EFFector Vol. 20, No. 6 February 6, 2007 firstname.lastname@example.org A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424 In the 412th Issue of EFFector:
- EFF Tackles New Role in Europe
- EFF Battles Gambit to Freeze Telecom Surveillance Cases
- Audio From ACLU v. NSA Hearing Last Week
- Surveillance of Soldiers' Blogs Sparks Lawsuit
- Car Expo Threatens Online Critics with Bogus Trademark Claims
- Pork Board Saves Own Bacon, Apologizes to Blogger for Trademark Misuse
- Florida Governor Wants to Dump E-Voting Machines
- Microsoft's Vista: Read the Fine Print!
- miniLinks (12): Web Giants Ask U.S. Government to Help Fight Censorship
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. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Tackles New Role in Europe EFF Europe Office Opens in Brussels San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) opened a new office in Brussels yesterday to work with various institutions of the European Union (EU) on innovation and digital rights, acting as a watchdog for the public interest in intellectual property and civil liberties policy initiatives that impact the European digital environment. The new EFF Europe office, made possible by the generous support of the Open Society Institute and Mr. Mark Shuttleworth of the Shuttleworth Foundation, will allow EFF to have an increased focus on the development of EU law. EFF also plans to expand its efforts in European digital activism and looks forward to working with many groups and organizations to fight effectively for consumers' and technologists' interests. EFF's new European Affairs Coordinator, Erik Josefsson, will be an on-the-ground analyst, activist, and educator about critical intellectual property and civil liberties issues. "In a networked world, protecting innovation and digital rights must be a global effort," Josefsson said. "We hope this new office in Brussels will increase awareness of European developments and enrich the policy debate." Josefsson was previously the president of the Swedish chapter of Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII.se). FFII was instrumental in defeating the proposed Software Patents Directive, which would have brought an expanded software patent scheme to Europe. Josefsson has also worked with European Digital Rights (EDRI) and other European groups in fighting against the European Parliament's adoption of the Data Retention Directive, which threatens to undo the existing pro-consumer privacy protections in Europe. In recent months, Josefsson has been part of a team of committed FFII activists opposing the proposed second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED2), which will impose harsh criminal sanctions and prison terms for violation of intellectual property rights, stifling technical innovation and imperiling consumers if not amended. "Europe is at the forefront of policy developments that threaten Internet users' freedom, from unwarranted copyright term extension to mandatory data retention," said EFF International Affairs Director Gwen Hinze. "We welcome the valuable European educational and activism expertise that Erik brings to EFF Europe, and we are excited about this new opportunity to represent the public interest in the formative stages of European policy development." Josefsson will be supported in EFF's San Francisco office by Danny O'Brien, EFF's Activism Coordinator, whose past experience includes digital rights work in the United Kingdom. Josefsson will be succeeded as president of FFII Sweden by Jonas Bosson, who was one of the founders of the organization and will continue to fight new attempts to make software patents enforceable in Europe. For more on EFF Europe: http://www.eff.org/global/europe/ For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_02.php#005111 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Battles Gambit to Freeze Telecom Surveillance Cases EFF filed suit more than a year ago against AT&T, accusing the telecom giant of collaborating with the NSA's illegal spying program. Despite Judge Vaughn Walker's decision rejecting their motions to dismiss in July, both the government and AT&T are still working to stall progress in the case. On Friday, February 9, at 2 p.m., EFF will argue in a U.S. District Court that the suit must proceed, regardless of the government's attempt to overturn Judge Walker's ruling in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. EFF's suit and other cases against major telecommunications companies involve critical, time-sensitive questions, and alleged violations of the law could still be ongoing. Americans deserve answers now, not further delays. For more about the hearing: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_02.php#005112 Congress should also help uncover the truth about the spying program -- take action to support immediate investigations: http://action.eff.org/fisa : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Audio From ACLU v. NSA Hearing Last Week Last week, the ACLU urged the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court ruling that the NSA's warrantless wiretapping is illegal and unconstitutional. An audio from the hearing is available here: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/ACLUappealargument.mp3 This case deals with the so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" that the President has publicly confirmed. EFF's case against AT&T alleges that the program goes beyond what the President has directly admitted and intercepts the phone and Internet communications of millions of ordinary Americans. For the district court's decision in ACLU v. NSA: http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/aclu_case_decision.pdf For more on EFF's case against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Surveillance of Soldiers' Blogs Sparks Lawsuit Defense Department Withholds Records About Army Blog Monitoring Program Washington, D.C. - The FLAG Project at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Defense last week, demanding expedited information on how the Army monitors soldiers' blogs. According to news reports, an Army unit called the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell (AWRAC) reviews hundreds of thousands of websites every month, notifying webmasters and bloggers when it sees information it finds inappropriate. Some bloggers have told reporters that they have cut back on their posts or shut down their sites altogether because of the activities of the AWRAC. EFF filed its suit after the Department of Defense and Army failed to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests about the blog monitoring program. "Soldiers should be free to blog their thoughts at this critical point in the national debate on the war in Iraq," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "If the Army is coloring or curtailing soldiers' published opinions, Americans need to know about that interference." EFF's suit demands records on how the AWRAC conducts its monitoring, as well as any orders to soldiers about revision or deletion of web posts. It also demands expedited processing, as the information is urgently needed by the public. "Of course, a military effort requires some level of secrecy. But the public has a right to know if the Army is silencing soldiers' opinions as well. That's why the Department of Defense must release information on how this program works without delay," Hofmann said. EFF's FLAG Project uses FOIA requests and litigation to expose the government's expanding use of technologies that invade privacy. Previous lawsuits have demanded information about the FBI's huge database of personal information and the Department of Homeland Security's program to assign secret "risk assessment" scores to American travelers. For the FOIA complaint filed against the Department of Defense: http://www.eff.org/flag/awrac/awrac_complaint.pdf For more on the FLAG Project: http://www.eff.org/flag/ For this release: http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_01.php#005103 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Car Expo Threatens Online Critics with Bogus Trademark Claims EFF Backs Parody Protest Site of Chicago Auto Show Chicago - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned the Chicago Auto Show to back off attempts to muzzle protestors who posted a parody of the show's website. The parody site, autoshowshutdown.org, is a clearinghouse for information about the "Auto Show SHUTDOWN Festival" -- an annual event where hundreds of cyclists parade through Chicago to raise awareness about global warming and to promote sustainable transportation. The ride culminates in a rally at the entrance to the show. But last week, a lawyer for the auto show sent a threatening letter to the protestors, claiming that the website amounted to trademark infringement and that it would seek damages if the parody was not taken down. In a letter sent in response last week, EFF reminded the auto show that trademark infringement must involve some commercial use, which is clearly not the case in this non- profit, community-organized protest. "Auto show organizers can't stop thousands of citizens from attending the SHUTDOWN Festival. Instead, they have resorted to baseless trademark claims to silence critics and interfere with planning for an event that embarrasses them," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "Both trademark law and the First Amendment won't allow for that." In addition, an EFF investigation found that the auto show does not actually own the trademark it is claiming was infringed. Records show that the Chicago Auto Show abandoned the mark by neglecting to respond to correspondence from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as required by law. "The auto show seems so scared of fair competition in the marketplace of ideas that they aren't playing clean," said protest organizer Dan Korn. "Fortunately, we know our free speech rights, and we will be exercising them during the SHUTDOWN Festival, despite their threats." EFF's letter to the Chicago Auto Show is part of its ongoing campaign to protect online free speech from the chilling effects of bogus intellectual property claims. EFF is currently representing a blogger threatened with copyright infringement by ABC after criticizing talk radio hosts. In November, EFF reached an agreement with the corporate owners of the popular children's television character Barney the Purple Dinosaur to withdraw meritless legal threats against a website publisher who parodied the character. For the full response sent to the Chicago Auto Show: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/chicagoautoshow/response_letter.pdf For more on the threat to the SHUTDOWN Festival: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/chicagoautoshow/ For this release http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_02.php#005108 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Pork Board Saves Own Bacon, Apologizes to Blogger for Trademark Misuse The National Pork Board has apologized for threatening to sue "The Lactivist" blog for using the slogan "the other white milk." This is no joke, though the Board's legal theory was laughable. After warning blogger Jennifer Laycock that using the slogan on a T-shirt infringed and diluted the Pork Board's trademark on "the other white meat," perhaps the Board expected the blogger to cave immediately. Instead, Laycock took her case to the court of public opinion, blogging about the letter and asking her readers to contact the Pork Board to complain about it. Laycock and her readers were particularly offended by the letter's implication that Laycock was an advocate of adult breastfeeding. The Pork Board was hit with calls and emails. Doubtless realizing that an entity devoted to marketing a food product should not risk alienating mothers, the Pork Board promptly contacted Ms. Laycock to apologize. Kudos to the Pork Board for realizing the error of its ways. But it's a shame that it didn't spend a little more time investigating before sending off an improper cease and desist letter. Like Chicago Auto Show, the Pork Board decided to shoot first and ask questions later. Laycock refused to be intimidated, but other bloggers and parodists may not have the knowledge or resources to fight back to defend non-infringing uses. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005110.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Florida Governor Wants to Dump E-Voting Machines Florida Governor Charlie Crist says his state should dump the touch-screen voting systems that were installed after the disputed 2000 presidential race in favor of more reliable optical-scanning machines. Voters would mark up a paper ballot and be able to verify their vote on the spot with a paper receipt. "You go to an ATM machine, you get some kind of a record. You go to the gas station, you get a record. If there's a need for a recount, it's important to have something to count," said Crist. The governor plans to ask the Florida legislature for $20 million to replace the touch-screen machines. The current machines provide no paper backup and have been plagued by irregularities and scandal in recent elections. EFF and a coalition of voting integrity groups, representing Sarasota County voters, have filed suit in state court in Tallahassee asking for a re-vote in Florida's 13th congressional district. In a high-profile battle over former Rep. Katherine Harris' seat, the result was decided by 363 votes, yet over 18,000 ballots cast on Sarasota County's e-voting machines registered no vote in the race, an exceptional anomaly in the State. For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005105.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Microsoft's Vista: Read the Fine Print! After numerous delays, Microsoft has launched its new Vista operating system and proclaimed the "Wow starts now." Thanks for filling us in, Microsoft, but what is there to be wowed about? Maybe Microsoft's talking about the collective gasp among consumers who are looking at the litany of restrictions buried within Vista's End User License Agreement (EULA). As law professor Michael Geist explains in a recent editorial, "In the name of shielding consumers from computer viruses and protecting copyright owners from potential infringement, Vista seemingly wrestles control of the 'user experience' from the user." For instance, Vista's EULA limits the numbers of copies that can be made (allowing only one for backup purposes). The anti-virus program that comes with Vista reserves the right to delete any programs it deems dangerous without permission, even though this could mean the removal of legitimate and useful software (or prevent other software from working). And the EULA warns users that "you may not work around any technical limitations of the software." And that's not all -- read the whole editorial for more: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1640/159/ For this post and related links: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005104.php : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ Web Giants Ask U.S. Government to Help Fight Censorship "Censorship should be treated as a trade barrier and be written into free-trade agreements," says Google's lawyer. http://news.com.com/Web+giants+ask+for+feds+help+on+censorship/2100-1028_3-6154930.html?tag=nefd.top ~ MPAA v. Canada: Is There Really a Northern Piracy Menace? The MPAA's curious attack on camcording movies in the outlaw state of Canada doesn't hold up. http://techdirt.com/articles/20070205/114410.shtml ~ UK Sex Offenders Must Register E-mail Address, Minister Suggests On the Internet, nobody knows you have another hotmail account. http://technollama.blogspot.com/2007/02/sex-offenders-must-register-e-mail.html ~ What Caused the Sarasota Undervote? Ed Felten has some theories, but state officials are still stonewalling a proper inquiry. http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1115 ~ Sony BMG Settles FTC Charges Sony has to clearly and prominently disclose playback and copying restrictions on future CDs and pay up to $150 to affected users. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/01/sony.htm ~ 9/11 Commission Report: Copying Is a Crime The official (and uncopyrighted) PDF has anti-copy-and- paste DRM turned on. http://www.techliberation.com/archives/041976.php ~ Turning Off Google Search History Disgruntled ex-Google employee Nelson Minar shows how to stop Google from tying your searches to your name (though there's no guarantee that they can't do that without your permission). http://www.somebits.com/weblog/tech/bad/googleSearchHistory.html ~ Old Media Can Trump New Media Through Openness A vice-president at VH1 explains how newspapers can survive the Web information explosion. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200612/hirschorn-newspapers ~ Maybe This Will Refresh Your Memory Secret wiretapping court gets a $3.1 million budget boost to address a "spike in applications." http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070205/5fbi.htm ~ DNA Sampling Database Set to Expand "Obviously, the bigger the DNA database, the better," say supporters. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/05/washington/05dna.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1170696326-JaT2cc/6llJC7MUQeTzQUw ~ Town Fakes Criminal Subpoenas to Uncover Anonymous Voice, Pays $225,000 Attempts by Colonie city officials to uncover emailer by demanding his name and account information from ISP were illegal, court decides. http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=555194&category=REGION&newsdate=1/19/2007 ~ Piracy Worked for Us, Romania President Tells Bill Gates "La-la-la, not listening," comments Microsoft spokesperson. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/01/AR2007020100715.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: Derek Slater, Activist 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. 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