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EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 38 - EFF Sues for Information on Electronic Surveillance Systems


EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 38 - EFF Sues for Information on Electronic Surveillance Systems

EFFector Vol. 19, No. 38  October 10, 2006

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 399th Issue of EFFector:

 * EFF Sues for Information on Electronic Surveillance Systems
 * Another Court Says "National Security" Isn't Blank Check for 
 Illegal Spying 
 * Sixth Circuit Halts Injunction Against Warrantless Surveillance 
 Pending Appeal
 * You're Invited! Online Lecture About AT&T Case in
 * miniLinks (6): DVD Region Coding -- Now in HD!
 * Staff Calendar	
 * Administrivia

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

Make a donation and become an EFF member today!

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effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired 

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* EFF Sues for Information on Electronic Surveillance 

FBI Withholds Records on Tools to Intercept Personal 

Washington, D.C. - The FLAG Project of the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed its first lawsuit against 
the Department of Justice last week after the FBI failed to 
respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for 
records concerning DCS-3000 and Red Hook -- tools the FBI 
has spent millions of dollars developing for electronic 

DCS-3000 is an interception system that apparently evolved 
out of "Carnivore," a controversial surveillance system the 
FBI used several years ago to monitor online traffic through 
Internet service providers. One Department of Justice report 
said DCS-3000 was developed to "intercept personal 
communication services delivered via emerging digital 
technologies" and that it was used "as carriers continue to 
introduce new features and services." According to the same 
report, Red Hook is a system to "collect voice and data 
calls and then process and display the intercepted 

The FLAG Project first filed its FOIA request for 
information about the surveillance systems on August 11, 
2006. The FBI acknowledged receipt of the request, but the 
agency has not responded within the time limit required by 

"Recent allegations of domestic spying by the U.S. 
government already have both lawmakers and the general 
public up in arms. Americans have a right to know whether 
the FBI is using new technology to further violate their 
privacy," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "The 
Department of Justice needs to abide by the law and publicly 
release information about these surveillance tools."

EFF's FLAG Project, launched last month, uses FOIA requests 
and litigation to expose the government's expanding use of 
technologies that invade privacy.

"Transparency is critical to the functioning of our 
democracy, especially when the government seeks to hide 
activities that affect the rights of citizens," explained 
EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel, who directs the FLAG 
Project. "We have recently seen numerous instances where 
federal agencies have sought to conceal surveillance 
activities that raise serious legal issues."

For the full FOIA suit filed against the Department of 

For more on the FLAG Project:

For this release:

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* Another Court Says "National Security" Isn't Blank Check 
for Illegal Spying

Last week, a federal court shot down yet another attempt by 
the government to use "national security" as a blank check 
for illegal surveillance. The government claimed that it 
could not even confirm or deny whether it had listened in on 
calls between attorneys at the Center for Constitutional 
Rights and their clients. In rejecting this argument, the 
court ordered the government to provide that information to 
the court in secret first, then set up a process to provide 
that information to the attorneys involved. The court 
confirmed: "It is a cardinal rule of litigation that one 
side may not eavesdrop on the other's privileged attorney-
client communications."

That should have been obvious to the government from the 
beginning. But the fact that the government refused to 
confirm that it wasn't violating this "cardinal rule" 
protecting attorney-client communications should raise 
concerns for all of us. Kudos to yet another court for 
holding the government to the basic rule of law. 

The government's overreaching attempts to prevent courts 
from considering cases where it asserts "national security" 
are now starting to fail, including, of course, in EFF's 
case against AT&T for helping the government's massive and 
illegal NSA spying program.

For this post and related links:

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* Sixth Circuit Halts Injunction Against Warrantless 
Surveillance Pending Appeal

In August, a federal district court in Detroit ordered a 
stop to the government's warrantless wiretapping program. 
Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth 
Circuit last week halted the enforcement of this order 
pending the government's appeal. The short opinion, which 
offered little legal analysis, is disappointing, but it's 
not the last word on the government's illegal spying -- this 
case will still be heard on appeal by the Sixth Circuit. The 
ACLU brought this lawsuit after the spying program was first 

After defeating the government's and AT&T's motions to 
dismiss in the district, our lawsuit against AT&T for its 
collaboration with the spying program is also moving forward 
in the district court in San Francisco, while the government 
has petitioned for permission to appeal to the Ninth Circuit 
Court of Appeals.

For this post and related links:

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* You're Invited! Online Lecture About AT&T Case in

This Thursday, EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston will be 
teaching a class in the virtual world about the 
NSA's illegal spying program and EFF's case against AT&T. 
The class is part of the State of Play Academy, a free 
lecture series available to users of

More details here:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ DVD Region Coding -- Now in HD!
In case you hoped your next-generation video media would be 
less crippled than DVDs.

~ Swedish Appeals Court Acquits Accused Filesharer
IP address insufficient identification.

~ Please Present Passport, 34 Pieces of Personal Information
U.S. and EU reach deal to share passenger data.

~ Norwegian ISP De-Neutralizes Network
And re-neutralizes it in response to customer outcry.

~ DVD Jon Selling Apple FairPlay Compatibility
Reverse-Engineering for fun and profit.

~ Homeland Security Monitoring Opinions in News
Parsing the press' prose for threats.

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* Staff Calendar

For a complete listing of EFF speaking engagements (with 
locations and times), please visit the full calendar:

October 28
Kevin Bankston speaking at University of San Francisco's Law 
Review Fall Symposium, "Companies Caught in the Middle: 
Legal Responses for Government Requests for Customer 
Information," in San Francisco, CA.

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* 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)	

Derek Slater, Activist	

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