In our 629th issue:
Since the tragic death of Aaron Swartz, people are starting to focus on the draconian U.S. computer crime laws that were misused in his prosecution. While we have been struggling with problems in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for years, this new attention means we may be able to get meaningful reform -- but not without a great deal of public support. Important efforts, like Rep. Zoe Lofgren's proposed "Aaron's Law," do not go far enough. We've outlined the three most critical fixes that the CFAA needs, and put together a page where you can contact your legislators to tell them that any proposed solution needs to address all three of these points. Please take action today.
Legal protection for people who unlock their mobile phones for use on other networks expired last weekend. According to the claims of major U.S. wireless carriers, unlocking a phone bought after January 26 without your carrier's permission violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act whether the phone is under contract or not. In a way, this is not as bad as it sounds. In other ways, it's even worse.
Facebook's Graph Search has certainly caused quite a stir since it was first announced two weeks ago. We wrote earlier about how Graph Search, still in beta, presents new privacy problems by making shared information discoverable that previously was hard, if not impossible, to find at a large scale. Some unwanted search results come from associations with friends and family -- and are therefore out of your control. We urge Facebook to fix this problem by letting people opt out.
Lenz v. Universal: This Baby May Be Dancing To Trial
After years of litigation, it appears Stephanie Lenz may have a chance to tell her story to a jury. Back in 2007, you’ll remember, she posted a video to YouTube of her son dancing and running around with Prince's “Let's Go Crazy” playing in the background. Now Judge Jeremy Fogel has issued a ruling in the case that has sent contradictory signals on the future of fair use under the DMCA.
Twitter's New Transparency Report Shows Increase in Government Demands, Sheds Light on Copyright Takedowns
Twitter has released its second semi-annual transparency report, which details every user data demand, censorship order, and copyright takedown request that the micro-blogging site received in the second half of 2012. As with Google's recent transparency report, there was a clear increase in government demands for user data, with the United States leading by far.
A Victory for Colombia: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Draconian Copyright Expansion Bill
Good news from Colombia, where the Constitutional Court has struck down a sweeping copyright enforcement law because Congress had fast tracked the bill and overstepped various legislative procedures. The Court also ruled on the constitutionality of the law itself, overruling provisions against the retransmission of TV content and signals over the Internet as well as its language on technological protection measures.
A Year After SOPA, A Look At The Next Five Battles For Internet Freedom
One year ago this month, Internet users of all ages, races, and political stripes participated in the largest protest in Internet history. Congress was flooded with millions of emails and phone calls to demand they drop the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)—a dangerous bill that would have allowed corporations and the govenrment to censor large parts of the Web. But the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and the fight for Internet freedom continues. Here’s a look at the top five issues SOPA activists should focus on next.
The Gulf States: Shared Geography, Shared Culture, Shared Oppression
In the countries that comprise the “Gulf States,” citizens are increasingly taking to social media to air their grievances against government officials, and are also increasingly being arrested, detained, or harassed for it.
What the FBI Doesn't Want You To Know About Its "Secret" Surveillance Techniques
The FBI had to rewrite the book on its domestic surveillance activities in the wake of last January's landmark Supreme Court decision in United States v. Jones. But if you want to see the two memos describing how the FBI has reacted to Jones -- and the new surveillance techniques the FBI is using beyond GPS trackers -- you’re out of luck. Though the FBI won’t release the memos, we do have some information from other sources on the surveillance techniques federal agents are already using.
EFF Twitter Headers to Flaunt Your Love of Internet Freedom
We created some digital shwag to celebrate Internet Freedom Day -- the one year anniversary of the Internet-wide blackout protests that killed the censorship bills SOPA and PIPA. Check out these images, designed to be used as Twitter headers.
Last call for 2012 Drone Census
Since last July, hundreds of ordinary citizens have helped MuckRock and EFF file records requests to map the deployment of drones across the country. As MuckRock prepares to close the 2012 installment of this project, users have a last opportunity for their request to be included in the first year's results.
Aaron's Army: Carl Malamud's Remark at Aaron Swartz's Memorial
Carl Malamud's stirring call to action at Aaron Swartz's San Francisco memorial this month should serve as a reminder: Aaron's actions were not those of a lone wolf, and his cause is our own.
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Parker Higgins, Activist
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