In our 621st issue:
In an unusual move, YouTube announced that it was blocking access in some countries to a video showing clips from "The Innocence of Muslims" after the anti-Islamic film sparked violent protests in the area. By the company's own admission, the video falls within its Terms of Service. YouTube appears to have made the decision to self-censor on their own.
It is easy to understand why YouTube might feel compelled to act in response to the rioting over this video, but once YouTube has made the decision to proactively censor its content, they start down a slippery slope that ends in YouTube Knows Best moral policing of every video on their site.
Earlier this month, negotiators from the United States and eight other countries held backroom meetings about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement at a golf resort outside Washington, D.C. Leaked language from the agreement's intellectual property chapter has been worrisome, and the public has no idea what is in the latest official draft. There has been zero transparency in a process that is being pushed to the finish.
What's worse is that the people who do have access to TPP's official language are the same content industry executives that tried pushing through harmful laws like SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA.
Join us in demanding an end to these backroom negotiations.
ECPA Reform May Require Warrants for Email, But Hurts Video Privacy
Senator Leahy proposed detailed language to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the primary law governing privacy rights for stored email. ECPA is woefully outdated -- it was passed in 1986 before cloud computing and archived email even existed -- so this is great news. Unfortunately, the proposed language would also weaken privacy-protective measures in the Video Privacy and Protection Act.
New York Judge Tries to Silence Twitter in Its Ongoing Battle to Protect User Privacy
Rather than face contempt charges, Twitter handed over data requested by the government about an Occupy Wall Street protester, under seal, to the New York Criminal Court. Twitter was faced with a terrible choice between giving ground on its fight for user privacy, or risk a potentially expensive contempt of court citation.
TPP Trade Delegates Shut Out Internet Users' Concerns
The secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) negotiations were held earlier this month in a golf resort outside D.C. TPP is yet another example of how the U.S. entertainment industries are pressuring lawmakers to push forward overprotective intellectual property laws that will also put the Internet and its users at risk. EFF attended the events to speak to delegates and demand transparency; however, the U.S. Trade Representative would have none of it.
Fight over FISA Amendments Act Moves to the Senate after House Passes Warrantless Spying Bill
The House of Representatives voted to renew the dangerous FISA Amendment Act -- which hands the NSA broad, warrantless surveillance powers over Americans' international communications -- for another five years. Sadly, the House refused to add any new oversight powers or privacy protections, despite ample evidence the NSA has used it to unconstitutionally spy on Americans.
Court Upholds $9,250 Per Song Penalty in Filesharing Case
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld the original jury verdict against Jammie Thomas-Rasset: a $222,000 penalty for sharing 24 songs on a peer-to-peer network. That's $9,250 per song, for songs that sell for about a dollar at retail.
French Anti-Piracy Law Claims First Victim, Convicted of Failing to Secure His Internet Connection
The French anti-piracy law, Hadopi, has claimed its first victim. The individual was convicted of allowing his WiFi connection to be used to download songs without obtaining prior permission from the copyright owners. While we were heartened that the individual's Internet connection was not suspended, EFF condemns the ongoing application of Hadopi, which threatens our rights to access and publish content freely online. This ruling serves as further evidence that such three-strikes laws must be repealed.
New Research on "Junk" DNA Revives Privacy Questions
In a case challenging California's warrentless DNA collection program, EFF asked the court to consider new research that confirms that over 80% of our DNA that was once thought to have no function actually plays a critical role in controlling how our cells, tissues, and organs behave.
Interview with OpenMedia's Steve Anderson About Stop the Trap Campaign
EFF interviewed the Executive Director of OpenMedia, Steve Anderson, to discuss their international Stop The Trap coalition campaign.
Professor Michael Geist on TPP and Its Effects on Canadian Internet Users
EFF interviewed Professor Michael Geist to capture some of the main Canadian concerns specifically related to some of the most controversial intellectual property issues present in TPP.
UK Snoopers' Charter Draws Sharp Critique from Global Advocates
In a submission to the U.K. Parliament's Communications Data Bill Joint Scrutiny Committee, the Global Network Initiative outlined serious concerns with the proposed Snoopers' Charter, which would expand governmental powers to access the online communications of all U.K. citizens.
Philippines' New Cybercrime Prevention Act Troubling for Free Expression
In the Philippines, where the Internet is free from censorship, President Benigno Aquino III recently signed into law the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, a troubling development for free expression.
USPTO Blocks Web Access to Advocacy Organizations
KEI's James Love found out firsthand about the USPTO's filtering system that blocked access to EFF, ACLU, KEI, and more advocacy organizations.
Internet Archive Releases Every TV News Broadcast Since 2009
The Internet Archive released every TV news broadcast since mid-2009. Segments are available online and captions are completely searchable.
EU Should Protect Belarusian Online Opposition
Dutch Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake spoke out against the detainment of several web-administrators by Belarusian authorities.
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From the Community
In response to a post about the French anti-piracy law on our Google+ page, Diane Estock-Annen asked, "Don't they realize victimizing people didn't work in the U.S. to stop piracy?" Nope, it unfortunately doesn't seem like they realize that at all.
Humble Indie Bundle 6
The Humble Bundle is back with six awesome independent, cross-platform, DRM-free games. Pay what you want and support EFF.
EFF's 21st Annual Pioneer Awards
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. This year's winners are hardware hacker Andrew (bunnie) Huang, activist Jérémie Zimmermann, and the Tor Project. The event will be held at the Project One Gallery in San Francisco at 7 p.m.
September 20, 2012
San Francisco, CA
Web Effectiveness Conference
September 28-29, 2012
Uncensored Voices: Celebrating Literary Freedom
EFF International Freedom of Expression Coordinator Eva Galperin will speak at the ACLU of Nevada's Banned Books Week panel on literary freedom. The event will take place at the Clark County Library in Las Vegas.
October 6, 2012
World Maker Faire New York
Celebrate innovation with EFF at the World Maker Faire New York! We are pleased to participate in the world's most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food and more. Stop by our booth to say hello.
September 29, 2012
New York, NY
World Forum for Democracy
EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, will speak at the World Forum for Democracy about democratic responses to the economic, social, and political challenges that affect our societies today.
October 8-9, 2012
Carol Rossini, EFF Director of International Intellectual Property, will be the keynote speaker at the OpenEd conference in Vancouver talking about Open Education -- specifically, copyright exemptions and limitations for education.
October 16-18, 2012
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Association of Criminal Justice Research Confernce
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will be be part of a panel discussion at the Association of Criminal Justice Research Conference. He'll discuss "Friending to Bullying -- Social Media and Criminal Justice."
October 18-19, 2012
Huntington Beach, CA
.SE Internet Days Forum
Internet Days Forum is one of Sweden's largest conferences on Internet policy and technology. EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, will give a keynote talk.
October 22-23, 2012
Entertainment & Technology Law Conference
EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry is speaking at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' (NARM) Entertainment & Technology Law Conference in Los Angeles. She will be on two panels about the first sale doctrine and copyright trolls.
October 25, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
EFF Seeks Membership Assistant
EFF is seeking an energetic and enthusiastic Membership Assistant to help support our 19,000+ donors. We are looking for someone with data entry experience and a love for digital rights. This is a full-time position working in our San Francisco office.