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EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 10 - The Obama Administration Has Embraced Bush’s Position on Warantless Wiretapping

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 10  April 10, 2009 editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 505th issue:

* THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS EMBRACED BUSH'S POSITION ON
WARANTLESS WIRETAPPING, and goes one step further than the
previous administration. In a motion to dismiss Jewel v.
NSA, the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ)
made two deeply troubling arguments.

First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did
on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege
requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They
asserted that simply allowing the case to continue "would
cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." As in
the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation
without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.

Second, the DOJ claimed that the U.S. Government is
completely immune from litigation for illegal spying
because the USA PATRIOT Act renders the U.S. immune from
suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws:
the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. This is
a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one
-- not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any
member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration -- has
ever interpreted the law this way.

This isn't change we can believe in. This is change for the
worse.

For the full blog post:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/obama-doj-worse-than-bush

For the press release:
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/05

For Kevin Bankston on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann":
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/bankston-on-olbermann

For Keith Olbermann on Obama and Wiretapping:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/keith-olbermann-obama-and-wiretapping

* EFF AND OTHERS HAVE CALLED FOR OBAMA TO DIVERSIFY IP
APPOINTMENTS. Several of the president's recent appointees
to positions that oversee intellectual property policy have
represented the recording industry or other industries that
support overly broad IP protection. But many positions with
IP policy responsibilities have not yet been filled.

The coalition urged the administration to appoint
individuals representing the diversity of stakeholders
involved in IP issues, and also called on the president to
create new positions dedicated to promoting innovation and
advancing the cause of progress in sciences and the useful
arts.

For the full press release:
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/02

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EFF Updates

* Disability Access Activists Gather to Protest Kindle DRM
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the headquarters of
The Authors Guild in New York City to protest the removal
of text-to-speech capabilities in Amazon's new Kindle 2.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/protest-kindle-drm

* Michigan Rep. Calls for RFID Review
Michigan Rep. Paul Opsommer wants to know why Michigan is
set to issue new Enhanced Drivers' Licenses that include
long-range RFID technology.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/michigan-rep-calls-rfid-review

* Stating the Case Against DRM to the FTC
EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry testified at the FTC's
town hall meeting on DRM, recommending that the FTC study
DRM's effect on competition.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/stating-case-against-drm-ftc

* AP Invokes DMCA Against Obama "Hope" Poster Artist
The AP claims that Shepard Fairey violated the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the creation of his
famous poster.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/ap-uses-dmca-intimidate-hope-artist

* Court Expands Trademark Rights, Restricts Consumer Search
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a
trademark owner can sue Google for trademark infringement
for selling its mark as a keyword as part of the AdWords
program.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/second-circuit-expands-trademark-rights-restricts-

* EU Copyright Term Extension Battle Heats Up
At least eleven countries' COREPER representatives voted
against a proposal to extend sound copyright in the EU --
enough votes to block the proposal.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/every-vote-counts-eu-copyright-term-extension-batt

* Observations from the Three-Strikes Rumor Storm
Though there appears to be no need for immediate concern
that customers could be targeted for disconnection, the
rumors and subsequent responses from ISPs reveal important
information about the state of play for three strikes.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/observations-three-strikes-rumor-storm

* Warner Music Targeting More than YouTube
ZDNet columnist Jason Perlow reports that Warner Music came
after his wife's video slideshow on Vimeo, another video
hosting site.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/warner-music-targeting-more-youtube

* iPods, First Sale, Obama, and the Queen of England
President Obama reportedly gave an iPod, loaded with 40
show tunes, to England's Queen Elizabeth II as a gift. Did
he violate the law when he did so?
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/first-sale-president-obama-and-queen-england

* More on Choruss, Pro and Con
The public debates about Choruss have begun, with those on
both sides contributing valuable thoughts about the
advantages and disadvantages of Choruss.
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/more-choruss-pro-and-con

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miniLinks

~ Social Network Sites "Monitored" in UK
The UK government proposed rules that would allow the use
of social networking sites to monitor criminal activity.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7962631.stm

~ Freedom on the Net
Freedom House takes comprehensive look at government
tactics for controlling communications around the world.
http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=383&report=79&group=19

~ "Playmobil Priest" Faces Company's Wrath
A priest who transformed Playmobil figures into biblical
characters is facing copyright infringement claims.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hJAL_5AKOH4SHJ1rzWy5w8q16Gig

For more miniLinks:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/minilinks-2009-04-10

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Announcements

* Come See EFF at RSA and MySQL!

EFF will be at two conferences this April: RSA and MySQL.
Come and see us at RSA, April 20-24, or at MySQL, April
21-22. Whichever conference you attend, please visit our
booth and grab some EFF swag during exhibit hours. We look
forward to seeing you!

For more information on RSA:
http://www.rsaconference.com/2009/us/index.htm

For more information on MySQL:
http://www.mysqlconf.com/mysql2009

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Administrivia

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

Editor:
Sara Bassett, Membership Services Assistant
sara@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
membership@eff.org

To support EFF:
secure.eff.org/donate

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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