EFFector Vol. 20, No. 40 October 9, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 444th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Tell Key House Committees to Hold the Line -- No Telecom Immunity!
- Another House Committee Joins Warrantless Wiretapping Fray, Seeks EFF Comment on Privacy Dangers
- "No Good Lawyer" Would Buy Warrantless Surveillance Justification
- EFF Engages Veteran Lobbyists to Take Fight Against Warrantless Wiretapping to Capitol Hill
- RIAA Convinces Jury to Impose Fines for File Sharing
- Capitol v. Thomas: What About Bankruptcy?
- EFF Comments on Terror Watch List
- EFF Seeks Intellectual Property Staff Attorney
- miniLinks (7): NSA Tells Reporters What to Say
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: Tell Key House Committees to Hold the Line -- No Telecom Immunity! In approximately 48 hours, key House committees will make final changes to the RESTORE Act before it goes to the House floor. Pick up the phone now and demand that committee members hold the line -- keep telecom immunity out of the RESTORE Act: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=321 Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes announced the RESTORE Act -- an attempt to restore civil liberties lost to the executive branch in August, when Congress passed the "Protect America Act." The Protect America Act was rushed legislation that gave the executive branch unprecedented power to spy on Americans, bypassing the checks and balances of judicial review that have protected citizens from warrantless wiretapping since the scandals of Watergate. Members of the House Intelligence and House Judiciary Committees are planning to make final changes to the RESTORE Act on Thursday, October 11, before bringing it to a floor vote before the whole House. These committee meetings will be the perfect opportunity for someone to sneak retroactive immunity language into the bill, suddenly shielding telecommunication companies from legal scrutiny. Including immunity in the RESTORE Act could jeopardize EFF's case against AT&T -- one of the last, best hopes for judicial review of the wholesale surveillance of ordinary Americans. Demand that your representative hold the line -- no telecom immunity! Visit our Action Center, and call your representative today: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=321 Read Ellen Nakashima's Washington Post report, "Democrats to Offer New Surveillance Rules": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/06/AR2007100601265.html : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Another House Committee Joins Warrantless Wiretapping Fray, Seeks EFF Comment on Privacy Dangers Last week, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce opened an investigation into warrantless wiretapping, asking for details from telecommunications providers about government efforts to obtain customer data. In addition, several key members of the committee sent letters to EFF and other civil liberties groups, requesting assistance in the committee's investigation of the controversial program. EFF will be happy to respond. The latest scrutiny from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce adds to a growing pile of critical inquiries into the warrantless wiretapping program. Jack Goldsmith, a former senior Justice Department lawyer, said of the wiretapping: "It was the biggest legal mess I had ever encountered." Senator Patrick Leahy of the Senate Judiciary Committee has tried to obtain the Bush administration's documents about the legal justification for warrantless spying to no avail. On top of all this controversy, the telecommunications companies have been forcefully lobbying Congress, seeking retroactive amnesty for illegally violating their customers' privacy. EFF recently filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), demanding government records of the telecom industry's lobbying campaign to block lawsuits. The campaign is a heavy-handed attempt to derail EFF's class- action suit against AT&T for its collaboration in the domestic spying program. Read the letters: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.100207.TI.EFFSobel.pdf For the Committee on Energy and Commerce press release: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110nr98.shtml Read more on EFF's case against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att For the full post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005468.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * "No Good Lawyer" Would Buy Warrantless Surveillance Justification The New York Times recently published a fascinating article about a secret government memo purporting to justify extreme interrogation methods, written even as the Administration was disavowing torture. The article is well worth a read in its own right. Deep within the article, lies an anecdote on another topic -- the legal justifications for the NSA warrantless surveillance program: "An imposing former prosecutor and self-described conservative who stands 6-foot-8, [Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey] was the rare administration official who was willing to confront [Cheney's Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel David] Addington. At one testy 2004 White House meeting, when Mr. Comey stated that "no lawyer" would endorse [John] Yoo's justification for the N.S.A. program, Mr. Addington demurred, saying he was a lawyer and found it convincing. Mr. Comey shot back: "No good lawyer," according to someone present." It's time to put an end to the illegal surveillance. Call Congress today: http://stopthespying.org/ Read the New York Times article, "Secret U.S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations": http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/washington/04interrogate.html?ex=1349150400&en=8d75a80eddaf32b7&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss See EFF's page on the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/NSA/ For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005472.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Engages Veteran Lobbyists to Take Fight Against Warrantless Wiretapping to Capitol Hill Thomas J. Downey and Adam M. Eisgrau Will Work to Block Amnesty for Telecoms San Francisco - As Congress debates letting the telecom industry off the hook for its compliance with illegal government surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has enlisted two veteran lobbyists to try to block amnesty for companies collaborating with the warrantless spying. EFF is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, one of many lawsuits aimed at holding telecommunications companies accountable for violating their customers' rights by illegally assisting the National Security Agency in domestic surveillance. The opportunity for this critical case to be decided by a judge is under serious threat as the White House calls for Congress to provide these companies with immunity for their role in the illegal program. In an effort to preserve the courts' crucial role in protecting the privacy of all Americans, EFF will now take its fight against warrantless spying to Capitol Hill. Thomas J. Downey and Adam M. Eisgrau, both with decades of experience in Washington, have been retained by EFF to work to block amnesty for companies who break the law. "While EFF generally does not engage in Washington-style lobbying, we need to make Congress understand the importance of letting our case against AT&T go forward," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "By releasing the telecoms from liability, Congress would be permitting the widespread flouting of our laws by private companies entrusted with our most personal communications." To help with EFF's "Stop the Spying" campaign: http://www.stopthespying.org For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_10.php#005474 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * RIAA Convinces Jury to Impose Fines for File Sharing Four years after it began, the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) campaign to intimidate music fans by randomly singling out individuals for lawsuits has, for the first time, made it to a jury trial. Despite the RIAA's previous claim that defendants have no right to a jury trial, Jammie Thomas had her day in court in front of a jury sworn to examine the evidence in a fair, impartial manner. The verdict is now in: Thomas was found guilty and is liable for $220,000 in penalties -- $9250 per song. But despite the verdict, tens of millions of Americans will continue sharing billions of songs, just as they have since Napster let the P2P genie out of the bottle nearly eight years ago. Every lawsuit makes the recording industry look more and more like King Canute, vainly trying to hold back the tide. As for EFF, we continue to believe there is a better way forward. Read the highlights from Capitol Records v. Thomas in our complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005471.php For the Ars Technica article, "RIAA anti-P2P campaign a real money pit, according to testimony": http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071002-music-industry-exec-p2p-litigation-is-a-money-pit.html For more background on the RIAA's litigation campaign, download EFF's: "RIAA v. the People: Four Years Later report": http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/riaa_at_four.pdf Read EFF's white paper, " A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing": http://www.eff.org/share/collective_lic_wp.php See EFF's file sharing page: Let the Music Play: http://www.eff.org/share/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Capitol v. Thomas: What About Bankruptcy? In the wake of the $220,000 verdict against Ms. Thomas for file sharing, some have asked whether she can avoid the judgment by filing for personal bankruptcy. The question is a complicated one, and, as it happens, EFF posted a memo last summer explaining the law in this area, for those who may be interested. (Note: it has not been updated since 2006, so further research would be necessary to uncover any more recent precedents.) Read EFF's bankruptcy memo: http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/RIAA_v_ThePeople/P2P_bktcy_memo.pdf For Declan McCullagh's news.com article, "Four reasons why the RIAA won a jury verdict of $220,000": http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9791764-38.html For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005473.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Comments on Terror Watch List Since 2003, the government has been building, testing and stitching together several disparate terrorist watch lists from various agencies into one vast, centralized database of suspicious individuals. Information in this database can be used to decide whether individuals will be allowed to enter the country, get on an airplane, or become citizens, or if they will be detained at routine traffic stops. It's a central factor in other programs, like Secure Flight, the Transportation Security Administration's proposed plan to "screen" millions of travelers. Last week, EFF filed comments on some proposed changes to the Terrorist Screening Records System (TSRS), which includes the watch list as well as other records. EFF urged the FBI to reconsider its 2005 decision to exempt the TSRS from crucial Privacy Act requirements, which makes it impossible for citizens to use the courts to access or challenge false or inaccurate data that may have found its way into the system. Read our complete analysis in the post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005467.php For EFF's comments: http://eff.org/Privacy/travel/092407_secure_flight_comments.pdf EFF's Travel Screening page: http://www.eff.org/Privacy/travel/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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 savvy 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: email@example.com. For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005441.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ NSA Tells Reporters What to Say The NSA ran seminars for reporters on how to cover surveillance issues. http://www.nysun.com/article/63465 ~ FCC Won't Investigate Warrantless Wiretapping The FCC has declined to investigate the NSA's use of telecoms to spy on Americans. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071008-fcc-declines-to-investigate-nsa-telco-link.html ~ Amazon's Music Is DRM-Free (But Not EULA-Free) Amazon's MP3s come with a license agreement that restricts fair use. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=brier08&date=20071008&query=amazon ~ Background Checks at NASA Lab Blocked The 9th Circuit Court blocked a Bush administration order requiring background checks of scientists. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-NASA-Background-Checks.html?ex=1349236800&en=7dc8db85f423869b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss ~ Lawsuit Over iPhone Bricking A California man sues Apple for limiting iPhone use to AT&T. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071007-california-man-seeks-class-action-lawsuit-over-iphone-bricking-lock-in.html ~ Unlocking iPhones Slate's Tim Wu says it's legal, ethical, and just plain fun. http://www.slate.com/id/2175304/ ~ DNA Tests for Immigrants in France? The French government plans to collect DNA from immigrant families. http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,,2169068,00.html : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Membership & donation queries: email@example.com General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: firstname.lastname@example.org 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. 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