Skip to main content
Podcast Episode: Fighting Enshittification

EFFector - Volume 23, Issue 6 - Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities


EFFector - Volume 23, Issue 6 - Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities

EFFector 23.6: Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities

EFFector Vol. 23, No. 6, March 1, 2010

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :

In our 529th issue:

~ Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities
The Department of Defense has released more than 800 heavily-redacted pages of intelligence oversight reports, detailing activities that its Inspector General has reason to believe are unlawful. The reports are the latest in an ongoing document release by more than a half-dozen intelligence agencies in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by EFF in July 2009.

Much of the reported improper activity consisted of intelligence gathering on so-called U.S. Persons, including citizens, permanent residents and U.S.-based organizations. Although Defense agencies are generally prohibited from collecting such information (except as part of foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence activity), it is apparent from the unredacted reports released to EFF that some DoD components have had chronic difficulty complying with that prohibition.

~ Epic Fail in Congress: USA PATRIOT ACT Renewed Without Any New Civil Liberties Protections
The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to renew three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, after the Senate abandoned the PATRIOT reform effort and approved the extension by a voice vote.

Disappointingly, the government's dangerously broad authority to conduct roving wiretaps of unspecified or "John Doe" targets, to secretly wiretap people without any connection to terrorists or spies under the so-called "lone wolf" provision, and to secretly access a wide range of private business records without warrants under PATRIOT Section 215 were all renewed without any new checks and balances to prevent abuse. Despite months of vigorous debate when PATRIOT renewal bills providing for greater oversight and accountability were approved by the Judiciary Committees of both the House and the Senate, Democratic leaders' push for reform fizzled in the face of staunch Republican opposition buoyed by recent hot-button events such as the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day and the shooting at Fort Hood.

~ Victory: YouTube Permits Amy Greenfield Art
EFF and the National Coalition Against Censorship helped internationally recognized artist Amy Greenfield get her work reinstated on YouTube.

Ms. Greenfield received notice from YouTube that her works, which contain some artistic nudity, did not conform with YouTube's "community standards." Under YouTube's policies "films and television shows may contain [full nudity]; however, videos originating from the YouTube user community must abide by the YouTube Community Guidelines and are not permitted to include such content." (emphasis in original). The Community Guidelines purport to allow nudity with some educational, documentary and scientific content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic, but does not recognize the value of nudity in art.

YouTube responded to the letter by doing just as we asked. They state: "We have re-reviewed your videos and have reinstated them with an age gate." This is good news, and YouTube is to be commended for correcting its error.
Still, the fact that it took two nationally known groups to bring this matter to YouTube's attention is troubling. It demonstrates that YouTube still has work to do to create a viable appeals process. In addition, as we noted below, YouTube should still change its policy to expressly allow artistic works that contain nudity, and give individual artists the same freedom it reserves for professional television and film.

~ Practical Advice for Music Bloggers Worried About DMCA Takedown Censorship
If you are a blogger who writes about music regularly and includes links to music in your posts, it's nearly impossible to be sure you'll never receive a DMCA takedown notice sent out by music industry lawyers. With that in mind, here are a few practical things you can do to minimize the disruption that the DMCA process might inflict on your blog.

~ Google Book Search Settlement: Updating the Numbers
While Judge Chin is deliberating in the wake of the recent fairness hearing, EFF updates some of the numbers about the settlement. These numbers were culled from settlement documents (thanks to Professor James Grimmelmann for much of that), Google's presentation at the fairness hearing, and congressional testimony. Included are some of Google's numbers for the total number of books that would fall under the amended settlement agreement and how many and what sorts of rightsholders have come forward as a result of the oft-criticized notice program conducted by Google and the plaintiffs.

Full Deep Link Part 1:

Full Deep Link Part 2:

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :


~ Whistleblower Site Back After Microsoft Withdraws Complaint
Microsoft now says it never intended to shut down with a copyright complaint about the leak of an internal document.

~ Report on Google Books Settlement Hearings
James Grimmelman and his students at NYLS provide notes on the various voices speaking out on Google Books.

~ The Snitch in Your Pocket
Newsweek covers government attempts to track cell phonesÑwithout the benefit of a warrant.

~ Everything You Wanted to Know About ACTA (But Were Afraid To Ask)
Cory Doctorow explains the history and the intention behind the secret international copyright treaty.

~ Utah Considers Warrantless Internet Subpoenas
A bill in the state legislature would give the Attorney General the power to get info from ISPs with just a subpoena.

: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :


* EFF at RSA Conference 2010!

Come to the EFF booth at the 2010 RSA Conference! We'll be in the
Moscone South Hall along the far left wall when you enter. Support your
favorite nonprofit while checking out the latest in the infosec industry.

Monday, March 1, 6-8 PM (Welcome Reception)
Tuesday, March 2, 11 AM-6 PM
Wednesday, March 3, 11 AM-6 PM
Thursday, March 4, 11 AM-3 PM

The Moscone Center
747 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

For more information and to register:

* EFF at BSidesSanFrancisco!

EFF is proud to join BSidesSanFrancisco this year! Stop by our booth
and say hello! Security B-Sides is a community driven unconference built
for and by information security community members. The goal is to
expand the spectrum of conversation beyond the traditional confines of
space and time. It creates opportunities for individuals to both
present and participate in an intimate atmosphere that encourages
collaboration. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and
interaction from participants.

March 2 & 3, 9 AM-5PM

1436 Howard St. (at 10th)
San Francisco, CA 94113

RSVP: Do so by adding your name to the website

* Equipment Donations!

Help keep EFF running! EFF is looking for some equipment donations. If you are able to donate either of the following:

 1) IP-enabled KVM switch
 2) IP-enabled power strip

Please contact Stuart Matthews at
: . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . :


EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Eva Galperin, Referral Coordinator

Membership & donation queries:

To support EFF:

General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries:

Back issues of EFFector are available at: 

Back to top

JavaScript license information