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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 1 - Celebrate EFF's Sweet 16 on January 11 in San Francisco!


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 1 - Celebrate EFF's Sweet 16 on January 11 in San Francisco!

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 01  January 4, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 407th Issue of EFFector:
  • Celebrate EFF's Sweet 16 on January 11 in San Francisco!
  • EFF Backs in Defamation Case
  • Privacy Office Slams Secure Flight Testing
  • Help EFF Investigate Invasive Travel Screening Program
  • At Year's End, Darknet Still Beats DRM
  • Feds Shut Down E-voting Certification Lab
  • EFF at CES and Macworld Next Week
  • Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2007 Pioneer Awards!
  • miniLinks (5): BackUpHDDVD Tool Explained by Author
  • 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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* Celebrate EFF's Sweet 16 on January 11 in San Francisco!

All teenagers have big dreams for their sweet 16, and EFF's 
no different: we want to throw the Best Party Ever, we want 
a new car, and we want to secure your digital rights.

We're kidding about the car, but please do join EFF for a 
birthday bash to celebrate 16 years fighting for your 
rights. The party will be on January 11, 7-10 PM, at 111 
Minna Gallery in San Francisco. DJ Ripley and Kid Kameleon 
will be keeping the dance floor hopping all night long.

A $20 donation gets you in the door. No one will be turned 
away for lack of funds, and all proceeds go toward our work 
defending your digital freedom.

EFF Sweet 16 Party

January 11, 2007
7-10 PM

111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 974-1719

This fundraiser is open to the general public. 21+ only, 
cash bar.

Please RSVP to

For DJ Ripley:

For Kid Kameleon:

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* EFF Backs in Defamation Case

Controversial Website Shielded by Federal Law Protecting 
Internet Free Speech

Pittsburgh - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged 
a Pennsylvania court to dismiss defamation claims against 
the controversial website, arguing that 
federal law shields the website from liability to protect 
the free flow of information online. was created by Tasha Joseph as a forum 
for women to share information about men. One of the men 
discussed on the site, Todd J. Hollis, claims that some 
participants posted defamatory statements about him on the 
website. In its amicus brief, EFF argues that's owner cannot be held liable for 
comments written by others under Section 230 of the 
Communications Decency Act. Section 230 specifically 
protects hosts of interactive computer services from 
liability to encourage free discourse and robust debate.

"The Internet allows people all over the world to share 
information and diverse opinions. Without Section 230, no 
one would risk creating a website where others express 
ideas," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "This 
doesn't mean that people like Hollis can't pursue 
defamation cases. They can. But they should sue the person 
who made the statement in the first place, not the person 
who created the forum where it was made."

Nearly every court that has considered Section 230 has 
recognized the intent of the law and shielded website 
operators from liability. EFF has provided amicus support 
in a number of lawsuits, including one that recently held 
that Craigslist was not responsible for the content of 
posts made by the public.

"Section 230 is key to fostering vital debate and 
discussion across the Internet. Craigslist and other online 
communities are thriving because of its protection," said 
EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl.

The amicus brief was also signed by the Center for 
Democracy and Technology (CDT) and the American Civil 
Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania.

For the full amicus brief:

For this release:

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* Privacy Office Slams Secure Flight Testing

Without informing the public, the Department of Homeland 
Security (DHS) has for years assigned "risk assessments" to 
millions of people as they enter or leave the country. The 
Automated Targeting System (ATS) is precisely the sort of 
system that Congress sought to prohibit with the Privacy 
Act of 1974.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that the 
government has failed to properly disclose an invasive 
travel screening program. According to a report recently 
released by the DHS Privacy Office, the Transportation 
Security Administration (TSA) misrepresented how it handled 
commercial data while testing the controversial Secure 
Flight program. The Privacy Office's report, which comes a 
year and a half after TSA's misdeeds became known, states: 
"However well-meaning, material changes in a federal 
program's design that have an impact on the collection, 
use, and maintenance of personally identifiable information 
of American citizens are required to be announced in 
Privacy Act system notices and privacy impact assessments."

Let's hope it doesn't take the Privacy Office a year and a 
half to decide whether ATS violates the Privacy Act as 

Read more about the Privacy Office's report:

For more on ATS:

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* Help EFF Investigate Invasive Travel Screening Program

EFF has filed formal comments opposing ATS and filed suit 
against DHS in federal court, demanding immediate answers 
about this unprecedented data-mining system deployed on 
American travelers. We would also appreciate your help in 
documenting the system's effect on law-abiding individuals.

If you have experienced difficulties when entering or 
leaving the United States, we'd like to hear from you. We 
are particularly interested in hearing from folks who have 
had repeated problems or have been told by government 
agents that they are on a "list" or that there is some 
unexplained "problem" that needs to be resolved. Please 
share your story with us by writing to  and 
providing as much detail as possible. We will treat all 
responses confidentially and may contact you to follow-up.

For more on ATS:

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* At Year's End, Darknet Still Beats DRM

Way back in November 2002, a set of Microsoft's senior-most 
security engineers wrote a paper that has come to be known 
as "the Darknet Paper." The paper explained why digital 
rights management (DRM) restrictions for popular 
entertainment content would never stop piracy, so long as 
three assumptions remained true:

1. Any widely distributed object will be available to a 
fraction of users in a form that permits copying.

2. Users will copy objects if it is possible and 
interesting to do so.

3. Users are connected by high-bandwidth channels.

As we ring in 2007, here are a few year-end stories that 
illustrate, yet again, that the Darknet assumptions remain 
vividly, indisputably, true.

Assumption #1: DRM for HD-DVD and Blu-Ray was reportedly 
broken. All it takes is one leak, and DRM always leaks.

Assumption #2: In 2006, 2.6 billion blank CDs were sold as 
compared to 588 million CDs of recorded music, says the 
Philadelphia Inquirer. Apple has sold a total of 
approximately 80 million iPods. Audio and video features 
are now a standard feature on hard-drive enclosures and in 
network attached storage (NAS) solutions; in fact, 
inexpensive routers and NAS enclosures now include Bit 
Torrent clients, so that the downloading can continue, even 
when your computer is turned off.

Assumption #3: A year-end review of trends in file-sharing, 
courtesy of Seattle Weekly, explains that users aren't just 
relying on P2P networks anymore, thanks to MP3 blogs, 
YouTube (now downloadable, thanks to software tools), 
MySpace (again, downloadable), CD-Rs, and wireless sharing. 
And, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, 78% of American 
Internet users now have high-speed connections at home, up 
from 65% in 2005.

For this post and related links:

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* Feds Shut Down E-voting Certification Lab

Colorado-based Ciber, Inc., the largest laboratory that 
tests software used in U.S. voting systems, has been 
temporarily banned from approving new systems following 
problems discovered last summer by the Election Assistance 
Commission (EAC). In July, EAC began a new oversight 
program that increased the level of scrutiny that 
independent testing authorities ("ITAs") must satisfy in 
order to be able to review candidate voting systems. The 
EAC found that Ciber was not following proper quality-
control procedures and could not document that it was 
conducting all the required tests. Ciber's renewed petition 
for accreditation is currently under EAC review.

The ITA review process, largely closed and funded by voting 
machine vendors themselves, is regularly criticized for its 
lack of transparency and procedures that are insufficient 
to ensure that systems are accurate and secure.

For this post and related links:

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* EFF at CES and Macworld Next Week

Want to get the latest on how the next line of gadgets will 
impact your digital rights? Stay tuned to EFF's blog next 
week as we come to you live from the Consumer Electronics 
Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. We'll cover the good, the bad, 
and the ugly -- the amazing devices that will help you get 
more from your media, the DRM-laden tools down the pike, 
and the devices that are nowhere to be found because of the 
entertainment industry's needless restrictions.

Learn more about CES:

EFF will also be at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San 
Francisco, California, on January 9-12. We'll be in booth 
3102, so please stop by and grab some swag during exhibit 
hours -- we look forward to seeing you!

For more about Macworld: 

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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 

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 

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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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ BackUpHDDVD Tool Explained by Author
Coder maps out the holes in HD-DVD's DRM.

~ Roll Your Own DRMed DVDs
Studios allow download-to-burn movie services, but only if 
consumers purchase special blank DVDs and DVD burners.

~ Hollywood Reporter Predicts Music DRM's Imminent Demise
"In 2007, the majors will get the message, and the DRM wall 
will begin to crumble."

~ FCC Approves AT&T-BellSouth Merger
After claiming "network neutrality" could not be defined, 
AT&T agrees to protect it for a limited time.

~ What Can't They Warrantlessly Surveil?
President's signing statement claims your postal mail can 
be searched without a warrant; Fourth Amendment raises a 
skeptical eyebrow.	

Derek Slater, Activist	

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