EFFector Vol. 20, No. 46 November 20, 2007 email@example.com A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 450th Issue of EFFector:
- Congress Keeps Telecoms on the Hook for Illegal Spying
- Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Al-Haramain Warrantless Wiretapping Case
- EFF Wins Reexamination of Bogus Internet Subdomain Patent
- You Bought It, You Own It: Quanta v. LG Electronics
- Undermining Freedoms in China: Yahoo! Learns the Cost of Facilitating Human Rights Abuses
- EFF to Host Student Fellows for Google Policy Fellowship Program
- You're Invited! BayFF with Jonathan Zittrain: "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It"
- Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards!
- miniLinks (10): Less Talk, More Action, Warner
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. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Congress Keeps Telecoms on the Hook for Illegal Spying Full House and Senate Judiciary Committee Each Pass Bills with No Amnesty for Warrantless Surveillance Washington, D.C. - Both the full House of Representatives and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to keep telecommunications companies on the hook for their role in illegal government spying on millions of ordinary Americans -- at least for now. The bills each make changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But, despite veto threats from the White House, neither of the two bills give blanket amnesty to telecoms that took part in the massive warrantless domestic surveillance program. Both bills would allow dozens of lawsuits against the telecoms to proceed, thus allowing federal courts to rule on whether dragnet domestic surveillance documented is legal. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, the first class-action lawsuit accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in dragnet government spying on millions of Americans. While the Senate Judiciary Committee bill as written does not affect this and other lawsuits over the Administration's warrantless surveillance, provisions that allow the cases to proceed while also affording the companies some form of limited liability relief could well be added back into the bill when it is debated on the Senate floor. A conference committee will then meet to reconcile the House and Senate versions. "We are pleased that the House and a majority of the Judiciary Committee's members have signaled that they want Americans to have their day in court," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The fight isn't over yet, however. We look forward to working with Senators Leahy, Specter, and Feingold and other lawmakers in both chambers of Congress to make sure that the bill eventually sent to the president allows the people's lawsuits to go forward." For more on Hepting v. AT&T and telecom immunity: http://www.eff.org/nsa For this release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2007/11/15-0 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Ninth Circuit Issues Decision in Al-Haramain Warrantless Wiretapping Case Last week, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush, holding that the lower court can decide if the case can go forward. The plaintiffs had sued the government, alleging that the government illegally spied on them. Their proof was a document that the government inadvertently gave them, which they contend proved that the Islamic charity was targeted by the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. The government argued that the case should be dismissed based on the state secrets privilege. The Ninth Circuit found that the document was a state secret -- normally this could keep the evidence from being used in the case. But the Ninth Circuit also found that the government's state secrets argument failed to block the entire case. Finally, in a "to be continued" twist, the Ninth Circuit left it up to the federal district court to determine whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) preempts the state secrets privilege, a decision that could ultimately allow the court to view the document in private, high-security conditions in its determination of the legality of the surveillance. For the 9th Circuit opinion: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/al-Haramain.pdf For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/11/ninth-circuit-issues-decision-al-haramain-warrantless-wiretapping-case : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Wins Reexamination of Bogus Internet Subdomain Patent Fourth Successful Challenge from EFF's Patent-Busting Project San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won reexamination from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of a bogus patent on Internet subdomains -- the fourth successful reexamination request from EFF's Patent Busting Project. The patent, now held by Hoshiko, LLC, claims to cover the method of automatically assigning Internet subdomains, like "action.eff.org" for the parent domain "eff.org." Previous patent owner Ideaflood used this illegitimate patent to demand payment from website hosting companies that offer such personalized domains, including Freehomepage.com, T35 Hosting, and LiveJournal, a social networking site where each of its three million users have their own subdomain. In the reexamination request, EFF and Rick Mc Leod of Klarquist Sparkman, LLP, showed that the method Ideaflood claimed to have invented was well known before the patent was issued. In fact, website developers were having public discussions about how to create these virtual subdomains on an Apache developer mailing list for more than a year before Ideaflood made its patent claim. The open source developers established a public record of the technology development, providing the linchpin to EFF's patent challenge. "The hard work of open source developers should not be taken out of the public domain and used to threaten other legitimate innovators," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jason Schultz, who heads EFF's Patent Busting Project. "Fortunately, the open source approach to development helped protect Apache and other web projects by creating the evidence needed to challenge this illegitimate patent." The challenge to the Ideaflood patent is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects that bad patents have on public and consumer interests. So far, the project has killed one bogus patent and won reexamination of three others. "Based on the PTO's initial analysis in the reexamination order, it appears likely that all claims will be rejected in view of the techniques disclosed by Apache developer Ralf Engelschall and others," said Rick Mc Leod, who drafted the EFF petition. "We look forward to the PTO's detailed analysis of our request." For the full reexamination order: http://w2.eff.org/patent/wanted/ideaflood/re-exam_order.pdf For more on EFF's Patent Busting Project: http://www.eff.org/patent For this release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2007/11/15 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * You Bought It, You Own It: Quanta v. LG Electronics Earlier this week, EFF filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Quanta v. LG Electronics, a case that asks whether patent owners can impose restrictions on what you can do with a product after you buy it. The brief, filed on behalf of EFF, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge, makes a simple point: "You bought it, you own it." For over a century, the Supreme Court has stood behind the "patent exhaustion doctrine," which establishes that the patent is "exhausted" upon the first sale of a product. Once it's been sold, the purchaser is free to use, repair, or resell it without fear of patent liability. But trouble began in 1992, when the Federal Circuit turned the patent exhaustion doctrine on its head in a case called Mallinckrodt v. Medipart, finding that patent owners could trump the exhaustion doctrine by imposing "conditions" on the sale. This opened the door for various post-sale use restrictions, like "single use only" labels; "personal use only, not for resale" stamps; or "for use only with authorized components" stickers. Needless to say, these restrictions jeopardize independent repair services and refurbishers, and are already interfering with secondary markets like eBay and Craigslist. All of this is bad news for consumers. Fortunately, EFF isn't alone -- a number of amicus briefs have been filed urging the Supreme Court to reassert the patent exhaustion doctrine, including briefs from Dell, HP, eBay, IBM, NCR, independent auto repair services, and at least one biotech firm. Look for more news on this front early next year, as oral argument before the Supreme Court is set for January 16. For the full amicus brief: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/quanta_v_lg/quanta_amicus.pdf For EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann's complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/11/you-bought-it-you-own-it-part-iv-quanta-v-lg-electronics : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Undermining Freedoms in China: Yahoo! Learns the Cost of Facilitating Human Rights Abuses Last week, Yahoo! settled a US lawsuit with Shi Tao and Wang Xiaoning, two of the Chinese journalists who were imprisoned and tortured after their identities were handed over by Yahoo! to the Chinese authorities. The drubbing Yahoo! has received over this case has been excruciatingly public for the company. Few CEOs want to be described as representative of "moral pygmies" in a Congressional committee room. Hopefully Yahoo!'s officers have learned their lesson. Privacy and free expression should never be seen as something that can quietly be brushed aside when doing business in repressive regimes. If U.S.-based Internet companies are to have any edge over local firms in these high risk overseas markets, it is because they offer the possibility that they will not capitulate to the authorities and will not bend to vague demands to restrict, or filter, or spy on their users for the local regime. A defense of user privacy and free speech is, in the words of the marketplace, a "unique selling point" for U.S. Internet companies in these markets, and they should trade on that fact and design their technology to support these rights, not remove them. We certainly hope that this spurs a broader movement by Yahoo! and others to resist efforts to turn them into the handmaidens of oppression around the world. For EFF's open letter to Congress on principles for companies doing business in repressive regimes: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2006/02/code-conduct-internet-companies-authoritarian-regimes For EFF International Outreach Coordinator Danny O'Brien's complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/11/undermining-freedoms-china-yahoo-learns-cost-facilitating-human-rights-abuses : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF to Host Student Fellows for Google Policy Fellowship Program This week, Google announced the Google Policy Fellowship, a program that gives students the chance to spend the summer working alongside host organizations on topics of Internet and technology policy. Much like how the Summer of Code project aims to develop and promote open source projects, Google is hoping that the policy fellowship project will advance debate on key policy issues affecting the public. Fellows will receive a summer stipend while working with host organizations on particular topics, and EFF is opening its doors to host interested applicants. Google's application deadline is January 1, 2008. For more about the Google Policy Fellowship: http://www.google.com/policyfellowship/index.html For a descripton of EFF's target issues for potential fellows: http://www.google.com/policyfellowship/hosts.html#eff For the Google Policy Fellowship application: http://services.google.com/inquiry/policyfellowship : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * You're Invited! BayFF with Jonathan Zittrain: "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It" EFF invites you to hear luminary researcher Jonathan Zittrain, principal of the Oxford Internet Institute, deliver a presentation on the topic of his next book: "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It." Zittrain will cover what he sees looking forward, as the Internet ecosystem becomes blotted by restrictive tools and rash approaches to security challenges. The event is hosted by News.com at CNET Networks. WHEN: Wednesday, November 28th, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. WHAT: Jonathan Zittrain speaks on "The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It. The Internet is primed for a meltdown - and the most obvious cures are just as bad." WHO: Jonathan Zittrain is one of the world's foremost scholars of technology law and technology policy. He holds the Chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University and is a principal of the Oxford Internet Institute. His research interests include battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education. He co-founded the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, as well as the OpenNet Initiative, which tracks Internet filtering worldwide. WHERE: CNET Networks 235 2nd Street Ground Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org This event is free and open to the general public. CNET Networks is accessible via BART. Get off at the Montgomery station and use the exit marked 2nd and Market. Walk south on 2nd Street until you reach the CNET building on the left. It's also about seven blocks from the Caltrain station. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards! EFF established the Pioneer Awards to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. This is your opportunity to nominate a deserving individual or group to receive a Pioneer Award for 2008. The International Pioneer Awards nominations are open both to individuals and organizations from any country. Nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges chosen for their knowledge of the technical, legal, and social issues associated with information technology. How to Nominate Someone for a 2008 Pioneer Award: You may send as many nominations as you wish, but please use one email per nomination. Please submit your entries via email to email@example.com. We will accept nominations until January 1, 2008. Simply tell us: 1. The name of the nominee, 2. The phone number or email address or website by which the nominee can be reached, and, most importantly, 3. Why you feel the nominee deserves the award. Nominee Criteria: There are no specific categories for the EFF Pioneer Awards, but the following guidelines apply: 1. The nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. 2. To be valid, all nominations must contain your reason, however brief, for nominating the individual or organization and a means of contacting the nominee. In addition, while anonymous nominations will be accepted, ideally we'd like to contact the nominating parties in case we need further information. 3. The contribution may be technical, social, economic, or cultural. 4. Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or organizations in the private or public sectors. 5. Nominations are open to all (other than current members of EFF's staff and operating board or this year's award judges), and you may nominate more than one recipient. You may also nominate yourself or your organization. 6. Persons or representatives of organizations receiving an EFF Pioneer Award will be invited to attend the ceremony at EFF's expense. More on the EFF Pioneer Awards: http://www.eff.org/awards/pioneer/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ Less Talk, More Action, Warner Edgar Bronfman, Warner Music boss, says he and the industry "fooled ourselves" over lawsuits: so when will they stop fooling (and suing) the public? http://excesscopyright.blogspot.com/2007/11/edgar-bronfmans-epiphany-en-route-to.html ~ Podcast: EFF and the RIAA square off on filesharing litigation EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann speaks opposite the RIAA's lead national counsel, Richard L. Gabriel, on the music industry's efforts to curb unauthorized music downloading. http://www.legaltalknetwork.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=222 ~ Comcast Sued Over BitTorrent Blocking California case alleges unfair business practices. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/11/comcast-sued-ov.html ~ Russia Uses Copyright to Stifle Dissent Selective prosecution of software infringement looks to be politically motivated. http://msl1.mit.edu/furdlog/?p=6474 ~ Canadian Copyright Bill "Weeks Away" Michael Geist reports on the politics behind this risky reform. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/2386/125/ ~ The Access Denied Map Web 2.0 sites, and the countries that ban them. http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/maps/ ~ Aaaaaarrrrrr-arrrrr-arrrrrrrrrrrr! (TM) Tarzan's characteristic yell is not trademarkable in the EU, court rules. http://www.out-law.com//default.aspx?page=8587 ~ The Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG Was a random number generator standard backdoored by the NSA? http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/11/the_strange_sto.html ~ Real ID Splits the Republicans First it hit Democrats: now Republicans are torn over a national ID system. http://washingtontimes.com/article/20071114/NATION/111140082/1001 ~ Anonymity for the Administration, but Not for Us? What it means to consumers when a director of national intelligence says their privacy has to be "redefined". http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lazarus14nov14,1,7251549.column : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * 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: Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist 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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