In our 624th issue:
Communication is critical in time of crisis, and the Internet is one of the most effective ways of getting information in and out. With readily available networks, government officials could use tools like Twitter to quickly spread information, citizen reports could help focus assistance where it is needed most, and social media updates could help reassure friends and loved ones while keeping mobile phone lines open for emergencies. Aimed at residences, businesses, ISPs, and developers, the Open Wireless Movement helps foster a world where the dozens of wireless networks that criss-cross any urban area are now open for us and our devices to use.
EFF has filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security, demanding answers about how and why it loans out its Predator drones to other law enforcement agencies across the country. Customs and Border Protection--a division of DHS--uses the unmanned drones to patrol the borders with surveillance equipment like video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. But recent news articles as well as a report from DHS itself show CBP is expanding its surveillance work, flying Predator drone missions on behalf of a diverse group of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
EFF won renewal of critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in a new ruling, including the upholding of jailbreaking rights for smartphones as well as new and significantly expanded legal protections for video remixing. However, the Copyright Office declined to expand the jailbreaking exemption to tablets and video game consoles, arguing that the category of "tablets" is not well defined and that jailbreaking video game consoles might lead to more copyright infringement.
Your Right to Own, Under Threat
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, a copyright case that could have far-reaching consequences for the future of the first sale doctrine and your right to resell, lend, or give away legally purchased works. If the copyright industry has its way, you may have to seek permission or face penalties when you resell or tinker with the things you've bought. EFF was in the courtroom, and fortunately we can report that the justices seemed concerned about Wiley's interpretation of the law.
How the FISA Amendments Act Allows for Warrantless Wiretapping, As Described By Supreme Court Justices
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty, an important case that will decide if the ACLU's challenge to the FISA Amendments Act--the law passed in the wake of the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal--can go forward. The court will essentially determine whether any court, short of a government admission, can rule on whether the NSA's targeted warrantless surveillance of Americans' international communications violates the Constitution.
Megaupload and the Government's Attack on Cloud Computing
EFF, on behalf of its client Kyle Goodwin, filed a brief proposing a process for the court in the Megaupload case. We're asking the court to hold the government accountable for the actions it took--and failed to take--when it shut down Megaupload's service and denied third parties like Mr. Goodwin access to their property. The government submitted a proposal of its own, one that would result in a long, drawn-out process that would make it nearly impossible for most Megaupload customers to get their property back.
4 Simple Changes to Stop Online Tracking
In less than 10 minutes, you can drastically improve your privacy online and protect yourself against unwanted and invisible tracking. These four easy steps work to configure both Firefox and Chrome.
Stupid Lawyer Tricks (And How the PTO Could Help Stop Them)
We've seen some absurd trademark threats in recent years, but this one sets the bar at a new low: the Village Voice is suing Yelp for trademark infringement based on Yelp's creation of various "Best of" lists. The paper claims that Yelp's use of those terms infringes those trademarks and deceives consumers.
Privacy in Ubuntu 12.10: Amazon Ads and Data Leaks
Last month the eagerly awaited free software operating system Ubuntu 12.10 was released, and it includes a slew of new features, some of which have infuriated users because of privacy concerns. Starting with the latest release of Ubuntu, a desktop search feature called Dash is also starting to search the Internet for you. While some people find this convenient, others find it a violation of their privacy. Luckily, Ubuntu makes it easy to turn this off.
European Commissioner Affirms Europe Wants CETA
The European Commissioner for Trade, Karel De Gucht, has affirmed that Europe wants to close the Canadian-European Trade Agreement (CETA) by the end of this year. CETA is a trade agreement designed to strengthen economic ties between Canada and the EU through "free" trade and increased investment. However, hidden within this treaty are intellectual property provisions that were essentially taken word-for-word from ACTA.
Torture Fears for Open Source Software Activist Detained in Syria
In July, EFF called for the immediate release of open source developer and Creative Commons volunteer Bassel Khartabil, who had been detained in Syria since March 12, 2012 as part of a wave of arrests made in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. According to a new Amnesty International report, a released detainee has informed Bassel Khartabil's family that he is being held at the Military Intelligence Branch in Kafr Sousseh and had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated.
International Day to End Impunity
No one should be killed or tortured for what they say online. The International Freedom of Expression Exchange is demanding an end to the culture of impunity.
The Kremlin's New Internet Surveillance Plan Goes Live Today
Wired reports on Russia's new Internet surveillance program, ostensibly aimed at protecting children from pedophiles, but which will certainly trap much political speech.
NSA Claims 'Privilege' 62 times in 1 Court Document to EFF
The NSA has claimed the 'state secret' dozens of times in a submission to the Court in EFF's litigation over warrantless wiretapping.
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If you aren't already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Adi Kamdar, Activist
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