Skip to main content

EFFector - Volume 18, Issue 8 - Action Alert: Best E-voting Bill Reintroduced - Lend Your Support!

EFFector       Vol. 18, No. 08       March 11, 2005

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation     ISSN 1062-9424

In the 324th Issue of EFFector:


Action Alert: Best E-voting Bill Reintroduced - Lend Your Support!

In 2004, thousands of EFF activists helped Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (VCIAA, HB 550) garner immense support before the session ended. The bill contains several critically important election reforms, including the requirement of a paper audit trail for all electronic voting machines, random audits, and public availability of all code used in elections. HB 550 was recently reintroduced, and it already has over 100 bipartisan cosponsors.

The momentum is on our side, and it's more important than ever to ask your representative to support this bill - many counties across the country are choosing voting equipment now. Tell Congress to stand up for election reform!

Make your voice heard:
http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=109


EFF Giving and Activism Pages Improved

Check out EFF's new donation, store, and activism pages! We just converted the management of our systems and in the process have improved the user experience exponentially. Our action center should be more efficient, our donation pages easier to navigate, and our store easier to use. We'll be trying out some new features from time to time, and we welcome your feedback about them. Take a look, and while you're at it, take action, shop, and donate!

Action center:
http://action.eff.org/

EFF store:
http://secure.eff.org/shop

Donations:
http://secure.eff.org/support


Court Crushes Online Journalists' Rights

EFF Asking California Appellate Court to Intervene

Santa Clara - Today Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that an online journalist's Internet service provider (ISP) can be required to reveal the identities of the reporter's confidential sources to attorneys from Apple Computer, Inc. The court rejected a request for an order to protect the confidentiality of the sources and other unpublished information.

EFF, along with co-counsel Thomas Moore III and Richard Wiebe, is representing the journalist, and will be asking the California Appellate Court to intervene.

"We're disappointed that the trial court ignored the Supreme Court's requirement that seeking a journalist's confidential sources be a 'last resort' in civil discovery," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Instead, the court asserts a wholesale exception to the journalist's privilege when the information is alleged to be a trade secret."

"This is a broad-brush ruling that threatens journalists of all stripes," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.

This landmark case was the first in which a court heard arguments that online reporters' confidential sources and unpublished materials are protected by both the reporter's shield in the California constitution and the reporter's privilege under the federal First Amendment. But the court did not restrict its ruling to online journalists, instead deciding that all journalists could be required to reveal confidential sources when a claim of trade secret is raised.

Apple is suing several unnamed individuals, called "Does," who allegedly leaked information about an upcoming product code-named "Asteroid." Apple has subpoenaed Nfox, the ISP for PowerPage.com publisher Jason O'Grady, demanding that the ISP turn over the communications and unpublished materials O'Grady obtained while he was gathering information for his articles about "Asteroid." Apple has also been granted permission to issue subpoenas directly to EFF clients PowerPage and AppleInsider for similar information, but these have not yet been issued and were not ruled on today.

Court ruling:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=416 (EFF;PDF)

Printable case summary:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=417

More about Apple v. Does:
http://www.eff.org/Censorship/Apple_v_Does/


WIPO Shutting Out Public Interest Organizations

Experts on Development Won't Be Heard at Crucial Meetings

Geneva - Last week, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that it will shut out most public interest organizations at two important meetings devoted to intellectual property and development. As a result, WIPO delegates from 182 nations will discuss these issues without hearing from many of the world's best-qualified experts.

Scheduled for next month, two WIPO "Development Agenda" meetings will focus on the impact of copyright, patent, and other intellectual property rights regimes on the developing world. Without the public interest organizations, the discussions will be heavily weighted toward major motion picture studios, broadcasters, pharmaceutical giants, and other powerful interests that want to expand copyright and patent law.

"This is an embarrassment for WIPO," explained EFF European Affairs Coordinator Cory Doctorow. "Settling the debate by locking one side out of the building isn't the way the UN is supposed to work. We love the Development Agenda - it's supposed to be a new direction for WIPO. A one-sided discussion isn't a new direction, though. It's just more of the same."

EFF is accredited as a WIPO permanent observer and will be attending the meetings. The group will be reporting on the proceedings and will attempt to represent the viewpoints of some of the other public interest groups that are being excluded from the process.

For the full release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_03.php#003401


EFF to ITU: DRM Is Dangerous for Developing Countries

EFF is pleased to announce that we have submitted a paper to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN agency that advises global leaders on telecommuncations policy, as part of its survey of "Digital Rights Management" (DRM) technologies (ITU-R Working Party 6M Report on Content Protection Technologies). Our message: These technologies have been a disaster in the developed world and they are a disaster in the offing for the developing world.

Cory Doctorow, EFF's European Affairs Coordinator and the paper's principal author, explains, "This paper is part of our ongoing effort to bring some sanity to the blind march toward DRM technologies. These technologies don't work for stopping copyright infringement - their supposed function - yet they've served as an anti-competitive cudgel, a set of shackles on the public's rights in copyright, and a rubric for censoring and even jailing security researchers. EFF is delighted to be able to get this much-needed reality check before policymakers worldwide as they consider the question: 'Which DRM is best for my country?' Our answer: 'DRM will exact a punishing toll on your national interest and yield no benefit at all.'"

The paper, called "Digital Rights Management: A Failure in the Developed World, a Danger to the Developing World," explores the ways that DRM has harmed the developed world, negatively impacting scientific research, speech, innovation, competition, legitimate consumer interests, access by disabled people, archiving and library functions, and distance education. The paper goes on to examine the risks to the developing world in terms of its potential to curtail the public domain, to criminalize free and open source software projects, to enable region-based discrimination, and to lock local artists, authors, and performers into the monopoly pricing of DRM vendors.

EFF would like to thank the Union for the Public Domain, the Open Knowledge Forum, IP Justice, the Alternative Law Forum, the World Blind Union, the European Digital Rights Initiative, Electronic Frontier Finland, and the Foundation for Internet Policy Research for their help and endorsement of the paper. If your organization focuses on these issues and would like to sign on, please contact Cory Doctorow at cory@eff.org.

"Digital Rights Management: A Failure in the Developed World, a Danger to the Developing World":
http://eff.org/IP/DRM/ITU_DRM_paper.pdf


Slowly, Sunshine Creeping Into Texas E-voting Process

Up until a few weeks ago, Texas voters were effectively locked out of the decision-making process surrounding the certification of voting technology, electronic or otherwise. In an insular process that unavoidably sheltered them from the worries of concerned citizens, state examiners met in private with e-voting vendors to discuss the pros and cons of proposed systems. Predictably, without counter-balancing voices to grill vendors on system flaws, examiners have repeatedly found little reason to refrain from recommending certification to the secretary of state. And the secretary of state, relying exclusively on examiners, has always followed their recommendations.

Times change. Courtesy of a lawsuit brought by EFF and the ACLU, the Texas voting examiners and three vendors faced the public February 28 in the state's first open forum on voting technology. Follow the links below to read EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman's report on the forum and to learn more about the lawsuit that opened the doors to public participation:

Report on the meeting:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003396.php

More about ACLU of Texas v. Connor:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2005_01.php#002240


Grokster Send-off Party - You're Invited!

The argument for MGM v. Grokster is almost upon us, and we would like to send our team off to the Supreme Court in style. We'd also like to take the chance to thank all our colleagues, friends, and supporters who have helped us immeasurably in preparing for this moment. So we're having a party!

Please join us on Thursday, March 24, at the 1751 Social Club for the celebration. Doors open to the public at 8 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Please respond to: rsvp@eff.org or 415-436-9333 x129

1751 Social Club
1751 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415-441-1751
1751socialclub.com

For directions, please see:
http://www.1751socialclub.com/web_driving.html


IP Attorneys: EFF Wants You

EFF is seeking an intellectual property staff attorney for its legal team. Responsibilities will include litigation, public speaking, media outreach, plus legislative and regulatory advocacy, all in connection with a variety of intellectual property and high technology matters.

Qualified candidates should have roughly three years of experience with litigation in at least one substantive area of IP law (patent, copyright, trademark, or trade secret) and a solid knowledge of the litigation process. Candidates should also have significant experience managing cases, both in terms of overall case strategy as well as day-to-day projects and deadlines. Candidates should have good communication skills and interest in working with a team of highly motivated lawyers and activists in a hard-working nonprofit environment. Strong writing and analytical skills as well as the ability to be self-motivated and focused are essential. Tech savviness and familiarity with Internet civil liberties and high-tech public interest issues preferred.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing sample, and references to ipjob@eff.org.


Staff Calendar

For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with locations and times), please visit the full calendar: http://www.eff.org/calendar/month.php

March 16 -
Fred von Lohmann speaks at "IP and Creativity: Redefining the Issue"
Washington, DC
11:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
http://www.ce.org/events/event_info/default.asp?eventID=IP05

miniLinks

miniLinks features noteworthy news items from around the Internet.



France Fines Programmer for Revealing Security Holes
If all security research is outlawed, only outlaws will conduct security research:
http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/security/0,2000061744,39183862,00.htm

Discontent in the Cult of Mac
Apple's attempts to squelch free speech have left some of the faithful pondering conversion:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=410
(LA Times)

ChoicePoint Hires Privacy Chief
Sort of like hiring a quarterback *after* you lose the Super Bowl:
http://www.techweb.com//wire/ebiz/60407784

It's Getting Chilly Out There
A German news site has been banned from linking to a website that provides software for circumventing copy protections:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=411
(CoCo blog)

Filesharer Gets Jail Time Under State Law
A university student in Arizona is the first to serve jail time under state law for filesharing:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A15117-2005Mar7.html
(Registration unfortunately required.)

CDT Files Complaint Against Barely Legal Download Sites
The DC-based policy group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate music download websites that trick consumers with claims of legality:
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7121552/

Kenyan VoIP Ban Lifted by Court
The state-owned Telkom Kenya was ordered to restore the service offered by a private company and was blasted for being anticompetitive:
http://allafrica.com/stories/200503040983.html

Biting the Hand That Wants to Feed You
Record companies have asked an Australian judge to block the makers of KaZaA from paying labels that *choose* to use the P2P network for distribution:
http://news.com.com/2110-1027_3-5599005.html

Give Someone a Lawyergram for Their Birthday
Next time you catch a child singing "Happy Birthday," make sure that the authorities are duly notified. The words are copyrighted, and the copyright holders will be relieved to know that you're looking out for their interests. The good folks at UnhappyBirthday.com have the details:
http://www.unhappybirthday.com/

BitTorrent Could Make Everyone a Broadcaster
That's what a liberal activism group called CommonBits.org aims to do:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=412
(Seattle Times)

UT Governor's Wacky Interpretation of the First Amendment
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman wants to require ISPs to block sites deemed pornographic. This might be good politics in Utah, but even the state's own legislative counsel says, "the significant restrictions placed on constitutionally protected speech suggest that the adult content registry has a high probability of being held unconstitutional":
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=413
(CNET)

Use BitTorrent to Get 2.6 Gigs of Free Music
And you won't get in trouble! The organizers of South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW), a popular music/film/Internet conference, are using BitTorrent to distribute thousands of songs from its roster of artists performing next week:
http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,66819,00.html

Stop Before You Click
FairTerms.org is a site dedicated to educating people about the terrible things they're agreeing to when they click "I agree" on digital products:
http://www.fairterms.org/

Security Companies Blast Canadian "DMCA"
Canada is considering DMCA-like changes to its copyright law, including punishments for people who circumvent technical protection measures. Security professionals are the latest group to say that's a rotten idea:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=414
(CIPPIC)

Michigan Takes the Blue Pill
State law enforcement officials announced that they'll be dropping out of "Matrix," a controversial interstate crime-fighting initiatives with serious privacy problems:
http://www.eff.org/cgi/tiny?urlID=415
(AP)

Blogger Gets White House Press Credentials
Garrett Graff of FishbowlDC decided to test - and write about - the alleged ease of obtaining White House press credentials:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/07/technology/07press.html
(Registration unfortunately required.)


Administrivia

EFFector is published by:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
 http://www.eff.org/

Editor:
Donna Wentworth, Web Writer/Activist
donna@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
membership@eff.org

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:
information@eff.org

Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will.

Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the Web at:
http://www.eff.org/effector/

JavaScript license information