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EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 41 - Action Alert: Tell Congress to Reform E-Voting!


EFFector - Volume 19, Issue 41 - Action Alert: Tell Congress to Reform E-Voting!

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424

In the 402th Issue of EFFector:

  • Action Alert: Tell Congress to Reform E-Voting!
  • Electronic Voting Machine Headaches Shut Out Citizens
  • Craigslist Sex Ad Scammer Seeks to Silence Critics
  • Court Grants Appeal in AT&T Spying Case
  • Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2007 Pioneer Awards!
  • EFF Seeks European Affairs Co-ordinator
  • EFF Seeks Legal Secretary/Assistant
  • Shop at FatWallet and Support EFF
  • miniLinks (6): Dynamic Coalitions on Privacy, Online Free Speech Start at Internet Governance Forum 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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* Action Alert: Tell Congress to Reform E-Voting!

Many Virginians were among the millions of voters nationwide who cast their votes on electronic machines that lack paper trails. Voters thus could not verify that their votes were accurately recorded, and election officials will not be able to conduct a full and thorough recount.

That's bad enough, and with the close margin in Virginia's Senate race and the U.S. Senate at stake, it is especially tragic for the entire country, regardless of whom is ultimately declared the winner. Simple precautions could have been taken to prevent this and myriad other e-voting problems. Indeed, Montana fortunately requires a paper trail, which could aid a recount in its tight Senate race.

Take action now to support e-voting reform and a paper trail in every state:

Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550) 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. The bill has gained the support of 220 bipartisan cosponsors, and, according to Holt, it even has a chance to pass before the next Congress takes office in January.

Make your voice heard on HR 550 now, while Election 2006 and e-voting issues are still fresh in Congress:

For EFF's Election Day 2006 coverage:

For EFF's podcast interview with Rep. Holt:

To learn more:

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* Electronic Voting Machine Headaches Shut Out Citizens

Delays Mean Long Lines for Voters in Florida, Utah, and Other States

San Francisco - Problems with electronic voting machine failures kept some polls from opening, created long lines, and left many voters puzzled about whether their votes were counted in Tuesday's high stakes election.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) joined a nationwide team of technology lawyers and other experts staffing nationwide call centers and legal command posts on Election Day. The volunteers chronicled election problems, assisted voters, and worked with election officials to pull malfunctioning machines wherever possible. By 8:00 pm ET on Tuesday, over 17,000 incidents, including machine-related problems, had been reported to the Election Protection Coalition's 866-OUR-VOTE hotline.

The types of machine problems reported to EFF volunteers were wide-ranging in both size and scope. Polls opened late for machine-related reasons in polling places throughout the country, including Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Utah, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, and California. In Broward County, Florida, voting machines failed to start up at one polling place, leaving some citizens unable to cast votes for hours. EFF and the Election Protection Coalition sought to keep the polling place open late to accommodate voters frustrated by the delays, but the officials refused. In Utah County, Utah, more than 100 precincts opened one to two hours late on Tuesday due to problems with machines. Both county and state election officials refused to keep polling stations open longer to make up for the lost time, and a judge also turned down a voter's plea for extended hours brought by EFF.

"If election officials insist on depending on this unreliable technology, they should be prepared to react appropriately when things go wrong," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Voters should not have to bear the brunt of this poor planning. We are very disappointed that the court did not recognize that."

"Jumping vote" problems -- touchscreen machines displaying selections not intended by voters -- once again appeared across the country and across machine models. Some voters again encountered difficulty making or changing selections on touchscreen machines, resulting in long lines and frustrated voters leaving polling places. Optical scan machines also broke down in many places, most prominently in Cook County, Illinois, but also in Los Angeles, California, also leading to long delays for voters.

The national monitoring campaign was developed after many states hastily implemented flawed electronic voting machines and related election procedures. Twenty-three states still do not require a paper record of all votes, despite the demonstrated technical failures of e-voting machines in the 2004 presidential election. In addition, most of these machines use "black box" software that hasn't been publicly reviewed for security.

But poorly designed systems are not the only problem. Most election workers remain woefully under-trained regarding potential e-voting problems. Vendor technicians frequently have unsupervised access to voting equipment, and local election officials routinely deny attempts to examine e- voting audit data.

Along with supporting local election reform, EFF has helped Congressional Rep. Rush Holt's Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act garner immense, bipartisan support.

"Voters deserve these practical election reforms -- not long lines and unverifiable results," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.

For the latest election news:

For more on EFF's e-voting efforts:

For this original version of this release:

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* Craigslist Sex Ad Scammer Seeks to Silence Critics

Baseless Copyright Claims Used to Shut Down Debate Over Privacy Controversy

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit last Wednesday against the man behind "" -- a website that publicized responses to fake personal advertisements posted on -- on behalf of an online journalist who criticized the controversial outing campaign and received legal threats in return.

Michael Crook posted the fake ads earlier this year, claiming to be a young woman seeking a casual sexual encounter. Crook then displayed many of the replies on his website, including information such as the responders' names, photographs, phone numbers, and where they worked. Jeff Diehl, the editor of Internet magazine 10 Zen Monkeys, published an article in September critical of Crook's behavior and used an image of Crook being interviewed by Fox News to highlight how controversial a figure he was.

Instead of responding to the criticism with words, Crook sent a legal notice to the magazine's online service provider, claiming to be the copyright holder of the image and demanding that it be removed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Such actions violate the DMCA's requirements that only the copyright holder or someone authorized by her can send such notices.

"This is yet another case of someone intentionally misusing copyright law to try to shut down legitimate debate on an issue of public interest," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "Crook certainly doesn't own the copyright to the news footage -- Fox News does. Furthermore, a still shot of that footage, used as part of a commentary on the controversy surrounding him, is clearly a fair use. It's hypocritical for such an outspoken figure like Crook to attack other speakers just because they disagree with him."

Because of Crook's misuse of the DMCA, Diehl was forced to switch web-hosting companies in order to continue to publish the photo. But even then, Crook sent another bogus DMCA notice to the new hosting company, and Diehl had to remove the photo for a second time. In the lawsuit filed last week, EFF asks that Diehl be compensated for the financial and personal expenses associated with responding to the meritless claims and switching web hosts -- as well as for the infringement to his free speech rights protected by the First Amendment.

This lawsuit is part of EFF's ongoing work to protect online free speech in the face of bogus copyright claims. EFF recently filed an objection to a subpoena from Landmark Education, a group that claimed copyright infringement in a video uploaded to the Internet Archive.

"The Internet is home to passionate debate on countless important issues. It is too bad that some people find the robust exercise of free speech so frightening that they use intimidation to try to silence it," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "EFF is grateful that people like Jeffrey Diehl and the Internet Archive are fighting back."

For more on the lawsuit against Michael Crook:

For more on the Internet Magazine 10 Zen Monkeys:

For this release:

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* Court Grants Appeal in AT&T Spying Case

EFF Battles Effort to Dismiss Surveillance Lawsuit

San Francisco - The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced yesterday that it will hear the U.S. government's and AT&T's appeal of a district court's decision allowing the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) case against AT&T to go forward. The lawsuit alleges that AT&T collaborated in the National Security Agency's (NSA's) illegal spying program. The 9th Circuit did not rule on the merits of the appeal.

By this appeal, the U.S. government and AT&T are asserting that the so-called "state secret privilege" prevents the federal judiciary from determining whether the spying program is legal or not. In July, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the case could continue, noting, "The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security."

"It remains the province and the duty of the courts to determine whether the spying program broke the law, and the courts are quite capable of proceeding while respecting both liberty and security," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "We are looking forward to litigating before the 9th Circuit on this important matter."

EFF filed the class-action suit against AT&T in January, alleging that the company has given the NSA secret, direct access to the telephone calls and emails going over its network. In a separate case, a federal judge in Detroit ruled in August that the entire program was unconstitutional.

Judge Walker has set a case management conference for November 17th to consider how EFF's lawsuit and other suits against telecommunications companies can go forward. The hearing will start at 10:30am at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

For the full order from the 9th Circuit:

For more on the class-action lawsuit against AT&T:

For this release:

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* Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2007 Pioneer Awards!

EFF established the Pioneer Awards to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. This is your opportunity to nominate a deserving individual or group to receive a Pioneer Award for 2007.

The International Pioneer Awards nominations are open both to individuals and organizations from any country. Nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges chosen for their knowledge of the technical, legal, and social issues associated with information technology.

How to Nominate Someone for a 2007 Pioneer Award:

You may send as many nominations as you wish, but please use one email per nomination. Please submit your entries via email to We will accept nominations until January 15, 2007.

Simply tell us:

1. The name of the nominee,

2. The phone number or email address or website by which the nominee can be reached, and, most importantly,

3. Why you feel the nominee deserves the award.

Nominee Criteria:

There are no specific categories for the EFF Pioneer Awards, but the following guidelines apply:

1. The nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications.

2. To be valid, all nominations must contain your reason, however brief, for nominating the individual or organization and a means of contacting the nominee. In addition, while anonymous nominations will be accepted, ideally we'd like to contact the nominating parties in case we need further information.

3. The contribution may be technical, social, economic, or cultural.

4. Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or organizations in the private or public sectors.

5. Nominations are open to all (other than current members of EFF's staff and board or this year's award judges), and you may nominate more than one recipient. You may also nominate yourself or your organization.

6. Persons or representatives of organizations receiving an EFF Pioneer Award will be invited to attend the ceremony at EFF's expense.

More on the EFF Pioneer Awards:

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* EFF Seeks European Affairs Co-ordinator

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is looking for a European staffer to head up our new Brussels office and round out our international team. This is a new position focused on European Community level intellectual property and civil liberties policy initiatives that impact the digital environment. The position will be part policy analyst, part activist, and part educator.

We are looking for a motivated and dynamic European with:

- excellent written and spoken English language skills, and fluency in another relevant language (preferably French or German or another major European language); - well-developed public speaking and social skills, who can talk with a wide range of audiences including European MEPs and Commission staff, consumer rights and public interest groups, computer programmers and media; - familiarity with current European Community IP and civil liberties legislative and policy developments; - a solid understanding of the European Community's structure, main fora, decision-making processes and key personnel and committees that work in the IP and civil liberties arenas; - strong policy analysis skills; - a good strategic sense; - maturity of judgment; - demonstrated ability to meet deadlines and work with others remotely; and - the ability to travel throughout Europe, and to the United States.

EFF is passionate about our mission, and our ideal candidate will be too. We work on cutting-edge issues in a fun, fast- paced team environment.

Applicants: please send a cover letter, including salary requirements, and resume in TXT, RTF, ODT, DOC, PDF or html format to No phone calls, please!

Deadline for applications: Rolling, but not later than December 1, 2006.

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* EFF Seeks Legal Secretary/Assistant

Done your time in the big law firm and looking for a change? EFF is looking for a legal secretary/legal assistant to join our team and support our attorneys in San Francisco.

Requirements: three or more years as a litigation secretary, expert abilities with Word (especially styles and generating tables), experience with legal filings, formatting, proofs of service, etc., ease with e-mail, Adobe Acrobat and the web, ability to work on Mac and PC. Our ideal candidate is a self-starter with strong organizational skills, capable of handling numerous and varied tasks simultaneously.

Duties include: * Drafting correspondence * Preparing and filing of paper and electronic documents in courts across the country * Administration of law student internship program * Formatting and word processing for policy papers and pleadings * Maintaining our calendar and conflicts list * Assistance with travel arrangements * Updating legal reference materials

Please send your resume and a short writing sample, such as a business letter or short pleading, to

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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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* miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Dynamic Coalitions on Privacy, Online Free Speech Start at Internet Governance Forum Jamie Love on the open discussion in Athens.

~ DMCA Squelches Fair Use in Consoles Court says Sony PS backup device has legitimate uses, but that doesn't save it from violating DMCA.

~ No More Anonymity for Chinese Bloggers (Unenforceable) real name registration for Chinese blogs.

~ ...or Brazilians We'll see how far this proposed bill gets in the blog- friendly state.

~ The State of Surveillance 2006 Privacy International's global grades for national privacy protections.[347]=x-347-545269

~ The Pains of Rights Clearance What happens when you set out to pay artists? YouTube finds out how convoluted that can be.

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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:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

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:

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