EFFector Vol. 20, No. 41 October 15, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424In the 445th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Tell the House to Hold the Line -- No Telecom Immunity!
- Illegal Government Surveillance Opens Door to More Privacy Violations
- San Jose Mercury News Features Op-Ed by EFF Attorney
- EFF Documents Detail Pentagon Demands for Financial Records
- Capitol v. Thomas: The Key Appeal Issue
- Is DRM "Enabling New Business Models"?
- StopBadware.org Posts Badware Guide for Casual Internet Users
- EFF Website Overhaul!
- Thanks to All for EFF's Web 2.0 Compliance Bootcamp Success!
- Foresight 2007 Vision Weekend Now Open to EFF Members
- miniLinks (6): Qwest CEO Claims U.S. Withdrew Contracts as Punishment
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 the House to Hold the Line -- No Telecom Immunity! This Wednesday, the RESTORE Act enters the final round in the House of Representatives, where it will be presented to the entire House for a floor vote. Within the next 48 hours, all House representatives must hear the same, clear message -- keep telecom immunity out of the RESTORE ACT. http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=321 Last week, we initiated a targeted campaign to call key House committee members to demand that they resist pressure from the telecoms and the Bush administration to give immunity to lawbreaking telephone companies. Thanks to your calls, grassroots efforts, and renewed news coverage, the RESTORE Act does not currently give the telecoms immunity for helping the executive branch spy on Americans. But that's a momentary comfort in an environment where President Bush has threatened to veto any bill lacking telecom immunity, and where a contingent of House representatives is trying to sneak immunity into the bill at every opportunity. We're now asking you to call all representatives in the House. Call now and demand that they hold the line -- no telecom immunity in the RESTORE Act! http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=321 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Illegal Government Surveillance Opens Door to More Privacy Violations EFF Tells Congress About Hidden Costs of Dragnet Spying San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has told a congressional committee that the government's illegal dragnet electronic surveillance opens the door to even more privacy violations for ordinary Americans. The sheer volume of personal information collected and the databases in which that information is stored create a giant target for attackers who want to steal or expose Americans' personal data. In a response to questions asked of EFF by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn explained in comments submitted Friday that an increase in the number of databases introduces more points of vulnerability into the system, putting sensitive personal information from millions of people at risk. "We have all heard about security problems with government databases. A report from the Department of Homeland Security found 477 breaches in 2006 alone," said Cohn. "The warrantless domestic surveillance going on now isn't just illegal -- it could expose your personal information to thieves and criminals." The committee asked EFF for input as part of its review of the Protect America Act, deeply flawed legislation that broadly expanded the National Security Agency's authority to spy on Americans without warrants. Next week, the House is set to vote on the RESTORE Act, a bill designed restore the civil liberties lost under the previous law. Since the committee had also sent a list of key questions to AT&T and the other major telecommunications firms about their involvement in illegal surveillance activities, EFF provided the committee with information about the Hepting v. AT&T lawsuit. EFF represents the plaintiffs in this class-action lawsuit brought by AT&T customers, accusing the telecommunications company of violating their rights by illegally assisting the NSA's domestic surveillance. The Hepting case is just one of many lawsuits aimed at holding telecoms responsible for knowingly violating federal privacy laws with warrantless wiretapping and the illegal transfer of vast amounts of personal data to the government. EFF also provided the committee with a legal analysis of the use of so-called "exigent letters" by the government to obtain information about Americans and about their "communities of interest," two topics also raised by the committee in its letters to the telecommunications carriers. EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) work uncovered this illegal broadening of surveillance authority. "We're pleased that the committee is interested in obtaining answers from the leading telecommunications carriers about whether they have been following the privacy laws protecting their customers' communications. Congressional oversight of the telecommunications companies' activities is long overdue," said Cohn. For EFF's full comments to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce: http://eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/FISA/committee_letter.pdf For more on EFF's class-action lawsuit against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att For this release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2007/10/12 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * San Jose Mercury News Features Op-Ed by EFF Attorney On Sunday, the San Jose Mercury News published EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl's comprehensive op-ed about Hepting v. AT&T, EFF's landmark case against the telecom giant. The article concisely illuminates the ideologies swirling beneath the battle being waged in D.C. -- a conflict between the preservation of fundamental, constitutional principles and an unprecedented expansion of presidential power: "The Hepting case, along with companion cases pending in District Court, represents the country's best hope to test the administration's extreme view of executive power in the crucible of judicial scrutiny, and to allow the courts to determine whether we are truly a nation governed by law or by people." Read the entire op-ed, "Congress Shouldn't Cripple Warrantless Wiretapping Suit": (Registration unfortunately required.) http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_7175561 And check out EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn's SF Chronicle op-ed on immunity legislation: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/12/ED9GSOGRP.DTL For this post: http://eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/san-jose-mercury-news-features-op-ed-eff-attorney : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Documents Detail Pentagon Demands for Financial Records On Saturday, the New York Times published an article based on Freedom of Information Act documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which provide a glimpse into the Defense Department's use of National Security Letters to collect bank and credit information in certain Pentagon investigations. Read the New York Times article, "Pentagon Review Faults Bank Record Demands": (Registration unfortunately required.) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/washington/14letter.html?ex=1350014400&en=be0b36e443b1a0f5&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss See the documents on which the article is based here: http://www.eff.org/flag/dod_nsa/ For more on EFF's FOIA work: http://www.eff.org/flag For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/eff-documents-detail-pentagon-demands-financial-records : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Capitol v. Thomas: The Key Appeal Issue In the upcoming appeal of the $222,000 judgment against Ms. Jammie Thomas, the outcome will likely turn on Jury Instruction #15, which equates "making available" with "distributing" a copyrighted work. If the appeals court rejects that jury instruction, the verdict against Ms. Thomas would have to be thrown out and the case re-tried. We think there are two distinct things wrong with this instruction. Read our analysis here: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/capitol-v-thomas-key-appeal-issue For Greg Sandoval's News.com article, "Minnesota Woman to Appeal $220,000 RIAA Award": http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9792759-7.html For Declan McCullagh's News.com article, "Will appeal succeed in RIAA's $222,000 'making available' case?": http://www.news.com/the-iconoclast/8301-13578_3-9793438-38.html : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Is DRM "Enabling New Business Models"? Advocates for the DMCA's ban on circumventing DRM have long argued that legal protection for DRM is necessary to "enable new business models" that will "create more choices for consumers." A recent blog post by Yahoo Music's general manager, Ian Rogers, suggests that the DMCA hasn't actually delivered on that rosy promise. We hate to sound like a broken record here at EFF, but how about offering fans a blanket downloading license for a few dollars a month? For EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann's complete analysis: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/drm-enabling-new-business-models For Yahoo Music GM Ian Rogers' blog post: http://www.fistfulayen.com/blog/?p=127 See our white paper, " A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing": http://www.eff.org/share/collective_lic_wp.php For more on Digital Rights Management (DRM): http://www.eff.org/issues/drm : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * StopBadware.org Posts Badware Guide for Casual Internet Users Last week, StopBadware.org released a report titled "Trends in Badware 2007: What Internet users need to know." The document is a plain-English explanation of modern security threats on the web, covering iframe injections, phishing on social networks, and scareware, among other topics. In an environment that often offers only arcane cues to malice or wrongdoing, the 12-page document is a straightforward way to improve security awareness in the casual Internet user. Read the report: http://stopbadware.org/pdfs/trends_in_badware_2007.pdf For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/stopbadware-org-posts-badware-guide-casual-internet-users : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Website Overhaul! As you may have noticed, EFF just launched a full site redesign and restructure. It's been a long time coming, and we're way excited about it! We've made some design and navigational changes that should be immediately apparent. But by far, the biggest change for eff.org is that we're now running on the open source content management system Drupal. Migrating into a CMS was a hefty challenge, as our website is almost as old as our organization, and has thousands of pages and files. But we did it, and the end result of this Herculean data massage should be that we're able to get more information up on our website, and to you, more quickly. This project was a major undertaking for EFF, and we have some much-deserved Thank Yous to hand out: * Big thanks to all the people who work on Drupal, it's a great open source CMS and provides an excellent content management solution to many nonprofit & grassroots websites. And extra special thanks to the helpers on Drupal IRC, who handled quite a few eff.org related questions. * About halfway through the migration project, we were graced with the tech chops of Tim Jones, who ended up writing a bunch of custom Drupal modules for us and generally making this whole thing come together. Without his extensive help there's no way we would have gotten the site out the door, and he proved so invaluable that as of November he'll be at EFF fulltime. * Huge thanks to EFF ally Matt Earp, who handled a lot of the messier parts of content migration over the summer. * Finally, thanks to EFF staff and associates, who helped along the way by answering questions, sifting through piles of site content, offering input, and being incredibly patient. One of our main goals with this site migration was to make eff.org more usable and organized, and we hope you like it! We'd love to hear your feedback and suggestions. Email us about the new site at: email@example.com. For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/eff-website-overhaul : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Thanks to All for EFF's Web 2.0 Compliance Bootcamp Success! Our first Web 2.0 Compliance Bootcamp was a great success. EFF's staff attorneys were assisted by the brilliant legal and tech savvy minds of Jennifer Kelly, Jon Band, Colette Vogele, Aaron Perzanowski, Tom Nolan, Tom Moore, Elizabeth Rader and Jon Phillips. Kudos to all the attendees and speakers for bringing enthusiasm and energy to the event. We'd like to extend a special thanks to the law firm of Fenwick & West, LLP, in Silicon Valley and to Google for their generous donations. If you missed your chance to learn from this great group of experts -- stay tuned. We're looking into ways that we can continue the program in the near future. Check out EFF's Bootcamp page: http://www.eff.org/bootcamp : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Foresight 2007 "Vision Weekend" Now Open to EFF Members EFF members can get priority registration to Foresight Nanotech Institute's "Vision Weekend" Unconference on Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4, 2007. Foresight's Unconference will be held at Yahoo Headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, and will explore nanotechnology, advanced software, life extension and future technologies. FNI suggests that EFF members interested in attending register early to ensure a seat. You can find more information here: http://www.foresight.org/SrAssoc/2007 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ Qwest CEO Claims U.S. Withdrew Contracts as Punishment Did the NSA punish the telecom for refusing to hand over customer data? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101202485.html ~ NSA's Lucky Break How the U.S. became the switchboard to the world. http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2007/10/domestic_taps ~ License Plate Recognition Tools Led to Arrest A police gadget that scans license plates raises privacy concerns. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/13/MNJFSO1NM.DTL&type=printable ~ New TSA Rules Require 72-hour Notice to Fly Under new proposed rules, passengers could no longer fly on the same day they buy their tickets. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/12/flying_into_data_hell/ ~ 1024-bit Encryption Now Less Secure Researchers have broken a new record in "cracking" a 307- digit key number. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070523-researchers-307-digit-key-crack-endangers-1024-bit-rsa.html ~ Universal Plans Music Subscription Service A new subscription music plan from Universal would take on Apple's iTunes. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_43/b4055048.htm : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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. Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the Web at: http://www.eff.org/effector/ Click here to change your email address: http://action.eff.org/addresschange This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.