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EFFector - Volume 29, Issue 18 - WhatsApp, Facebook, and your privacy

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 705th issue:

How to Change Your WhatsApp Settings Before Facebook Data Sharing Begins

WhatsApp is establishing data-sharing practices that signal a significant shift in its attitude toward privacy—though you wouldn’t know it from the privacy policy update that popped up on users’ screens recently. The new policy lays the groundwork for alarming data sharing between WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook.

Existing WhatsApp users have until September 25 to click through this update and agree or not agree to Facebook using their WhatsApp data to suggest friends and serve ads. Unfortunately, WhatsApp’s user interface does not offer clear information about what the new privacy policy will change and buries mechanisms for opting out. We urge WhatsApp to make available settings and options more obvious to users. Until then, see this post for a step-by-step guide to change your account settings, and read more about what these changes mean for user privacy.

EFF Updates

EFF Presents the 25th Annual Pioneer Awards

On September 21 in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the work of the 2016 Pioneer Award winners: Malkia Cyril, Max Schrems, the authors of “Keys Under Doormats,” and California State Senators Mark Leno and Joel Anderson. The celebration will include drinks, bytes, and excellent company. Join us!

The Shadow Brokers Publish NSA Spy Tools, Demonstrating Possible Flaws in the NSA’s Approach to Security Vulnerabilities

A group calling itself the Shadow Brokers recently released powerful surveillance tools publicly on the Web and promises to publish more dangerous tools for the price of one million bitcoin. Lots of people want to speculate on how this leak could have happened and on whether there are more powerful hacking tools that will go public soon. But that’s missing the bigger question: is it time to create a real process that could, in some circumstances, force the NSA to disclose security flaws to American companies, so vulnerable systems can get patched?

Latest Leak Confirms European Copyright Plans Offer Little for Users

The draft text of a European Commission Directive on copyright has leaked, and we’ve reviewed some of the proposed changes. The most concerning elements are new responsibilities on Internet platforms and new copyright-like rights for publishers. Even aspects that sound good on the surface come with some annoying limitations.

Stupid Patent of the Month: Elsevier Patents Online Peer Review

On August 30, 2016, the Patent Office issued U.S. Patent No. 9,430,468, titled: “Online peer review and method.” The owner of this patent is none other than Elsevier, the giant academic publisher. When it first applied for the patent, Elsevier sought very broad claims that could have covered a wide range of online peer review. Fortunately, by the time the patent actually issued, its claims had been narrowed significantly. We think the patent is stupid, invalid, and an indictment of the system.

Do Over, Please: EFF and ACLU Ask Ninth Circuit to Revisit Two Dangerous CFAA Rulings

Imagine being convicted of a crime for logging into a friend’s social media account with their permission. Or for logging into your spouse’s bank account to pay a bill, even though a pop-up banner appeared stating that only account holders were permitted to access the system. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last month issued two decisions—by two different three-judge panels in two separate cases—which seem to turn such actions into federal crimes.

Transparency Hunters Capture More than 400 California Database Catalogs

A team of over 40 transparency activists aimed their browsers at California this past weekend, collecting more than 400 database catalogs from local government agencies, as required under a new state law. Together, participants in the California Database Hunt shined light on thousands upon thousands of government record systems.

European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet to Subsidize Publishers

A just-leaked draft impact assessment on the modernization of European copyright rules could spell the end for many online services in Europe as we know them. The document’s recommendations foreshadow a new European Union Directive on copyright to be introduced later this year, that will ultimately bind each of the 28 member states. If these recommendations by the European Commission are put in place, Europe’s Internet will never be the same, and these impacts are likely to reverberate around the world.

Justice Department Pressed to Intervene When Police Arrest Grassroots Journalists

Across the country, civilian journalists have documented government violence using cell phones to record police activities, forcing a much-needed national discourse. But in case after case, the people who face penalties in the wake of police violence are the courageous and quick-witted residents who use technology to enable transparency.

miniLinks

Inside the Secret Court That Rules the World (BuzzFeed News)

BuzzFeed News has kicked off an investigative series on the “secret justice system” in agreements like the TPP.

Secret Cameras Record Baltimore's Every Move from Above (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Baltimore police are using real-time aerial surveillance without public disclosure.

Warrant for Former DA Paul Zellerbach in Wiretap Case (The Desert Sun)

California judge issues contempt warrant for the Riverside District Attorney behind a fifth of all U.S. wiretaps.

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Administrivia

Editor: Dave Maass, Investigative Researcher
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EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Announcements

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

National Defender Investigator Association Regional Conference

Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch and Criminal Defense Staff Attorney Stephanie J. Lacambra will be representing EFF at sessions covering cell site location information and cell phone tracking tools, automated license plate recognition, biometric databases, and predictive policing.
September 8-9, 2016
Newport Beach, CA

Rock Against the TPP: San Francisco

Free concert and rally to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership at Regency Ballroom featuring Jello Biafra, La Santa Cecilia, and more! Sign the petition & RSVP to get your FREE ticket.
September 9, 2016
San Francisco, CA

The Circle

EFF's 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
Athens, Greece

Empodera Live!

EFF’s Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak at Empodera Live! in Málaga, Spain.

September 20-21, 2016
Malaga, Spain

World Maker Faire

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. Stop by our booth to say hello and learn the latest about EFF’s work defending digital freedom for all.
October 1-2, 2016
New York, NY

Association of Internet Researchers Annual Conference

EFF’s Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will attend and speak at the Association of Internet Researchers annual conference in Berlin, Germany.
October 5-8, 2016
Berlin, Germany

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