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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 21 - EFF Demands Intelligence Agencies’ Reports About Possible Misconduct


EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 21 - EFF Demands Intelligence Agencies’ Reports About Possible Misconduct

EFFector 22.21: EFF Demands Intelligence Agencies' Reports About
Possible Misconduct

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 21  July 23, 2009

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 513th issue:

MISCONDUCT. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit
yesterday against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a
half-dozen other federal agencies involved in intelligence gathering,
demanding the immediate release of reports about potential misconduct.
EFF filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requesting
records of intelligence agencies' reporting of activities since 2001
that might have been unlawful or contrary to presidential order.

"By executive order, federal intelligence agencies must submit
concerns about potentially illegal activity to the Intelligence
Oversight Board and the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence," said EFF Open Government Legal Fellow Nate Cardozo.
"Intelligence agencies are given a wide berth for national security
reasons, but at a minimum they're required to act within the limits of
the law. These records hold important details about how well the
Executive Branch's internal checks operate."

For the full press release:

legal threats against public wiki hosting site Bluwiki, and, in
response, EFF is dismissing its lawsuit against Apple over those
threats. The skirmish involved a set of anonymously authored wiki
pages in which hobbyists were discussing how to "sync" media to iPods
and iPhones using music library playback software other than Apple's
own iTunes.

"While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we
are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a
lawsuit," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann.

For the full press release:

For EFF's Deeplink blog post:

released "Surveillance Self-Defense International" (SSDI), a practical
guide to help activists from around the world use the Internet safely
under repressive regimes.

Recent political protests in Iran, China, and elsewhere have
demonstrated the enormous power of the Internet for organizing
protests and reporting events to the world. But governments have also
used the Internet to track, harass, and undermine. SSDI urges
activists to consider the risks in using various technologies and
outlines strategies that can allow protestors to continue to use the
Internet safely.

For the full press release:

For the SSDI white paper:

A federal judge in San Francisco heard arguments on the government's
motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF's case challenging dragnet
government surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.

The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case in April, arguing
that litigation over the warrantless wiretapping program would require
the government to disclose privileged "state secrets" -- essentially
repeating the arguments made by the Bush Administration in its
attempts to block lawsuits over the illegal spying. The Justice
Department also claims that the U.S. possesses "sovereign immunity"
and cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any
federal statutes.

For the full press release:

For EFF's Deeplink blog post:

For the SF Chronicle's editorial on the case:

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EFF Updates

* President Lula and the Brazilian Cybercrime Bill.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Da Silva, popularly known as Lula,
announced his opposition to the controversial Azeredo bill, a proposed
cybercrime bill with broad provisions that could criminalize
commonplace and trivial behavior. Lula fell short of promising to
exercise his presidential veto, but it's clear that he got the message
that Brazil's Internet users don't want or need this law and its
dangerous repercussions.

* Orwell in 2009: Dystopian Rights Management.
David Pogue reports in the New York Times that books published by
MobileReference, including Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal
Farm, were remotely deleted from customers' Kindles overnight.
Customers had their accounts credited for the value lost. Orwell would
have appreciated the irony.

* Pay-As-You-Drive "Black Boxes" Threaten Driver Privacy.
The California Department of Insurance (DOI) is considering
regulations that would enable insurance prices to depend on the
precise number of miles a car is driven in a given billing period. But
in implementing these "Pay As You Drive" regulations, the DOI appears
poised to empower insurance companies to require customers' cars to be
outfitted with "black-box" devices that could transmit back to the
insurance companies all sorts of data about car motion (acceleration,
braking), as well as driver behavior.

* Facebook and the Phone Companies Try to Lock Users In.
Facebook is suing, a company that gives users a tool to pull
copies of their own friends lists, postings and other information out
of Facebook so that they can aggregate it with their other social
networking platforms. Similarly, CTIA - The Wireless Association, the
trade group for the mobile phone industry, is trying to prevent
customers of companies like AT&T Wireless and Sprint from taking their
own phones with them when they switch providers.

* Unclassified Version of Report to Congress on NSA Program Now
A classified report on the National Security Agency's warrantless
surveillance program was submitted to Congress on July 2. This report,
given by the Inspectors General of the Justice Department, the NSA,
and other agencies involved in the program, was required by the FISA
Amendments Act, signed into law one year ago. An unclassified version
is now available to the inquiring public.

* Judge Overturns Lori Drew Misdemeanor Convictions.
A federal district court judge threw out the misdemeanor convictions
against Lori Drew after determining that the federal anti-hacking
statute under which Drew was prosecuted was inapplicable. Drew was
convicted by a jury in November 2008 of violating the Computer Fraud
and Abuse Act (CFAA), which bars "unauthorized access" to a computer.
The judge held that a violation of MySpace's terms of service did not
constitute unauthorized access under the statute.

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~ NSA Cyber Overkill
An LA Times op-ed questions the Obama administration's plan to use the
National Security Agency to screen government computer traffic on
private-sector networks.,0,5470671.story

~ Court Says IP Addresses Are Not Personally Identifiable Information
A federal judge in Seattle has ruled that Microsoft did not violate
its user agreement not to collect personally identifiable information
when it collected IP addresses.

~ Apple Blocks Push on Jailbroken Phones?
Is Apple intentionally blocking users with hacked or unlocked iPhones
from receiving Push Notification messages?

~ Phorm Dumped by Developers
TalkTalk and BT have both decided not to use Phorm's invasive
advertising technology.

~ Report Finds That Music Fans Discover Music Online, Then Buy CDs
A British survey finds that music fans still prefer CDs, and those
that use online subscription services spend more.

~ RFIDs in Official IDs Raise Fears
The Washington Post covers hacker Chris Paget's work exposing the
security risks of RFID technology.

~ Facebook Promises to Crack Down on Pot Dealers
A medical marijuana collective has had its Facebook page shut down by
the social networking site.

~ Are Iranian Authorities Using Facebook to Track Dissidents?
A scary anecdote from Iran illustrates the problem with social
networking sites for people living under authoritarian regimes.

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* EFF is IN at Black Hat USA 2008!
Look for us or stop by our booth at Black Hat USA, July
25-30 in Las Vegas, the world's premier technical security
conference. We'll be giving out useful legal information to
assist security researchers with intellectual property and
free speech issues that affect their work.  We'll also be
available to consult with individuals or companies who want
more information about how the law might affect their
current research and upcoming presentations. To make an
appointment for a consultation, please email Alyssa
Ralston, Development Assistant, at, or drop
by the table.

* EFF at DEFCON 17
We will be at DEFCON 17, July 30-August 2 in Las Vegas. EFFers will be
everywhere! Attorney Jennifer Granick will be giving a talk titled
Computer Crime Year in Review: MySpace, MTBA, Boston College and More.
EFF attorneys will also give talks on jailbreaking, judge Hacker
Court, and take part in the Ask EFF panel. Attorneys will also be
available for legal consultation. To make an appointment, please email
Alyssa Ralstron, Development Assistant, at, or drop by
the table.

* BayFF: Iranian Protests And Digital Media.
The recent protests over the elections in Iran have shown that
socialmedia can be a force for good -- and a target for misinformation
and censorship. How can technologists build tools for freedom, and
defend Net users across the world? Speakers include Danny
O'Brian (EFF International Outreach Coordinator), Cyrus Farivar
(journalist), and Austin Heap (enterprenteur/technologist). PariSoma
coworking space: 1436 Howard (at 10th) in San Francisco, CA. 7-9 pm.
$20 admission.

* Intern Opportunity!

EFF is looking for a summer intern to help in our development and
media departments. This is an unpaid, full-time position.

Projects will include:
-Working on our annual report and contacting major donors and
foundations (40% of time);
-Assisting with membership fulfillment and bulk mailing
(40% of time); and
-Identifying and organizing press clippings (20% of time).

Excellent writing and editing skills, strong organizational abilities,
and the capacity to take instruction and run with it is a must.
Interest in development and/or public relations as a career is a plus,
as is knowledge and familiarity with EFF's issues.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to:

* Volunteer at EFF!

EFF is looking for volunteers to assist with operations in our
membership department. If you're quick, organized, detail-oriented,
and looking for a hands-on way to support EFF, contact us today!

Duties include:

* Membership fulfillment
* Organizing premiums
* Print mailing
* Event assistance

Learn about fundraising operations in the nonprofit world while
supporting your favorite organization in a tangible way! Interest in
grassroots fundraising is a plus, as is knowledge and familiarity with
EFF's issues. Send a letter of interest to

* Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2009 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 2009.
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

How to Nominate Someone for a 2009 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 July 30, 2009.

Simply tell us:

1. The name of the nominee,

2. The phone number, 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 communications.

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 cultural.

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

More on the EFF Pioneer Awards:

* IT Equipment for EFF Offices

We are looking for donations of computer equipment to support EFF's
office operations.  As thanks for your donation, we can offer a free
membership and of course some cool swag.

Requested Items:

- 2 x 2TB external USB hard drives, preferably Western Digital. Or a
larger amount of smaller drives with the same interface.

- PATA IDE hard drives, 20GB or larger

Please contact if you can help!

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EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Eva Galperin, Referral Coordinator

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