Skip to main content

EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 35 - Visit and Fight for Your Freedom Now!


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 35 - Visit and Fight for Your Freedom Now!

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 35  September 06, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 439th Issue of EFFector:

  • Visit and Fight for Your Freedom Now!
  • Ex-DOJ Official Pens Tell-All Book on "Flimsy" Legal Basis for Executive Power
  • Administration Leaks Confirm AT&T and Verizon's Role in Warrantless Wiretapping
  • Microsoft Embraces Machinima...and Maybe the GPL?
  • Is it Legal to Unlock Your iPhone?
  • Check Out the 7th Annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" in Washington, DC!
  • miniLinks (10): At Rapleaf, Your Personals Are Public
  • 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 

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Visit and Fight for Your Freedom Now!

The president is unconstitutionally wiretapping the 
telephone and Internet communications of millions of 
ordinary Americans. Telecom giants want to block lawsuits 
like EFF's case against AT&T and get immunity for their 
illegal collaboration with the president's program.

And now Congress is threatening to let them get away with 

Stand with EFF as we launch a new campaign to take on 
Congress and stop the spying. Tell the government to stop 
surveillance of Americans' communications without a 

Defend your freedom now:

For at least six years, President Bush has authorized the 
National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct dragnet 
surveillance on our domestic telecommunications networks, 
vacuuming up the private communications of millions of 
ordinary Americans with no warrants or other meaningful 

Yet instead of reining in this intolerable attack on your 
Constitutional rights, the Democratic leadership caved to 
the president's demands for even more spying authority by 
passing the so-called "Protect America Act" in August. Now 
the Administration wants to make its power grab permanent, 
prevent any court from stopping the illegal spying, and 
give companies like AT&T a "get-out-of-jail-free" card.

It's going to take massive public outrage to make Congress 
grow a backbone and check the president's abuse of power. 
The first step is to demand a strong, clear commitment from 
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority 
Leader Harry Reid to protect your rights.

Legislation could be considered this month, so please don't 
wait before picking up the phone and making your voice 
heard. You can get contact information and talking points 

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Crunch Time for E-voting Reform

If all goes as planned, H.R. 811 -- the Voter Confidence 
and Increased Accessibility Act of 2007 -- will come to a 
floor vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday or 
Friday of this week. Despite speculation to the contrary, 
it is not at all clear whether the bill, introduced by New 
Jersey Representative Rush Holt, will pass or whether a 
substantively similar companion bill will then pass the 
Senate. Like it or not, with election officials arguing 
that they're running out of time to implement wholesale 
changes, this likely amounts to Congress's only attempt to 
make any serious improvements to the nation's election 
procedures ahead of the 2008 presidential election.

Whatever its shortcomings, and whatever its incremental 
pace, H.R. 811 offers an important step forward. EFF 
continues to call for more ambitious reform than that 
offered by the current version of the bill, but we also 
recognize that H.R. 811 offers the best immediate 
opportunity for meaningful change. It needs your support 
today. Without it, be prepared to live with no additional 
federal protections for the 2008 election. Any new bill 
will be targeted at the 2010 or 2012 general election.

Take action now; tell your Representative to support H.R. 

For background on the bill, see EFF's article, "HR 811: 
Separating Truth From Fiction in E-voting Reform":

See EFF's E-voting page:

For this post and related links:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Ex-DOJ Official Pens Tell-All Book on "Flimsy" Legal 
Basis for Executive Power

This week, the New York Times released a preview of Prof. 
Jack Goldsmith's upcoming book, The Terror Presidency: Law 
and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration. Now a 
professor at Harvard Law School, Goldsmith was previously 
the head of the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Office of 
Legal Counsel, an office deeply involved in developing the 
legal theories underpinning the Administration's expansion 
of Executive power.

According to Prof. Goldsmith's book, the Administration 
continues to pull out all the stops in an attempt to 
eliminate legal review. It refused the appropriate 
clearances for an investigation by the Justice Department's 
Office of Professional Responsibility, stonewalled 
Congressional subpoenas for the legal memos, concealed FISA 
court orders ruling on the legal theories and asserted the 
state secret privilege in civil lawsuits trying to stop the 

The Administration's thin claims of state secrets can no 
longer be allowed to cover up the truth about its illegal 
activity. Take action now to fight the warrantless 
surveillance and tell Congress to stand up for the rule of 

For the New York Time's article, "Conscience of a 

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

For the full post and related links:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Administration Leaks Confirm AT&T and Verizon's Role in 
Warrantless Wiretapping

Last Friday, the Administration filed yet another court 
brief contending that the case against AT&T for its 
cooperation in the warrantless wiretapping program must be 
dismissed, for fear that the bad guys might figure out the 
well known fact that AT&T had indeed participated. In 
response to the Director of National Intelligence's 
admission that the companies that "were being sued" "had 
assisted" the wiretapping program, the Administration 
attempts to minimize McConnell's admission.

And on the very same day, the Administration went to work 
on gathering political support for its proposal to grant 
retroactive immunity to the telecommunications giants. Over 
a dozen government officials spoke to the Associated Press 
"on condition they not be identified because sensitive 
negotiations with Congress are ongoing." Despite the oft-
repeated litigation position that naming particular 
telecommunications companies was too sensitive:

"One of the officials said the defendants in suits brought 
by the American Civil Liberties Union -- Verizon and AT&T -- 
would be the key beneficiaries of the proposed 

So how do we explain this apparent discrepancy? Find out in 
our full post:

For National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell's Q&A 

For the New York Times article, "Role of Telecom Firms in 
Wiretaps Is Confirmed":

For the AP article, "Bush Seeks Legal Immunity for 

Read more about EFF's case against AT&T:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Microsoft Embraces Machinima ... and Maybe the GPL?

The machinima world got some big news recently when 
Microsoft announced its "Game Content Usage Rules," which 
is a license that explicitly authorizes the creation of 
machinima (and other derivative works) using Microsoft game 
content. As far as we know, this is the first time a major 
commercial game vendor has created a "machinima license" to 
facilitate this exciting new genre. 

And there's an interesting General Public License (GPL) 
intersection with this new Microsoft license that could 
potentially be your defense if Microsoft sues you for 

What is it, you ask? Find out in our post:

Wikipedia defines the "machinima" hybrid genre here:

Check out Spartan Life's interview of Malcolm McLaren for 
an example of the amazing things machinima creators are 
doing using Halo:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Is it Legal to Unlock Your iPhone?

Well, now that a high-school senior has done it, everyone 
wants to know: is it legal to unlock your iPhone?

The answer, as we lawyers like to say, is complicated. But, 
we do know who's qualified to offer some direction.

Find out in our complete post:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* Check Out the 7th Annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" 
in Washington, DC!

Future of Music Coalition (FMC) is a national nonprofit 
that works on the issues at the intersection of music, law, 
technology and policy. For the past six years, FMC has 
organized an annual Policy Summit that brings an 
unprecedented mix of 500 musicians, artists, attorneys and 
policymakers together for discussions about issues that are 
emerging as the promotion and distribution of music moves 
to a global, digital platform.

This year, FMC is back in Washington, DC, to host the 7th 
annual "Future of Music Policy Summit" from September 17-
18, 2007. Over the course of two days, panels will cover 
such topics as:

* Copyright and licensing issues
* Network neutrality and broadband policy
* FCC's "rules of engagement" on payola
* Sample clearance licensing process
* The explosion of niche market genres
* Wireless/music portability
* The challenges of cultural preservation
* Technologies that are bringing artists and fans closer 
...and more.

The Summit will also include a special conversation with 
Marybeth Peters, Registrar, US Copyright Office, and 
keynotes by leading members of Congress.

For general event information:

To see all confirmed panelists:

To see the summit schedule:

Online registration is open; the regular 2-day registration 
rate is $199 per person. Discounted rates are also 
available for students:

Scholarships are available for working musicians. There are 
only a few left, so click here to apply!

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ At Rapleaf, Your Personals Are Public
A new generation of search engines scans personal data from social 
networking sites.

~ Open Government Without Shutting Doors
The draft "European Convention on Access to Official Documents" has 
serious flaws.

~ Ballot Machines Malfunction in Scotland
More than 140,000 ballots were apparently spoilt in Scottish 
Parliamentary elections.

~  California Blocks RFID Implants in Workers
The State Senate votes to ban "forced tagging of humans."

~ New Business Models in the Recording Industry
The new head of Columbia Records has some interesting ideas.

~ Know Your Rights, These Are Your Rights
What should you do when the RIAA comes calling?

~ Debating the First Sale Doctrine
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred Von Lohmann in a podcast discussion 
of "promo CD" sales.

~ Science Fiction Writers of America Abuses the DMCA
A Cory Doctorow novel and other non-infringing works were ordered 
taken down by the SFWA.

~ Is It a Bird, or Is It a Plane?
The UK is using unmanned drone helicopters for festival 

~ Cute, Orwellian Cartoon Cops
Animated virtual cops are policing the web in China.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

* 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 
Web at:

Click here to change your email address:

This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.

Back to top

JavaScript license information