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EFFector - Volume 25, Issue 7 - Don't Let Congress Scrap Digital Rights for "Cybersecurity" Fears

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EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 602nd issue:

Don't Let Congress Scrap Digital Rights for "Cybersecurity" Fears

Congress is considering legislation that would give companies a free pass to monitor and collect communications -- including huge amounts of personal data like your text messages and emails -- and share that data with the government and anyone else. All a company would have to do is claim its privacy violations were for "cybersecurity purposes." Tell Congress that they can't use vaguely-defined "cybersecurity threats" as a shortcut to bypassing the law.

Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights

Mobile smartphone apps represent a powerful technology that will only become more important in the years to come. But the unique advantages of the smartphone as a platform -- a device that's always on and connected, with access to things like user location, camera, and microphone input -- also raise privacy challenges. As the mobile app ecosystem has matured, users have come to expect sensible privacy policies and practices. It's time for developers to deliver on those expectations.

Legal Censorship: PayPal Makes a Habit of Deciding What Users Can Read

PayPal has instituted a new policy aimed at censoring what digital denizens can and can't read, and they're doing it in a way that leaves us with little recourse to challenge their policies in court. Indie publisher Smashwords has notified contributing authors, publishers, and literary agents that they would no longer be providing a platform for certain forms of sexually explicit fiction. This comes in response to Paypal's initiative to deny service to online merchants selling what it deems to be obscene written content. PayPal is demonstrating, again and to our great disappointment, the dire consequences to online speech when service providers start acting like content police.

EFF Updates

EFF Tells Supreme Court that No Means No in Wiretap Act

EFF and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to enforce the plain text of the Wiretap Act and its absolute prohibition against the use of illegally intercepted communications. In our brief to the Supreme Court, we argue that allowing exceptions to the Wiretap Act's otherwise absolute bar against the use of illegally obtained wiretap evidence will only continue the growing privacy intrusions caused by wiretaps.

EFF Calls Foul on Robo-Takedowns

EFF calls foul on robo-takedowns in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a battle over baseless copyright infringement notices. We've urged the federal judge to reject arguments from Warner Brothers Entertainment claiming that the company's automated scheme to send copyright infringement notices absolves it of responsibility for the system's major flaws.

Billionaire's Bogus Legal Tactics Against Bloggers Threaten Free Speech

Salon's Glenn Greenwald has reported that Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot has been engaged in a systematic campaign to silence journalists and bloggers from publishing stories about his political views and business practices. VanderSloot has targeted national news organizations and small town bloggers alike by issuing bogus legal threats alleging defamation and copyright infringement in an attempt to keep legitimate newsworthy information from being released to the public.

HTTPS and Tor: Working Together to Protect Your Privacy and Security Online

EFF frequently recommends that Internet users who are concerned about protecting their anonymity and security online use HTTPS Everywhere for encrypted communications with many websites and Tor for protecting online anonymity. But the best security comes from being an informed user who understands how these tools work together to protect your privacy against potential eavesdroppers.

Upcoming Supreme Court Case May Be Key To Holding Spy Tech Companies Responsible For Human Rights Violations

The world's attention has recently turned to the question of how to hold companies accountable for knowingly marketing, selling, and adapting the tools of surveillance to repressive regimes. One avenue for justice is the U.S. courts: there are two pending cases now raising claims against Cisco, based on evidence that the company knowingly marketed, sold, and specially adapted and tools that the Chinese government uses to target Chinese democracy activists and members of the Falun Gong religious minority.

Mexico Adopts Alarming Surveillance Legislation

The Mexican legislature has nearly unimamously adopted surveillance legislation that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data. It has been sent to the president for his approval.

Filtering Software Companies Should Follow Websense's Lead

EFF is pleased to see that Websense, a company that produces Internet filtering technology, has issued a statement against Pakistan's call for proposals for companies to assist with their pervasive censorship plans. Websense's statement urges other producers of filtering technology to refuse complicity with Pakistan's plans, which run counter to the right to free expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Keep the Pressure On: Canadian Online Surveillance Bill on Pause, But the Fight Continues

The Canadian government has announced it would put proposed online surveillance legislation temporarily "on pause" following sustained public outrage generated by the bill. But as the majority Canadian government is not likely to give up on this proposed legislation, it is important for Canadians to keep the pressure on.

This Week in Censorship

Syrian citizen journalists face increasingly grave threats, Moroccan blogger Walid Bahomane has been given a peculiar conviction, and Uzbekistan is blocking the Uzbek-language Wikipedia.

miniLinks

Infographic: How Patents Hinder Innovation

Patents may have been created to help encourage innovation, but instead they regularly hinder it. Our new infographic explains how:

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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Announcements

Help EFF Bust the Dangerous Jones Patent

Patent troll ArrivalStar has launched a blitzkrieg against municipalities, the U.S. Postal Service, and others, claiming that their vehicle tracking services infringe its patent. In order to challenge that patent, we are looking for prior art, which might describe systems designed to track vehicles, created before January 18, 1999.

New 'HTTPS Everywhere' Version Warns Users About Web Security Holes

We've launched the 2.0 version of HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox, including an important update that warns users about web security holes. The new optional feature detects encryption weaknesses and notifies users when they are visiting a website with a security vulnerability -- flagging potential risk for sites that are vulnerable to eavesdropping or "man in the middle" attacks.

Wear Your EFF Swag to Work Day

Celebrate 22 years of fighting for digital freedom by wearing your EFF swag to work on Thursday, March 8. We'll be watching #EFFatWork and retweeting notable photos.
March 8, 2012
Everywhere

EFF's 22nd Birthday Bash

Join us for live music, socializing, and fun to celebrate 22 incredible years of defending digital civil liberties. The evening's lineup will include the geek-infused rhymes of nerdcore artist and DEFCON star Dual Core, the Game Boy music soundscapes of Trash80, and the synthy electro beats of chiptune artist CrashFaster.
March 8, 2012
San Francisco, CA

EFF at SXSW

This year EFF has a booth at South by Southwest, and many staff members will be participating in panels. We're also throwing a "Mashup Party" Saturday night.
March 9-18, 2012
Austin, TX

Black Hat Europe

EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann and EFF Senior Staff Technologist Seth Schoen team up to discuss "Defending Privacy at the U.S. Border: A Guide for Travelers Carrying Digital Devices."
March 14-16, 2012
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Drupalcon Denver: EFF + Drupal + CiviCRM = Great

EFF was an early adopter of Drupal and has successfully migrated and re-launched our website on Drupal7. We've also moved from the proprietary advocacy/CRM service known as Convio into a Drupal-powered CiviCRM donation and CRM system. Micah Lee, EFF's Web Developer, will be presenting.
March 23, 2012
Denver, CO

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