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EFFector - Volume 21, Issue 21 - Senate Delivers An Unexpected Reprieve On Telecom Immunity

EFFector Vol. 21, No. 21  June 26, 2008  editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 474th issue:

* THE SENATE DELIVERED AN UNEXPECTED REPRIEVE ON TELECOM
IMMUNITY THURSDAY NIGHT, deciding to delay the vote on the
FISA Amendments Act until after the July 4th recess!
Earlier in the week, the mainstream press was reporting
that the immunity bill would see swift and uncontested
approval. Senate leaders emphasized that passing an
immunity bill this week was one of their highest
priorities. And yet, in the end, the bill simply wasn't as
uncontested and noncontroversial as the pundits and
politicians thought it was. Overwhelming grassroots action
and the efforts of Senators Dodd, Feingold, and Bingaman
were critical in giving allies a broader window of
opportunity to make an impact on telecom immunity
legislation.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/senate-delays-vote-immunity

* EFF ARGUED FOR A NEW TRIAL FOR JAMMIE THOMAS, responding
to the judge's concern that he might have made a mistake
when he followed the RIAA's "making available" reasoning in
his jury instructions. EFF and a coalition of consumer and
industry groups contend that the law simply does not allow
lawsuits over "attempted copyright infringement." Thomas
was hit with a massive $220,000 judgment in a very public
file-sharing case in 2007.
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2008/06/20-0

* ALSO THIS WEEK, EFF PUBLISHED "BEST PRACTICES FOR ONLINE
SERVICE PROVIDERS," an updated white paper featuring legal
and technical suggestions for the best privacy practices
for collecting, storing, and disclosing data that balance
the needs of OSPs and their users' privacy and civil
liberties. 
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/osp-best-practices

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EFF Updates

* Check the Deeplinks blog for extensive analysis of this
week's FISA rollercoaster:

~ DNI and AG Fear Court Ruling on Warrantless Wiretapping
In a letter to Senator Reid, Director of National
Intelligence McConnell and Attorney General Mukasey confirm
that telecom immunity is about avoiding judicial scrutiny
of the Administration's warrantless wiretapping program
itself.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/dni-and-ag-fear-court-ruling

~ Senators Dodd and Feingold Stand Strong Against Immunity
The Senators' powerful floor statements demonstrate a
patriotic, principled stand against telecom immunity.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/senators-dodd-and-feingold

~ House Falls Down on the Job
The House caved and passed blanket retroactive immunity for
phone companies that participated in the president's
warrantless surveillance program.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/house-falls-down

~ Republican Senators: It's About Immunity
House and Senate Republicans concede that the "only result"
of the Senate bill is immunity for the telecoms.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/rebublican-senators-its-about-immunity

* New Ninth Circuit Case Protects Text Message Privacy From
Police and Employers
The court issued its opinion in Quon v. Arch Wireless,
holding that "users of text messaging services such as
those provided by Arch Wireless have a reasonable
expectation of privacy in their text messages."
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/new-ninth-circuit-case-protects-text-message-priva

* Congress Must Investigate Privacy Violations at U.S.
Borders
This week, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien testified in
a Senate hearing, outlining the dangers of random and
invasive searches of travelers' digital devices, and urged
more congressional investigation and oversight.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/congress-must-investigate-privacy-violations-u-s-b

* Wanted: Prior Art to Bust Seer Patent
It's patent-busting time: Seer Systems has a patent on a
system for joining different musical data types together in
a file, distributing them over the Internet, and then
playing that file.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/wanted-prior-art-bust-seer-patent

* Microsoft to MSN Music Customers: Your Music Is Still
Good  Till 2011
Microsoft has made a u-turn, deciding to keep its DRM
key-licensing servers active until 2011.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/microsoft-msn-music

* Charter Communications ISP Halts Traffic
Inspection/Advertising Plan
An ISP halts plans to engage in surveillance of users'
Internet traffic to boost advertising revenue.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/charter-communications-isp-halts-traffic-inspectio

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miniLinks

~ Schwarzenegger Asks ISPs to Block Newsgroups
The California Governor and Attorney General have asked
ISPs to jump on the newsgroup-blocking bandwagon -- an
attempt to stop child porn that will likely block
legitimate speech as well.
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080624-california-wants-more-isps-to-limit-usenet-access.html

~ Prince v. Tribute to Prince
A Norwegian tribute album featuring covers of Prince songs
by various artists is the latest object of the musician's
wrath.
http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/06/prince-sues-to.html

~ George Carlin: Dead But Still Kicking the FCC
Comedian George Carlin has passed on, but the legal battle
over the FCC's power to regulate speech triggered by
Carlin's famous "7 words" monologue carries on.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/42068.html

For more miniLinks:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/06/minilinks-2008-06-26

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Announcements

(no announcements this week)

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Administrivia

EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
 http://www.eff.org/about

Editor:
Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist
 richard@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
 membership@eff.org

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:
 information@eff.org

Back issues of EFFector are available at:
 http://www.eff.org/effector/ 
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