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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 36 - Who's in Your Five? EFF Documents Show the FBI Sought Details About "Communities of Interest"


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 36 - Who's in Your Five? EFF Documents Show the FBI Sought Details About "Communities of Interest"

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 36  September 11, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 440th Issue of EFFector:

  • Who's in Your Five? EFF Documents Show the FBI Sought Details About "Communities of Interest"
  • Court Rules National Security Letters Unconstitutional
  • EFF Wins Protection for Security Researchers
  • Noted Computer Crime Attorney Comes to EFF
  • DHS Scraps ADVISE Data-Mining Software
  • Apple Lays Foundation for DMCA Lawsuits?
  • Victory Against School Biometrics in Illinois
  • miniLinks (7): Big Victory for Limits to Copyright Law
  • 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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* Who's in Your Five? EFF Documents Show the FBI Sought 
Details About "Communities of Interest"

Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation 
show that the FBI asked telecommunications companies to 
turn over information about people in contact with 
individuals the FBI was investigating, though a degree 
removed from any suspicious activity and presumably 

The letters are part of the second set of FBI documents 
released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
lawsuit seeking information about the FBI's misuse of 
National Security Letters (NSLs). In June, a federal judge 
ordered the Bureau to disclose additional information 
responsive to EFF's request every month. We anticipate that 
this material will continue to reveal details about the 
Bureau's use -- and abuse -- of NSL authority.

Read Eric Lichtblau's New York Times report, "F.B.I. Data 
Mining Reached Beyond Initial Targets": 

For more information about EFF's FOIA work, visit our FOIA 
Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) Project page:

For this post and related links:

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* Court Rules National Security Letters Unconstitutional

In a big victory for your online privacy and civil 
liberties, a federal court ruled that "National Security 
Letters" (NSLs) violate the Constitution.

Under the USA PATRIOT Act, NSLs allow the FBI to spy on 
Americans' telephone, Internet, and other records without 
any court approval and regardless of whether the target is 
suspected of a crime. With a single piece of paper, the FBI 
could force your ISP to turn over detailed information 
about your Internet communications, including the Web sites 
you've visited and the email addresses you've written to. 
Worse still, an NSL recipient is barred from notifying 
anyone else about the demand.

Last week, Judge Marrero ruled that this "gag order" is 
unconstitutional, and, in so doing, struck down the entire 
NSL statute. The gag not only tramples on the recipient's 
First Amendment rights but also prevents courts from 
fulfilling their Constitutional duty to check the other 
branches of government and scrutinize the restriction.

Meanwhile, EFF is continuing to fight hard to expose the 
truth about the NSL abuse through our Freedom of 
Information Act litigation. In the wake of the inspector 
general's report, EFF filed a lawsuit seeking fundamental 
information about the FBI's power grab. On June 16, 2007, a 
federal judge ordered the FBI to process 2,500 pages a 
month responsive to EFF's request. You can find the 
documents here:

The ACLU has more on the decision here:

For this post and related links:

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* EFF Wins Protection for Security Researchers

Court Blocks DirecTV's Heavy-Handed Legal Tactics

San Francisco - In an important ruling, the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals blocked satellite television 
provider DirecTV's heavy-handed legal tactics and protected 
security and computer science research into satellite and 
smart card technology after hearing argument from the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The cases, DirecTV v. Huynh and DirecTV v. Oliver, involved 
a provision of federal law prohibiting the "assembly" or 
"modification" of equipment designed to intercept satellite 
signals. DirecTV maintained that the provision should cover 
anyone who works with equipment designed for interception 
of their signals, regardless of their motivation or whether 
any interception occurs. But in a hearing earlier this 
year, EFF argued that the provision should apply only to 
entities that facilitate illegal interception by other 
people and not to those who simply tinker or use the 
equipment, such as researchers and others working to 
further scientific knowledge of the devices at issue.

"Congress never meant this law to be used as a hammer on 
those who use or tinker with new technologies," said EFF 
Senior Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "We're pleased the 
court recognized that researchers need to be protected."

These cases were part of DirecTV's nationwide legal 
campaign against hundreds of thousands of individuals, 
claiming that they were illegally intercepting its 
satellite TV signal simply because they had purchased smart 
card technology.  Because DirecTV made little effort to 
distinguish legal uses of smart card technology from 
illegal ones, EFF has worked to limit the lawsuits to only 
those cases where DirecTV has proof that their signals were 
illegally received.

"DirecTV always had legal recourse against those who pirate 
their signal. The ruling today prevents satellite and cable 
TV companies from piling on excessive damages that would 
punish and chill legitimate encryption research," said EFF 
Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick.

David Price and Trevor Dryer at Stanford Law School's 
Cyberlaw Clinic also assisted in this case.

For the full opinion from the 9th Circuit:

For more on this case:

For this release:

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* Noted Computer Crime Attorney Comes to EFF

Jennifer Stisa Granick Named Civil Liberties Director

San Francisco - Noted computer crime attorney Jennifer 
Stisa Granick has joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation 
(EFF) as its new Civil Liberties Director, working on 
government surveillance, Fourth Amendment, computer 
security, and computer crime law.

Granick previously was Executive Director at Stanford Law 
School's Center for Internet and Society as well as 
Director of the Cyberlaw Clinic. Before Stanford, Granick 
spent almost a decade practicing criminal defense law, 
focusing on hacker defense and the interaction of free 
speech, privacy, law, and technology.

"EFF plays a critical role in the battle to protect freedom 
and privacy as new technologies transform our lives, and 
I'm thrilled to be a part of this important work," Granick 
said. "I'm especially looking forward to protecting privacy 
rights in digital communications technologies, creating 
standards for how new technologies are used in national 
security and law enforcement investigations and promoting 
network privacy by working with security researchers."

Granick was selected by Information Security magazine in 
2003 as one of 20 "Women of Vision" in the computer 
security field. She has spoken to the American Bar 
Association, National Security Agency, Naval Postgraduate 
School, International Security Forum, Computer Security 
Institute, Black Hat security conference, and the 
international Workshop on the Economics of Information 
Security, among others.

"EFF has long wanted to expand into criminal defense work, 
and Jennifer is the best there is," said EFF Legal Director 
Cindy Cohn. "It's time to take a deeper look at how 
technologies are being used in criminal and national 
security prosecutions. We're all very excited about adding 
this new depth to our work."

Granick received her J.D. degree from the University of 
California Hastings College of the Law and her 
undergraduate degree from the New College of the University 
of South Florida.

For this release:

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* DHS Scraps ADVISE Data-Mining Software

Since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has 
spent $42 million developing ADVISE software, which is 
intended to identify patterns hidden in vast stores of data 
that could reveal suspicious behavior. But the DHS 
unceremoniously dumped the software in March after the 
Government Accountability Office warned that the program 
could lead to individuals being falsely linked to criminal 
or terrorist activities. Subsequent investigations from the 
DHS Privacy Office and the DHS Inspector General found that 
live data, including personal information from real 
individuals, was used to test the software, creating 
"unnecessary privacy risks."

ADVISE, once touted as an essential tool in protecting 
national security, joins a growing list of programs on the 
government's scrapheap. The Transportation Security 
Administration's (TSA) controversial passenger profiling 
system, CAPPS II, was shut down after officials were caught 
lying about the use of using real passenger data in testing 
the system. And Congress de-funded TIA in late 2003 after 
its privacy invasive data-mining scheme was revealed to the 

Unfortunately, like the cyborg cop in Terminator II, the 
scattered pieces of these programs will slowly re-assemble 
themselves, re-emerging later under new names.

Read the article, "Report: DHS Kills Data-Mining 

For the complete post and related links:

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* Apple Lays Foundation for DMCA Lawsuits?

Apple's new product announcements last week may have laid 
the foundation for the next round of DMCA lawsuits. It sure 
looks like Apple is using the DMCA to block competition, 
rather than stop "piracy."

Read Fred von Lohmann's entire analysis of Apple's latest 
"lock-in" measures here:

For our updated report, "Unintended Consequences: Seven 
Years Under the DMCA":

For more on DRM, see EFF's pages on Digital Rights 
Management and Copy Protection Schemes:

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* Victory Against School Biometrics in Illinois

In August of 2005, a public elementary school in Earlville, 
Illinois (population 1,778), installed biometric equipment, 
allowing the school to track students by scanning their 
fingerprints. Use of the scans for school lunch was 
apparently mandatory. When Joy Robinson-Van Gilder objected 
to having her 7-year-old scanned for a hot lunch, she was 
told: "If they don't scan, they don't eat."

Joy Robinson-Van Gilder, a mom of five, took this issue on 
as a personal crusade and began a one-woman campaign to 
fight the use of biometrics in her kids' schools. Ignoring 
ridicule from neighbors, Joy and her husband Chris brought 
their concerns to the administration, the school board, the 
local paper, and then began lobbying the Illinois state 

Find out what happened in our complete post:

Read the Chicago Times article," High Technology Off Menu":,1,56341.story

For background on biometric technology:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Big Victory for Limits to Copyright Law
The 10th Circuit Court recognized First Amendment 
constraints on Congressional powers in copyright law.

~ Internet Anonymity Tool Used for Eavesdropping
A security researcher found a way to use Tor to spy on 
private communications.

~ House Passes Bill to Revamp Patent Process
New legislation would limit damage awards.

~ UMG Carries Out Threat to Sue Veoh for Copyright 
Veoh is just another Napster clone, according to Universal.

~ Does Google Mislead on Sponsored Links?
An Australian court hears arguments that Google favors 
advertisers in search results.

~ Unlocking the iPhone
It may be legal to unlock your iPhone, but don't tell 
anyone else how to do it.

~ Adding Custom Ringtones to Your iPhone
Third-party applications can help you get around Apple's 
restrictions on customizing your iPhone.,135425/article.html

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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	

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