EFFector Vol. 20, No. 28 July 18, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 432nd Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Senate Intel. Committee Threatening to Shelter Telcos for Illegal Spying!
- Dangerous Ruling Puts Interactive Web Services at Risk
- California Judge Tentatively 'Nullifies' Election Result
- Help EFF Examine Once-Secret FBI Docs
- Keep Your Eye on NSL Abuse Ball
- Ruling Endangers Privacy in Email and IP Addresses
- DRM-Free, MP3 Streaming Music Radio Under Attack in Royalty Negotiations
- Warner Music Drops Lawsuit, Licenses Free All-You-Can-Eat Streaming on iMeem
- How Copyright Law Talks to Fans
- EFF at OSCON Next Week!
- New Membership Shirts Now Available!
- New in the EFF Shop!
- miniLinks (10): Data Mining Report from Department of Justice
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: Senate Intel. Committee Threatening to Shelter Telcos for Illegal Spying! With your help, we've made significant progress in pressuring Congress to scrutinize the NSA spying program. But the fight is far from over -- in fact, the Senate Intelligence Committee is now quietly considering legislation that could let telco giants like AT&T off the hook for their role in the surveillance. Take action now and help stop the illegal spying: http://action.eff.org/fisa In January 2006, EFF filed suit against AT&T for violating its customers' privacy and helping the NSA spy on millions of Americans' telephone and Internet communications. Recently, Congress finally made some strides towards checking the president's power: the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the Bush Administration for critical information about the surveillance program last month, and the Intelligence Committee in May explicitly set aside a proposal that could have immunized companies that collaborated with the government. But now the Intelligence Committee is back in negotiations with the Administration about proposals that could shelter the telcos and threaten cases like ours. We're hearing credible rumors that a bill could be marked-up in closed session during the next few weeks. One of your Senators is on this key committee -- call him or her now before it's too late: http://action.eff.org/fisa For more on EFF's class-action lawsuit against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : Dangerous Ruling Puts Interactive Web Services at Risk EFF Urges Appeals Court to Protect Innovation San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief urging the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a recent ruling that endangers features like search customization and user feedback on interactive web services. The ruling came in a housing discrimination lawsuit against Roommate.com, which runs an Internet forum where users can search for potential roommates. A three-judge panel held that Roommate.com could be held liable for the activity of its users because it "suggested, encouraged, or solicited" and then sorted and categorized content that may have violated fair housing law. But this reasoning threatens both current and future Internet innovators with potentially insurmountable liability problems -- impacting everything from search engine functionality to the ability to tag content on media sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr -- and is directly contrary to federal law. As EFF argued Friday in its amicus brief in support of appeal, Roommate.com is immune to liability for its users' activities under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which specifically protects hosts of interactive computer services. "Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was passed specifically to help the Internet continue to grow without being tied down by regulation," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "If service providers have to worry about potentially crushing liability, it will strongly discourage the development of new tools for online users. In fact, many of the tools we use already would be impacted by this ruling, potentially crippling innovations in search and customization." Search engines, for example, are designed to categorize and sort content -- features potentially at risk under the Ninth Circuit's ruling. Sites that solicit user feedback and opinions and allow searching by user ranking could also run afoul of the new ruling. "Courts across the country have recognized the critical role that Section 230 plays in Internet innovation," said Zimmerman. "The 9th Circuit should take this appeal and clarify that its strong protections remain in full force." For the full amicus brief: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/roomate.com/EFFroommateamicus.pdf More on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/faq-230.php For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_07.php#005361 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * California Judge Tentatively 'Nullifies' Election Result Oakland, Calif. - Last Friday, a California judge heard arguments on whether to impose sanctions against Alameda County for botching its response to a contested race conducted on Diebold electronic voting machines. In a tentative ruling issued the day before, Judge Winifred Y. Smith said that she was leaning toward nullifying election results in the race and ordering a revote. Americans for Safe Access and voters in the city of Berkeley brought a legal challenge seeking a recount after Measure R, an initiative addressing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, lost by fewer than 200 votes in the 2004 election. While the lawsuit was ongoing, election officials returned the voting machines to supplier Diebold Election Systems, and 96% of the election data was destroyed. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) helped analyze the remaining data, but too many questions remained. "Without examining the redundant data, audit logs, and chain-of-custody records, no one can confirm whether any of the reported malfunctions were ever resolved or whether vote data was manipulated or lost," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "As a result, no one can ever confirm whether the vote result announced by the county was correct." Smith's tentative ruling orders the county to place Measure R on the ballot in the next general election, as well as to pay the costs for the incomplete recount. The judge heard arguments for both sides on Friday, and she's likely to announce whether her ruling becomes final within the next week or two. For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_07.php#005359 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Help EFF Examine Once-Secret FBI Docs We've already started scouring newly-released documents relating to the misuse of National Security Letters to collect Americans' private information. But don't let us have all fun -- you, too, can dive into the docs and help uncover the truth about the FBI's abuse of power! All 1138 pages are freely downloadable (with searchable text) from EFF's website, and we'll be posting a new batch every month. We've had over 8000 downloads so far, and the blogosphere is starting to light up with feedback and analysis of the documents, which were disclosed after EFF sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) earlier this year. Over at Wired, anonymous blogger "Threat Level" reports that much of the mischief at the FBI seems to be emanating from a mysterious "Room 4944." It would be nice to know who knew what when. The whole point of sunshine laws like FOIA is to help the public hold the government accountable, and it's great to see individuals exercising their right to know. And don't forget to mention EFF if you use these documents in any way. We're a nonprofit organization, and our funding for this project depends on showing that our work is important and relevant. For more information about these documents or EFF's FLAG project, please contact EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann at marcia(at)eff.org. Read the newly-released documents: http://www.eff.org/flag/07656JDB/ Read the Wired article, FBI Patriot Act Abuse Documents: What Special Project Lives in FBI HQ Room 4944?: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/07/fbi-patriot-act.html For more information on EFF's FLAG Project: http://www.eff.org/flag/ For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005353.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Keep Your Eye on NSL Abuse Ball Last week, EFF reported that FBI records showed that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew about years of chronic National Security Letter problems, even before he testified that "[t]here has not been one verified case of civil liberties abuse." This carefully worded government talking point has led to discussions of the definition of "abuse." Standard definitions of abuse include "improper use," and the documents themselves admit to at least "improper" collection of information. None of the definitions require intentional conduct or flagrant problems. While the revelations certainly do seem to show, at a minimum, improper use, let's keep our eye on the ball. Now that the truth is coming out, and it's clear that there were significant problems and Gonzales knew about them, isn't it a little strange to be seeking cover from the definition of "abuse" rather than discussing why the AG didn't talk straight to the American people and Congress? Read EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl's entire post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005355.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Ruling Endangers Privacy in Email and IP Addresses The Ninth Circuit recently held in US v. Forrester that the Fourth Amendment does not protect against government surveillance of the to/from addresses of one's email messages, the IP addresses of websites one has visited, and the total volume of information transmitted to or from one's ISP account. This dangerous decision relies on a faulty analogy. The court accepted the argument that, because it is not a Fourth Amendment search for the government to capture dialed telephone numbers with "pen registers" and "trap and trace devices," the same is true for capturing email addresses (as opposed to subject lines in email headers) and IP addresses. But, as we've pointed out elsewhere, the latter can reveal far more intimate details about Internet activities. Unlike a phone number, an email address can communicate a message (e.g., "VoteBush@aol.com" or "repealPatriot@eff.org") and include constitutionally protected content. The court appears to grasp this distinction, but, unfortunately, doesn't follow it to the correct conclusion. Read EFF's analysis: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005358.php Download the Ninth Circuit decision in US v. Forrester: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/F0E09BB37A97D51A88257310004D1DAC/$file/0550410.pdf?openelement : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * DRM-Free, MP3 Streaming Music Radio Under Attack in Royalty Negotiations Last Friday, major label-backed licensing authority SoundExchange gave small and non-commercial music webcasters a temporary reprieve, stating that they would continue negotiations and not immediately enforce the ridiculous statutory royalty rate increase. SoundExchange is also negotiating a lower rate for large commercial stations like Pandora. However, Net radio isn't in the clear yet. In fact, it appears that such negotiated lower royalty rates may come at a very steep price: taking away DRM-free streaming and your ability to lawfully record music radio. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005360.php Read Wired Magazine's article: http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/news/2007/07/webcasters_face_music See what the Washington Post has to say about SoundExchange: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/12/AR2007071202169.html?hpid=topnews For the latest report at Radio and Internet Newsletter (RAIN): http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/071307/index.shtml : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Warner Music Drops Lawsuit, Licenses Free All-You-Can-Eat Streaming on iMeem After suing media-hosting and social networking site iMeem for copyright infringement, Warner Music has now dropped its claims and licensed free streaming of its catalog in exchange for a cut of ad revenue. Though several other labels had already granted such licenses, Warner is the first major label to do so. We don't know the specifics of the deal, but it appears that users of the site can now keep sharing, playlisting, and listening to Warner songs, iMeem gets to keep providing innovative ways for them to do so, artists get paid -- and no one gets sued in the process. For the complete post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005357.php Read the Information Week article: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201001085 See EFF's, A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing: http://www.eff.org/share/?f=collective_lic_wp.html : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * How Copyright Law Talks to Fans Without fans, there would be no music industry. Most people in the music industry understand this -- certainly the artists do. But apparently not the lawyers who work for them. An ardent fan of the New Pornographers (a great Canadian indie rock band that includes Neko Case, among others) recently posted a copy of a forthcoming B-side to his blog page on MOG, which permits users to upload songs for streaming to others. He then received an email from Web Sheriff, an online copyright enforcer hired by the record label, Matador. The message essentially accuses the fan of being a pirate and makes a veiled legal threat, all the while pretending to "appreciate" what it means to be a fan. So here's our question -- do the band members know what is being done in their name? Have they signed off on these emails being sent by Web Sheriff to their fans? Are they getting copies of the responses that the fans send after getting threatened like this? (For that matter, are the labels's own marketing people even seeing these?) We suspect not. Read EFF Senior Attorney Fred von Lohmann's full take on the issue: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005352.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF at OSCON Next Week! EFF will be at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) in Portland, Oregon next week on Wednesday, July 25, and Thursday, July 26. Come visit us at booth #121 and grab some cool schwag: http://conferences.oreillynet.com/os2007/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : New Membership Shirts Now Available! Our new EFF membership shirts have arrived. On the front you'll see our famous and instantly recognizable logo, and on the back, six icons representing our big issues: free speech, innovation, privacy, fair use, e-voting and international online freedom. Shirts are black, are sweatshop-free American Apparel brand, and are available in men's and women's styles. Join EFF (or renew your membership) and get one today! Become an EFF member: http://action.eff.org/membership : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : New in the EFF Shop! "G33k Mafia" is the debut, self-published novel by Rick Dakan. It is the story of Paul Reynolds, a comic-book artist who has been forced out of the video-game company he co-founded, only to find himself drawn into the hacker subculture by a beautiful high-tech con artist named Chloe. Read Cory Doctorow's BoingBoing review: http://www.boingboing.net/2006/12/12/geek_mafia_awesome_n.html Buy Rick Dakan's geek caper "G33k Mafia" at EFF's shop: http://secure.eff.org/shop : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ Data Mining Report from Department of Justice A DoJ report on data mining raises more questions than it answers. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070716-data-mining-at-the-fbi-digging-for-terrorists-insurance-scammers-and-identity-thieves.html ~ In Intelligence World, a Mute Watchdog Is the civilian Intelligence Oversight Board doing its job? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/14/AR2007071400862.html ~ New York Plans Surveillance Veil for Downtown 100 new cameras would be added to build a London-style surveillance system. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/09/nyregion/09ring.html?ex=1341633600&en=2644be97bd9577f9&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss ~ Respectful Cameras A new type of video surveillance promises to protect the privacy of individuals. http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18617/?a=f ~ "I've Got Nothing to Hide" Law Professor Daniel Solove takes on the most common defense of government surveillance. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565 ~ Researcher: Optimal Copyright Term Is 14 Years Cambridge University Ph.D. candidate Rufus Pollock uses economics formulas to calculate "optimal level for copyright." http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070712-research-optimal-copyright-term-is-14-years.html ~ How a Fan Becomes a Copyfighter An interview with EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. http://www.hearsayculture.com/?p=55 ~ A Better Way Forward Fred von Lohmann's prescription for how to set up blanket licenses for campus downloading. http://www.contentagenda.com/info/CA6460989.html ~ Interpol Chief Wants Databases to Track Criminals Airlines would share passenger data -- including biometric data -- with Interpol under a new plan. http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-6196190.html ~ Seeing Yellow Write your printer manufacturer to complain about tracking dots! http://www.seeingyellow.com/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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: Julie Lindner, Education Outreach 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 change your email address: http://action.eff.org/addresschange This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.