Social media platform Tumblr has announced a ban on so-called “adult content,” a move made, it seems, in reaction to Tumblr’s app being removed from the Apple app store. But while making the app more available is in theory good for Tumblr users, in practice what’s about to happen is mass censorship of communities that have made Tumblr a positive experience for so many people in the first place.
It’s notable that Tumblr’s new policy is largely in line with that of peers Facebook, Microsoft, and YouTube, all of which heavily restrict so-called “adult content.” The end result is that companies and governments are changing how users get to express themselves on the Internet. The multi-billion dollar corporate porn industry won’t go away; rather, what will are places for people to talk frankly, openly, and safely about sex and sexuality. Groups that are pushed out of mainstream discussions or find themselves attacked in mainstream spaces are once again losing their voices.
California’s data privacy law, enacted in June, is a critical step forward to protect the privacy and security of technology users’ data. EFF is one of fifteen privacy organizations calling on the state’s legislators to defend and continue to improve the California Consumer Privacy Act this year.
The law has already become a target of industries that wish to weaken its effects and make it easier to get around some of the law’s most important protections. We join our allies in asking California’s lawmakers to:
- Oppose efforts to carve out more exceptions for particular types of data use.
- Fight attempts to add loopholes that weaken people’s ability to “say no” to data collection.
- Reject efforts to weaken people’s ability to download and access their own data.
- Protect specific data privacy and security protections for children and teens.
Article 13 is potentially only a few weeks away from officially becoming an EU directive, controlling the Internet access of more than 500,000,000 Europeans. Its proponents have a problem, though: filters don't work, they cost a lot, they underblock, they overblock, they are ripe for abuse (basically, all the objections the Commission's experts raised the first time around). So they've spun, distorted and obfuscated its intention, and now they can be found in the halls of power, proclaiming to the politicians who'll get the final vote that "Article 13 does not mean copyright filters."
But it does.
EFF has joined an effort to unseal court records in a groundbreaking case where the government reportedly tried to force Facebook to compromise the encryption in Facebook Messenger voice calls. According to press reports, the U.S. Department of Justice tried to get Facebook to turn over customer data and unencrypted Messenger voice calls using a wiretap order. To our knowledge, this hasn’t been done before, and it raises novel questions about modern communication providers’ duties to assist with wiretaps involving encryption.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office had drones at the ready on the scene for many high-profile protests in Berkeley and on the University of California Berkeley campus throughout 2017. Just to the north, the Contra Costa County Sheriff deployed drones over immigrant rights rallies outside the West County Detention Facility in Richmond, California, which houses detainees for ICE.
The Sacramento County’s Department of Human Assistance (DHA) is terminating its invasive automated license plate reader (ALPR) program, following an EFF investigation that found the agency was accessing driver data to investigate welfare recipients without enacting the basic civil liberties safeguards required by California law.
EFF is now accepting nominations for The Foilies 2019, our fifth annual “anti-awards” program for government agencies that, whether by maliciousness or incompetence, interfere with the right to access public information. It’s a tongue-in-cheek affair celebrating Sunshine Week (March 10-16, 2019), when a coalition of transparency organizations raise public awareness of the open government laws that make democracy possible.
Do you need some stimulating reading material for the weekend? Here’s a great option: the latest issue of Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, The End of Trust. This is a collection of essays and interviews about technology, privacy, and surveillance, featuring many EFF authors—including EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn, Special Advisor Cory Doctorow, and board member Bruce Schneier.
The End of Trust is on sale online and in bookstores now, but it’s also free to download under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
Thanks to all our supporters for helping us surpass our Power Up campaign matching goal—we received over $180,000 this year from donors, which will be doubled by allies!
EFF's Ernesto Falcon will participate in the 36th Annual Institute on Telecommunications Policy & Regulation Panel on December 7th in Washington, D.C. to discuss the status of federal open Internet rules and the state response to the FCC eliminating the broadband reclassification and net neutrality regulation.
Join Boston VR & The Public VR Lab on December 10 to demo and hear about ways civic-focused technologists are using VR/XR in the public interest space. EFF Web Developer Laura Schatzkin and Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass will discuss EFF's virtual reality tool, Spot the Surveillance.
Austin: Join the EFF-Austin team on December 10 as they present their legislative agenda for the 86(R) session, including what our strategy is, what our current areas of interest are, the materials we will be sharing with the legislators, and how you can get involved. A local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host this event.
Join EFF on December 11 to celebrate the release of The End of Trust (McSweeney's Issue 54), which features more than 30 writers and artists investigating surveillance in the digital age, including many EFF staff members. There will be a reading and panel discussion with EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn and Special Advisor Cory Doctorow.
Austin: It's that time of year again! Join EFF-Austin for the annual holiday party on Thursday, December 13th, from 7:00pm-9:00pm at B.D.Riley's Irish Pub on 6th Street. A local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host this event.
Today's online world can be complicated when it comes to privacy and security. Keeping yourself safe and secure is so important. If you're in Spokane, come learn the basics of keeping yourself safe online from Future Ada in a one hour workshop on December 15! A local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host this event.
We're looking for a smart and motivated person with excellent organization and communication skills to provide administrative support for EFF’s Executive Team.
We're seeking a designer with a strong background in web and graphic design. A successful candidate will have a good understanding of the principles of web design, a portfolio demonstrating their skills, and experience collaborating with web developers.
A new lawsuit alleges that Shotspotter, a manufacturer of police spy tech, falsified records to justify a police shooting. We look forward to the court’s examination of the system’s reliability. (Medium)
EFF's amazing leader and fearless defender of digital rights Cindy Cohn is named one of tech's top 50 women by Forbes. (Forbes)
Technology innovations provide an essential opportunity to make information and learning more personalized and accessible. However, many also present new risks of personal data collection from young people with little ability to make informed choices. (PJ Media)
EFF and McSweeney’s have teamed up to bring you "The End of Trust,” the first all-nonfiction McSweeney’s issue, focusing on technology, privacy, and surveillance. (McSweeneys)