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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 24 - EFF Announces "EFF15 Blog-a-thon" - Blog for Freedom! July 19-August 2


EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 24 - EFF Announces "EFF15 Blog-a-thon" - Blog for Freedom! July 19-August 2

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 24       July 22, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 340th Issue of EFFector:

EFF Announces "EFF15 Blog-a-thon" - Blog for Freedom! July 19-August 2

For the past 15 years, EFF has been fighting to preserve the constitutional right to freedom of expression on the Internet. In the last few years, we've seen an explosion of expression as new web publishing tools emerged, providing countless netizens with their own personal First Amendment machines. This month is our 15th anniversary and to celebrate, we're putting these publishing tools front and center. We're holding an EFF15 Blog-a-thon where you're invited to blog about your personal experiences fighting for freedom online - a project to celebrate new publishing tools, attract new EFF members, and mark our 15th all at once.

We want to hear about your "click moment" - the very first step you to took to stand up for your digital rights - whether it was blogging about an issue you care about, participating in a demonstration, writing your representatives, or getting involved with EFF.

As a thank you, we've enlisted an independent panel of judges to choose from among your posts for "Most Inspirational," "Most Humorous," and "Best Overall." At the end of the Blog-a-thon, we'll announce the names of the three bloggers with the best posts on our website and in EFFector. We'll also publish the three best posts on our site and send the authors a blogging "kit" as an extra thank you: an EFF bloggers' rights T-shirt, special EFF-branded blogger pajama pants, a pound of coffee, and a pair of fuzzy slippers!

Follow the links below for details on how to participate and watch the Blog-a-thon - and for extra inspiration, check out the posts by EFF staff members and interns describing their first steps in fighting for online freedom:

Join the EFF15 Blog-a-thon!

Deep Links - EFF15:

To give more people a chance to participate, we've extended the Blog-a-thon by one week, so you can blog until August 2 - spread the word!

Florida Court Victory in the Fight for Verifiable Elections

Decision Confirms County's Ability to Purchase Accessible, Auditable Equipment

Orlando, FL - A federal district court judge in Florida ruled Thursday that Volusia County is not required to purchase touchscreen voting machines that do not produce a voter-verifiable paper trail. Pending appeal, the county may now move forward with its plans to purchase voting equipment that is both accessible to disabled voters and that creates an auditable paper trail to protect against errors and fraud.

EFF and Florida attorney Jeff Liggio filed an emergency friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of disabled residents of Volusia County who opposed the purchase of the paperless machines. The brief, supporting Volusia County Council members who seek to purchase an alternative voting system, was submitted on behalf of the Handicapped Voters of Volusia County (HAVOC) in opposition to a lawsuit filed July 5th by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The NFB suit sought to force the county to spend approximately $700,000 of state funds on Diebold voting equipment that the county has repeatedly rejected as inferior to the accessible, paper-producing AutoMARK system offered by ES&S.

"The District Court correctly found that Volusia County was right all along," said Matt Zimmerman, EFF staff attorney. "County officials have shown a tremendous amount of courage in resisting pressure to make a misguided decision that could harm voters. The county has already identified a solution that provides better accessibility as well as creates a voter-verified paper audit trail. The county now has the opportunity to put that system into place in the near future."

Added David Dixon, president of HAVOC, "We're very, very pleased with this decision. We look forward to working with the county to help implement a system that protects the rights of all voters."

For the ruling:

For the full press release:

Is Your Printer Spying On You?

Help EFF Watch the Watchers

Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer - and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of "Alias," right?

Unfortunately, the scenario isn't fictional. In an effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you're using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what's worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.

The ACLU recently issued a report revealing that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on the organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups, including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. In the current political climate, it's not hard to imagine the government using the ability to determine who may have printed what document for purposes other than identifying counterfeiters.

Yet there are no laws to stop the Secret Service - or for that matter, any other governmental agency or private company - from using printer codes to secretly trace the origin of non-currency documents. We're unaware of any printer manufacturer that has a privacy policy that would protect you, and no law regulates what people can do with the information once it's turned over. And that doesn't even reach the issue of how such a privacy-invasive tool could be developed and implemented in printers without the public becoming aware of it in the first place.

With nothing on the books, we lack tools to stop the privacy and anonymity violations this technology enables. For this reason, EFF is gathering information about what printers are revealing and how - a necessary precursor to any legal challenge or new legislation to protect your privacy. And we could use your help.

In the preliminary research paper linked below, we explain what we've observed so far, briefly explore the privacy implications, and ask you to print and send us test sheets from your color laser printer and/or a color laser printer at your local print shop. That way, we can watch the watchers and ensure that your privacy isn't compromised in ways that harm your fundamental constitutional rights.

In addition to documenting what printers are revealing, EFF is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and we will keep you updated on what we discover. In the meantime, we urge you to participate in this research project and pass the word along. Thank you for your support!

EFF paper: "Investigating Machine Identification Code Technology in Color Laser Printers":

Directions for printing test sheets:

PC World: "Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents":,aid,118664,00.asp

ACLU: "FBI Is Keeping Documents on ACLU and Other Peaceful Groups":

EFF Co-Moderates Discussion on Intellectual Property Rights in Africa, July 20-August 21

EFF is co-moderating a four-week email discussion forum to help raise awareness of critical issues around intellectual property rights for Africa, to discuss alternatives to the current situation, and to facilitate exchange and collaboration between individuals and organizations working in this field. Based on the discussion, a short summary report - including a number of recommended action items - will be prepared in English and French.

Among the topics on the agenda: new developments in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), international treaties and trade agreements, digital rights management (DRM), "copyleft," Creative Commons, and other open access initiatives. We encourage participation by policymakers and their advisors, academics, representatives from the entertainment and creative industries, artists, journalists, lawyers, and members of the general public interested in how intellectual property law and policy affects social and economic well-being in Africa.

Free and open to the public, the discussion is a joint project of the Center for International ICT Policy for West and Central Africa (CIPACO, supported by Panos Institute West Africa Project) and the Collaboration for International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA, a program of

The discussion will be hosted at:

To subscribe, please visit , or send an email to Ken Lohento (West and Central African participants) or to Anthony Mugeere (East and Southern African participants). Northern African participants are encouraged to use any of the subscription methods above.

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:


miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.

Grokster's Unfinished Business
Video and audio is now available from the Congressional Internet Caucus' meeting to discuss the implications of the Grokster ruling, featuring EFF's own Fred von Lohmann:

CNET coverage:

Phones for Electronic Freedom
As a birthday gift to EFF, Phone Scoop is auctioning off cool cell phones with the proceeds going to us. Thanks, guys!

Reading the Tea Leaves on Roberts
William Patry peers intently into the cup to determine what President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court could bring to the bench on copyright issues:
(The Patry Copyright Blog)

EFF's take:

No Chmod a+r/dev/audio for You
A federal appeals court rules that a Las Vegas judge erred when he ordered a company to help the FBI eavesdrop on conversations in a suspect's vehicle using the car's "OnStar" system:
(Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Place-Shifting Technology, Grokster, and the Broadcast Flag
Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian talks about the careful path an innovative company has to tread these days:

Maybe We'll Make it Back on the Merchandising
Kim Weatherall comments on the filming of "Tarnation"; it was made for $218, but clearing rights for the film cost an extra $400,000:
(Weatherall's Law)

State of the Schneier
Long, sprawling, fascinating-throughout interview with Bruce Schneier, the thinking person's security guy:

Euro ISPs: We Put the Customer Second (Right After the Big Record Companies)
BT and Eircom did not oppose a request to reveal the identities of their customers by Irish Recorded Music Association:
(CoCo Blog)

Fisking Dvorak's Diss of Creative Commons
Magazine columnist publishes bizarre critique of Creative Commons rife with misunderstandings; blogger Joe Gratz comes to the rescue:
(Joe Gratz)


EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist

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