In our 593rd issue:
In requests filed last week, EFF asked the Copyright Office to protect the "jailbreaking" of smartphones, electronic tablets, and video game consoles – liberating them to run operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer. We take a look back at all the benefits jailbreaking has brought both manufacturers and users of smartphones, and why the right to jailbreak should be expanded to cover tablets and video game consoles like the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360.
Mobile software company Carrier IQ withdrew a bogus legal threat to a security researcher, Trevor Eckhart, who published an analysis of the company's software and training materials on which he based his research. Attempting to suppress his research, Carrier IQ fired off a baseless cease-and-desist demand claiming that Eckhart infringed the company's copyrights and made "false allegations" about their software. As EFF explained in a letter to Carrier IQ, Eckhart's research and commentary is protected by fair use and the First Amendment right to free expression.
One year ago, WikiLeaks started publishing a trove of over 250,000 leaked U.S. State Department cables, which have since formed the basis of reporting for newspapers around the globe. The publication has given the public a window into the inner workings of government at an unprecedented scale, and in the process, has transformed journalism in the digital age. We take a look at Cablegate's impact on journalism surrounding six countries central to U.S. foreign policy, and why it is vital for the media to stand up for WikiLeaks' First Amendment right to publish classified information.
EFF and over a dozen civil society organizations worldwide launched Global Chokepoints, a website to document how copyright enforcement is being used to censor online free expression in countries around the world. This online resource was created to monitor proposals to turn Internet intermediaries into copyright police. These proposals harm Internet users' rights of privacy, due process and freedom of expression, as well as endanger the future of the free and open Internet.
Against the Blacklist Bills: Senators and Representatives Speak Up
Citizens nationwide have spoken out against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP, its counterpart in the Senate – and they're not alone. A large and growing bi-partisan group of legislators have told their colleagues in the Capitol that Internet censorship is a very bad idea.
The PROTECT IP Act Is Very Real and Very Bad -- Call Your Senators to Block It
The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is the evil step-sister of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the much-criticized Internet blacklist bill introduced in the House last month. In one way, though, PIPA is much worse: while SOPA is still in the House committee stage and has been the target of extraordinary public opposition, PIPA is already out of committee and poised for consideration of the full Senate. Click through to find your Senators' numbers and tell them to reject this bill.
With FTC Settlement, Facebook Moves Closer to EFF Bill of Rights for Social Network Users
The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Facebook over allegations that the social network operator deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly expanding that which is shared and made public. We are heartened to see that many of the provisions of the settlement are in alignment with the Bill of Privacy Rights for Social Network Users that EFF proposed in May 2010.
Long Term Privacy with Forward Secrecy
Google has activated a web privacy feature called "forward secrecy", becoming one of the web's first major players to put this important component in place. Forward secrecy means your web requests and the resulting pages are now secure from decryption even if Google's private key is later compromised. We hope other sites follow Google's example.
EFF Joins Advocacy Organizations in Criticizing Secure Communities
EFF joined the Rights Working Group and 65 advocacy organizations in sending letters opposing the Secure Communities Program in preparation for the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement November 30 hearing on the issue. The program sets a dangerous precedent for overcollection and misuse of sensitive personally identifiable information, with ramifications for the privacy and due process rights of all Americans.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Attempts to Ban "Obscene" Words from Texts
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has sent a notice to Pakistani cell phone carriers, demanding that they block 1,600 terms and phrases it deemed "obscene" from being transmitted via text message. It's still not clear how the PTA intends to enforce this order onto telecom companies, nor what it expects them to do to ensure that users do not continue to use supposedly "obscene" language in their texts.
Government and Drug Cartels Both Threaten Freedom of Expression in Mexico
Freedom of expression continues to come under attack in Mexico. In response to a complaint signed by over 23,000 Mexicans demanding that the International Criminal Court investigate alleged human rights violations by the army and the police as part of the state's war against the drug cartels, Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced that his government is exploring "all options to proceed legally against those who have denounced the government in international forums and in the courts."
New York Times Has a Sunday Dialogue on Anonymity and Civility on the Internet
The New York Times has published a letter to the editor from Christopher Wolf, who leads the Internet Task Force of the Anti-Defamation League, in which he suggested, "It is time to consider Facebook's real-name policy as an Internet norm because online identification demonstrably leads to accountability and promotes civility." We respond, citing the importance of anonymity in enabling free expression.
Welcome to the Newest Member of the EFF Team, Ellie Young
EFF is proud to announce the newest member of our growing staff, Ellie Young. Ellie comes to EFF in the role of Special Assistant to Executive Director Shari Steele, and she will work on financial planning as well as on development and operational activities at EFF.
Playing With Numbers: Why SOPA Still Won't Solve Internet Piracy
Public Knowledge runs the numbers on the dramatic "piracy" figures cited by proponents of blacklist legislation.
EU Court of Justice: Censorship in Name of Copyright Violates Fundamental Rights
The European Court of Justice ruled that forcing Internet service providers to monitor and censor their users' communications violated EU law, and in particular the right to freedom of communication.
Legacy Media Bankrolling Campaigns of SOPA Cosponsors
Traditional big media firms have contributed more than $5 million to the sponsors of the Stop Online Piracy Act, with California Democratic Reps. Howard Berman and Adam Schiff as the top recipients.
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