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EFFector - Volume 26, Issue 10 - Help us save the next Aaron Swartz


EFFector - Volume 26, Issue 10 - Help us save the next Aaron Swartz

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 637th issue:

Congress Wants to Make CFAA Penalities Worse -- We Need to Stop Them

Change your Twitter icon to join the cause.

Last week, Congress put forth a bill that would dangerously expand computer crime law to double or even triple the penalties prosecutors could use to threaten computer users -- people like digital rights activist Aaron Swartz. We've got to stop them and tell them this law needs real reform to protect visionary, talented, justice-driven individuals like Aaron. We're pulling out all the stops this week, and we need your help. We need the Internet to speak out with a voice so loud legislators have no choice but to listen.

Here's the game plan:

  1. We have built a Twitter tool that helps you to tweet at legislators. Staffers count these messages, so please tweet lots.
  2. Call the House Judiciary Committee. We've collected their numbers and prepared an easy-to-follow script for the phone call. If you've never called your legislators before, today is the day to start.
  3. Change your Twitter icon to reflect that you're taking part in this cause. We've created an image that can help spread the word.
  4. Finally, if you haven't yet, please take our action alert to e-mail Congress about the specific changes we'd like to see in a reformed CFAA.
Congress can't get this right unless they hear from you. Please join us in taking action today.

Busting Myths from CISPA Supporters

Supporters of CISPA, the so-called "cybersecurity bill," have promoted it with craftily worded or just plain misleading claims. To stop this type of misinformation -- and to stop CISPA -- we urge you to tell your members of Congress to stand up for privacy. We've collected some of the most egregious myths put forward by CISPA supporters and explained why these claims are false.

App Developers: Lodsys is Back. It's Time to Beat this Troll.

It's been nearly two years since we first reported about Lodsys, the patent troll who targeted app developers. You might remember that Lodsys had actually filed lawsuits against some app developers in Texas; that case is slowly moving forward. Now it appears that Lodsys sued at least ten more app developers -- many smaller players along with larger ones such as Walt Disney.

EFF Updates

A "Hollywood Ambassador" Would Make Bad Copyright Trade Policy Even Worse

Copyright laws that represent the one-sided concerns of Hollywood at the expense of the broader public interest do not belong in trade agreements. Yet just days after dozens of public interest groups around the world issued a statement on this issue, a senator with longstanding ties to the entertainment industry introduced a misguided bill that would create a new position for a "Chief Innovation and Intellectual Property Negotiator" -- in other words, an Ambassador from Hollywood, paid for by the general public.

Are You A Teenager Who Reads News Online? According to the Justice Department, You May Be a Criminal

The Departments of Justice (DOJ) of both the Bush and Obama administrations have embraced an expansive interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that would literally make it a crime for many kids to read the news online. Specifically, the DOJ has taken the position that a violation of a website's Terms of Service can be treated as a criminal act. For a number of reasons, including the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, many news sites have terms of service that prohibit minors from using their interactive services and sometimes even visiting their websites.

New California "Right to Know" Act Would Let Consumers Find Out Who Has Their Personal Data -- And Get a Copy of It

Let's face it: most of us have no idea how companies are gathering and sharing our personal data. So what can we do about it? A new proposal in California -- supported by a diverse coalition including EFF and the ACLU of Northern California -- is fighting to bring transparency and access to the seedy underbelly of digital data exchanges. The Right to Know Act gives users access to the personal data a company has stored on them, as well as a list of all the other companies with whom that original company has shared the users' personal data.

Victory for Aereo, TV Watchers, and Innovation Without Permission

The federal appeals court in New York has affirmed that Internet streaming service Aereo is not infringing copyright when it enables users to stream broadcast TV to Internet devices. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the trial court's decision not to shut down Aereo while the case is pending. This decision is a win for Aereo, its customers, and for future innovators with the audacity to improve the TV-watching experience without permission from copyright owners.

Korean Lawmakers and Human Rights Experts Challenge Three Strikes Law

In July 2009, South Korea became the first country to introduce a graduated response or "three strikes" law. There is no judicial process, no court of appeal, and no opportunity to challenge the accusers. This entertainment industry experiment in Internet enforcement has been a failure. So now Korea's National Human Rights Commission has recommended that the three strikes law be re-examined, given its unclear benefits, and its potential violation of the human rights to receive and impart information and to participate in the cultural life of the community.

Copyright Trolls Offer No Defense to Frustrated Federal Judge

A federal judge in Los Angeles showed little restraint in expressing his frustration with the "attorney misconduct" he's identified by the prominent copyright trolls behind Prenda Law. When none of the attorneys at the hearing would offer testimony, Judge Otis D. Wright, II, adjourned the highly-anticipated hearing after only 12 minutes.


Boing Boing: "Today, we save the Internet (again): fix the CFAA!"

Longtime friend of EFF Cory Doctorow explains -- as only he can -- why some new CFAA proposals are truly disastrous, and what we all must do to stop them.

Techdirt: "In which an NY Times reporter accidentally reveals how she violated both the CFAA and the DMCA"

A major reason to reform laws like the CFAA and DMCA is that they criminalize lots of things most people don't think are "bad" or "illegal" -- including some things that tech reporters don't even mind writing in the newspaper about doing.

Wired: "Finally: This is how to fix the 'patent fix' we’re all in"

EFF Staff Attorney Julie P. Samuels writes in Wired about how the patent system is hindering innovation, and what we can do to fix it.

Supported by Members

Our members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.

If you aren't already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.

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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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EFF and Others Take CFAA Questions in a Reddit AMA

EFF, Lawrence Lessig, representatives from Demand Progress, ACLU, and more will be taking questions on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act starting at 10am PDT. Come throughout the day to ask questions about how these groups and individuals are working together to reform the CFAA, and what you can do to help.
April 9, 2013

Future of Privacy+Innovation

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Privacy and Technology Project present this event aimed at California app developers striving to innovate on privacy. EFF Activist Parker Higgins will speak on a panel titled "The State of Privacy & Technology: Implications for App Developers."

EFF Evening For Women Who Want to Speak at DEFCON

If you are a woman and thinking about submitting a talk, panel, or workshop to DEFCON, you are invited to join EFF staff members Marcia Hofmann, Eva Galperin, and Kellie Brownell in our new Eddy St. office to drink, snack, and brain storm DEFCON submission ideas.
April 17, 2013
San Francisco, CA

re:publica conference, 13

EFF's Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian C. York joins a panel called "Responding Effectively to Digital Emergencies & Human Rights Violations Online."
May 6-8, 2013
Berlin, Germany

FCX2013: Free Culture Conference

EFF activists Adi Kamdar and Parker Higgins will be on panels at this year's Free Culture Conference in New York City. Parker will moderate a panel called "Getting Past Gridlock: What does Tangible Copyright Reform Look Like?" and Adi will moderate a panel on "The Future of Open Access Advocacy."
April 20-21
New York, NY

Bitcoin 2013: the Future of Payments

The Bitcoin Foundation presents Bitcoin 2013: The Future of Payments. On May 18, EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman will speak on censorship by financial intermediaries.
May 17-19, 2013
San Jose, CA

Security BSides Boston

Security BSides is a community-driven framework for building events for and by information security community members. This event, BSidesBOS, will promote information about security to an audience of both new and well-established professionals and techies.
May 18, 2013
Boston, MA

International Press Institute World Congress 2013

EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression Jillian York is speaking on a panel entitled "Internet Regulation: What are the Implications for Democracy and Press Freedom?" at the International Press Institute World Congress 2013, "Documenting Change/Empowering Media."
May 19-21, 2013
Amman, Jordan

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