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EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 17 - The Patent System Is Broken -- And We Need Your Help

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 612th issue:

The Patent System Is Broken -- And We Need Your Help

Patents are supposed to foster innovation, but modern software patents have been turned against inventors. We need your help to defend innovation from a broken patent system. Sign on to EFF's seven proposals for fixing the patent system, and we'll take these signatures with us when we go to Washington, D.C., to tell legislators about our concerns. Let's create a system that defends innovation, instead of hindering it.

Want to Abolish Software Patents Completely? Tell Us.

Our campaign to Defend Innovation isn't just about our proposals -- we want to hear, and amplify, the views of the technical community. Many engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs have suggested that reform is not enough and that software should not be patentable, period. We want to record these views.

EFF Updates

Internet Archive Sues to Stop New Washington State Law

The Internet Archive has filed a federal challenge to a new Washington State law that intends to make online service providers criminally liable for providing access to third parties' offensive materials. EFF is representing the Internet Archive in order to block the enforcement of SB 6251, a law aimed at combatting advertisements for underage sex workers but with vague and overbroad language that is squarely in conflict with federal law.

How to Turn on Do Not Track in Your Browser

In recent years, online tracking companies have begun to monitor our clicks, searches and reading habits as we move around the Internet. If you are concerned about pervasive online web tracking by behavioral advertisers, then you may want to enable Do Not Track on your web browser. Our tutorial walks you through the enabling Do Not Track in the four most popular browsers: Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and Chrome.

Biometric National IDs and Passports: A False Sense of Security

People tend to think that digital copies of our biological features, stored in a government-run database, are problems of a dystopian future. But governments around the world are already using such technologies. Several countries are collecting massive amounts of biometric data for their national identity and passport schemes -- a development that raises significant civil liberties and privacy concerns.

UK Mass Surveillance Bill: The Return of a Bad Idea

The British government has unveiled a bill that has a familiar ring to it. The Communications Data Bill would require all Internet Service Providers and mobile phone network providers in Britain to collect and store information on everyone's Internet and phone activity. Essentially, the bill seeks to publicly require in the UK what EFF and many others have long maintained is happening in the US in secret -- and what we have been trying to bring to public and judicial review since 2005.

"Hacking" Strikes Fear in the Heart of Texas Bureau of Prisons

Earlier this month, an inmate in Texas was denied access to computers and an electronic messaging system because he ordered a copy of the information security handbook Hacking Exposed. Does simply ordering a copy of an information security handbook render an individual a threat to the safe, secure, and orderly operation of a federal prison? Almost certainly not.

New Trojan Spread Over Skype as Cat-and-Mouse Game Between Syrian Activists Government Hackers Continues

Since March of this year, EFF has reported extensively on the ongoing campaign to use social engineering to install surveillance software that spies on Syrian activists. Syrian opposition activists have been targeted using several Trojans, including one disguised as a Skype encryption tool, which covertly install spying software onto the infected computer, as well as a multitude of phishing attacks which steal YouTube and Facebook login credentials. The latest attack covertly installs a new remote access tool, Blackshades Remote Controller, whose capabilities include keystroke logging and remote screenshots.

miniLinks

While battle against ACTA rages, next clash against TPP looms on the horizon

The parallels between ACTA and TPP can't be ignored. But, as CitizenVox explains, TPP is even worse.

PGP founder, Navy SEALs uncloak encrypted comms biz

Phil Zimmermann and some of the original PGP team have joined up with former US Navy SEALs to build an encrypted communications platform. Silent Circle will launch later this year, and $20 a month will buy encrypted email, text messages, phone calls, and videoconferencing.

Wall Street Journal: Real-time auctions drive rise in online tracking

The prevalence of online tracking on the top 50 websites has risen exponentially since 2010, driven in part by the rise of online advertising auctions, according to a new study by San Francisco-based data protection company Krux Digital Inc.

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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Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission.

Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will.

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Announcements

International Intellectual Property Expert Joins EFF

Carolina Rossini has joined the EFF as its International Intellectual Property Director, bringing more than ten years of experience in global IP law and policy to EFF's international team. Rossini joins an expanded international team that brings new depth to EFF's work on global digital rights issues.

Pioneer Award Nominations Are Now Open

Nominations are now open for EFF's 21st Annual Pioneer Awards, to be presented this fall in San Francisco. EFF established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology.

American Library Association Annual Conference 2012

Could recent cybersecurity bills erode our civil liberties as well as our right to know what our government is doing? Why are these bills of concern for libraries and our patrons? Join Dr. Patrice McDermott, Director of Open the Government, and Rainey Reitman, Activism Director at EFF, in a morning session on CISPA and other cybersecurity bills.
June 23, 2012
Anaheim, CA

Pitney Bowes Privacy and Security Conference

EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will join a number of other speakers at the 8th Annual Pitney Bowes Privacy and Security Conference. He'll be discussing "The Future of Location Privacy After U.S. v. Jones."
June 26, 2012
Stamford, CT

HOPE Number 9

For three full days and nights, HOPE hosts hackerspace villages, film festivals, art installations, vintage computers, electronic workshops, the country's biggest supply of Club-Mate, and of course the provocative talks that it has become well-known for offering. This year, many EFF staffers will be attending and speaking.
July 14-16
New York, NY

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