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EFFector - Volume 26, Issue 21 - How the NSA is making us all less safe


EFFector - Volume 26, Issue 21 - How the NSA is making us all less safe

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 648th issue:

The NSA Is Making Us All Less Safe

We all live in an increasingly networked world. One of the preconditions of that world has to be basic computer security—freedom to use strong technologies that are fully trustworthy. That’s why the recent reporting on the NSA’s systematic effort to weaken and sabotage commercially available encryption used by individuals and businesses around the world is so important. By weakening encryption, the NSA allows others to more easily break it. By installing backdoors and other vulnerabilities in systems, the NSA exposes them to other malicious hackers—whether they are foreign governments or criminals.

Lowering Your Standards: DRM and the Future of the W3C

We're deeply disappointed with the W3C announcement that its Director, Tim Berners-Lee, had determined that the "playback of protected content" was in scope for the W3C HTML Working Group's new charter, overriding EFF's formal objection against its inclusion. If the controversial "Encrypted Media Extensions" proposal goes through to become part of a W3C recommendation, you can expect to hear DRM vendors, DRM-locked content providers like Netflix, and browser makers like Microsoft, Opera, and Google stating that they can now offer W3C standards compliant "content protection" for Web video.

Transparent Is The New Black

Cloud storage provider Dropbox has done the right thing by joining Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn in their consolidated suit before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, demanding permission to publish—for the first time—complete statistics about the US government's national security requests. The government's tradition of secrecy surrounding data requests is no answer to the question before the court. What possible justification can there be to prevent companies from reporting the mere number of national security requests they receive?

EFF Updates

In the Silk Road Case, Don't Blame the Technology

The FBI has just arrested a man alleged to be the founder and operator of the Silk Road marketplace, where bitcoins were traded for a range of goods and services, including drugs. According to the criminal complaint, the site used anonymity technology like Tor and Bitcoin. It's important we remember not to blame these tools for the actions of a small portion of their users.

The Law Belongs To Everyone, We Tell Standards Organizations

In the latest salvo in the battle to defend the right to publish the law, EFF filed a counterclaim against three standards development organizations, asking a federal court in Washington to declare that the online publication of safety codes does not violate copyright or trademark law.

NSA Tracked US Cell Phone Locations For Two Years, Senator Says More Is Still Secret

The NSA finally has admitted that it ran a pilot project that collected the cell phone location information of an unknown number of Americans for two years.

Polls Continue to Show Majority of Americans Against NSA Spying

America seems to be waking up from its surveillance state slumber as the leaks around the illegal and unconstitutional NSA spying continue. Recent rounds of polls confirm that Americans are not only concerned with the fact that the spying infringes on their privacy but also want the spying to stop.

47 Prominent Technologists to NSA Review Panel: We Need Better Technical Oversight

A group of prominent technologists submitted a letter to Obama's appointed NSA Review Group, which does not currently have a technologist as a member. The letter urges the Review Group to seek assistance from independent technologists and argues for greater transparency with respect to the technical mechanisms used to conduct surveillance.

Everybody Let's Stop the TPP: Share These Videos and Spread the Word

Even as the evidence mounts that the entertainment industry backed Trans-Pacific Partnership has become an unattainable goal for the lobbyists and negotiators supporting it, the total lack of transparency means we can't know for sure how far along the agreement is. Three new videos speak to the dangers that the TPP poses to Internet freedom.

Patent Troll Lodsys Settles for Nothing to Avoid Trial

A new case has shown just how determined the patent troll Lodsys is to avoid a ruling on the merits of its claims. When software security company Kaspersky Lab refused to surrender, Lodsys settled for nothing (yes, you read that right—absolutely nothing) rather than take its claims to trial.


How Lavabit Melted Down

Lavabit, Snowden's former email provider, shut itself down this summer in the face of expansive government requests for user data. Now that related documents have been unsealed, its operator Ladar Levison can explain what happened.

"Destroy All Patent Trolls" Song

Jonathan Mann's new song takes on patent trolls and offers a plug of EFF's "Trolling Effects" site. Watch out—the song's catchy.

How the NSA Attacks Tor/Firefox Users With QUANTUM and FOXACID

Security expert and EFF board member Bruce Schneier has seen the Snowden docs, and explains here what they say about the NSA's efforts to attack Tor and Firefox users. One of the NSA documents published in the Guardian featured the image below on the left -- we've updated with the image on the right. Can you spot the differences?

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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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Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference

EFF activists Trevor Timm and Parker Higgins will present a primer on using transparency laws to release information about domestic drone programs, as well as a follow-up to their 2012 "Pwn The Drones" presentation on drone hacks.
October 11-13, 2013
New York, NY

The Fifth Estate v. WikiLeaks

EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn, Wired senior reporter Kim Zetter, Forbes senior online editor Kashmir Hill, and Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Rainey Reitman will discuss the new movie The Fifth Estate and how it compares to the real story of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
October 11, 2013
San Francisco, CA

Speakeasy: Rio de Janeiro

The Electronic Frontier Foundation International Team, including Danny O’Brien and Katitza Rodriguez, invite members in Rio de Janeira to raise a glass of cervejinha at Praça São Salvador.
October 11, 2013
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The NSA's Domestic Spying Program and What Every Defense Attorney Needs to Know

Please join EFF and the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association of Northern California for a luncheon buffet and discussion on NSA surveillance featuring EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.
October 16, 2013
San Francisco, CA

Annual Criminal Justice Act Training Seminar

The Annual Criminal Justice Act Seminar is a free of charge event, open to the San Diego federal criminal defense community. Staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury will give a presentation to criminal defense attorneys on EFF topics.
October 19, 2013
San Diego, CA

Techno-Activism Third Mondays

Techno-Activism Third Mondays are informal meetups that occur on the same date in many cities worldwide. It is designed to connect techno-activists and hacktivists who work on or with circumvention tools and are interested in anti-censorship and anti-surveillance technology.
October 21, 2013
San Francisco, CA

Ben Reitman Historical Event

The Jane Addams Hull House Museum is hosting an evening celebrating the life and work of Dr. Ben Reitman, a steadfast free speech advocate. EFF activism director Rainey Reitman will discuss how the battle for free expression has moved into the digital world.
October 24, 2013
Chicago, IL

Citizen Lobby Day Against Mass Surveillance

Join EFF in D.C. for a day of grassroots training and citizen lobbying the day before the historic rally and petition delivery on October 26th.
October 25, 2013
Washington, D.C.

Stop Watching Us: Rally Against Mass Surveillance

On the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, EFF and thousands of people from across the country are going to D.C. to protest NSA mass surveillance. There will be speakers, music, and the official delivery of over 500,000 signatures of individuals opposing mass surveillance. Please join EFF in D.C. for this historic moment.
October 26, 2013
Washington, D.C.

Ideas City: Sao Paulo

Ideas City: São Paulo is a three-day Conference organized by the New Museum in partnership with SESC São Paulo alongside the X São Paulo Architecture Biennial. EFF's Jillian York will be speaking on a panel titled "Bridging Divides: People, Technology, Networks."
October 26, 2013
São Paulo, Brazil

Festival Universitario

Activist Adi Kamdar will speak to students about activism and digital rights at the Festival Universitario in Brasilia.
November 7-9, 2013
Brasilia, Brazil

McGill University - The Participatory Condition

EFF's Jillian York will participate in the "The Participatory Condition," an international colloquium hosted by McGill University.
November 15, 2013
Montreal, Canada

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