In our 704th issue:
Microsoft had an ambitious goal with the launch of Windows 10: a billion devices running the software by the end of 2018. In its quest to reach that goal, the company aggressively pushed Windows 10 on its users and even offered free upgrades for a whole year. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging users to upgrade their software, but the user should always be in control.
In its eagerness to move every Windows user to Windows 10, Microsoft has ignored two of the keystones of modern computing: user choice and privacy. The company has used tactics that have essentially amounted to tricking users into making the upgrade. That’s particularly troubling when Windows 10 sends an unprecedented amount of user data to Microsoft servers.
Civil Rights Coalition files FCC Complaint Against Baltimore Police Department
The Center for Media Justice, ColorOfChange.org, and New America’s Open Technology Institute recently filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission alleging the Baltimore police are violating the federal Communications Act with their use of cell site simulators, also known as Stingrays. This technology disrupts cellphone calls and interferes with the cellular network—and does it in a way that has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. If you want to see the FCC take action, tell the commissioners now.
Tell Your University: Don’t Sell Patents to Trolls
When universities invent, those inventions should benefit everyone. Unfortunately, they sometimes end up in the hands of patent trolls—companies that serve no purpose but to amass patents and demand money from innovators. If you think that universities shouldn’t do business with trolls, then join us in calling on your college or university to stand up for real innovation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wants to Know Who You Are on Twitter—But It’s a Flawed Plan
U.S. border control agents want to gather Facebook and Twitter identities from visitors from around the world. But this flawed plan would violate travelers’ privacy, and would have a wide-ranging impact on freedom of expression—all while doing little or nothing to protect Americans from terrorism.
The Global Ambitions of Pakistan’s New Cyber-Crime Act
Pakistan’s Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) last week passed into law despite near unanimous condemnation from tech experts and serious concerns from civil liberties groups. The PECB isn’t only a tragedy for free expression and privacy within Pakistan; it also has dangerous ramifications for Pakistan nationals abroad and frightening implications for international criminal law in general.
California Lawmaker Pulls Digital Currency Bill After EFF Opposition
For the second year in a row, EFF and a coalition of virtual currency and consumer protection organizations have beaten back a California bill that would have created untenable burdens for the emerging cryptocurrency community.
White House Source Code Policy Should Go Further
A new federal government policy will result in the government releasing more of the software that it creates under free and open source software licenses. That’s great news, but the policy doesn’t go far enough in its goals or in enabling public oversight.
Word Games: What the NSA Means by “Targeted” Surveillance Under Section 702
We all know that the NSA uses word games to hide and downplay its activities. Words like “collect,” “conversations,” “communications,” and even “surveillance” have suffered tortured definitions that create confusion rather than clarity. There’s another one to watch: “targeted” surveillance.
The FCC Can’t Save Community Broadband—But We Can
While most of us were focused on the FCC’s Open Internet Order to protect net neutrality last year, the FCC quietly did one more thing: it voted to override certain state regulations that inhibit the development and expansion of community broadband projects. A federal appeals court recently rejected the FCC’s effort, but the fight for community broadband is far from over.
We Shouldn’t Wait Another Fifteen Years for a Conversation About Government Hacking
With high-profile hacks in the headlines and government officials trying to reopen a long-settled debate about encryption, information security has become a mainstream issue. But we feel that one element of digital security hasn't received enough critical attention: the role of government in acquiring and exploiting vulnerabilities and hacking for law enforcement and intelligence purposes.
How Digital Copyright Law Is Being Used to Run Roughshod Over Repairs (NBC News)
From agriculture to computers, copyright law’s protection for digital locks is making it difficult for people to repair their own products.
Father ‘Utterly Terrified’ After Trooper Points Gun at His 7-Year-Old During Traffic Stop (Washington Post)
How an error in automated license plate reader data put a child’s life at risk.
LinkedIn Sues Anonymous Data Scrapers (TechCrunch)
In EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo’s words, “If you make it illegal for bots to access websites, you’ve given existing search engines a monopoly.”
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Elliot Harmon, Activist
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California Database Hunt
Local government agencies in California are required to publish an inventory of all the “enterprise systems” they use to store primary records or information on the public. These catalogs not only name the databases, but the type of data they collect and store, the name of the software used, and the vendor. Work with us as we sweep through California cities, counties, and local agencies to collect these catalogs.
August 27, 2016
San Francisco, CA
EFF at Dragon Con
EFF Investigative Researcher Dave Maass returns (in costume) to Dragon Con’s Electronic Frontiers Forums, where he’ll discuss a range of privacy, activism, and transparency issues around digital civil liberties.
September 2–5, 2016
Free Forum: Surveillance is a Local Issue
The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center hosts a conversation with EFF Senior Staff Attorney Adam Schwartz on how local law enforcement agencies are using surveillance technology and how the public can defend its civil liberties.
September 6, 2016
Palo Alto, CA
Rock Against the TPP: San Francisco
Fight For the Future hosts a free concert and rally to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership featuring Jello Biafra, La Santa Cecilia, and more.
September 9, 2016
San Francisco, CA
EFF at The Circle
EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak at The Circle of European Communicators’ annual event in Athens, Greece.
September 14–16, 2016
25th Annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony
EFF will be celebrating the work of the 2016 Pioneer Award winners: Malkia Cyril, Max Schrems, the authors of the “Keys Under Doormats,” and California State Senators Mark Leno and Joel Anderson. The celebration will include drinks, bytes, and excellent company.
September 21, 2016
San Francisco, CA
EFF at World Maker Faire New York
Celebrate innovation with EFF at World Maker Faire New York 2016! We are pleased to participate in the world's most diverse showcase of creativity and innovation in technology, craft, science, fashion, art, food, and more.
October 1–2, 2016
EFF at AoIR
EFF’s Jillian York will attend and speak at the Association of Internet Researchers annual conference.
October 5–8, 2016