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EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 21 - EFF challenges FBI National Security Letters

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In our 616th issue:

EFF Challenges National Security Letter Statute in Landmark Lawsuit

Since the first national security letter statute was passed in 1986, the FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of such letters seeking private telecommunications and financial records of Americans without any prior approval from courts. EFF is releasing an FBI-redacted briefing from a major new ongoing case in which it is challenging one of the NSL statutes on behalf of a telecommunications company that received an NSL in 2011.

When Did Free Speech Get So Expensive?

The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman was subject to a frivolous lawsuit designed to shut him up. Known as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), litigation like this -- and the big legal fees that can come with it -- threatens free speech across the country. Urge Congress today to pass a federal anti-SLAPP statute to protect bloggers, journalists, creators, and more.

FAA Releases Thousands of Pages of Drone Records

EFF recently received information about drone flights in the United States, including extensive details about the specific drone models some entities are flying, where they fly, how frequently they fly, and how long they stay in the air. The 125 drone certificates and accompanying documents the FAA released total thousands of pages and were released in response to EFF's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, which has already uncovered the list of all entities licensed to fly domestic drones.

EFF Updates

EFF Urges Congress to Protect Privacy in Face Recognition

On Wednesday, EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch urged Congress to limit the collection of biometrics and protect privacy with respect to the use of face recognition technology. Jennifer's testimony in a Senate hearing on "What Facial Recognition Technology Means for Privacy and Civil Liberties" outlined the privacy and security concerns that are inherent to automatic face recognition. The use of face recognition technology raises important First and Fourth Amendment concerns, though the scope of Constitutional protections in this area is unclear.

Fifth Circuit Upholds Sanctions Award Against Copyright Troll Attorney

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court order imposing sanctions on Evan Stone, attorney for adult film producer Mick Haig Productions. Stone improperly issued subpoenas without leave of court to ISPs seeking the identities of anonymous subscribers in a mass end-user copyright infringement case.

Singing Obama Ad Takedown Means More Trouble for Political Speech Online

An official Romney campaign ad that showed President Obama singing a line from the Al Green song "Let's Stay Together" has been hit with a takedown from BMG Rights Management -- the group that controls the publishing rights of the original song -- and pulled from YouTube. This kind of takedown abuse is all too common, and we're likely to see it again this campaign season.

House Quietly Reintroduces a Piece of SOPA

Even after millions rallied against the passage of SOPA/PIPA, the House is still quietly trying to pass a related bill that would give the entertainment industry more permanent, government-funded spokespeople. Rep. Lamar Smith's IP Attache Act would create an Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, as well as broaden the use of IP attaches in particular U.S. embassies.

Victory for Open WiFi: Judge Rejects Copyright Troll's Bogus "Negligence" Theory

Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. district court in Manhattan ruled that the owner of an Internet connection cannot be found liable for "negligence" simply because another person uses his wifi connection to commit copyright infringement -- even if he knows about it. After this decision, copyright trolls should find it harder to coerce settlement payments from innocent people for the commonplace act of sharing an Internet connection.

EFF to FCC: Consumers Face Uphill Battle in Fight for Mobile Device Privacy

EFF filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission about the privacy and data security practices of mobile wireless service providers. Mobile privacy is an issue we've been increasingly concerned about in the wake of the Carrier IQ privacy scandal, which was part of the inspiration for our Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights.

Australian Government Moves to Expand Surveillance Powers

Australia is the latest democratic nation to introduce new national security measures that would vastly expand governmental surveillance powers, following an alarming legislative pattern that unfolded in the United Kingdom and Canada in recent months.

Spy Games

With the opening ceremony of the London Olympics 2012 drawing near, the colossal security apparatus surrounding the Summer Games has come into focus.

Russian Duma Approves Internet Blacklist Bill

The Russian Duma overwhelmingly approved a controversial Internet regulation bill, which would create a national blacklist and legal partnership with a content-monitoring bureau.

ACTA's Defeat in Europe and What Lies Ahead

There's a majority consensus that ACTA now lies dead in Europe. There are however, a few murmurs of concern ahead.

Is the TPP the Best Way to Build a 21st Century Society?

The TPP agreement has been framed by the USTR as a 21st century agreement, but we're still not convinced -- especially in an environment where the public, Congress, and civil rights organizations are denied access to the treaty's official text, while corporate representatives have full access to it.

Raising Global Awareness of the Plight of Syrian Bloggers

The number of citizen journalists killed or arrested in Syria rises daily. While some have received ample international attention for their plight, many others have gone largely ignored by the media.

New Malware Targeting Syrian Activists Uses Blackshades Commercial Trojan

Pro-Syrian government hackers appear to have started using a surveillance tool, called Blackshades Remote Controller, whose capabilities include keystroke logging and remote screenshots.

Court Won't Shut Down Aereo Before Trial -- Round 2 Begins for Internet Startup

Aereo, a startup that lets viewers watch broadcast TV over the Internet from tiny, personal antennas, can stay up and running -- at least for now. Several television networks are trying to sue it out of existence, but lost a motion asking a federal court to shut it down until a legal decision is reached.

miniLinks

How effective are free speech campaigns?

EFF's Jillian York asks prominent players in the international activism space about the efficacy of free speech campaigns.

Brief of amici curiae supporting EPIC's petition for writ of mandamus (EPIC v. DHS)

EFF has joined this brief from the Competetive Enterprise Institute supporting EPIC in their call for TSA to follow the law and conduct a court-ordered notice-and-comment period for their new scanners.

Professional wrestler boycotts WWE for supporting SOPA/CISPA

Wrestler Sean Morley, known as Val Venis, tweeted that he would not appear on WWE RAW if they continued supporting SOPA/CISPA.

Administrivia

ISSN 1062-9424

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Editor: Adi Kamdar, 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.

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Announcements

Breaking: Senate to Consider Cybersecurity Next Week

The Senate is gearing up to consider cybersecurity legislation next week. This is your last chance to take action now. Tell Congress that civil liberties should never be sacrificed for the sake of "cybersecurity."

Google+ Hangout with EFF: Come Talk about Software Patents

EFF's Parker Higgins will moderate a discussion with law professor Jason Schultz and investor Brad Feld on the broken software patent system and our Defend Innovation campaign. The one-hour discussion will be streamed live on our Google Plus account, though you do not need an account to watch.
July 20, 2012
1:00pm on Google+

OSCON

Stop by the EFF booth at OSCON to learn about our latest work or join the cause! The world's open source pioneers, builders, and innovators will be in Portland, Oregon for five intense days.
July 16-20, 2012
Portland, OR

Black Hat

EFF attorneys Kurt Opsahl, Marcia 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

DEFCON is the world's largest annual hacker convention, held each year 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

theSummit: EFF Fundraiser at DEFCON

theSummit, now in its eighth year, is a fundraiser for EFF on the Thursday night between Black Hat and DEFCON. Here is your chance to get direct access to some of the industry leaders -- discuss a talk, get advice about a project, or just buy them a beer to say thanks for all the hacks. theSummit is held at the Miranda Suite at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
July 26, 2012
8:30 pm to 2:30 am
Las Vegas, NV

Our Vanishing Civil Liberties -- Why it Matters, Now!

EFF's Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien will speak on a panel about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and threats to civil liberties. The panel is organized by the San Francisco 99% Coalition.
July 31, 2012
Oakland, CA

Cory Doctorow on "The Coming Century of War Against Your Computer"

Long Now and the Electronic Frontier Foundation bring Cory Doctorow to San Francisco for a glimpse into the future of computing and the increasing fight for control over our freedom both online and offline. The talk is at the Novellus Theater in San Francisco at 7:30 pm.
July 31, 2012
San Francisco, CA

EFF Joins International Freedom Expression Exchange

EFF is proud to announce that we've joined the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX) as a 2012 interim member. IFEX is a network of more than 90 independent organizations in more than 50 countries worldwide that works to expose free expression violations around the world.

From the Community

Referencing the Internet Defense League's launch party, community member Liberty Smith comments on our Google Plus page: "This couldn't be more important in the world of information, EFF couldn't be more of a leader in keeping information free, and there could be little cooler than having a Bat Signal for (well, anything, but especially) this work."

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