EFFector Vol. 20, No. 15 April 16, 2007 email@example.com A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 420th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert - Visit StopIllegalSpying.org and Fight the Abuse of Surveillance Powers!
- EFF Sues Justice Department for Immediate Release of NSL Abuse Records
- OPEN Government Act Heads to Senate Floor
- Recording Industry Target Deserves Day in Court
- Washington Rejects REAL ID
- A Win for Kids' Free Speech Rights
- AACS Key Revocation: The Future of DRM?
- Dontdatehimgirl Suit Dismissed
- RIAA and MPAA Try to Gut Anti-Pretexting Bill
- More Ludicrous Marketing Claims About P2P Filtering
- EFF Seeks Intake Coordinator
- miniLinks (13): George Orwell's Predictions Come Home
For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org/ Make a donation and become an EFF member today! http://eff.org/support/ Tell a friend about EFF: http://action.eff.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1061 effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Action Alert - Visit StopIllegalSpying.org and Fight the Abuse of Surveillance Powers! Last year, letters from individuals like you helped beat back legislation that could have swept the illegal NSA spying program under the rug and let companies off the hook for illegally assisting the government. But the Bush Administration is at it again, pushing a new bill that could radically expand surveillance powers and threaten cases like EFF's lawsuit against AT&T. With the Senate Intelligence Committee taking up this topic on Tuesday, your representatives need to know that your concerns haven't gone away. Congress must reject this legislation and take immediate action to stop the illegal spying. Make your voice heard now by visiting: http://www.stopillegalspying.org StopIllegalSpying.org is a new site set up by EFF and a broad coalition of groups fighting for your privacy and the rule of law. With your help, we can press Congress to do its job and restore the checks and balances that define our democracy. Please help spread the word about the site to friends and family, and post our site's graphic on your website or blog. Send a letter to your representatives now: http://www.stopillegalspying.org For more information about EFF's suit against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Sues Justice Department for Immediate Release of NSL Abuse Records Public Needs Critical Information About FBI's Abuse of Surveillance Power Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked a judge to issue an emergency order requiring the FBI to immediately release agency records about its abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs) to collect Americans' personal information. Congressional hearings and a storm of media coverage followed a recent Justice Department report detailing the FBI's extensive misuse of NSLs -- requests through which federal agents may collect telephone, Internet, financial, credit, and other personal records about Americans without judicial approval. The report and the ensuing uproar also sparked the introduction of a bill in the House of Representatives to curb the Bureau's NSL authority. In a lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), EFF demands that the FBI release all information about NSL abuse without delay, so that the records can be part of the national debate about domestic surveillance. "Congress has already dedicated several hearings to the FBI's abuse of investigative power and is thinking about how to prevent such abuses in the future," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "But if there is going to be meaningful debate about this issue, we need more information than what the Administration chooses to make public, and we need it now." The Department of Justice has already agreed that the records should be disclosed quickly due to the exceptional media attention and the questions the NSL report has raised about the government's integrity. However, despite this recognition, the Bureau has failed to meet the 20-day time limit that Congress set for requests that do not merit fast processing. EFF's FOIA request asks for all FBI records discussing or reporting violations of current law, guidelines, or policies, as well as any communications discussing various potential interpretations of current federal investigative power. EFF also demands copies of the contracts between the FBI and three telephone companies, which were intended to allow the FBI to get rapid access to telephone records. "There are a lot of questions right now about the government's integrity when it comes to domestic surveillance. The FBI must follow the law and release these records to the public," said EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel. For the FOIA complaint: http://www.eff.org/flag/nsl/nsl_complaint.pdf For the motion for a preliminary injunction: http://www.eff.org/flag/nsl/pi_final.pdf For more on EFF's FLAG Project: http://www.eff.org/flag/ For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_04.php#005196 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * OPEN Government Act Heads to Senate Floor Legislation that would help protect the public's right to know is one step closer to passing. The Senate Judiciary Committee has marked up the OPEN Government Act, which would provide some much needed updates to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The bill now heads to the Senate floor, and a similar bill has already passed in the House. Keep up the momentum and tell your representatives to pass this bill now: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=285 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Recording Industry Target Deserves Day in Court RIAA Must Face Consequences of Meritless File-Sharing Lawsuits San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief with a New York district court, urging a judge to allow the target of a recording industry lawsuit to fight back with counterclaims of his own. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has already moved to dismiss copyright infringement claims against Rolando Amurao. However, Amurao alleges that the RIAA's case is meritless and intended to harass him, so he has countersued for a declaration of non-infringement and a finding of RIAA copyright misuse. In its amicus brief, EFF argues that giving Amurao his day in court increases RIAA accountability in the industry's broad lawsuit campaign against file sharing. "If Amurao's allegations are true, then he has the right to clear his name," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "It's simply unfair to shield copyright owners from the consequences of careless lawsuits. Counterclaims like Amurao's help make sure that the RIAA can't simply dismiss its case and walk away when an innocent target fights back." The RIAA has sued thousands of individuals for allegedly sharing music over the Internet since its campaign began in 2003. But sloppy investigative methods have left innocent people entangled in expensive and draining legal proceedings. When the RIAA threatens someone with a lawsuit, it offers to settle the case for a carefully chosen sum that is smaller than the legal fees required to fight the accusations. Faced with this choice, some innocent people settle simply because it's the most affordable option. However, a few individuals like Amurao have decided to battle the RIAA in court. In one Oklahoma case, EFF provided amicus support to an innocent target of a file sharing lawsuit who is fighting to have the RIAA reimburse her attorneys' fees. For the full amicus brief: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/lava_v_amurao/lava_amicus.pdf For more on the RIAA's lawsuit campaign: http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/riaa-v-thepeople.php For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_04.php#005195 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Washington Rejects REAL ID The state of Washington recently passed legislation rejecting implementation of the costly, privacy-invasive REAL ID Act. REAL ID essentially forces states to create a national ID, requiring standardization of drivers' licenses and the creation of a vast national database linking all of the ID records together. Thankfully, there's a growing chorus of opposition to this misguided federal mandate -- Washington is the fourth state to reject its implementation, and Congress is considering repealing it. Learn more about REAL ID and take action to stop it here: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=275 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * A Win for Kids' Free Speech Rights A ruling in the Indiana Court of Appeals last week gave a middle school student her free speech rights back. The girl, who is called "A.B." in the court record, had posted comments on a MySpace page criticizing her school's policy on body piercings. The post was full of expletives, which a judge ruled ""obscene" despite the lack of any sexual content. The girl was found to be a "delinquent child" and was put on probation for nine months. However, the girl appealed the ruling, arguing that her post was protected political speech. A three-judge panel agreed: "While we have little regard for A.B.'s use of vulgar epithets, we conclude that her overall message constitutes political speech." The judges threw out the "delinquent child" finding, holding that the lower court's conclusion "contravened her right to speak." A lot of media coverage focuses on the perceived dangers for kids on the Internet. But, expletives or not, this case shows how students use the web to discuss issues of importance to them. It's heartening that judges like these see the importance as well. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005198.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * AACS Key Revocation: The Future of DRM? The AACS encryption scheme that restricts Blu-ray and HD DVD discs was thoroughly cracked several months ago. These vulnerabilities had their roots in several software players, including Corel's InterVideo WinDVD. Now Corel is doing what the AACS regime requires them to do -- revoking the existing keys, fixing the vulnerabilities, and requiring existing users to upgrade or be disabled when they insert a new disc that "blacklists" their existing software. LA Times reporter Jon Healey has done a nice summary of what this will mean for consumers on his blog, Bit Player (and it's worth reading the whole thing): "The process of revoking software is a blunt instrument; everyone using WinDVD and PowerDVD will be affected, regardless of whether they traded bootlegged high-def movies, made back-up copies for personal use or merely played the high-def movies they bought or rented on their PCs." Because this "revoke and blacklist" approach is a standard feature of next-generation DRM systems, legitimate consumers are increasingly going to have something to fear from "upgrades" and "blacklists" hidden in the media they legitimately purchase. (Of course, no blacklists are embedded in the versions downloaded from P2P, giving consumers yet another incentive to prefer the Darknet.) Read Healey's article: http://opinion.latimes.com/bitplayer/2007/04/hackers_v_holly.html Engadget explains why the WinDVD patch won't actually stop ripping of HD-DVD discs, thanks to the thorough compromise of the Xbox HD-DVD drives: http://www.engadget.com/2007/04/10/aacs-hacked-to-expose-volume-id-windvd-patch-irrelevant/ For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005197.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Dontdatehimgirl Suit Dismissed A Pennsylvania judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the controversial website DontDateHimGirl.com, ruling that he did not have jurisdiction over the Florida-based site. But the jurisdiction question was not the only problem with this suit. Dontdatehimgirl is a forum created for women to share information about men, and the plaintiff in this case claims that participants posted defamatory statements about him. EFF filed an amicus brief in support of Dontdatehimgirl in December, arguing that the site 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 and is key to fostering free discourse online. Without Section 230, no one would risk creating a website where others could post opinions. It's important to note that the claims against the people who posted the messages in the first place still stand. If any defamation occurred, it's the speakers who should bear the responsibility, not the soapbox. The plaintiff in this case has not decided if he will refile the Dontdatehim girl suit in Florida. However, if he does, he will have to take on Section 230 and the strong protections it provides to Internet hosts of vigorous online debate. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005194.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * RIAA and MPAA Try to Gut Anti-Pretexting Bill Remember the Hewlett-Packard pretexting scandal of last year? Private investigators hired by HP obtained phone records of journalists and its own board members by pretending to be the individuals themselves. The scandal was the catalyst for a congressional investigation, and some California lawmakers decided consumers needed more protection from these privacy violations. State Sen. Ellen Corbett introduced SB 328, a bill that would ban the use of false statements and other misleading practices to get personal information. Good news for Californians, right? Not if the entertainment industry has anything to say about it. The RIAA and the MPAA are reportedly lobbying legislators for amendments to the bill. According to the Los Angeles Times, those amendments would allow pretexting if a company was trying to enforce its intellectual property rights. EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann believes this carve-out would gut the bill altogether. As he said in the Times article, "I don't see why the recording industry shouldn't have to follow the same laws that everyone else follows.... It appears they want to make the loophole so big that nobody else has to follow the law, either." Copyright shouldn't trump privacy. We hope the California State Senate agrees. For the LA Times story: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pretext7apr07,1,1936238.story For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005191.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * More Ludicrous Marketing Claims About P2P Filtering A few years ago, EFF debunked an anti-P2P packet filtering technology sold by Audible Magic. Twice. The notion that universities can just buy a piece of software to end file sharing on their networks forever is false. But it keeps coming back. The latest product of this sort is from a company called SafeMedia. As we explain here, its website makes some highly misleading claims about what filtering can accomplish: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005189.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Seeks Intake Coordinator The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil liberties nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is seeking a full-time intake coordinator. EFF receives many requests for legal and other help from the public for Internet-related issues. The intake coordinator screens and gives initial responses to everyone who asks for our assistance. Our offices are located in the heart of San Francisco's Mission District. This person will support a dedicated staff of lawyers, technologists and activists. The environment is fast-paced, our mission is cutting edge, and EFF's staff is very smart and fun to work with. Applicant must have general computer skills and knowledge of the Internet. Experience with basic legal issues and familiarity with EFF and our specific issues are also very helpful. This person must have great interpersonal skills, compassion and a sense of humor. Duties include: Greeting visitors Answering general organizational telephone and email inquiries Performing legal case intake and referrals Managing database of cooperating attorneys and technologists Coordinating volunteers and part-time staff for support projects Assisting staff with assorted administrative tasks Salary mid '30s plus good benefits package. EOE, we encourage diverse applicants to apply. Please email only resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. Position available immediately. No phone calls please! : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ George Orwell's Predictions Come Home How many CCTVs are there around the author of 1984's old house? http://www.tjmcintyre.com/2007/04/eric-blair-watched-by-tony-blair.html ~ Entertainment IPREDators How IPRED2 is seen in Italy. http://mana.acheronte.it/blog/?p=24 ~ China's Latest Export: Web Censorship How one major player is shifting Web blocking. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/china/article1352239.ece ~ Harold Feld's "Impossibly Long" Field Guide to the 700 MHz Auction A really not very long explanation of an important issue. http://www.wetmachine.com/item/741 ~ Lorne Michaels Wishes NBC Would Put More of SNL on YouTube Viacom's Jon Stewart not happy either. http://techdirt.com/articles/20070412/012740.shtml ~ The 403 Checker Scan a large number of URLs and find the ones that your country bans. http://astrubal.nawaat.org/403-access-denied-checker/ ~ Twenty-eight Percent of Americans Now Own an HDTV The clock is ticking for broadcast flag adoption. http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/04/13/28-percent-of-americans-now-own-an-hdtv/ ~ Australian ISP's Spam Solution: Block Gmail Messages Another blacklist gone bad. http://techdirt.com/articles/20070412/122104.shtml ~ "Aiding and Abetting" Copyright Violations Could Land Our CEOs in Jail Euro companies getting worried about IPRED2 http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070412-european-isps-aiding-and-abetting-copyright-violations-could-land-our-ceos-in-jail.html ~ Job Opening at the FSF Running Campaigns Be an activist supporting free software. http://www.defectivebydesign.org/blog/973 ~ Stanford Launches Database of Copyright Renewal Records Scanned and preserved: the records of book copyright registrations between 1950 and 1993. Between 1923-1964, books needed to appear in this record to have their copyright renewed. http://www.bespacific.com/mt/archives/014469.html ~ German Police Want the Right to Hack Computers The ping at the door at 4 o'clock in the morning. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/german_police_w.html ~ Eyes of Blue Screen Dodgy iris scanners make fools of "fast track" travelers. http://www.no2id.net/news/newsblog/?p=571 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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: Derek Slater, Activism Coordinator email@example.com Membership & donation queries: firstname.lastname@example.org General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: email@example.com 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/ Click here to unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences: http://action.eff.org/site/CO?i=zUylVFN-guuvMg7LA-e370efDydgxZDT&cid=1041 Click here to change your email address: http://action.eff.org/addresschange This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons. To unsubscribe from all future email, paste the following URL into your browser: http://action.eff.org/site/CO?i=DFI_6x8c0uFOFbv5uCIYrqvuqhx0nfjf&cid=1041