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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 37 - Action Alert: Tell Congress to Do Its Job and Protect Your Rights


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 37 - Action Alert: Tell Congress to Do Its Job and Protect Your Rights

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 37  September 20, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 441st Issue of EFFector:
  • Action Alert: Tell Congress to Do Its Job and Protect Your Rights!
  • DOJ's "Community of Interest" Letters Are Illegal
  • New Video on NSL Privacy Violations & the Constitution
  • German Plot Uncovered By Old Fashioned Police Work
  • Big Win for First Amendment and Copyright Law
  • Study Shows Fair Use Rights Crucial to U.S. Economy
  • More DMCA Bait from Apple
  • Two Leading Technologists Join EFF Board of Directors
  • EFF Seeks Intellectual Property Staff Attorney
  • Save the Date: October 10 for EFF's Compliance Bootcamp
  • miniLinks (7): Great Firewall of China Patchy But Effective
  • 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: Tell Congress to Do Its Job and Protect 
Your Rights!

After Congress passed the so-called "Protect America Act" 
in August, Americans expressed outrage at the loss of their 
rights. Thanks to your emails, faxes, and calls, 
congressional committees are now scrambling to decide on 
how to fix their mistakes. But in the frenzied rush to 
revise the terrible spying law, your rights are at risk of 
being negotiated away  and the telecommunication companies 
that have abetted the warrantless wiretapping program could 
be given total immunity for illegally spying on millions of 
ordinary Americans.

Call your representative and tell him or her to get it 

The president demanded sweeping new surveillance powers, 
and Congress caved, trampling on your constitutional rights 
and forgetting its own constitutional duties. The new 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. With the flimsiest of protections, the new 
spying law retrospectively rubberstamps the building of a 
domestic surveillance infrastructure that could be used to 
monitor your communications wholesale. Congress essentially 
handed the Executive a blank check to invade Americans' 
privacy. We need to tell Congress to reject the Protect 
America Act and make no new changes to the law until they 
know what the Administration has been doing behind its 
back. And they need to stand firm against the 
Administration's calls to give blanket, retrospective 
immunity to any surveillance crimes committed by the phone 

Members from other civil liberties organizations have been 
calling their representatives all week, and now it's our 
turn to hit the Hill and make an impact:

For more on the "Protect America Act":

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* DOJ's "Community of Interest" Letters Are Illegal

Last week, EFF released crucial documents obtained through 
our FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG) 
Project, exposing the FBI's habit of asking AT&T, Verizon 
and MCI for the "community of interest" surrounding a 
particular customer in exigent circumstances letters. Your 
community of interest is your friends and the people they 
call, or, as one government glossary defines it, it's a 
"grouping of users who generate a majority of their traffic 
in calls to other members of the group."

The new revelation that EFF's crack FOIA team unearthed is 
that the FBI didn't just get *your* information when it 
conducted its illegal surveilance of you: it got 
information on all of the friends and family members you 
called. That's illegal too.

Now that the Executive's abuses of its surveillance and 
spying powers have come clearly to light, it is 
unconscionable to allow the watchmen to keep watching 
themselves. A "privacy and civil liberties officer" in the 
FBI was not enough to stop the illegal use of exigent 
circumstance letters to spy on a target's friends of 
friends, and the deferential review proposed by the Protect 
America Act will not be enough to prevent the abuse of the 
law's extraordinary powers.

Defend your freedom. Please join us:

Find out more in EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl's 
complete analysis:

Read the documents:

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

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* New Video on NSL Privacy Violations & the Constitution

National Security Letters (NSLs) are in the news a lot 
lately. Earlier in the year, a Justice Department report 
found that abuses of this powerful investigation tool were 
rampant, despite repeated statements to the contrary by 
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. Then documents obtained 
by EFF under the Freedom of Information Act exposed chronic 
misuses of NSLs, as well as other illegal demands that 
phone companies provide information on a target's 
"Community of Interest." And let's not forget that earlier 
this month, a federal judge ruled NSLs unconstitutional.

But what are NSLs, exactly? How do they work? Who receives 
them, and why? FBI Unbound: How National Security Letters 
Violate Our Privacy, a new short video produced by the Bill 
of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), does a great job of 
bringing facts and analysis to the discussion of this 
controversial expansion of executive power. The video 
describes what happens when an NSL is sent, and how NSLs 
allow unprecedented spying on American citizens.

The video is available on DVD from BORDC's website:

Or, watch the video in two parts on YouTube:

For this post and related links:

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* German Plot Uncovered by Old Fashioned Police Work

The recent terrorist plot uncovered in Germany was detected 
by traditional means. According to Newsweek, "One U.S. 
intelligence official described the law-enforcement 
operation as a case of 'good old-fashioned police work.'"

Nevertheless, when Mike McConnell, the Director of National 
Intelligence, recently testified before Congress, he cited 
the German arrests as proof of the importance of conducting 
electronic surveillance without warrants under the so-
called Protect America Act.

The foiled terrorist plot in Germany shows that we can 
protect America while protecting Americans' rights. In 
response to McConnell's testimony, Rep. Rush Holt stated, 
"The German terror case in question is another example of 
why I voted against the 'Protect America Act' when it came 
to the House floor in August. Our existing collection 
activities are working well overall, uncovering potential 
terrorist plots in Europe and elsewhere."

It's long past time that Congress fought to uncover the 
whole truth about the secret spying and stopped relying on 
the Administration's selective, politically motivated 

Call Congress now and demand that they stop the spying:

Read the Newsweek article, "Spy Master Admits Error":

For this post and related links:

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* Big Win for First Amendment and Copyright Law

Recently something fantastic happened. The U.S. 10th 
Circuit Court of Appeals gave the First Amendment some 
oomph in Golan v. Gonzales. The case, brought by Lawrence 
Lessig and lawyers with the Stanford Law School Center for 
Internet and Society, challenged section 514 of the Uruguay 
Round Agreements Act, or URAA, which removed thousands of 
books, films and musical compositions from the public 
domain. The 10th Circuit held that, following the Supreme 
Court case of Eldred v. Ashcroft, if Congress changes 
copyright's "traditional contours," courts must conduct a 
First Amendment review to ensure that those changes do not 
overly burden free expression in an unjustified manner. 
Removing works from the public domain is one such 
traditional contour, so the court sent the Golan case back 
to the District Court to determine whether the URAA goes 
too far in burdening speech. Creators need established 
speech rights in a digital world, where every transmission 
is a copy and everyone can be an artist. For now, the First 
Amendment is alive and well in the 10th Circuit.

We here at EFF extend hearty congratulations to the Golan 
team, lawyers, clients, students and other supporters of a 
constitutionally balanced copyright law.

EFF Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick was involved 
in the case in her former position as Executive Director of 
CIS and recently wrote about it in her Wired News column:

Read Lawrence Lessig's blog post, "A big victory: Golan v. 

For this post and related links:

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* Study Shows Fair Use Rights Crucial to U.S. Economy

The entertainment industry's attempts to eliminate (think 
DRM) and whittle away (think PERFORM Act) your fair use 
rights are jeopardizing more than just free speech. It also 
threatens the U.S. economy, as an extensive study released 
by the Computer & Communications Industry Association 
(CCIA) demonstrates.

Read the CCIA study:

For this post and related links:

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* More DMCA Bait from Apple

On the heels of Apple's other two pieces of anti-
competitive DMCA-bait, it now appears we have a third bit 
of lawyer-chum in the water: Apple has reportedly locked 
its latest iPods to its own iTunes software. So third-party 
applications (like Songbird) will no longer be able 
organize or sync your (unDRM-ed) music on these iPods.

While many have noted that this is bad news for Linux 
users, it's also bad for Windows and Mac users. iTunes (the 
software, not the store) has built a considerable lead in 
the "media jukebox" category on both sides of the Windows-
Mac divide. This latest move looks like an effort by Apple 
to consolidate and hold that beachhead, blocking 
competitors from entering the market and leaving consumers 
on all platforms with fewer choices.

We'll see whether Apple licenses this iPod "feature" and, 
if so, on what terms. And now that the reverse engineering 
of the iPod-iTunes lock is successful, we'll see whether 
Apple starts issuing DMCA threats (as they did to Real 
Networks back in the day).

For the Ars Technica article, "Apple's New iPod Checksum 
Cracked by GtkPod Coders":

Read EFF's updated report, "Unintended Consequences: Seven 
Years Under the DMCA":

For this post and related links:

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* Two Leading Technologists Join EFF Board of Directors

Free Culture Leader John Buckman and Privacy and Security 
Expert Lorrie Faith Cranor Sign on to Distinguished Team

San Francisco - The Board of Directors of the Electronic 
Frontier Foundation (EFF) has elected two leading 
technologists to join its executive board: free culture 
leader John Buckman and privacy and security expert Lorrie 
Faith Cranor.

John Buckman is a programmer, an entrepreneur, and the 
founder of -- an online record label that 
strives to be fair to both recording artists and consumers 
alike. The Magnatune site provides web-based distribution 
to over 250 recording artists and features an innovative 
tool for online music licensing for film, television, and 
new media. This Creative Commons-backed business model has 
helped establish Buckman as a leader in the free culture 
movement. Buckman is also the founder, an 
online community for the exchanging of used books. His past 
accomplishments include having founded email software 
company Lyris in 1994, which he sold to JL Halsey in 2005. 
He also created, an early web site directory that 
was purchased by in 2001.

"EFF fights to protect the rights of artists and fans who 
use technology to make and enjoy creative works," said 
Buckman. "I'm happy to join them in taking on these 
cutting-edge issues."

Lorrie Faith Cranor is an Associate Research Professor in 
the School of Computer Science and the department of 
Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon 
University. She has played a key role in building the 
usable privacy and security research community, having co-
edited the seminal book "Security and Usability" and 
founded the Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security 
(SOUPS). Cranor has authored over 80 research papers on 
online privacy, phishing and semantic attacks, spam, 
electronic voting, anonymous publishing, usable access 
control, and other topics. She has also testified as an 
expert in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of 
Internet "harmful to minors" laws. In 2003, Cranor was 
named one of the top 100 innovators 35 or younger by 
Technology Review magazine. She was previously a researcher 
at AT&T Labs Research and taught in the Stern School of 
Business at New York University.

"The privacy and security policy decisions made now will 
have far-reaching implications in the years to come," said 
Cranor. "I'm pleased to work with EFF as they champion the 
public interest in these important debates."

Other members of EFF's executive board include John Perry 
Barlow, David Farber, Edward W. Felten, John Gilmore, 
Brewster Kahle, Joe Kraus, Lawrence Lessig, Pamela 
Samuelson, Shari Steele, and Brad Templeton.

"EFF is so fortunate to have such a distinguished Board of 
Directors, comprised of leaders in technology, policy, and 
law," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "John and 
Lorrie bring a wonderful wealth of experience to EFF and 
will help us continue to think about our role in relation 
to emerging technologies."

For this release:

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* EFF Seeks Intellectual Property Staff Attorney

We're hiring!

EFF is seeking an intellectual property staff attorney for 
its legal team. Responsibilities will include litigation, 
public speaking, media outreach, plus legislative and 
regulatory advocacy, all in connection with a variety of 
intellectual property and high technology matters.

Qualified candidates should have at least four years of 
legal experience, with knowledge in patent law and at least 
one other IP specialty (copyright, trademark, trade 
secret). Litigation experience is preferred, including 
significant experience managing cases, both overall case 
strategy and day-to-day projects and deadlines. Candidates 
should have good communication skills and interest in 
working with a team of highly motivated lawyers and 
activists in a hard-working nonprofit environment. Strong 
writing and analytical skills as well as the ability to be 
self-motivated and focused are essential. Tech savviness 
and familiarity with Internet civil liberties and high tech 
public interest issues preferred. This position is based in 
San Francisco.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing 
sample, and references to:

For this post:

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* Save the Date: October 10 for EFF's Compliance Bootcamp

Does your interactive company have to contend with the maze 
of laws dealing with user privacy and publishing user 
content? Want to do the right thing by the online community 
that gives your business value and still fulfill your legal 

EFF is hosting a one-day session for Web 2.0 workers who 
handle issues arising from users and user-generated 
content. From DMCA to CDA to ECPA, the law surrounding 
Internet content can be confusing, especially for the folks 
who have to decide on the fly whether to let something stay 
up or take it down, or whether to give their customer's 
name to the FBI agent on the phone. Let us help.

One-day bootcamp. EFF's staff attorneys will be teamed with 
private attorneys specializing in the various legal issues. 
We'll give you the basics on the key topics and you'll 
leave better able to protect your customers, your company 
and your job.

Topic areas include:
    * Defamation, harassment, and other accusations of bad 
    * Fair use, free culture, and the right to remix;
    * Copyright takedowns and put-backs: understanding the 
Digital Millennium Copyright Act;
    * How to respond to cops, crooks, and courts who want 
your customers' communications and other private 
    * How to avoid becoming the next Napster and stay on 
the safe side of the Copyright Wars;
    * The rights of anonymous speakers;
    * Porn, predators, and the pressure to police; and
    * Lightning rounds on Creative Commons licenses, 
webcasting and what to do when you've been hacked.

Who should attend:
People who do front-line or mid-level work for companies 
and projects that rely on user-generated content and 
communications. This includes compliance, customer service 
and community management workers.

In the past year or so, we've met with several Web 2.0 
companies, sometimes before -- and sometimes after -- 
embarrassing incidents when they found themselves out of 
step with their communities or the law. We'd like to give 
the people who make these important initial decisions the 
tools they need to do the right thing by their companies 
and their customers.

Fenwick and West Silicon Valley Center
Mountain View, California

How much:
Sliding scale of $100-200 per person. For individuals, some 
portion may be deductible as a charitable donation. Space 
is limited, so sign up soon. Email:

For EFF's Bootcamp page:

For this post:

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ Great Firewall of China Patchy But Effective
Over 28% of banned words make it through the national 
filter, but that may be enough to self-censor citizens.

~ Google Calls for International Privacy Standards
Not surprisingly, the Internet giant wants minimal global 
standards on the collection and retention of personal data.

~ Canadian Feds Push for Greater Access to Private Info
New legislation would force telcos to provide customer 
information on demand, without a court order.

~ Major Label Contemplates Blanket Licensing
Universal Music Group (UMG) floats a plan in which ISPs 
would charge a music download fee to all customers. Sound 

~ Prince vs. the Internet
The rock star accuses YouTube, Ebay and Pirate Bay of 
encouraging copyright infringement.

~ SoundExchange Spends $50k on Lobbying
How much influence does the royalty collection agency have?

~ MediaDefender Suffers Embarrassing Email Leak
The anti-P2P company had 700mb of internal email posted on 

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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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