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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 49 - EFF Applauds Senator Reid's Decision to Delay Surveillance Bill Until January


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 49 - EFF Applauds Senator Reid's Decision to Delay Surveillance Bill Until January

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 49  December 28, 2007

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 453rd Issue of EFFector:
  • EFF Applauds Senator Reid's Decision to Delay Surveillance Bill Until January
  • EFF Protects Free Speech Rights for New Jersey Blogger
  • New FOIA Reform Bill Passes House & Senate
  • Neuros Launches "Unlocked Media" Brand
  • Does Peace with UMG Mean Downgrade for XM Subscribers?
  • Visit EFF at Macworld
  • Come Celebrate EFF's 17th Birthday in January!
  • EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference
  • Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards!
  • Vote for EFF on the Working Assets 2007 Donations Ballot!
  • miniLinks (3): RIAA Sends "Video Press Release" to Local News Stations
  • 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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* EFF Applauds Senator Reid's Decision to Delay
Surveillance Bill Until January

Senator Dodd's Efforts Result in Delay of Telecom Amnesty

Washington, D.C. - Before the Senate left for Christmas
break, majority leader Harry Reid announced that due to the
contentious nature of proposals to provide amnesty for
telecoms that participated in the National Security
Agency's (NSA) warrantless wiretapping program, further
debate on the surveillance bill in the Senate would be
delayed until January 2008. Reid's announcement followed a
series of speeches by Senators who spoke in strong
opposition to telecom amnesty, led by Senator Christopher
Dodd of Connecticut.

Senator Dodd's efforts included numerous citations to the
evidence in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) case
against AT&T from former AT&T technician and whistleblower
Mark Klein, as well as to the initial decision by federal
Judge Vaughn Walker that allowed the case to proceed.

In a statement delivered on the Senate floor at the end of
the day, Senator Reid spoke against proposals to provide
retroactive amnesty for telecoms, saying: "I believe that
it is more than appropriate to ask the courts to examine
the telephone companies' actions and to evaluate whether or
not they acted properly."

Senator Reid also warned his colleagues in the Senate about
the dangerous precedent that could result should the
telecoms receive amnesty from Congress: "Providing immunity
without ever undertaking such an evaluation would send a
dangerous signal that the requirements we enact
prospectively may be ignored with impunity."

"We applaud Senator Reid for allowing the full Senate to
take the time to carefully consider the dangers of granting
amnesty to the phone companies that have blatantly violated
their customers' privacy for over six years. Over the
holiday break, we hope that many Senators will listen to
their constituents who want them to stand up for the Fourth
Amendment," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "But the
biggest hero in this fight has been Senator Dodd, who
recognized the profound Constitutional issues at stake in
taking this key issue away from the courts and refused to
let it be rammed through the Senate without a fight."

EFF represents the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, one of
dozens of class-action lawsuits accusing the telecoms of
violating customers' rights by illegally assisting the
National Security Agency with this dragnet domestic
surveillance of ordinary Americans.

For more on Hepting v. AT&T and telecom immunity:

For this release:

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* EFF Protects Free Speech Rights for New Jersey Blogger

Judge Quashes Bogus Subpoena for Critic's Identity

Manalapan, NJ - A Superior Court judge in New Jersey
quashed a bogus subpoena for the identity of an anonymous
blogger, protecting the free speech rights of a critic
writing about a local government controversy.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represented the
anonymous blogger, known as "daTruthSquad," on a site
hosted by Google's Blogspot service. After the blogger
strongly criticized a malpractice lawsuit filed by the
township of Manalapan against its former city attorney, the
township subpoenaed Google for daTruthSquad's identity, as
well as for any emails, blog drafts, and other information
Google had about the blogger. In a hearing last Friday,
Superior Court Judge Terence Flynn quashed the subpoena,
ruling that the blogger had a First Amendment right to
anonymous speech.

"We're grateful that Judge Flynn upheld the First Amendment
rights of our client and recognized that anonymous speakers
should not be intimidated into silence through the
discovery process," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman.
"Now daTruthSquad can continue to discuss township business
without fear of government reprisal."

For more about Manalapan v. Moskovitz:

For this release:

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* New FOIA Reform Bill Passes House & Senate

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a rare example of
a government program that actually serves the public.
Journalists, citizens, and all sorts of public interest
organizations (EFF included) use FOIA to bring to light
government documents and information that would otherwise
remain hidden from public view.

Now, public interest groups are applauding the passage of a
bill that aims to fix some of FOIA's problems. Similar
legislation stalled earlier this year after passing the
House and Senate, but the more recent bill is now poised to
make the first changes to FOIA in more than a decade.

While the legislation isn't perfect, it will take some
steps towards streamlining the process and creating more
accountability, including the creation of a public tracking
system, additional incentives to ensure timely release of
information, and access to government records held by
private contractors.

For EFF's FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government (FLAG)
Project page:

For this complete post:

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* Neuros Launches "Unlocked Media" Brand

Neuros Technology, manufacturer of open-source-powered
analog-to-digital video recorder hardware, is spearheading
a new effort to educate consumers about digital rights
management (DRM) by establishing the "Unlocked Media"
brand. The idea is for the "Unlocked Media" trademark to be
freely available to innovators making products that allow
media to be stored and played anywhere.

The establishment of the "Unlocked Media" badge is a
consumer-oriented salvo that complements other important
efforts to combat DRM, like the Free Software Foundation's
"Defective By Design" campaign. Many activists and
technologists are opposed to DRM on principle, but for some
users, their primary understanding is that DRM is
extraordinarily inconvenient. The "Unlocked Media"
trademark is targeted at this kind of consumer, identifying
products that reject DRM for the sake of compatibility and

For Neuros Technology CEO Joe Born's blog post on "Unlocked

For this post:

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* Does Peace with UMG Mean Downgrade for XM Subscribers?

XM and Universal Music Group (UMG) have apparently settled
their lawsuit over XM's Inno, the receiver/recorder that
promised to be like a TiVo for your satellite radio
subscription. Early reports only speculate about the terms
of the settlement, suggesting that XM is probably paying a
royalty to UMG for every Inno sold.

That's bad enough, as it sets a precedent that record
labels can effectively tax innovators for building new
technologies. (UMG also pressured Microsoft into paying a
royalty on every Zune.) But the real question is whether XM
will "downgrade" the features that the record labels object
to -- like the Inno's ability to record only artists you
specify and randomly access individual tracks. So, any
readers that own an XM Inno -- please let us know if you
get a mandatory "upgrade" that downgrades your device.

For the complete post by EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von

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* Visit EFF at Macworld

The Macworld organizers have generously donated booth space
to EFF -- so come visit EFF at the Macworld Conference &
Expo, January 14 to 18, in San Francisco. Macworld is a
week-long experience for everyone who uses Macs. Register
online with the priority code: 08-D-EFF and get an Exhibit
Hall Pass for only $10; or receive 15% off your conference
package of choice. (Offer good on new registrations only
and expires January 13, 2008.)

For more about the Macworld Conference & Expo:

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* Come Celebrate EFF's 17th Birthday!

After a day at Macworld, join EFF in celebrating our 17th
year of defending digital rights! Since 1990, EFF has been
there fighting for freedom and civil liberties.

The birthday bash will be on January 15, 7-11 PM, at 111
Minna Gallery in San Francisco. Headliners Adrian & the
Mysterious D (A+D), the DJ duo that founded the seminal
mashup party "Bootie," will be dropping a shameless,
genre-smashing blend of tracks, backed up by DJ sets from
Bay Area copyfighters Ripley, Kid Kameleon and EFF's own

The EFF party will also feature an exclusive chocolate
sampling with TCHO, "a new chocolate company for a new
generation of chocolate enthusiasts." Founded by Wired
co-founder Louis Rossetto and legendary chocolatier Timothy
Childs, himself a former technologist, TCHO will be
bringing a "beta release" of its best dark chocolate to the
party table. Attendees are invited to vote for their
favorite TCHO beta chocolate flavors at the party --
feedback that will help define TCHO's next steps as they
gear up for a national release.

We'll be asking for a $20 donation at the door. No one will
be turned away for lack of funds, but all proceeds will go
toward our work defending your digital freedom.

EFF's 17th Birthday Bash
featuring TCHO chocolate
and mashup pioneers Adrian & the Mysterious D

January 15, 2008 7-11 PM

111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Tel: (415) 974-1719

This fundraiser is open to the general public. 21+ only,
cash bar.

Please RSVP to:

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* EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil
liberties nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is
seeking a full-time webmaster to start immediately. This
person will be responsible for managing content and
building web features on, and helping to build and
maintain EFF's web initiatives and campaigns.

The environment is fast-paced; the work is cutting-edge. A
love of technology and familiarity with related civil
liberties issues is a must.

The ideal candidate will have a broad range of experience
in web production, including:
* XHTML/CSS web design and implementation
* Open-source web technology: PHP, Javascript, Unix,
Apache, etc.
* Graphics production, editing and optimization
* An eye for clean user-centric web design and layout
* Organizing and keeping track of large amounts of complex
web content

Additional familiarity with any of these is a plus:
* Drupal CMS
* Subversion (or similar concurrent versioning system)
* Smarty
* Flash/ActionScript
* Writing blog posts, press releases, web content, etc.

Salary in the non-profit range with benefits. To apply, send a
cover letter and your resume with links to some samples of
your work to Please send these materials in
a non-proprietary format. No phone calls please!

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* 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 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

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

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:

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* Vote for EFF on the Working Assets 2007 Donations Ballot!

A telecommunications company wants to support EFF!

That's right. You heard us correctly.

Working Assets offers long distance, wireless and credit
card services that donate a portion of customers' charges
to nonprofit organizations. Since 1985, Working Assets has
raised over $50 million for worthy groups like EFF. Now,
the good folks at Working Assets are continuing to do their
part to make our world a better place by generously
supporting us as a recipient in their 2007 end-of-year
donation campaign.

Are you or your friends Working Assets customers who
rounded up your phone bill all year? Well it's time to
spread the love.

When you fill out your Working Assets 2007 Donations
Ballot, vote to allocate this year's funding to EFF. The
distribution of funds is determined solely by how many
votes each group receives. The more votes you give EFF, the
more money we get. It's that simple.

Voting for EFF is easy. Just go to:

The voting deadline is December 31, so act quickly!

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* miniLinks
The week's noteworthy news, compressed.

~ RIAA Sends "Video Press Release" to Local News Stations
An alleged RIAA video depicts police raids, gives "tips"
about pirated content, and ends by encouraging holiday
shoppers to buy recording industry-sanctioned goods.

~ Some Airlines Planning In-flight Internet Access
An Associated Press story reports that in-flight Internet
access providers are building optional blacklists into

~ Creative Commons Launches CC+
The new framework describes a way for users of CC licenses
to sell or offer commercial rights to potential licensees.

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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)	

Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist	

Membership & donation queries:

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Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be 
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