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EFFector - Volume 22, Issue 28 - EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records

EFFector 22.28: EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records

EFFector Vol. 22, No. 28 September 29, 2009  editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

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In our 519th issue:

EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records
A judge ordered the government Thursday to release more records about
the lobbying campaign to provide immunity to the telecommunications
giants that participated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance
program. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered the records be
provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by October 9,
2009.
The decision is part of EFF's long-running battle to gather
information about telecommunications lobbying conducted as Congress
considered granting immunity to companies that participated in illegal
government electronic surveillance.

For the full press release:
https://www.eff.org/press/releases

For the full order:
https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/foia_C0705278/OrderGrantSJ-Sep09.pdf

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EFF Updates

* EFF Supports New Bills to Repeal Telecom Immunity
Yesterday, four US Senators, led by Senator Chris Dodd, announced
plans to introduce "The Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act." That bill,
endorsed by EFF, would repeal the retroactive immunity granted by
Congress as part of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) to phone companies
that illegally assisted in domestic spying by US intelligence agencies
and would revive EFF's recently dismissed lawsuit against AT&T
for its collaboration in the NSA's warrantless wiretapping
program.
Another bill that contains a provision to repeal the immunity --
called the JUSTICE Act -- was introduced in the Senate earlier this
month by Senators Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin, along with eight
other Senators.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/eff-supports-new-bill-repeal-telco-immunity

* Hey TI, Leave Those Kids Alone!
After hobbyists tinkering with their Texas Instruments programmable
graphing calculators discovered that the devices perform a signature
check that only allows a signed operating system to be loaded onto the
hardware, they used distributed computing to perform a brute-force
cryptanalysis of the public keys embedded in each model of calculator
to derive the corresponding private keys.

TI's response has been to target programmers and bloggers with
cease and desist letters, telling them, incorrectly, that the
anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) require them to take down the keys, remove links to forum
discussions, and delete blog posts.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/ti-leave-those-kids-alone

* You Bought It, You Own It: MDY v. Blizzard Appealed
When you buy World of Warcraft (WoW) in a retail box, do you own the
copy of the software you bought? That's the critical legal question
facing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a pending appeal in MDY
v. Blizzardk.

The case pits Blizzard, the maker of WoW, against MDY, the maker of a
program called Glider that lets you play WoW on "auto-pilot" (what
Blizzard calls a "bot"). Blizzard won in the district court,
successfully arguing that WoW purchasers do not "own" their software,
but merely "license" it. On this view, Blizzard owns every WoW DVD
ever shipped for all eternity and may be able to use copyright law to
punish WoW players who use the software in any manner not authorized
by the "license" (like using Glider).
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/you-bought-it-you-own-it-mdy-v-blizzard-appealed

* Obama's Disappointing State Secrets Procedures
After months of internal review, the Obama Administration announced a
new policy on the use of the state secrets privilege. The state
secrets privilege traditionally allows the government to withdraw
particular pieces of evidence from a court case on the grounds that
the evidence would reveal sensitive classified information. Despite
this limited purpose, it was repeatedly misused by the Bush (and now
Obama) administration  and is badly in need of reform.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration's new policy falls far short
of the real reform that's needed. The Administration has essentially
added several layers of Executive Branch bureaucracy before the
privilege can be asserted, effectively promising to check with itself
before invoking the state secrets privilege. What's really needed is a
policy that ensures the separation of powers is restored, where courts
determine whether the secrecy is warranted.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/obamas-disappointing-state-secrets-procedures
For the full policy:
http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/documents/state-secret-privilieges.pdf

* Book Review: Bill Patry's Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
Bill Patry is widely regarded as one of the leading copyright law
experts in the United States. For the past several years, he's also
been Senior Copyright Counsel at Google. If you're looking for a basic
primer on digital copyright, or the DMCA, or DRM, this isn't the book
for you. Rather, Patry's contribution is to focus on the importance of
metaphors and rhetoric in the policy debates (past and present)
surrounding copyright.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/book-review-bill-patrys-i-moral-panic-and-copyrigh

* How Online Tracking Companies Know Most of What You Do Online, and
What Social Networks Are Doing to Help Them
3rd party advertising and tracking firms are ubiquitous on the modern
web. When you visit a webpage, there's a good chance that it contains
tiny images or invisible JavaScripts that track and record your
browsing habits. In a series of Deep Links posts, EFF is examining how
this tracking occurs and how it is being combined with data from
accounts on social networking sites to build extensive, identified
profiles of your online activity.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/09/online-trackers-and-social-networks

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miniLinks

~ Google Book Settlement 1.0 Is History
EFF Board member Pamela Samuelson says the parties will go back to the
drawing board to negotiate a new agreement.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-samuelson/google-book-settlement-10_b_296343.html

~ A Writer's Plea: Preserve Google Books
Author Alexis Madrigal shares concerns about privacy and Google Books,
but says the existing service shows how powerful a digital library can
be.
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/09/preserve-google-books/

~ Datamining the Private Sector
New documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal
an FBI data-mining program that uses data from corporate hotel and car
rental chains.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/09/fbi-nsac/

~ Netflix's Impending (But Still Avoidable) Multi-Million Dollar
Privacy Blunder
Paul Ohm says that so-called anonymized data can still be linked back
to individuals.
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/paul/netflixs-impending-still-avoidable-multi-million-dollar-privacy-blunder

~ Will the BBC Add DRM to Its HD Service?
Britain's Ofcom extends its "broadcast flag"-ish digital TV
consultation -- after being swamped with comments.
http://www.computerworlduk.com/community/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=2532&blogid=14

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Announcements

* And The Winner is...EFF's 18th Annual Pioneer Awards! October
22nd, 2009

Mark your calendars, and plan to join the Electronic Frontier
Foundation for a fundraiser honoring the 2009 Pioneer Award
winners. The ceremony will take place at the Westin San
Francisco on Thursday, October 22nd at 7 pm.

Given every year since 1991, the Pioneer Awards recognize
leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the
electronic frontier.

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman will keynote the event, and the
celebration includes drinks, fine food, and excellent company.

Winners will be announced later this week. Tickets available
soon!

* Join EFF at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas!

Consumer Electronics Industry Professionals: Visit the EFF booth at
CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow..
Hurry--registration to the show is FREE until October 1, 2009. To
register, go to
http://registration.experient-inc.com/ShowCES101/Default.aspx?pcode=P7&edm=attendeeP7 .
Use priority code P7.

2010 International CES
January 7-10, 2010
Las Vegas, NV
http://www.cesweb.org

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Administrivia

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

Editor:
Eva Galperin, Referral Coordinator
eva@eff.org

Membership & donation queries:
membership@eff.org

To support EFF:
http://links.eff.org/emaildonate

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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