism and expanding its reach. The company's first launch is, a site "of, by and for the Bay Area." Gillmor, a former columnist with the San Jose Mercury News, is author of "We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People" (O'Reilly Media, 2004), a book that explains the rise of citizens' media and why it matters.

The panel discussion, which will be moderated by EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl, also features assistant editor Violet Blue, UC Berkeley social networks researcher danah boyd, editor Mary Hodder, and editor Jackson West.

Remember, this event also kicks off EFF's 15th anniversary celebrations - you don't have to be a blogger to join the festivities (and enjoy the birthday cake)!

WHAT: BayFF on Bloggers' Rights -
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 19, 2005
111 Minna Gallery -
111 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105 Tel: (415) 974-1719

RSVP to (415) 436-9333 x129 or

This event is free and open to the general public. You must be 21+. Refreshments and birthday cake will be served.

111 Minna Gallery is accessible via BART. Get off at the Montgomery station and use the exit marked 2nd and Market. Walk south on 2nd Street for a block and a half, and take a right down the Minna Street Alley. 111 Minna Street is located between Mission and Howard streets.

Hang Out with the Geek Gods and Support EFF at DefCon Summit, July 28

p> Coming to DefCon? Join us at the pre-DefCon Summit, hosted by the Las Vegas DefCon group, dc702. Seven EFF staffers will be there, plus at least 16 other featured guests. And all proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit EFF!

Here are the details:

Date: Thursday, July 28, 2005
Time: 9:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Ice House
650 S. Main Street
Las Vegas, NV
Tickets: $30 pre-sale, $40 @ door (if available)

Why should you attend? The Summit brings together DefCon & Black Hat speakers, past and present, as well as many of the biggest names in the computer security world. They're coming together in a small, private venue to meet with you! There will be no more the 200 tickets sold, including featured guests.

Check out for more details or to purchase tickets. Hope to see you there!

Popcorn and Free Speech: EFF Co-Presents "The Front," July 24 and August 2

Worried about the erosion of our constitutional rights? Remember the House Committee on Un-American Activities? EFF is co-presenting two showings of "The Front," the 1976 film produced and directed by government blacklist victim Martin Ritt. The first showing will take place on July 24th at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, after which there will be a special panel discussion featuring Walter Bernstein (screenwriter and blacklist victim), Norma Barzman, and Dan Bessie (the son of a blacklist victim). The panel will be moderated by Paul Buhle. The second showing will take place August 2nd at the Roda Theater in Berkeley. For more details and to order tickets, visit:

EFF Partners with Craigslist for Nonprofit Boot Camp, October 8

EFF is proud to partner with the Craigslist Foundation for its 2nd Annual Nonprofit Boot Camp, a conference aimed at fostering nonprofit leadership and collaboration. Join more than 1,300 emerging nonprofit leaders to get educated in all aspects of successfully starting and running a nonprofit, find inspiration, and get connected with peers and valuable resources.

Registration includes the conference and evening Networking Reception, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Learn more and register online at

Power to the People: Unlocking Government for the Public, Press & the Blogs, October 14-15

EFF is proud to co-sponsor the California First Amendment Coalition's 10th Annual Open Government Assembly at Cal State Fullerton. The event features Floyd Abrams, the country's preeminent First Amendment lawyer, a new award honoring Mark Felt (a.k.a. "Deep Throat"), and an array of experts from the worlds of journalism, national security, law, blogging, and politics, addressing such timely free-speech issues as:

  • Protecting confidential sources: Taking a bite out of Apple
  • Blogging, a new journalistic form - or barbarians at the gate?
  • Security and Privacy: The rebalancing of access rights after 9/11
  • Gumming up the free flow of ideas: intellectual property as a restraint on access

For more details or to register, visit:


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.
Internet Archive Sued
Because it returned information that a company in a lawsuit did not want revealed to the other side.
(The Patry Copyright Blog)

Georgia on my Drive
Rick Bradley has open-sourced his site, including a MySQL database dump of Georgia laws and caselaw:

Export Restrictions on Repression
Not only is the US export of surevillance tools morally questionable, some argue it's illegal. Hiawatha Bray reports:
(Boston Globe)

Music Labels Angry at Free BBC Symphonies
"You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing," accuses label head, neglecting to postfix, "correctly, as it happens":
(Registration unfortunately required.) EFF's own Wendy Seltzer on the brouhaha:

The First Rule of Harry Potter...
A Canadian judge has ordered people who legally purchased the latest book before the release date not only to return it, but also to keep strict silence about any of the story elements:

I Only Inhaled
You can browse, but you cannot download files from certain Cuban travel agencies, the feds announce:

Our Blogger Discrimination Policy
A university professor reports that he dislikes reading the blogs of people he interviews, prefers hiring people whose weirdnesses he will only subsequently discover:
EFF's white paper on blogging anonymously, which just may come in handy here:

Progress, Freedom - and Godwin's Law
James DeLong defends calling collective licensing "socialist gulag," says the term is accurate when we must beg goverment "to exercise control of [ourselves], [our] creations, or property." Await use of "software patents gulag," "anti-circumvention archipelago":
(IP Central)

Use Open WiFi, Go to Jail
If FBI just set up a giant orbiting AP set to "linksys," it could entrap us all:

Michigan Debuts Counterproductive Do-Not-Spam List for Kids
Edward Felten with two posts explaining why Michigan's new childrens' email registry is a very bad idea whose time has not come:


EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist

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