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EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 6 - EFF Tackles New Role in Europe


EFFector - Volume 20, Issue 6 - EFF Tackles New Role in Europe

EFFector Vol. 20, No. 6  February 6, 2007

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
  • Administrivia

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effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired 

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* 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 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:

For this release:

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* 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:

Congress should also help uncover the truth about the 
spying program -- take action to support immediate 

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* 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:

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 

For the district court's decision in ACLU v. NSA:

For more on EFF's case against AT&T: 

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* 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 

For more on the FLAG Project:

For this release:

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* Car Expo Threatens Online Critics with Bogus Trademark 

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,, 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 

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 

For the full response sent to the Chicago Auto Show:

For more on the threat to the SHUTDOWN Festival:

For this release

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* 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:

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* 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 

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:

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* 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:

For this post and related links:

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* 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.

~ 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.

~ UK Sex Offenders Must Register E-mail Address, Minister 
On the Internet, nobody knows you have another hotmail 

~ What Caused the Sarasota Undervote?
Ed Felten has some theories, but state officials are still 
stonewalling a proper inquiry.

~ 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.

~ 9/11 Commission Report: Copying Is a Crime
The official (and uncopyrighted) PDF has anti-copy-and-
paste DRM turned on.

~ 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 

~ Old Media Can Trump New Media Through Openness
A vice-president at VH1 explains how newspapers can survive 
the Web information explosion.

~ Maybe This Will Refresh Your Memory
Secret wiretapping court gets a $3.1 million budget boost 
to address a "spike in applications."

~ DNA Sampling Database Set to Expand
"Obviously, the bigger the DNA database, the better," say 

~ 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.

~ Piracy Worked for Us, Romania President Tells Bill Gates
"La-la-la, not listening," comments Microsoft spokesperson.

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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)	

Derek Slater, Activist	

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