Two Congressmembers have introduced a bill that would require game publishers to add a "clear and conspicuous" warning label to most new video games. HR 4204, the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, is only the most recent in a series of legislative attempts to restrict or otherwise hinder speech in the form of interactive media. We've put together an action alert that lets you to tell your Congressmember that you stand against the unnecessary and burdensome regulation of speech in video games, and that she should too.
In the coming months, Congress and the Senate will consider a confusing variety of cybersecurity bills -- all of which purport to keep U.S. companies and infrastructure safe from "cyberattacks." But as Congress continues to weigh this legislation and negotiate potential amendments, users should ask some serious questions about how these proposals will affect everybody, and tell Congress that we won't stand for cybersecurity bills that undermine our civil liberties.
The patent system is getting a much needed jolt of sanity in the form of a clear Supreme Court ruling affirming a basic but sometimes forgotten principle: laws of nature, and obvious methods of working with them, are not patentable. The Supreme Court's ruling in Mayo v. Prometheus unanimously struck down a patent covering a medical diagnostic test that took laws of nature and merely included "well-understood, routine, conventional activity previously engaged in by researchers in [the] field."
RIAA CEO Cary Sherman has confirmed that the country's largest ISPs will voluntarily roll out by July 1 a "graduated response" program aimed at discouraging unauthorized downloading. Under the new system, a rightsholder accusing an ISP subscriber of infringement will trigger a series of ever-increasing consequences.
Director of NSA General Keith Alexander testified at a House subcommittee hearing, denying that his agency was intercepting emails, phone calls, Google searches, and phone records of individuals in the United States -- as well as the technical capabilities of the program's software. Alexander also seemed to claim the NSA did not have the technical ability to collect Americans' emails and Internet traffic even if it weren't required to get a warrant.
Attorney General Eric Holder has signed expansive new guidelines for terrorism analysts, allowing the National Counter Terrorism Center to mirror entire federal databases containing personal information and hold onto the information for an extended period of time. Despite the "terrorism" justification, the new rules affect every single American, and expand the amount of time the government can keep private information on innocent individuals by a factor of ten.
A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found no constitutional problems with the government's ability to collect DNA from recent arrestees without a search warrant. EFF has joined a challenge to that decision, filing a brief explaining that blanket suspicionless collection of DNA for the sole purpose of law enforcement investigation cannot survive Fourth Amendment scrutiny.
The Patent and Trademark Office has issued proposed guidelines for certain supplemental examination procedures, recommending a huge increase in fees for filing certain patent reexaminations. This is a terrible idea: the reexam process is an essential part of the patent ecosystem, forms the basis for our Patent Busting Project, and allows us to attack dangerous and overbroad patents like those that are asserted against cash-strapped municipalities.
When it comes to the government's ability to search your electronic devices at the border, we've always maintained that the border is not an "anything goes" zone, and that the Fourth Amendment doesn't allow the government to search whatever it wants for any (or no) reason at all. Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear a case that gave the government carte blanche to search through electronic devices at the border.
In the wake of a horrific rampage by an armed extremist, French president Nicolas Sarkozy has begun calling for criminal penalties for citizens who visit web sites that advocate for terror or hate. Apart from the obvious flaws in Sarkozy's plan -- users can, of course, use anonymizing tools to view the material or simply access it from a variety of locations to avoid appearing as "habitual" viewers -- there are numerous other reasons to be concerned about criminalizing access to information.
The Federal Trade Commission has released its final report on digital consumer privacy issues after more than 450 companies, advocacy groups and individuals commented on the December 2010 draft report. The final report creates strong guidelines for protecting consumer privacy choices in the online world. We're pleased by the flexible and user-centric nature of the privacy report, but we will continue to monitor how such principles are actually enacted.
A federal judge has denied the government's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the suspicionless search and seizure of electronics belonging to activist David House when he reentered the U.S. after a vacation.
The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes "bend or suspend the law" in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. That's just one of the disturbing results of the FBI's six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents, which did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor.
Copyright infringement isn't theft, and it's not just a question of nomenclature. What we choose to call a given type of crime ultimately determines how it’s formulated and classified and, perhaps most important, how it will be punished.
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EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak on a panel on legal solutions to online censorship. The event is free to the Yale community, and $75 for the general public. April 1, 2012 New Haven, CT
CiviCon is the annual event bringing together the people who use, develop, design and implement CiviCRM. The conference will have great speakers, including EFF's Micah Lee and Kellie Brownell as keynote. April 2, 2012 San Francisco, CA
Nonprofits have used the Internet and social media to launch successful online campaigns and connect with new constituents. But the Internet is in danger. EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman joins Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and others for a frank discussion about the biggest dangers facing online rights today. April 3, 2012 San Francisco, CA
Jillian York, EFF's Director of International Freedom of Expression, joins a moderated panel discussion examining the impact of social media on democracy movements in the Middle East and around the world. April 3-4, 2012 Morgantown, PA
Join EFF and Saudi blogger Ahmed Al Omran for an insider's look at this Middle Eastern country and a discussion about blogging, government censorship, and politics at our upcoming Geek Reading. Best known for his widely read and longstanding blog, Saudi Jeans, Omran is a multimedia journalist working as a production assistant on the social media desk at NPR. April 5, 2012 San Francisco, CA