In our 591st issue:
The draconian copyright bill recently introduced in the House could have a huge impact on the work of human rights advocates and whistleblowers, who depend on online tools to protect their anonymity and speak out against injustice. Platforms created to provide anonymity software to human rights activists across the world, as well as next generation WikiLeaks-style whistleblower sites, could be major casualties of this bill—all in the name of increasing Hollywood’s bottom line. Contact Congress today.
Last week, Blue Coat Systems finally stopped denying its products are used in Syria to censor the web. In their statement on the matter, Blue Coat made clear it is only concerned about breaking the law, not about helping in human rights violations. Even worse, many more repressive regimes are using Blue Coat products for censorship and surveillance, including US allies Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
EFF is pleased to announce the winners of its 2011 Pioneer Awards: U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, encryption innovator Ian Goldberg, and Tunisian blogging collective Nawaat. The award ceremony will be held on the evening of November 15 at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. Twitter co-founder Evan Williams will be the keynote speaker.
Board members of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) recently held a public meeting to discuss the draft of their new cell phone shutdown policy. EFF attended the meeting and presented our recommendations, which would ensure that the final policy complied with the First Amendment and mandated transparency. Encouragingly, the members pledged to adopt many of EFF’s proposed changes. However, the final draft of the policy will not be released for two weeks, so the board must still follow through on its promises.
Bad Cases that Make Bad Law: EFF Urges Federal Circuit to Reverse the Trend
EFF has filed a brief urging the Federal Circuit to rehear a case that found an abstract idea patentable when it was tied to the Internet or other computer programming. These types of cases make bad law, and unfortunately it’s innovators and consumers who will feel that law's harshest effects. We hope the Federal Circuit will agree to hear this case again so we can convince them to reverse this dangerous trend.
Appeals Court Heeds EFF's Advice to Revisit Case That Makes Terms of Service Violations A Crime
EFF filed an amicus brief in June urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the troubling decision in United States v. Nosal, which ruled that employees commit a crime anytime they use a work computer for purposes that violate a company's computer use policy. We're happy to report that the Ninth Circuit has agreed to rehear the case the week of December 12.
Free FreeBieber.org! Fight for the Future Faces Bogus Legal Threats
The House's proposed copyright bill might impose criminal penalties for the types of public performances that Justin Bieber used to make his name - posting videos of himself doing cover songs. To raise public awareness about the bill, freebieber.org hilariously posts images of Justin Bieber where he looks like he’s in prison. Apparently, Justin Bieber, or his lawyers, don’t think the campaign is funny, but Freebieber.org makes an obviously transformative use of Bieber’s image and engages in political (aka core First Amendment) speech.
Buy Great Games, Support EFF
The latest Humble Bundle just went live! Support EFF and check out this voxel-based, old-school-gone-new platform shooter.
Cory Doctorow: It’s Time to Stop Talking About Copyright
EFF fellow Cory Doctorow argues that when everything in the world requires an online component, there's no such thing as copyright policy or even Internet policy - it's just policy.
Research Without Walls Promotes Access to Knowledge
Research Without Walls is a new effort to promote the idea that research reviewed by volunteers and funded by the public should be freely available to all.
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TAKE ACTION - Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation
Big media and its allies in Congress are billing the Internet Blacklist Legislation as a new way to prevent online infringement. But innovation and free speech advocates know that this initiative is nothing more than a dangerous Hollywood wish list that will compromise Internet security while doing little or nothing to encourage creative expression. Contact Congress today!
20th Annual Pioneer Awards
Join us for EFF’s 20th Annual Pioneer Awards, to be presented at the Children's Creativity Museum (formerly known as Zeum). EFF's Pioneer Awards recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. Our keynote speaker this year is Evan Williams, an American entrepreneur who co-founded Pyra Labs (creators of Blogger) and Twitter.
Date: November 15, 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA
GridWise Global Forum
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien joins a panel discussing "Smart Grid Data: Insights, Privacy, or Both?"
Date: November 7-10, 2011
Location: Washington, D.C
Governance of Social Media
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien joins a panel at Georgetown University on "First Amendment and Free Speech."
Date: November 11-12, 2011
Location: Washington, D.C.
The Internet and Democracy
EFF's Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, and Evgeny Morozov, author of "The Net Delusion," discuss what democratic movements throughout the world can expect from new technologies.
Date: November 17, 2011
Location: Berkeley, CA
LISA: 25th Large Installation System Administration Conference
This year marks the 25th LISA, an amazing meeting place for system, network, database, and other computer administrators and engineers from all over the globe. EFF's Development Associate, Kellie Brownell, will be in the Exhibition room December 7th and 8th.
Date: December 6-8, 2011
Location: Boston, MA
Securing Our Rights in the Information-Sharing Era
Mark Rumold is speaking on "FOIA Case Studies: Using the Freedom of Information Act to Push for Policy Change;" Jennifer Lynch is speaking on "Technology: Biometrics, Databases, and DNA Collection;" Rainey Reitman is speaking on "Getting Our Message Out...and Right: A Communications Skills Building Workshop."
Date: December 1-2, 2011
Location: San Francisco, CA