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EFFector - Volume 24, Issue 18 - EFF Demands Answers About Secret Surveillance Law Memo


EFFector - Volume 24, Issue 18 - EFF Demands Answers About Secret Surveillance Law Memo

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 575th issue:

EFF Demands Answers About Secret Surveillance Law Memo

EFF has filed a Freedom of Information Act suit against the Department of Justice (DOJ), demanding the release of a secret legal memo used to justify FBI access to Americans' telephone records without any legal process or oversight. This suit stems from a report released last year by the DOJ's own Inspector General that revealed how the FBI had come up with a new legal argument to justify secret, unchecked access to private telephone records. According to the report, the DOJ's Office of the Legal Counsel had issued a legal opinion agreeing with the FBI's theory. EFF's lawsuit is seeking that legal opinion, which is a crucial piece of the puzzle in understanding the government's efforts to expand and overreach their surveillance powers.

EFF to Police: Get a Warrant Before Searching Cell Phones

EFF is standing up to support a powerful new piece of legislation in California - a bill that requires the police to obtain a warrant before searching a recent arrestee’s cell phone. SB 914 is a response to a January decision of the California Supreme Court in People v. Diaz. In that case, the court authorized police officers to search any person’s cell phone after they had been arrested. This gives officers carte blanche to rummage through all the private data and information people keep on their cell phones – emails, text messages, call history, websites they’ve visited, and their calendars, to name just a few examples –regardless of whether the police believed there was evidence of the crime on the cell phone and without any judicial oversight. SB 914 is a proactive attempt to protect our Fourth Amendment rights. If you're in California, we urge you to contact your state Senators and ask for their support for this bill.

How Would the Kerry-McCain "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights" Affect State Security and Privacy Laws?

The Kerry-McCain "Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights," recently introduced in Congress, is an attempt to create a general federal framework to protect consumer privacy both online and offline. Currently, federal privacy law is sector-specific, often applying only to certain types of information or certain categories of "covered entities," and thus leaving gaps in privacy protection. A good comprehensive federal privacy law could fill those gaps. Unfortunately, EFF's analysis of the Kerry-McCain bill indicates it could strip away many of the hard-won consumer privacy protections that states have enacted - reducing the consumer protections currently available in many places.

EFF Updates

EFF Applauds New Electronic Privacy Bill That Tells the Government: Come Back With a Warrant!

Senator Patrick Leahy introduced much-needed legislation to update the Electronic Communication Privacy Act of 1986, a critically important but woefully outdated federal privacy law. This ECPA Amendments Act of 2011 (S. 1011) would implement several of the reform principles advocated by EFF as part of the Digital Due Process coalition. The upshot? If the government wants to track your cell phone or seize your email or read your private IMs or social network messages, the bill would require that it first go to court and get a search warrant based on probable cause.

Apple Should Stand Up and Defend its Developers

Patent troll Lodsys is threatening independent Apple application developers with enormous fees. These threats are particularly ludicrous because the developers are only using the programs that Apple has licensed and requires them to use. Unless Apple steps in to defend its developers against these bogus lawsuits, developers might suffer - and users might see fewer innovative apps for Apple products.

How to Read Freedom House's Censorship Circumvention Report

Freedom House, an NGO working for freedom of expression worldwide, released a report last month examining the results of surveys on the use of circumvention software to bypass Internet censorship in Azerbaijan, Burma, China, and Iran. The report's blend of survey results and lightweight lab testing resulted in interesting questions and unexpected limitations, which EFF seeks to highlight for the safety and consideration of users.

Dream Job Alert! EFF Seeks Technology Generalist

EFF is seeking a full-time Technology Generalist to start immediately. This person will work with the other members of the EFF tech team to manage web content on, perform server systems administration and desktop support, and generally to support the EFF tech, legal, and activist teams in their mission to defend civil liberties online.

Although this is a junior position, there is room to grow your skills, responsibilities, and compensation at EFF.
Required Skills:

  • Courteous and professional desk-side manner
  • Mac OS X troubleshooting and systems administration
  • Linux/Unix shell scripting and command line
  • Strong written and verbal communication

Nice To Have Skills:
  • A general-purpose programming language (Python, Ruby, PHP, et c.)
  • Web technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)
  • Portfolio of open source project contributions
  • Project management experience
  • Experience with the Drupal CMS

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Please send materials only in open formats like plain text and HTML. No phone calls, please.


Demand Progress Rallies Against Protect-IP Act

Check out the Demand Progress petition against the new Protect-IP Act, an Internet censorship bill that would give the Department of Justice authority to force search engines, browsers, and service providers to block users' access to websites.

Charges Against the NSA's Thomas Drake

AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, EFF's witness in our case against the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program, is quoted in a New Yorker article describing whistleblower witch-hunts.

The Always-Expanding Bipartisan Surveillance State's Glenn Greenwald discusses EFF's latest case against the Department of Justice as well as the the backroom deal resulting in a vote for a four-year extension of the PATRIOT Act with no reform.


ISSN 1062-9424

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist

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Mesh Conference 2011

EFF's new Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, participates on the Society panel this year's Mesh Conference in Tonornto. She will discuss digital activism and its particular use in the Middle East and Africa as a tool against tyranny.
Location: Toronto, CA
Date: May 25-26, 2011

Personal Democracy Forum

Jillian York, EFF's Director for International Freedom of Expression, will speak on the intersection of access and free expression. Location: New York, NY Date: June 6-7, 2011

Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee Convention

EFF's Director for International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York will speak on the Arab Spring, with particular focus on free expression at this year's ADC National Convention.
Location: Washington, DC
Date: June 10-12, 2011

Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2011

EFF's Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York, Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien and Activism Director Rainey Reitman will be speaking on panels at Computers Freedom and Privacy 2011.
Location: Washington, DC
Date: June 14-16, 2011

SOURCE Seattle 2011 - Hear EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann

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. (As of time of posting, the schedule has not been announced.) EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann is speaking on "The Latest Developments in Computer Crime Law" at Source Seattle this year.
Location: Seattle, WA
Date: June 15-16, 2011

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