EFFector Vol. 20, No. 42 October 22, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 446th Issue of EFFector:
- Action Alert: Call Congress and Fight Telecom Immunity!
- EFF Suit Demands Telecom Lobbying Records from Director of National Intelligence
- Senate Committee Caves in to Telecom Amnesty Related Issues
- EFF Document Summarizes Evidence of NSA Spying
- Telecoms File Letters on House Committee's Inquiries on Warrantless Wiretapping
- Qwest CEO: NSA Punished Qwest for Refusing to Participate in Illegal Surveillance--Pre-9/11!
- Citizens' Video Clip Questions GOP Candidates on Warrantless Wiretapping -- Vote For It!
- Is Comcast Jamming Users' BitTorent and Gnutella Traffic?
- YouTube's Copyright Filter: New Hurdle for Fair Use?
- miniLinks (7): U.S. Voters Oppose Warrantless Wiretapping
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: Call Congress and Fight Telecom Immunity! Last week, the battleground over dangerous surveillance legislation broadened from just the House of Representatives to both chambers of Congress. Despite extensive public outcry, telecom immunity is on the bargaining table and being written into draft legislation. Take action on EFF's two action alerts targeting both the House and Senate! Last week in the House, the Administration's allies scuttled a floor vote on the RESTORE Act because it did not provide amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms. RESTORE will likely be taken up again this week, as Administration and telecom lobbyists continue to press for immunity. It is imperative that you tell your Representative to stand firm in the face of procedural tricks -- no telecom immunity in RESTORE! http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=321 Meanwhile, last Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved a surveillance bill that includes immunity for telecoms that broke the law at the President's request. Senators Feingold and Wyden voted against passing the bill, and a limited number of Senators not on the committee have spoken out against telecom immunity, including senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. The surveillance bill is going to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. Call your Senators on the committee and demand their leadership in protecting your rights and fighting telecom immunity! http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=325 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Suit Demands Telecom Lobbying Records from Director of National Intelligence Lawsuit Filed as Congress Debates Letting Industry Off the Hook for Illegal Spying San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Wednesday, demanding any information about telecommunications companies' efforts to get off the hook for their role in the government's illegal electronic surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans. Congress is currently considering granting amnesty to the telecoms -- a blatant attempt to derail lawsuits aimed at holding the companies responsible for knowingly violating federal privacy laws with warrantless wiretapping and the illegal transfer of vast amounts of personal data to the government. EFF represents the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, one of dozens of class-action suits accusing the telecoms of violating customers' rights by illegally assisting the National Security Agency with this domestic surveillance. News reports have described an elaborate lobbying campaign by the telecoms to drum up support for legislation that would hold them unaccountable for their actions, and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has publicly voiced his support for amnesty. But McConnell's office has not yet responded to EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to disclose records about this lobbying activity. "Congress is debating amnesty for the telecoms right now -- amnesty that could imperil judicial review of a very controversial government program, as well as threaten class-action lawsuits that impact millions of Americans," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "We deserve to know what kind of lobbying has gone on behind the scenes before lawmakers make this critical decision." EFF's suit asks for the immediate disclosure of ODNI's telecom lobbying records, including any documents concerning briefings, discussions, or other contacts officials have had with representatives of telecommunications companies or members of Congress. This lawsuit comes just two weeks after EFF filed a similar FOIA suit against the Department of Justice for withholding records on telecom lobbying. For the full complaint: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/foia_C0705278/ODNI_complaint.pdf For more on our FOIA work: http://www.eff.org/issues/foia 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/2007/10/17 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Senate Committee Caves in to Telecom Amnesty Related Issues The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved a bill including amnesty for phone companies that assisted the NSA in its illegal warrantless surveillance program late Thursday -- amnesty that is intended to kill pending cases against the telecoms, such as EFF's class action lawsuit against AT&T. If this bill passes, it would immunize the companies' lawbreaking if it were done based on an authorization by the president, foolishly undermining the very purpose of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). As EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn explains in a recent Salon interview, FISA was passed after Watergate and the spying scandals of the seventies to ensure that the president could never unilaterally decide to spy on Americans' communications. For Congress to now say, "It's OK if the president said so" would be a striking abdication of its authority. Congress should let the courts address the critical legal questions raised by the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program -- especially the question of whether the president and the phone companies are bound by Congress' laws in this area. Instead, some lawmakers seem intent on shooting their own branch of government in the foot by assisting in the Administration's cover-up and preventing the court's enforcement of Congress' law. Now that the intelligence committee has approved the bill, it will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration. However, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has announced that he will put a "hold" on the bill to prevent it from being considered by the full Senate. We are pleased Senator Dodd has taken a stand for Americans' privacy rights. This amnesty provision is essentially an admission that the telecoms did indeed violate the law at the president's request and did so on a massive scale. If the NSA program were truly narrowly targeted at terrorist suspects, as the president claims, the carriers would not need this unprecedented bailout. Now is the time to tell lawmakers to say no to immunity -- pick up the phone and take action: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=325 Read Greenwald's Salon interview with EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn here: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/10/17/amnesty/index.html Read the New York Times article, "Senate Deal on Immunity for Phone Companies": (Registration unfortunately required.) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/washington/18nsa.html?ex=1350360000&en=e41edce7fb935f5a&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/senate-committee-caves-telecom-amnesty : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Document Summarizes Evidence of NSA Spying EFF recently published a one-page document summarizing the evidence that is the centerpiece of EFF's Hepting v. AT&T case. Information for the document came from previously secret evidence that was unsealed this summer, including the declarations of whistleblower Mark Klein and EFF's expert witness, J. Scott Marcus, a former Senior Advisor for Internet Technology to the Federal Communications Commission. The document includes the following diagram, a straightforward illustration of how a massive portion of innocent Americans' communications were put under the control of the NSA: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/ATT_onepg_3.pdf For those who haven't already seen it, the PBS Frontline documentary "Spying on the Home Front" explores the evidence in clear, concise detail. The 10-minute portion that strictly covers the evidence can be found here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/view/3.html You can stream the whole documentary for free and without DRM from the Frontline website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/view/ For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/eff-document-summarizes-evidence-nsa-spying : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Telecoms File Letters on House Committee's Inquiries on Warrantless Wiretapping The telecoms have returned letters to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's requests for information about secret warrantless wiretapping programs. The responses seem to have failed to significantly advance the Committee's investigation on government surveillance programs, prompting a diplomatic response from Representative Bart Stupak, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: "While I recognize the unique legal constraints the telecommunications companies face regarding what information they may disclose, important questions remain unanswered about how the Administration induced or compelled them to participate in NSA's eavesdropping program." As part of the same investigation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee solicited comments from EFF as part of the committee's investigation of the controversial program. EFF submitted a response on October 12, 2007. For EFF's full comments to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce: http://eff.org/Privacy/Surveillance/FISA/committee_letter.pdf For the Washington Post article, "Verizon Says It Turned Over Data Without Court Orders": (Registration unfortunately required.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/15/AR2007101501857.html?nav=rss_email/components For Wired Threat Level's roundup summarizing all the telecom's letters: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/10/telcos-respond-.html For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/telecoms-file-letters-house-committees-inquiries-warrantless-wiretapping : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Qwest CEO: NSA Punished Qwest for Refusing to Participate in Illegal Surveillance--Pre-9/11! When Qwest refused the NSA's illegal request that it hand over its customers' data without a warrant, the NSA wasn't happy. According to former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, the government hit back for the telecom's refusal by denying them lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The details emerging from the backrooms where telecoms and the government conspire together make it increasingly clear that now is the time for Congress to act. Investigations into what the telecoms knew and when they knew it should be continued, and no wiretapping legislation should be passed until Congress and the public have the full story of what has happened in the last six years. Read the Washington Post story: (Registration unfortunately required.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101202485.html For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/qwest-ceo-nsa-punished-qwest-refusing-participate-illegal-surveillance-pre-9-11 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Citizens' Video Clip Questions GOP Candidates on Warrantless Wiretapping -- Vote For It! On November 28, the Republican candidates for President will face questions from the public in the form of user- generated video clips uploaded to YouTube. (A similar event was held by Democrats last July.) We hope the candidates get to hear from Kim LeBiavant, who has a very important question regarding warrantless wiretaps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ghf1ILZQ2Ls Help make sure the candidates hear this question by voting for it at: http://www.10questions.com/ For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/citizens-video-clip-questions-gop-candidates-warrantless-wiretapping-vote-it : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Is Comcast Jamming Users' BitTorent and Gnutella Traffic? Last week, the Associated Press reported that Comcast is interfering with users' ability to run file-sharing applications over its network. We spoke to Comcast last month and understood them to deny that they are doing this, so we've been running our own tests. On Friday, we posted about some experiments showing that Comcast is forging packets in order to interfere with its customers' use of BitTorrent. There have been reports of strange things happening with other protocols, and we've been running some tests on two other file transfers protocols in particular -- HTTP (which is used by the World Wide Web) and Gnutella. Comcast has also been strenuous in telling us, "We don't target BitTorrent". Perhaps not. Perhaps what they're doing is even worse. Read the AP report: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071019/ap_on_hi_te/comcast_data_discrimination Read what EFF's technologists discovered in the complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/comcast-also-jamming-gnutella-and-lotus-notes For our previous post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/eff-tests-agree-ap-comcast-forging-packets-to-interfere : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * YouTube's Copyright Filter: New Hurdle for Fair Use? Google has announced its long-awaited copyright filtering (or "video identification," if you prefer) mechanism for YouTube. Based on initial reports and discussions with Google, the system will be good news for copyright owners and bad news for people who post unauthorized verbatim copies of popular copyrighted material. But what about the fair users, who have made YouTube the platform of choice for remix culture? Unfortunately, it looks like YouTube's solution may put them in jeopardy. Find out more in EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann's complete analysis here: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/10/youtubes-copyright-filter-new-hurdle-fair-use : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ U.S. Voters Oppose Warrantless Wiretapping A recent poll found that a majority of voters across the political spectrum are opposed to warrantless wiretaps. http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Emerging_Threats/Briefing/2007/10/16/poll_us_voters_oppose_bush_wiretap_law/6209/ ~ Key Senator Flush with Telecom Cash Senator Rockefeller supports immunity for telecoms while taking their cash. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/10/dem-pushing-spy.html ~ Josh Wolf on Journalist's Shield Law Will the Free Flow of Information Act do enough to protect bloggers? http://blogs.cnet.com/8301-13508_1-9798084-19.html ~ Microchips Used to Track Students A UK school is experimenting with using microchips embedded in school uniforms to track students. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article2698062.ece ~ New Zealander Beats Amazon in Copyright Battle The U.S. Patent Office rules that Amazon does not have exclusive rights to one-click shopping. http://www.tv3.co.nz/News/Story/tabid/209/articleID/37300/Default.aspx ~ File Sharing Fuels Brazil's Techno Scene Musicians in Brazil are encouraging fans to download and share their music. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/10/19/entertainment/e115616D75.DTL ~ Cartoon: Why Are Democrats Caving on Wiretaps? Cartoonist Steve Sack asks what Democrats have to gain by supporting Bush's wiretap policies. http://www.comics.com/editoons/sack/archive/sack-20071012.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 email@example.com Membership & donation queries: firstname.lastname@example.org General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: email@example.com 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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