In our 615th issue:
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have made over 1.3 million demands for user cell phone data in the last year, "seeking text messages, caller locations and other information." The New York Times called the new findings proof of "an explosion in cellphone surveillance" in the United States -- much of it done without a warrant. It's time for cell phone companies to start producing regular transparency reports about the data they hand to the government. And Congress should see this as a call-to-action to pass robust privacy legislation mandating warrants for cell phone subscriber, cell tower, and GPS data.
Attorney Charles Carreon dropped his bizarre lawsuit against The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman, ending his legal campaign against Inman's humorous and creative public criticism of a frivolous cease and desist letter that Carreon wrote on behalf of his client Funny Junk. EFF and co-counsel Venkat Balasubramani represented Inman in the case, which was a typical SLAPP -- a strategic lawsuit against public participation.
When Google released its new Copyright Transparency Report on takedown requests of its search results, we got new insights into the massive number of complaints the search giant receives. We also saw that there are many requests that don't seem to meet the standard of a "good faith belief" of infringement. EFF compiled a list of the top 10 takedowns that stood out as misuses of the DMCA.
EFF Backs Libraries in Battle Over Book Digitization
EFF has joined several national library associations in urging a federal court to find that the fair use doctrine permitted the creation of the valuable HathiTrust Digital Library (HDL). Although the case was filed long after the more famous Google Books lawsuit, Authors Guild v. HathiTrust presents a similar issue: whether digitization of books without granting full text access to the public is a legal fair use of copyrighted material.
Defend Innovation: The Conversation Continues
EFF's Defend Innovation campaign has elicited thousands of responses with varied viewpoints about software patents; some people think we go too far, while others believe we do not go far enough.
Court in OWS Twitter Case Gets it Wrong Again
Despite Twitter's (and our) best efforts, it has been ordered to disclose to the government all of the information it has on an Occupy Wall Street protester. Twitter had stepped up to challenge the subpoena, and EFF submitted an amicus brief in support of their motion to quash.
EFF and MuckRock Partner Up to See How Your Local Police Are Using Drones
We are partnering with MuckRock, an open government organization, to send out public records requests to every local law enforcement agency with a drone authorization from the FAA. The goal is to learn more about how drones are being used and to stop potential surveillance. In addition, MuckRock is offering its tools and inviting users to help write their own public records requests to police agencies in their town.
A Moment to Celebrate: No Data Retention Mandate in Smith's New Child Protection Bill
A controversial anti-privacy data retention mandate is notably absent from the child protection bill recently introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith. Smith had previously introduced H.R. 1981, which would have mandated that ISPs collect and maintain data on all Internet users not suspected of any crime.
Privacy News Roundup: Tracking, Telcos, and Twitter Transparency
Australian company Telstra admits to tracking mobile phone users; the ineffectiveness of a proposed European Union Data Protection regulation; an international take on Twitter's transparency report.
Open Source Developer Bassel Khartabil Detained in Syria
Bassel Khartabil, a longtime member of the open source software community and Creative Commons volunteer, has been detained in Syria since March 12, 2012, as part of a wave of arrests made in the Mazzeh district of Damascus.
Joint Statement of Civil Society Groups on U.S. TPP Copyright Proposal
EFF joined Knowledge Ecology International, Public Knowledge, and Public Citizen in a statement concerning a new copyright "3-step test" proposed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
The Oatmeal publishes pictures of over $200k raised for charity
After fighting off a bogus lawsuit with EFF's help, The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman published photos of over $200k raised for various charities.
Congressman Darrell Issa signs Declaration of Internet Freedom
Rep. Darrell Issa, who helped lead the campaign against SOPA, recently signed the Declaration of Internet Freedom.
Harvard's Yochai Benkler analyzes the numbers behind SOPA/PIPA activism
Yochai Benkler, Faculty Co-Director of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, speaks in depth about the ripple effects of the net's activism against SOPA/PIPA.
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Speak Out Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors by the United States and eight other countries. Contact Congress and demand transparency now. Outside the United States? Use the coalition site Stop the Trap.
And the D(EFF)CONtest 2012 Winner Is... You!
Thank you to this year's D(EFF)CONtestants and to the individuals who donated in support of digital civil liberties. We topped last year's fundraising total bringing in $8,572. Check out the winners here.
HOPE Number 9
Come meet EFF activists, lawyers, and technologists at Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. HOPE Number Nine will be taking place on July 13, 14, and 15, 2012 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.
July 13-15, 2012
New York, NY
Raise a glass with EFF attorneys, technologists, and activists and learn more about our latest work defending your freedom online. Current donors in the New York area will receive an email invitation with location details, and there will be a limited number of invitations at our HOPE booth.
July 13, 2012
New York City, New York
Amanda Palmer Talks ART
EFF's Tech Director Peter Eckersley will introduce Amanda Palmer at a special event hosted by Noise Pop Culture Club, Amanda Palmer Talks ART. The gallery, at Public Works in San Francisco, event opens at noon, and a Q&A with Amanda Palmer begins at 2:00 PM.
July 14, 2012
San Francisco, CA
Stop by the EFF booth at OSCON to learn about our latest work or join the cause! Join the world’s open source pioneers, builders, and innovators July 16-20 in Portland, Oregon for five intense days.
July 16-20, 2012
EFF attorneys Kurt Opsahl, Marsha Hofmann, and Hanni Fakhoury will be attending Black Hat, which brings together thought leaders from all facets of the infosec world -- from the corporate and government sectors to academic and even underground researchers. The environment is strictly vendor-neutral and focused on the sharing of practical insights and timely, actionable knowledge.
July 21, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
DEFCON is the world's largest annual hacker convention, held each in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our staff members always have some interesting presentations, talks, and panel discussions, and this year will be no exception.
July 26-29, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
EFF Turns 22 Today!
We're proud to be defending your digital rights for 22 years and counting! Thanks for the birthday wishes @froggynotacon and @threatpost.