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EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 40 - EFF Defends Your Right to Vote on Election Day 2006


EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 40 - EFF Defends Your Right to Vote on Election Day 2006

EFFector Vol. 19, No. 40 October 31, 2006

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424

In the 401th Issue of EFFector:

  • EFF Defends Your Right to Vote on Election Day 2006
  • Self-Help Group Bullies Net Critics
  • EFF Releases Bloggers' Guide for Investigating Government Agencies
  • Digital Freedom Campaign Launches to Champion the Public's Rights in the Copyfight
  • Is the DMCA Going Down Under? New Copyright Bill on Fast- Track in Australia
  • Shop at FatWallet and Support EFF
  • You're Invited! EFF and Calabash Music Mixer in San Francisco, November 5
  • miniLinks (20): Internet Governance Forum, Live!
  • Staff Calendar
  • Administrivia

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

Make a donation and become an EFF member today!

Tell a friend about EFF:

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

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* EFF Defends Your Right to Vote on Election Day 2006

Hoping for a quiet, orderly election day? Dream on. In recent days -- a full week before most Americans go to the polls -- election observers have already reported problems with electronic voting machines:

* Selections made on Diebold touchscreen voting machines in Florida have registered for the wrong candidate, evoking widespread reports of similar problems in 2004. * Hart Intercivic voting machines in Virginia are truncating the names of several candidates on the summary page, including the name of Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate James H. "Jim" Webb, whose name appears as "James H. 'Jim.'"

This year's election will feature hot races for no fewer than 60 House and a dozen Senate seats, along with a slew of contested state and local races. With many races likely to come down to the wire, election irregularities could lead to disaster.

Along with our partners in the Election Protection Coalition and numerous volunteers, EFF will once again be on the front lines to ensure that voters' ballots are counted as cast. We will help solve technology-related problems at the polls, document voting machine-related incidents for future examination, and bring any legal action that might be required by equipment failures.

EFF today released Electronic Voting Machine Information Sheets that give election observers and the general public a quick glimpse into how today's voting equipment works as well as the types of problems that have been reported about these systems in the past. EFF is also investigating reports of voting equipment irregularities and discussing them with on-the-ground observers as well as election officials. Finally, in case something does indeed go wrong next Tuesday, EFF and its partners are preparing legal pleadings that will allow us to go to court to keep polls open, to halt the use of malfunctioning equipment, and to stop illegal or erroneous practices by election officials.

If you encounter any type of problems on election day, call the Election Protection Hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE. With your help, we'll be able to help protect voters in the short term as well as continue to improve the accuracy, integrity, and transparency of voting technology over the long term.

To learn more:

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* Self-Help Group Bullies Net Critics

Landmark Forum Violates Constitution and Federal Law by Trying to Chill Speech

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is fighting a controversial self-help group's coordinated, illegal campaign to silence Internet critics.

San Francisco-based Landmark Education, known for its Landmark Forum motivational workshops, is trying to suppress an investigative television news piece critical of its methods. Landmark contends that the documentary infringes its copyright in the Forum course, while citing to copyright registration of the Forum leader's manual. Using the alleged copyright violation as a pretext, Landmark subpoenaed three websites hosting the video -- the Internet Archive, Google Video, and YouTube -- seeking the identities of the anonymous uploaders. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows a content owner to issue a subpoena for the identity of an alleged infringer without first filing an actual lawsuit.

"This is a classic example of using a bogus copyright claim to squelch free speech," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "To the extent that the documentary uses any Landmark material, that use is clearly non-infringing. Landmark is simply trying to use the streamlined DMCA subpoena process to obtain the identities of its critics."

Landmark's efforts are being challenged on multiple fronts. The Internet Archive is fighting its subpoena, and EFF filed official objections on its behalf last Friday. Later this week, EFF will also file a motion to quash the subpoena issued to Google Video, on behalf of the anonymous speaker who uploaded the video. Google has advised Landmark that it will not produce the requested information pending a ruling on that motion. YouTube sent notification to the user about its subpoena and is giving the user a reasonable opportunity to move to legally nullify, or "quash," it.

"Sharing videos on the web is the latest example of free speech flowering on the Internet," said Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Unfortunately, it is being met by a simultaneous rise in the use of baseless legal claims as an excuse to pierce anonymity and chill speech. This kind of intimidation has to stop."

For EFF's objection to the Internet Archive subpoena:

For more on Landmark's subpoena campaign:

For this release:

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* EFF Releases Bloggers' Guide for Investigating Government Agencies

Freedom of Information Act Can Help Researchers Uncover Important Records

Washington, D.C. - Bloggers across the Internet have shown that you don't have to be part of the mainstream media to uncover an important story and tell it to the world. But how do you start investigating a big story for your blog?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released tips for bloggers who want the inside story on government agencies. The Bloggers' FAQ on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) outlines how to use open government laws to get access to records kept by federal agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"Online journalism makes a unique contribution to America's vibrant culture of free speech," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Using the Freedom of Information Act is a powerful way to shed light on government activities and foster critical public debate about the discoveries."

The guide walks bloggers through making a FOIA request -- addressing what to ask for, which government offices must comply, and what you can and cannot obtain through FOIA. It also explains how to put requests on the fast track and get processing fees waived.

The guide is the most recent product of EFF's FLAG Project, which uses FOIA requests and litigation to expose the government's expanding use of technologies that invade privacy. Earlier this month, the FLAG Project filed lawsuits demanding that the FBI release records concerning the development of two electronic surveillance tools as well as information about the FBI's "Investigative Data Warehouse" (IDW) -- a huge database that contains hundreds of millions of entries of personal information.

"The FLAG Project investigates privacy-invasive tools and policies fostered by the government. There are many other important issues out there in which a blogger can make a difference," EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel said. "Everyone has the ability through FOIA to discover government corruption, fraud and waste, and to publicize those abuses of power."

For the Bloggers' FAQ on the Freedom of Information Act:

For the complete Legal Guide for Bloggers:

For more on EFF's FLAG Project

For this release:

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* Digital Freedom Campaign Launches to Champion the Public's Rights in the Copyfight

Last week, the Digital Freedom campaign was launched by a broad coalition of groups including the Consumer Electronics Association, EFF, Public Knowledge, and the Media Access Project. Too often, the entertainment industry has been able to steer Congress' policy agenda towards draconian restrictions on innovation and fans' legitimate use of digital devices. It's high time to turn the tables and set a new, positive agenda for copyright. This campaign is another important step in the right direction. Learn more about it here:

To learn more about digital restrictions:

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* Is the DMCA Going Down Under? New Copyright Bill on Fast- Track in Australia

In February, an Australian parliamentary committee released a landmark report with consumer and technology-friendly recommendations for Australia's copyright law rewrite process. Though a Free Trade Agreement with the US requires Australia to adopt laws like the US's anti-consumer, innovation-crushing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), this report pointed up implementations that could help limit the harm.

But many insights from the report might now be swept aside if the proposed Copyright Amendment Bill is passed. The bill includes dangerous DMCA-style changes to Australian law, along with a number of other sweeping changes including new criminal penalties for copyright infringement.

Worse still, the bill is already on the fast-track. Read on to learn more about what's in this legislation, and what Australians can do to help stop it:

For more on the parliamentary committee report:

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* Shop at FatWallet and Support EFF

Turn everyday spending into donations for EFF when you shop at FatWallet provides you with cash back on certain purchases, and they will give a ten percent matching donation to EFF:

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* You're Invited! EFF and Calabash Music Mixer in San Francisco, November 5

Come support EFF and hear DRM-free tunes from Calabash Music on November 5 at Little Baobab in San Francisco.

Calabash Music is a leading online distributor of music from around the world, providing its entire catalog in MP3 format and splitting sales revenue 50-50 with artists. Local DJ and Calabash Music General Counsel Jim Sowers will be spinning African, Caribbean, and Latin music all night long. Part of the proceeds from the cover charge ($5) will go to EFF, and EFF staff members will be there to chat (and dance, if you're lucky).

We hope to see you there, and spread the word!

WHAT: EFF and Calabash Music Mixer WHEN: 8 PM until late, November 5 WHERE: Little Baobab 3388 19th Street San Francisco, CA, 94110, (415) 643-3558

Cover charge is $5 (a portion of which will go to EFF), and additional donations to EFF encouraged. Must be 21+ to attend, cash bar.

Little Baobab is accessible by BART. Get off at the 16th Street Mission station and head south on Mission St, then make a left on 19th.

Calabash Music's site:

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* miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Internet Governance Forum, Live! Watch, listen, and comment on the UN's Net stakeholder meeting in Athens.

~ TSA: We Never Had This Conversation Edward Hasbrouck discovers that his own email correspondence with TSA is secret and cannot be uncovered by a FOIA request.

~ For Dressing Like a Cowboy at Movie Premieres, No Charge Fans of Joss Whedon's "Firefly" help build the buzz on the subsequent Universal feature film, "Serenity." Universal lawyers send bills for "retroactive licensing fees." Fans decide to retroactively bill Universal for their marketing efforts.

~ Stop the Britpop Hoarding The UK's Open Rights Group starts a campaign against EU copyright term extensions on music.

~ Voting Machines (That Might Actually Work) Security experts are asked -- for once -- how to make a safe, accurate e-voting machine.,71957-0.html

~ Lou Dobbs on Voting Machine Testing Labs And how they're paid for by the vendors: "an outrageous conflict of interest."

~ Are Artists Going to Get a Cut of YouTube's Label Deal? Mark Cuban republishes some the gossip on GooTube's backroom deals.

~ Free Speech Pays The Knight Foundation is dispensing $5 million to cyberjournalism projects.

~ Data-Mine Californian Politicians Monitor campaign contributions to Californian politicos.

~ Squeezebox Picked Up by Logitech EFF-supporter Slim Devices remotely transferred to the PC peripheral giant.

~ Internet Governance Forum in Athens Free speech sponsored by EFF and many others.

~ Fortune Profiles DVD Jon Interoperability or bust.

~ Microsoft Privacy Practice Document But does it practice what it preaches?

~ Meet the Censors Masters of the Great Firewall.

~ Shut it up With Tinfoil Wallets that could help prevent your RFID-embedded cards from leaking private info.

~ Spyware-Assisted In-Game Advertising For a better gaming experience.

~ An Electronic Voting Machine Wishlist Step one: not Diebold.,71957-0.html

~ Malware King-of-the-Hill A spam-sending trojan purges rival viruses.,1895,2034680,00.asp

~ Big Media Companies Using P2P Networks for Promotion The novelty hasn't worn off yet.

~ UK Court Rules Against Gray Market Importer Sony is still master of your PSP after you buy it.

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* Staff Calendar

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

November 4 - Fred von Lohmann speaking at the 2006 Machinima Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, NY.

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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)

Editor: Derek Slater, Activist

Membership & donation queries:

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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.

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