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EFFector - Volume 29, Issue 19 - Unprecedented and illegal FBI hacking


EFFector - Volume 29, Issue 19 - Unprecedented and illegal FBI hacking

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 706th issue:

The FBI’s Unprecedented and Illegal Hacking Operation

It started with a tip to the FBI from a foreign law enforcement agency that a Tor Hidden Service site called “Playpen” was hosting child pornography. That tip would ultimately lead to the largest known hacking operation in U.S. law enforcement history. The Playpen investigation—driven by the FBI's hacking campaign—resulted in hundreds of criminal prosecutions that are currently working their way through the federal courts.

The issues in these cases are technical and the alleged crimes are distasteful. But make no mistake: these cases are laying the foundation for the future expansion of law enforcement hacking in domestic criminal investigations, and the precedent these cases create is likely to impact the digital privacy rights of Internet users for years to come.

Spying on Students: Tell Us About Your Experiences with K-12 Student Privacy

School districts around the country are making use of cloud–based educational platforms and assigning laptops and tablets to students. Almost one third of all students—elementary through high school—already use school–issued digital devices, and many of these devices present a serious risk to student privacy. They collect far more information on kids than is necessary, store this information indefinitely, and sometimes even upload it to the cloud automatically. In short, they’re spying on students—and school districts, which often provide inadequate privacy policies (or no privacy policy at all), are helping them.

As the 2016-2017 school year begins, we want to hear from you about your experiences with student privacy and school-issued devices in your community. Take EFF's student privacy survey and help us paint a nation-wide picture of risks to student privacy.

EFF Updates

Facebook's Nudity Ban Affects All Kinds of Users

Facebook’s recent censorship of the iconic AP photograph of nine year-old Kim Phúc fleeing naked from a napalm bombing has once again brought the issue of commercial content moderation to the fore. Although Facebook has since apologized, the social media giant continues to defend the policy that allowed the takedown to happen in the first place.

If You Build A Censorship Machine, They Will Come

If you have the power to censor other people’s speech, special interests will try to co-opt that power for their own purposes. That’s a lesson the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is learning this year. MPAA, which represents six major movie studios, also runs the private entity that assigns movie ratings in the U.S. While it’s a voluntary system with no formal connection to government, MPAA's “Classification and Ratings Administration” wields remarkable power.

4 Things to Consider When Running Social Media Campaigns About Texas Inmates

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) sent shockwaves through the prisoner rights community in April when it announced a new policy forbidding inmates from participating in social media. The wording of the new TDCJ rule was vague and chillingly broad, and the community was unsure how it would be applied.

CBP Fails to Meaningfully Address Risks of Gathering Social Media Handles

We submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency opposing its proposal to gather social media handles from foreign visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries. CBP recently provided its preliminary responses to several of our arguments. The proposal to collect social media handles has serious flaws—and the government has failed to adequately address them.

Civil Liberties Groups Call for Stronger Oversight by House Intelligence Committee

Edward Snowden’s release of once-secret documents about U.S. intelligence surveillance focused much-needed attention on the problem of how to control the burgeoning U.S. surveillance-industrial complex. But while the USA Freedom Act began to limit national security surveillance to some extent, it did little to address the underlying problem of excessive executive branch secrecy.

Copyright Shouldn't Hold Technology Back

The FCC is about to make a decision about whether third-party companies can market their own alternatives to the set-top boxes provided by cable companies. The fight over set-top boxes isn’t just about stimulating competition to bring higher quality products to market—it’s about your basic rights as a consumer.

Tell Justin Trudeau to Fight for Web Developer Saeed Malekpour

Saeed Malekpour—a Canadian resident, Iranian citizen, and programmer—was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard during a visit to his family in 2008 based on unsubstantiated accusations of connections to illegal websites. Saeed’s freedom depends on the global attention his case receives. That’s why we're asking you to write to Trudeau now, and tell the Canadian government that the world has not forgotten Saeed.

European Copyright Ruling Ushers in New Dark Era for Hyperlinks

In a case which threatens to cause turmoil for thousands if not millions of websites, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided today that a website that merely links to material that infringes copyright, can itself be found guilty of copyright infringement, provided only that the operator knew or could reasonably have known that the material was infringing.

Analog: The Last Defense Against DRM

With the recent iPhone 7 announcement, Apple confirmed what had already been widely speculated: that the new smartphone won’t have a traditional, analog headphone jack. By switching from an analog signal to a digital one, Apple has potentially given itself more control than ever over what people can do with music or other audio content on an iPhone.

Content Companies Demand Total Control of Set-Top Boxes at FCC

Major TV producers have finally said what they really want from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in exchange for breaking up the cable companies’ monopoly over set-top boxes. As they continue to push fake copyright arguments that experts in copyright law have roundly refuted, the big TV companies have now made clear that they do not want consumers to have the ability to search the Internet for videos and they do not want device makers to have the freedom to create devices with all of the features consumers want.


Unprecedented and Unlawful: The NSA’s “Upstream” Surveillance

ACLU staff attorneys explain why the NSA’s upstream collection is mass surveillance.

'Edward Snowden did this country a great service. Let him come home.'

EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, Bernie Sanders, Daniel Ellsberg, and former members of the NSA weigh in on whether Obama should pardon Edward Snowden.

Correcting the Record on Section 702: A Prerequisite for Meaningful Surveillance Reform

The NSA’s 702 surveillance is broader than it seems and needs reform. Jennifer Granick explains.

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Editor: Dave Maass, Investigative Researcher

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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EFF's New Coordinator for Grassroots Advocacy Camille Ochoa

Camille will be working to drive forward EFF’s Electronic Frontier Alliance.

EFF's New Researcher Gennie Gebhart

Gennie will be fighting for your right to privacy and security online, with a special focus on consumer privacy.

EFA September Teleconference

The Electronic Frontier Alliance will host a teleconference to hear updates and announcements from member groups.
September 29, 2016
RSVP to join the call

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

Rock Against the TPP: Boston

Free concert and rally to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership at Spontaneous Celebrations featuring Mirah, Debo Band, Foundation Movement and more! Sign the petition & RSVP to get your FREE ticket.
October 7, 2016
Boston, MA

Das ist Netzpolitik!

EFF’s Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak about the regulation of hate speech at the third edition of Das ist Netzpolitik!
October 7, 2016
Berlin, Germany

Surveillance: Self-Defense and How You Can Push Back

EFF’s Coordinator of Grassroots Advocacy Camille Ochoa, Intake Coordinator Amul Kalia, and Director of Grassroots Advocacy Shahid Buttar will co-facilitate a free workshop on surveillance self-defense with the Linux Users Group of Davis. The workshop will be open to the public.
October 17, 2016
Davis, California

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 2016 Fall Meeting & Seminar

EFF’s Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch will be speaking on biometric data, facial recognition, and how it can impact 4th amendment cases.
October 26-29, 2016
San Francisco, CA

Rock Against the TPP: Washington, D.C.

Free concert and rally to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Line-up to be announced.
November 30, 2016
Washington, D.C.

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