We're thrilled to announce the relaunch of Surveillance Self-Defense, our guide to defending yourself and your friends from digital surveillance by using encryption tools and developing appropriate privacy and security practices. These resources are intended to inspire better-informed conversations and decision-making about digital security and privacy. The site is available today in English, Arabic, and Spanish, with more languages coming soon.
How can the US government possibly claim that its collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans is legal? It relies mainly on two arguments: first, that no one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their metadata and second, that the outcome is controlled by the so-called "third party doctrine," which says that no one has an expectation of privacy in information they convey to a third party, such as telephone numbers dialed. EFF will respond to both of these arguments in oral argument in the NSA spying case Klayman v. Obama on November 4.
EFF has filed six exemption requests with the U.S. Copyright Office today, part of the elaborate, every-three-year process to right the wrongs put in place by the Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We're seeking to renew and expand previously granted exemptions on jailbreaking devices and ripping video for remixes, and pursuing new exemptions on repairing, modifying, and conducting security research on cars, as well as modifying video games to be playable after they've been abandoned by their publisher.
Verizon users might want to start looking for another provider. In an effort to better serve advertisers, Verizon Wireless has been silently modifying its users' web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker. This tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors' web browsing habits without their consent.
The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Law enforcement was adamant Section 213, defining a procedure known as a "sneak and peek" warrant, was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of "sneak and peek" warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 requests, only 51 were used for terrorism.
Recently, FBI Director James B. Comey, along with several government officials, have issued many public statements regarding their inability to catch criminals due to Apple and Google offering default encryption to their consumers. But we certainly felt a bit of deja vu when we saw current FBI Director Comey’s statements, since they sound eerily like the sentiments expressed by then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 1997.
Rupert Murdoch, chair of 21st Century Fox, argued recently that major media companies should develop their own video streaming service that could compete with Netflix and Amazon. Given that other streaming services are having a tough time competing (Verizon's foray into video streaming, Redbox Instant, is shutting down), his worries are well-founded. Fortunately, there's one move media companies could could make that would set apart any new video streaming service they develop: they could ditch the DRM.
EFF recently learned about a patent that covered a method of filming a yoga class. We reviewed the patent and discovered that it was just as ridiculous as it sounded. Despite our familiarity with absurd patents and our concerns about cursory review at the Patent and Trademark Office, we were still surprised that this one issued. But there's a silver lining to this story: the yoga community affected by this stupid patent wasn't willing to give in.
Laura Poitras' riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden's rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. But one of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise of the Internet.
EFF proudly participated in the eighth annual Open Access Week, a celebration of making scholarly research immediately and freely available for people around the world to read, cite, and re-use. One theme that seemed to run across all blog posts was that open access doesn't exist in a vacuum: there are laws, policies, and happenings in the world that immensely affect our access to research.
In Wired, Andy Greenberg explains what homomorphic encryption is, and how it could revolutionize the way cloud computing services are able to protect user privacy.
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.
Join EFF Activist Nadia Kayyali and Staff Technologist Cooper Quintin, who are visiting for an NYU Law workshop on warrant canaries. Raise a glass with EFF and learn about our latest efforts to protect online freedom one-on-one. November 3, 2014 New York, NY
EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn will argue before a DC court that Americans' telephone metadata deserves the highest protection of the Fourth Amendment. EFF is appearing as amicus in Klayman v. Obama, a case on appeal following a December 2013 preliminary ruling that the NSA's metadata program was likely unconstitutional. November 4, 2014 Washington, D.C.
After the Klayman v. Obama hearing, join us for a casual happy hour in Washington, DC. Raise a glass and learn about our latest efforts to protect online rights one-on-one. This meetup will be hosted by EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn, Deputy General Counsel Kurt Opsahl, and Legal Fellow Andrew Crocker. November 4, 2014 Washington, D.C.
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will take part in the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association's Annual Sunny Climate Seminar. He will give a presentation on government location tracking issues and then participate in a panel discussion on "Pressing Fourth and Fifth Amendment Issues in Data Privacy." November 11, 2014 Kohala Coast, HI
Learn about the latest developments in the movement to protect digital freedom at EFF Booth #207. You can even donate to get some great swag or become an official member at special reduced levels while you're there. There has never been a more important time to ensure that our rights have a defender—and EFF supporters get $50 off of event registration. November 12-13, 2014 Seattle, WA
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will give a one hour continuing legal education presentation on social media ethics for defense attorneys at the Northern District of Illinois's Criminal Justice Act Annual Seminar. November 21, 2014 Chicago, IL