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EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 6 - Appeals Court Upholds Constitutional Right Against Forced Decryption

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EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 601st issue:

Appeals Court Upholds Constitutional Right Against Forced Decryption

A federal appeals court has found a Florida man's constitutional rights were violated when he was imprisoned for refusing to decrypt data on several devices. EFF filed an amicus brief under seal in this case, arguing that the man had a valid Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and that the government's attempt to force him to decrypt the data was unconstitutional. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that the act of decrypting data is testimonial and therefore protected by the Fifth Amendment.

What Does It Mean to be "Pro-Technology and Pro-Internet?"

Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, would like to assure you that "Hollywood is pro-technology and pro-Internet." But the MPAA's comments on our DMCA exemption requests shows that Hollywood is only "pro-technology" when the technology blocks "unintended uses" and "pro-Internet" when the Internet is subject to Hollywood's veto power.

How Internet Companies Would Be Forced to Spy on You Under H.R. 1981

H.R. 1981 is a poorly-considered legislative attempt to regulate the Internet in a way experts in the field know will have serious civil liberties consequences. This bill specifically targets companies that provide commercial Internet access -- like your ISP -- and would force them to collect and maintain data on all of their customers, even if those customers have never been suspected of committing a crime.

EFF Updates

EU Court of Justice: Social Networks Can't Be Forced to Monitor and Filter to Prevent Copyright Infringement

In another important victory for Internet users' fundamental rights and the open Internet, the highest court in Europe ruled that social networks cannot be required to monitor and filter their users' communications to prevent copyright infringement of music and movies. The European Court of Justice found that imposing a broad filtering obligation on social networks would require active monitoring of users' files in violation of EU law and could undermine citizens' freedom of expression.

EFF Files Suit to Block Threats Aimed at Lawyer Ratings Site

EFF has filed suit in federal court to block threats aimed at LawyerRatingz.com, a website that allows Internet users to write comments and rate attorneys. A Florida law firm claims to have lost business based upon negative ratings and reviews posted to the site and has repeatedly and baselessly threatened legal action.

Satphones, Syria, and Surveillance

Journalist Marie Colvin and photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the beseiged city of Homs, Syria, where more than 400 people have been reported dead in recent weeks. They were likely deliberately killed by the Syrian army and their location may have been tracked down through their satellite phones. It is time the president and Congress get serious about stopping surveillance equipment companies from selling dangerous technology to authoritarian government who violate human rights.

UK Police Agency Takes Over Popular Music Website

A British police group called the Serious Organised Crime Agency has taken control of the popular music blog RnBXclusive and arrested one of the site's creators for fraud. The normal content from the site is completely unavailable, replaced with a new splash page: a notice from SOCA stating that it has taken control of the domain.

Google Circumvents Safari Privacy Protections -- This is Why We Need Do Not Track

Coming on the heels of Google's controversial decision to tear down the privacy-protective walls between some of its other services, the discovery that Google has been circumventing the privacy settings of Safari and iPhone users is bad news for the company. It's time for Google to acknowledge that it can do a better job of respecting the privacy of Web users.

White House, Google, and Other Advertising Companies Commit to Supporting Do Not Track

In conjunction with the White House's publication of a consumer data privacy bill of rights, the Digital Advertising Alliance -- of which Google is a member -- announced that it will embrace the Do Not Track flag. This is a big step in the right direction for securing user privacy rights in the digital environment, but we've still got a long way to go.

Florida Judge Halts 27 Copyright Troll Cases -- Attorney Caught Practicing Law Without A License?

The Northern District Court of Florida has halted 27 copyright troll lawsuits targeting more than 3,500 Doe defendants while it examines whether the copyright trolls' lawyer, Tarik Hashmi of the Transnational Law Group, is properly allowed to practice law in Florida. The cases were moving along rapidly until three Doe defendants called the court's attention to the issue.

California AG Agreement Calls on Mobile Apps to Be Transparent About All the Ways They Invade User Privacy

The California State Attorney General has announced an agreement with six mobile app platform providers aimed at encouraging app developers to provide more accessible privacy policies. Consumer outrage at the recently-discovered address book practices that Path and other app developers claim are "industry standard" shows that there's a serious disconnect when it comes to company practices and user privacy expectations, but we should be wary about solutions that depend on walled gardens.

Government Pressures Twitter to Hand Over Keys to Occupy Wall Street Protester's Location Data Without a Warrant

On the basis of a charge no more consequential than speeding ticket, the New York City District Attorney's office has sent a subpoena to Twitter requesting user information from the account of Morgan Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protester. Allowing the government to gets its hands on this data with nothing more than an administrative subpoena renders the Fourth Amendment meaningless.

This Isn't a Hoax: Pakistan Requests Proposals for a National Filtering and Blocking System

The Pakistani government is looking for new ways to censor the Internet. The Pakistani Telecommunication Authority released a request for proposals for the development, deployment and operation of a "National Level URL Filtering and Blocking System," calling on institutions to submit a feasible proposal that would allow the government to institute a large-scale filtering system.

miniLinks

Eric Scott Raymond's open letter to Chris Dodd

Eric Scott Raymond, commonly known as ESR, delivers a scathing response to MPAA head Chris Dodd after his remarks that Hollywood is "pro-technology and pro-Internet."

FAQ on referral of ACTA to European Court of Justice

Following the recent decision of the European Commission to refer the draft Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice, Access and EDRi have prepared this short FAQ to explain this process.

Politics, copyright and the First-Amendment commons

Randy Picker of the University of Chicago says that on fair use and free speech, Big Media has one view for itself and another for the rest of us.

Administrivia

ISSN 1062-9424

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist
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Privacy and Safety in the Digital Age: Location Tracking and Fourth Amendment Concerns

The Constitution Project presents a lunchtime panel on the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in United States v. Jones. EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley will join the discussion.
March 6, 2012
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March 8, 2012
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March 9-18, 2012
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