In our 574th issue:
The government claims it needs Congress to expand surveillance law and mandate back doors in communications services like Skype, Google Talk, or Facebook. However, documents brought to light by an EFF Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit have failed to provide any specific details on any current surveillance problems. The records are heavily redacted and many are still being withheld, but the information we can glean so far fails to make the case for expansion of the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).
Google has announced it will join Amazon in offering consumers a cloud-based music locker service, allowing users to upload their own music files and then access those files from either the Internet or devices equipped to run those companies' programs. But do music locker services violate current copyright laws? And will they keep fans happy while getting artists paid for their work?
A Syrian Man-In-The-Middle Attack Against Facebook
An ongoing man-in-the-middle attack on the HTTPS version of Facebook in Syria puts users there at risk. The attack is not extremely sophisticated: the certificate is invalid in user's browsers, and raises a security warning. Unfortunately, because users see these warnings other times for reasons not related to an actual man-in-the-middle attack, they have often learned to click through them reflexively. In this instance, doing so would allow the attackers access to and control of their Facebook account.
Criminal Justice Blog Moves to Dismiss Sham Copyright Troll Lawsuit
The publisher of a criminal justice blog that provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute murder cases has asked a judge to dismiss the sham infringement lawsuit filed against him by copyright troll Righthaven LLC. Recently unsealed documents show that Righthaven is not the true owner of the copyright of the news article that is the basis for the lawsuit. EFF and the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are representing the defendant in this case.
New FBI Documents Provide Details on Government’s Surveillance Spyware
EFF recently received documents from the FBI that reveal details about the depth of the agency's electronic surveillance capabilities. The documents we received were sent to us in response to a FOIA request we filed back in 2007 after Wired reported on evidence that the FBI was able to use "secret spyware" to track the source of e-mailed bomb threats against a Washington state high school.
FBI Chastised by Court for Lying About Existence of Surveillance Records
An order from a district court in California has revealed the FBI lied about the existence of records requested under FOIA, taking the position that it's allowed to withhold information from the court whenever it thinks this is in the interest of national security. This case may prove relevant in EFF's ongoing FOIA litigation against the FBI.
Reader Privacy Bill Passes California Senate
California took another big step towards updating reader privacy: the State Senate unanimously passed SB 602, the Reader Privacy Act, which would bring book privacy law into the digital age. The bill prevents the disclosure of information about readers from booksellers without a warrant in a criminal case or a court order in a civil case, and also requires booksellers to report the number and type of requests that they receive so that we can track government demands for reader information.
EFF to Council of Europe: Live Up to Your Internet Rights Commitments
The Council of Europe is one of the most influential inter-governmental organizations shaping Internet policy—its actions can have influence well beyond Europe's borders. But the Council of Europe's track record on Internet privacy and human rights is mixed. One big concern is its adoption of a draconian Cybercrime Treaty, giving overbroad surveillance powers to law enforcement.
This Week in Internet Censorship
This past week has been a difficult one for Internet censorship in a number of countries, including news of filtering in Tunisia and a potential Facebook ban in Pakistan. And then there's China, where a new central agency has been established to oversee the Internet—a move that some experts have said would allow for tighter regulations.
EFF Welcomes New International Team Member Jillian York
EFF is thrilled to announce the newest member of our international team, Jillian York. Jillian is the Director for International Freedom of Expression—an always-critical issue that has come into sharp relief over the last few months with the events in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, and beyond.
iFixit and Wired Take Apart an FBI Tracking Device
The fascinating teardown of a car-mounted FBI tracking device reveals a GPS unit, an RF transmitter, D-cell batteries, and more.
Revelations About the Growth of Government Surveillance in 2010
The government issued almost two times as many National Security Letters in 2010 as it did in 2009. And that's only the beginning.
"10 Tools of Online Oppressors" from the Committee to Protect Journalists
Former EFF staffer Danny O'Brien catalogs the various methods of online oppression used against journalists, bloggers, and citizens.
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When the Government Comes Knocking, Who Has Your Back?
When you use the Internet, you entrust your online conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos, and more to companies like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. But what happens when the government asks these companies to hand over your private information? Sign our petition to urge leading Internet companies to stand with users!
Speakeasy: Washington DC
Current members are invited to meet Kevin Bankston in DC today, Thursday, May 12! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
EFF's DEF CON 19 Getaway Contest!
EFF is pleased to announce our Second Annual DEF CON Getaway Contest! Enter to win DC19 human badges, a suite at the Las Vegas Rio Hotel and Casino, exclusive Ninja Networks Party badges, passes to the Summit Party, and more. Just register and encourage your friends to contribute to EFF through your personalized referral link.
Kingpin Shirts Available in the EFF Shop
For a limited time, get metallic Kingpin and Sinewave shirts courtesy of renowned hardware hacker Joe "Kingpin" Grand, and featured on the Discovery series Prototype This!
Geek Gathering with Tunisian Activist Sami ben Gharbia
Join EFF on Friday May 20th for a very special Geek Reading with Sami ben Gharbia, a Tunisian anti-censorship activist and blogger based in the Netherlands. You'll also get a sneak peak at EFF's future headquarters! We ask for a $25 contribution or $20 if you are an EFF member.
Date: May 20th, 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
EFF at Maker Faire!
It's time for everybody's favorite DIY event, Maker Faire! It's for creative, resourceful people of all ages and backgrounds who like to tinker and love to make things. Swing by the EFF table from May 21-22 at the San Mateo County Event Center.
Date: May 21-22, 2011
Location: Bay Area
SOURCE Seattle 2011
EFF is a proud partner of SOURCE Security Conferences this year in Seattle. As an EFF supporter, you can receive a 10% discount on registration. Just use the code "SRCEFF11" on the form. If you go, make sure to catch EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann speaking on "The Latest Developments in Computer Crime Law."
Date: June 15-16, 2011
Location: Seattle, WA
EFF's 4th Annual Cyberlaw Pub Trivia Night
Each summer, EFF invites attorneys and law students from the Bay Area's technology law community to compete in pub-quiz-style trivia over drinks and a light dinner. Questions are carefully constructed by EFF's staff of technology law experts, focusing on the obscure, fascinating, and trivial aspects of privacy, free speech, and intellectual property law. Thank you to Winston Strawn and Howard Rice for helping support the event. If you are a lawyer and interested in joining, please email email@example.com for details.
Date: June 28, 2011
Location: San Francisco