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Podcast Episode: Chronicling Online Communities

EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 30 - If Petraeus' emails aren't private, yours aren't either


EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 30 - If Petraeus' emails aren't private, yours aren't either

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 625th issue:

When Will Our Email Betray Us? An Email Privacy Primer in Light of the Petraeus Saga

As part of the unfolding scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, the FBI read massive amounts of private email messages that uncovered an affair between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. We've received a lot of questions about how this works, and what legal process the FBI needs to conduct its email investigation. The short answer? Our email privacy laws are hopelessly out of date. If we learn nothing else from the Petraeus scandal, it should be that our private digital lives can become all too public when over-eager federal agents aren't held to rigorous legal standards.

The Internet Radio Fairness Act: What It Is, Why It's Needed

Internet radio is a favorite source of music for many, but there are relatively few big players in the medium. That's because success in this space depends the ability to navigate through an obscure, rough-and-tumble neighborhood of copyright-land known as digital performance royalties. Thus far, that's been a tough challenge: Internet radio services like Pandora pay about 50% of their revenues to record labels and artists, while satellite radio pays only about 10% and traditional AM/FM stations pay nothing. Thankfully, some of the same Congressmembers who helped lead the fight against the SOPA and PIPA bills this year want to level the playing field so that Internet radio can thrive.

Court Blocks Proposition 35's Restriction on Anonymous Speech

A few hours after EFF and the ACLU of Northern California filed a class action lawsuit challenging California's recently enacted Proposition 35, the court issued a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of the initiative due to the existence of "serious questions" about whether it violated the First Amendment. Proposition 35 is ostensibly about increasing punishment for human traffickers, but would also require all registered sex offenders in California to turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement.

EFF Updates

Privacy in Ubuntu 12.10: Full Disk Encryption

Full disk encryption is one of the best ways you can ensure all of the private information on your laptop stays private in case it's lost, seized, or stolen. In previous versions of Ubuntu, this feature was hidden away in the "alternate" text-mode installer that many non-technical users don't even know exists. But now the Ubuntu developers have made full disk encryption on Ubuntu easy and accessible for everyone.

When Congress Comes Back: How It Can Help Protect the Internet

Now that the election is over, Congress can get back to work doing the people's business. And if that work is going to affect online expression, innovation, and/or privacy, it should start with a simple proposition: bring in the nerds -- aka experts -- and Internet users who care deeply about protecting their digital rights.

ICE Releases Documents Detailing Electronic Surveillance Problems... and then Demands Them Back a Year Later

In a first for EFF's Freedom of Information Act litigation, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has demanded we return records it gave us more than a year ago. The release of these documents doesn't endanger national security or create a risk to an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Instead, it seems that ICE simply wants to stymie further FOIA requests from EFF as we try to get answers about the government's electronic surveillance procedures.

Payment Provider Stripe Upholds Free Speech, Reactivates Nifty Archives

Stripe initially suspended the account of Nifty Archive Alliance, a nonprofit entity that supports the Nifty Erotic Stories Archive, because they believed that some of the content on might violate Stripe's agreements with Visa and MasterCard. After hearing about the suspension, EFF reached out to Stripe. We're pleased to announce that Stripe has now reinstated Nifty's account and will continue to process payments for a website that hosts constitutionally protected speech.

Egyptian Prosecutor Orders a Ban on Internet Porn

Egypt's Prosecutor General, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, ordered government ministries to enforce a ban on pornographic websites. The order was based on a three-year old ruling by Egypt's administrative court, which declared that "freedom of expression and public rights should be restricted by maintaining the fundamentals of religion, morality and patriotism" and denounced pornographic content as "venomous and vile."

New Version of Marco Civil Threatens Freedom of Expression in Brazil

Brazil is in the midst of rolling out an Internet bill of rights, called Marco Civil da Internet, which is intended to afford strong protections for freedom of online expression and Internet intermediaries. Unfortunately, last-minute changes have made it increasingly clear that it is falling short of its original promise, leaving users and Internet service providers in an ocean of legal uncertainty.

Why Data Retention? Australian Government Hasn’t Backed Up Its Argument

Australian law enforcement and intelligence agencies are pushing for legislative amendments that would broaden online surveillance powers around wiretapping. The most controversial proposal is a mandatory data retention framework, which would require blanket storage of all Australians' communications data for up to two full years. Despite the oft-repeated narrative that there is an urgent need for this new set of wiretapping capabilities, a recently published official overview points out that the government has offered very little in the way of concrete evidence to back up this claim.

Bahrain Goes from Bad to Worse

After nearly two years of non-stop social unrest and protests against the ruling monarchy, things have taken a precipitous turn for the worse for civil liberties in Bahrain. The government took the remarkable step of declaring a ban on all public rallies and demonstrations -- a move a government spokesman claims is "temporary" and intended to "calm things down" after the recent deaths of protesters and police officers.


Thailand to Enter TPP Talks When Obama Visits

Thailand will be the 12th country to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which threatens to impose a harsh intellectual property regime on numerous countries.

The Humble Android Bundle 4

Our friends at Humble Bundle have released their newest set of games for Android. Pay what you want for excellent DRM-free games and support charities like EFF!

WIPO's Broadcast Treaty: Still Harmful, Still Unnecessary

Creative Commons' Timothy Vollmer covers why the World Intellectual Property Organization's "Broadcasting Treaty" is largely problematic.

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Editor: Adi Kamdar, Activist

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Quip from the Community

In response to EFF's actions against California's Proposition 35, supporter Patrick Larvie posted on our Google Plus page, "Thank god. This was a privacy nightmare couched in feel-good language. Thank you for taking this on." You're welcome, Patrick. Thank you for supporting us in this fight.

No Copyrights on APIs: Help Us Make The Case

We need your help explaining to the Federal Circuit why tying up APIs with copyright protection is dangerous. Are you a developer? An engineer? Do you benefit from widespread access to APIs? We want to hear from you. Contact us at

Aspiration 2012 Nonprofit Software Development Summit

EFF is doing essential work to secure an open, democratic, and activism-friendly future for the Internet. Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will share the latest focus areas for EFF and let folks know what they can do to get involved.
November 14-16, 2012
Oakland, CA

NACDL White Collar Seminar

EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will join a panel discussion at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's Annual White Collar Seminar on Friday November 16 at 1:45 PM. He'll discuss "Silence Is Golden: Protecting Your Client's Electronic Information and Communications."
November 15-16, 2012
New York, NY

Noisebridge's Five Minutes of Fame

EFF Activist Adi Kamdar will speak about the newly launched Open Wireless Movement at Five Minutes of Fame, a lightning talk event held at the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge.
November 15, 2012
San Francisco, CA

Solutions to the Patent Software Problem Conference

This event will focus on software patents and how to address the problems they create. Join specialists in the field including EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels, UC Berkeley School of Law Professor and EFF Board Member Pam Samuelson, and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman.
November 16, 2012
Santa Clara University, CA

Privacy Icons Legal Hackathon

To make it easier for users to understand what websites do with their data, Disconnect is hosting a project to crowdsource turning websites' privacy policies into a set of Creative Commons licensed privacy icons. EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will participate in a discussion during the Hackathon about privacy icons, privacy policies, data practices, and transparency.
November 16, 2012
San Francisco, CA

Silence Is Golden: Protecting Your Client’s Electronic Information and Communications

EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury and Assistant Federal Public Defender Chet Kaufman will discuss ways to maintain privacy in electronic communications at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' "Defending the White Collar Case" Seminar.
November 16, 2012
New York, New York

CryptoParty SF

CryptoParty is a decentralized series of events around the world dedicated to spreading information and education around security and cryptography software, and now it's coming to San Francisco. Join EFF staffers and others for talks and workshops on protecting your privacy online.
November 17, 2012
San Francisco, CA

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