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EFFector - Volume 24, Issue 39 - Stand Up and Fight: A Week of Action Against Censorship

 
 
EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation
 
 

In our 594th issue:

Stand Up and Fight: A Week of Action Against Censorship

EFF and a coalition of organizations, tech companies, innovators, and users are joining forces to fight back against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that would give the government and big content unprecedented authority to censor the web in the name of so-called copyright enforcement. This week, we need to pull out all the stops because the House Judiciary Committee is slated to hold a critical hearing on Thursday.

Fight the Blacklist: A Toolkit for Anti-SOPA Activism

We need your help to stop this legislation before it can undermine Internet security and censor the web. Ready to join EFF and dozens of other groups in the fight? Here are 12 things you can do right now to help us stop the blacklist bills.

An Alternative to SOPA: An Open Process Befitting an Open Internet

As truly frightening legislative proposals known as SOPA and PIPA continue to loom in Congress, we were glad to learn that a bipartisan group of congressional representatives has come together to formulate a real alternative, called the OPEN Act, incorporating a real process for including the Internet users and innovators it may affect. Our initial take is that while the bill is far from perfect, some crucial steps have been taken.

EFF Updates

Blacklist Bills Ripe for Abuse, Part I: "Market-Based" Systems

Proponents of the misguided Internet blacklist legislation — SOPA and PIPA — downplay the idea that the overbroad bills could be used for censorship. But one only needs to look at the way existing copyright laws have been abused to know there’s serious cause for concern. The message is clear: the government and corporations have no problem abusing legal process to threaten or shut down legitimate speech.

Blacklist Bills Ripe for Abuse, Part II: Expansion of Government Powers

We look at how the Justice Department and private companies have already been going after domain names seizures, without due process, and how SOPA and PIPA will make this much easier. Essentially, the government can "disappear" a website entirely — at least for U.S. residents who haven’t taken advantage of the numerous workarounds that will undoubtedly spring up.

The Download.com Debacle: What CNET Needs to Do to Make it Right

The blogosphere has been buzzing about revelations that CNET's Download.com site has been embedding adware into the install process for all kinds of software, including open source software like NMAP. Here's what CNET needs to do to really make it right.

Indian Authorities Try (And Fail) to Make Tech Companies Block Politically Offensive Content

The Indian Telecommunications Minister has met with top officials of Internet companies and social media sites, including the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to try to compel them to filter offensive content. The New York Times reported that Minister Kapil Sibal met with executives to ask the companies to create internal mechanisms that would prevent any comments the state deemed "disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory" towards political and religious figures.

Belgian ISPs vs. Internet Freedom

A Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) has reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. This block comes after a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, in which an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level.

This Week in Internet Censorship

This week EFF looks to Thailand, which declared last week that Facebook users "liking" or sharing content offensive to the Thai throne could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; Vietnam, where a court reduced the jail sentence of blogger and human rights activist Professor Pham Minh Hoang from three years to 17 months; Syria, where Area SpA, an Italian company that had been helping to build an Internet surveillance system in that country, has reportedly pulled out of the project; and more.

RIAA and AAP File Amicus Brief in Righthaven Appeal

The Association of American Publishers and the Recording Industry Association of America have decided to cozy up to a copyright troll, filing an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit appeal of Righthaven v. Hoehn. The AAP and RIAA do not weigh in on Righthaven's sham copyright assignment from Stephens Media, the publisher of the Review-Journal; rather, they devote their brief to civil proceedure, arguing it was error for the court to even consider whether the use was fair.

miniLinks

Techdirt: Feds Falsely Censor Popular Blog For Over A Year, Deny All Due Process, Hide All Details

Mike Masnick: "The US government has effectively admitted that it totally screwed up and falsely seized & censored a non-infringing domain of a popular blog, having falsely claimed that it was taking part in criminal copyright infringement."

Drones: A Deeply Unsettling Future

In an op-ed for Al Jazeera English, EFF Activist Trevor Timm discusses the security questions raised by the the coming proliferation of drone technology both domestically and abroad.

Swiss Government: File-sharing No Big Deal, Some Downloading Still OK

A new report by the Swiss government argues that unauthorized file sharing is not a significant problem, and that existing Swiss law -- which allows for downloading copyrighted content for personal use -- is sufficient to protect copyright holders.

Administrivia

ISSN 1062-9424

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

Call Now to Stop SOPA, the Internet Blacklist Bill

The Stop Online Piracy Act is a dangerous bill that would give the Department of Justice unprecedented power to censor the Internet. There's a hearing this week about the bill, so we have no time to lose. Follow this link to get your Representative's phone number, and use the provided script to urge them to put a stop to this dangerous legislation.

CREDO's 2011 Nonprofits

Right now CREDO Mobile customers and activists are voting on how to distribute an expanding pool of donations among 40 nonprofit organizations including EFF. If you are a current CREDO long distance, mobile or credit card member, or have sent a CREDO Action alert, you are eligible to give EFF a slice of this multimillion-dollar donation pie.

EFF Power Up Campaign

The Power Up campaign has ended, and was a huge success, with more than $140,000 in donations in 140 hours. Thanks to everyone who took the challenge! You still have a chance to contribute: thanks to a generous challenge grant from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, your donation will go twice as far if you give more than last year.

2012 International CES

Save the date! EFF is excited to participate in the 2012 CES, which boasts 200 conference sessions, 500 speakers, and over 2,700 exhibitors showcasing their most innovative and ingenious products and services.
Date: January 10, 2012
Location: Las Vegas, NV

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