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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 31 - Action Alert: Push Congress Back Into the Wiretapping Fight to Restore Your Rights


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 31 - Action Alert: Push Congress Back Into the Wiretapping Fight to Restore Your Rights

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 31  August 7, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 435th Issue of EFFector:

  • Action Alert: Push Congress Back Into the Wiretapping Fight to Restore Your Rights
  • Online CD Seller Fights Universal's Bogus Infringement Allegations
  • Senate Approves FOIA Reform Bill
  • Review Spotlights Widespread Vulnerabilities; California Decertifies Flawed Election Equipment
  • Op-Ed Outrage in the Aftermath of "FISA Modernization"
  • Another Loss for Real ID
  • CCIA Targets Bogus Copyright Warnings
  • Virginia Movie Theater Throws the Book at Teenage Filmgoer
  • Visit EFF at LinuxWorld
  • Thank You, DEFCON!
  • miniLinks (7): Zimbabwe's New Spying Laws
  • 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 

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* Action Alert: Push Congress Back Into the Wiretapping 
Fight to Restore your Rights

Last week, Congress passed horrible legislation that 
broadly expands the National Security Agency's authority to 
spy on Americans without warrants. Now Congress needs to 
undo the damage as soon as possible, and to make it do 
that, it needs to hear from you:

By capitulating to the President's demands for sweeping new 
surveillance powers, Congress not only trampled on your 
Constitutional rights but also disregarded its own 
Constitutional duties. The law permits warrantless 
surveillance of "persons reasonably believed to be located 
outside the United States," even when they are U.S. 
citizens or are communicating with U.S. citizens, with no 
prior court approval and only minimal court oversight. 
Rather than setting meaningful boundaries on the Executive, 
Congress essentially handed him a blank check to invade 
Americans' privacy. 

The most important check on government surveillance still 
remains though. It's you. Tell your representatives to 
repeal this legislation and restore your rights now:

Congress' actions are particularly disgraceful given how 
the Administration has concealed the truth about its 
illegal spying. The President only revealed the so-called 
"Terrorist Surveillance Program" when press reports forced 
his hand in December 2005, and, after the Administration 
deliberately evaded numerous Congressional inquiries, it 
took the threat of possible perjury charges for the 
Attorney General to concede last week that the program was 
broader than first admitted. In its haste to pass 
legislation, Congress was essentially flying blind, yet it 
caved in to the Administration's fear-mongering anyway. 

This is a knockdown -- but far from a knockout -- in the 
battle to stop the government's warrantless domestic 
surveillance. The fight is not over, and, if you push them 
hard enough, Congress still has a chance to set things 

For our part, EFF's case continues forward against AT&T for 
illegally collaborating with the government, with a hearing 
before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals next Wednesday. 
We'll keep battling in the courts to uphold the 
Constitution and restore your rights.

We will also be taking the fight back to Congress, and for 
that we need your help. It's up to you to hold your 
representatives accountable for either allowing this 
egregious change or supporting it outright. Don't let them 
think for a second that this went unnoticed: send them a 
letter, call them to voice your opposition, and visit their 
home offices in your district during the August recess. 
Spread the word to your friends and family about what 
Congress has done and urge them to take action, too.

Fortunately, the law has a sunset date, and, more 
importantly, Congressional leaders are already signaling 
that they want to revise the law before then. Restoring 
protections for your fundamental rights shouldn't wait even 
a day. Neither should our efforts to make sure that happens 
-- take action now:

Read the Center for National Security Studies analysis of 
the bill:

For EFF's case against AT&T:

For EFF's page on the NSA's Warrantless Domestic 

See EFF's earlier article, "Administration Concedes Open 
Secret: NSA Spying Broader Than Previously Admitted":

For this post:

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* Online CD Seller Fights Universal's Bogus Infringement 

Record Industry Takes Aim at Right of 'First Sale'

San Francisco - An eBay seller is taking on Universal Music 
Group (UMG) in court after the record industry giant 
targeted his online music sales with false claims of 
copyright infringement.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the San 
Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest LLP are representing 
Troy Augusto, whose online auctions included sales of 
promotional CDs distributed by Universal. Augusto does 
business on eBay under the name Roast Beast Music and 
specializes in sales of rare and collectible music.

Copyright law's "first sale" doctrine makes it clear that 
the owner of a CD is entitled to resell it without the 
permission of the copyright holder. Nevertheless, Universal 
demanded that eBay take down Augusto's auctions, claiming 
that CDs marked as "promotional use only" remain the 
property of Universal and thus can never be resold.

"When a consumer buys a CD, he gets certain rights, 
including the right to resell it. Universal is mistaken if 
it thinks that it can trump these rights simply by putting 
a label on a CD," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior 
Intellectual Property Attorney. "Universal is trying to 
unilaterally rewrite copyright law to the detriment of 
Augusto's legitimate business and the public. Unless this 
effort is blocked, it could jeopardize not only sales of 
used CDs, but also libraries, used bookstores, and 
businesses that rent movies and video games."

In May, Universal filed a copyright infringement lawsuit 
against Augusto. Today, EFF filed papers with the federal 
court in Los Angeles answering Universal's claims and 
counter-suing the company for sending bogus "takedown 
notices" to eBay that resulted in the unwarranted 
suspension of Augusto's auctions.

This is not the first instance of Universal and its 
affiliated companies abusing copyright law. Last month, EFF 
filed suit against Universal Music Publishing Group on 
behalf of a mom who had a home video yanked from YouTube 
because a snippet of a Prince song could be heard in the 
background. In May, UMG made baseless copyright complaints 
about a video podcast by political blogger Michelle Malkin.

EFF has also fought other efforts to override the first 
sale doctrine, arguing in 2004 that Lexmark should not be 
permitted to use a "label license" to prohibit the resale 
of laser printer toner cartridges.

For the answer and counterclaim:

For more on this case:

For this release:

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* Senate Approves FOIA Reform Bill

The day before adjourning for August recess, the Senate 
unanimously approved S.849, the OPEN Government Act, a 
bipartisan bill that is the first significant update to the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in more than a decade. 
When Congress is back in session, a conference will 
reconcile the differences between this bill and similar 
legislation passed by the House of Representatives in 

Revelations about the FBI's misuse of a key PATRIOT Act 
power and other privacy-invasive initiatives clearly 
demonstrate the importance of government transparency. This 
law will make it easier for EFF's FOIA Litigation for 
Accountable Government (FLAG) project and other FOIA 
requesters to keep the government accountable to the 

For the bill:

For more on EFF's FOIA Litigation for Accountable 
Government (FLAG) Project:

For this post:

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* Review Spotlights Widespread Vulnerabilities; California 
Decertifies Flawed Election Equipment

The final reports of California's "Top to Bottom Review" of 
its voting systems are in, and the results aren't pretty. 
On Friday, the other shoe dropped. Secretary of State Debra 
Bowen, who as a candidate promised to radically overhaul 
California's election technology and related procedures, 
did just that. In a statement made literally at the 11th 
hour -- minutes before an impending statutory deadline 
expired -- Bowen announced that all of the voting equipment 
analyzed in the Top to Bottom Review would be prohibited 
from further use in the state unless dramatically improved 
security requirements were met.

California's blistering review exposed a wide range of 
critical vulnerabilities and other design problems with 
previously approved equipment from vendors Diebold, Sequoia 
Systems and Hart InterCivic. These discoveries bolstered 
criticisms levied by EFF and others that the country's 
voting technology needs a massive overhaul if it is to earn 
the legitimate trust of the voting public.

Get the highlights in EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman's 

Read the Source Code Reports:

For more about EFF's E-voting work:

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* Op-Ed Outrage in the Aftermath of "FISA Modernization"

Op-ed pages and blogs around the country are bleeding with 
palpable outrage, as the country wakes up to exactly what 
happened when Congress radically expanded surveillance 
powers. Most are asking the same question: faced with this 
atrocious legislation, how could its many opponents shrink 
from the moment and let it pass?

Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post has an excellent round-
up of editorials and news reporting since the weekend. 

Check out our complete post for a few choice bits from 
opinion pieces around the Web:

Read Washington Post reporter Dan Froomkin's article, 
"Who's Afraid of George W. Bush?":

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* Another Loss for Real ID

The REAL ID Act took another blow in the Senate last week, 
hopefully putting legislators one step closer to ditching 
the national ID mandate.

An amendment tacked onto the Department of Homeland 
Security Appropriations Bill would have given $300 million 
in federal funds to implement the Act. This measly sum 
would have done nothing to make up for the $23 billion 
burden states and taxpayers will be forced to bear.

So far, 17 state legislatures have already expressed their 
opposition, and, just last month, an immigration reform 
bill was scuttled as Senators refused to end debate on a 
provision requiring every American to present a 
standardized national ID in order to get a job.

That's great news, but unfortunately REAL ID isn't dead yet 
-- keep the momentum going and tell Congress to repeal the 
Act now:

Read the article, "Senate rejects extra $300 
million for Real ID":

To learn more about what's wrong with REAL ID, see EFF's 
issue page:

For the ACLU's "Status of Anti-Real ID Legislation in the 

For this post and related links:

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* CCIA Targets Bogus Copyright Warnings

Copyright warnings -- like those "FBI Warnings" on DVDs, 
stickers on CDs, and warnings flashed during NFL broadcasts 
-- are becoming increasingly common. Trouble is, most of 
these warnings are blatantly misleading claiming that any 
and all unauthorized uses are forbidden by law. Of course, 
copyright has always allowed lots of unauthorized uses, 
including fair uses.  They are also annoying, and in the 
case of DVDs, unskippable. 

Last Wednesday, the Computer & Communications Industry 
Association (CCIA) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade 
Commission (FTC), asking the Commission to take a number of 
major corporations to task for their misleading and 
intimidating copyright warnings. Targets include: the NFL, 
Major League Baseball, DreamWorks, Morgan Creek (producers 
of "The Good Shepherd"), and the book publishers, Harcourt 
and Penguin.

CCIA's also started a petition that will be sent to the FTC 
-- sign it here:

Read the CCIA complaint:

For the full post:

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* Virginia Movie Theater Throws the Book at Teenage 

Use a digital camera in a movie theater -- even for only a 
few seconds -- and you may be dragged from the theater, 
arrested, and charged with a serious criminal offense. 
That's what happened to Jhannet Sejas on her 19th birthday, 
when two police officers interrupted the showing of 
Transformers she was enjoying and placed her under arrest.

Sejas says she had no intention of selling or distributing 
a pirated copy of the film. Her aim was simply to share a 
few seconds of the Transformers movie with her younger 
brother to get him excited about seeing the film. (Her 
camera had recorded a miniscule 20 seconds of the film when 
she was arrested.) Like any fan, Sejas was a paying 
customer who only wanted to share her enthusiasm.

But apparently, the owners of the theater at Ballston 
Commons Mall in Virginia didn't see her that way.

Read the full story here:

Take action now to fight the Justice Department's copycrime 

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* Visit EFF at LinuxWorld

Come visit EFF at this year's LinuxWorld in San Francisco, 
California.  We'll be in the .org Pavilion, booth 6 
from Tuesday, August 7, through Thursday, August 9. Stop by 
and grab some great schwag:

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* Thank You, DEFCON!

Another huge thank you to the folks at DEFCON and everyone 
who participated last week in the dunk tank, parties, and 
other events that raised funds for EFF. Also, we'd like to 
extend a special thanks to Vegas 2.0 for continuing to 
support us with their annual pre-DEFCON fundraising bash. 
Every dollar goes to keeping up the fight for your digital 
rights, and, this year, we raised more funds than ever 
before. We look forward to seeing you all again at DEFCON 

For more info about DEFCON:

For more info about the Vegas 2.0 Summit:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Zimbabwe's New Spying Laws
Mugabe grants his government the right to intercept phone, 
mail and Internet traffic.

~ House Panel Approves Legal Shield for Bloggers
The Free Flow of Information Act would protect journalists 
and bloggers alike.

~ Congress to Investigate Yahoo's Role in Chinese Rights 
What did Yahoo know about dissident Shi Tao when they 
handed information to the Chinese government?

~ File-sharing, a "Petty Offense" in Germany
German prosecutors refuse to unmask alleged file-sharers.

~ UK Study of Downloading Habits
More people are downloading music, and using social 
networking sites to discover new music.

~ Don't Sell Imports, or We'll Sue!
Universal threatens to sue retailers for selling an Amy 
Winehouse import.

~ "I Am the Real Fake Steve Jobs"
The blogger behind "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" was 

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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)	

Julie Lindner, Education Outreach Coordinator	

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 
Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be 
reproduced individually at will.

Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the 
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