In our 581st issue:
Pseudonymous speech has played a critical role throughout history — from the literary efforts of George Eliot and Mark Twain to the explicitly political advocacy of Publius in the Federalist Papers. Now a new debate around pseudonymity on online platforms has arisen as a result of the identification policy of Google+, which requires users to identify by "the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you". While companies like Google and Facebook are within their rights to create policies as they see fit for their services, a shift toward crafting policies requiring "real" names will have a chilling effect on online free expression.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 19 to 10 to recommend passage of a mandatory data retention bill that would require your Internet service providers to retain 12 months' worth of personal information that could be used to identify what web sites you visit and what content you post online. In a letter to the Committee, EFF and 29 other civil liberties and consumer privacy groups condemned the bill as a "direct assault on the privacy of Internet users." Unfortunately, this invasive bill could be brought to a floor vote as early as this week. Please help us defeat this legislation by contacting your Representative today.
The forced collection of DNA samples from arrestees without search warrants violates their Fourth Amendment right to privacy, EFF told a federal appeals court in an amicus brief. A federal law mandates DNA collection as a condition for bail for people who have been arrested for felonies. EFF argued that this collection and storage is unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment prohibition on baseless search and seizure of private information.
The Humble Indie Bundle: Epic Win for Creators, Customers, and Digital Civil Liberties
The ground-breaking Humble Indie Bundle asks customers to pay whatever price they want for five DRM-free games, and then gives customers the option of distributing their donation among the developers, promoters, EFF, and the Child's Play charity. Since first naming EFF as a non-profit beneficiary in 2010, the smart and savvy folks at Humble Bundle have rallied freedom-minded gamers throughout the world to donate over half a million dollars for the defense of digital civil liberties. Last year, donations from Humble Indie Bundles made up 14% of EFF's total revenue—and they just launched the newest bundle of five cross-platform games.
The Politics of Surveillance: The Erosion of Privacy in Latin America
While most Latin American countries have democratically-elected governments, many still fail to respect human rights, including the right to privacy. Although privacy violations vary from country to country, and the full extent of government surveillance in the region remains largely unknown, newly disclosed data gathering programs hint at the architecture of surveillance lying beneath the surface of ostensibly democratic societies.
Vague Anti-Stalking Law Threatens Protected Speech Online
EFF filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal court to block the government's use of the federal anti-stalking law to prosecute a man for posting criticism of a public figure to Twitter.
Say hello to EFF's second, limited-edition, DEF CON membership t-shirt! Only 340 premium-level donors who attend this year's DEF CON 19 in Las Vegas will be able to get these new "ENCRYPTION SAVES" shirts, specially designed by Joe Alterio of the creative charity Robots & Monsters.
Ad Companies Claim that Online Tracking is Anonymous. It's Not.
Ad networks and tracking companies regularly argue that online tracking is anonymous. But researchers at Stanford show that clickstreams — browsing histories that companies collect — are not anonymous at all; rather, they are pseudonymous. This term is reflective of the fact that at any point after the data has been collected, the tracking company might try to attach an identity to the pseudonym (unique ID) that your data is labeled with.
TV Networks Grow Tired of Pretty Face, Decide to Cut Off Nose
Public Knowledge discusses recent restrictions in content available on Hulu, showing that TV studios aren't learning much from the music industry's mistakes.
Pakistan Escalates Internet Censorship
EFF's Jillian York argues that censorship of political content has no place in Pakistan's democracy, which guarantees freedom of expression.
Senate Committee Considering Reauthorization of Spying Bill
Though the FISA Amendments Act spying bill is set to expire in 2012, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence may attempt to ram through an early reauthorization in short order as a part of a broader intelligence funding bill.
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Black Hat Technical Security Conference: USA 2011
Meet attorneys from EFF at Black Hat! EFF supporters can enter code E9Fs7fa to receive a 20% discount off Black Hat USA 2011 briefings.
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date: July 30 - August 4, 20111
EFF at DEFCON 19
DEFCON is the world's largest annual hacker convention, held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. EFF will be there again this year! Our staff members always have interesting presentations, talks, and panel discussions, and this year will be no exception!
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Date: August 4-7, 2011
20th USENIX Security Symposium
Join EFF at the 20th USENIX Security Symposium, which brings together researchers, practitioners, system administrators, system programmers, and others interested in the latest advances in the security of computer systems and networks.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: August 8-12, 2011
Chaos Communication Camp 2011
Join EFF Senior Staff Technologist Seth Schoen at this year's Chaos Communication Camp. The camp is an international hacker's camp that takes place every four years. Speeches are held in large tents and are conducted in both English and German.
Location: Finowfurt, Germany
Date: August 10-14, 2011
EFF at Bioneers: "The New Media Revolution and Political Expression"
Join the EFF's Director for International Freedom of Expression, along with journalist Nora Barrows-Friedman for a panel discussion (moderated by Mother Jones' Steve Katz) on the use of new media to fight political repression.
Location: San Rafael, CA
Date: October 14, 2011