The Supreme Court denied Personal Audio LLC's petition for review, putting an end to a years-long fight between EFF and the patent troll. Personal Audio had claimed that podcasters like Adam Corolla and other, smaller podcasters infringed its patent for a "system disseminating media content" in serialized episodes. EFF challenged the patent arguing, among other things, that people were podcasting before Personal Audio first applied for its patent. EFF first won in the Patent Office in 2015, and with the decision from the Supreme Court, this case is finally over and podcasters can cast without fear.
On May 16, the Senate voted to restore the 2015 Open Internet Order and reject the FCC’s attempt to gut net neutrality. The final Senate vote was 52 to 47 in favor. That puts a bare majority of the Senate in step with the 86% of Americans who oppose the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections. This is a great first step, but now the fight moves to the House of Representatives.
Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a majority vote in Congress can overturn the FCC's rule. With the passage of the CRA measure in the Senate, we're partway to restoring net neutrality protections. However, a majority of the members of the House of Representatives have not committed to voting for it. We have to keep up the momentum that got us a win in the Senate by getting 218 representatives committing to voting in favor. Take a minute to check where your representative stands, and, if they haven't already, ask them to stand up for net neutrality.
Researchers have developed code exploiting several vulnerabilities in PGP (including GPG) for email and theorized many more which others could build upon. This understandably has caused people to ask many questions. We've attempted to answer some of the most important ones for you, such as what attacks the researchers have found, who was affected by the vulnerabilities, and what to look out for going forward.
We'll continue to update our pages as this situation evolves, so keep checking back on EFF.org.
EFF released a new version of Privacy Badger featuring a new, experimental way to protect your privacy on and, crucially, off Facebook. When you click a link on Facebook, the external link is wrapped in a URL that points back to Facebook.com. Facebook is not alone in this, as companies like Google and Twitter do the same. Facebook goes a step further by hiding that wrapped Facebook.com URL so it looks innocuous, but is still tracking where you go.
To combat this, the latest version of Privacy Badger finds all those wraps as they’re added to the page, replaces them with their "unwrapped" equivalents, and blocks the tracking code that would run when you hover over or click on them.
Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to get around any sort of lock that controls access to copyrighted material. While it is possible to get exemptions to this provision, it's a long and arduous process that still results in burdens being placed on things like repair shops. Because there is copyrighted software in cars, mechanics can be violating the law when they try to get into the diagnostic systems of your car. That's a nightmare scenario, which author John Scalzi was kind enough to write us a science fiction story to illustrate.
A new bill introduced in Congress gets encryption right. The bipartisan Secure Data Act would protect companies that make encrypted mobile phones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, as well as developers of popular software for sending end-to-end encrypted messages, including Signal and WhatsApp, from being forced to alter their products in a way that would weaken the encryption. The bill also forbids the government from seeking a court order that would mandate such alterations.
In a victory for privacy rights at the border, on May 9, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that forensic searches of electronic devices carried out by border agents without any suspicion that the traveler has committed a crime violate the U.S. Constitution.
EFF will be attending the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization. The meeting will discuss a proposed treaty that would give broadcasters exclusive new rights over the material that they broadcast, as well as copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives and for education, and the status of copyright in the digital age.
Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation staff for a drink on Wednesday, May 30 in San Francisco! Raise a glass with EFF attorneys, technologists, and activists and discover our latest work defending your freedom online. EFF's Speakeasy events are free, informal meetups that give you a chance to mingle with local members and meet the people behind the world's leading digital civil liberties organization. It is also our chance to thank you, the EFF members who make this work possible.
As a special treat, the EFF staff will give the crowd a brief update on our work on emerging online rights issues. If you are a current San Francisco Bay Area EFF member accepting email, you will find a personal invitation with location details in your inbox! Space is limited, so reserve your spot. If you are traveling through San Francisco next week and would like to join in, contact email@example.com for more information.
EFF is looking for a temporary Grant Writer to support EFF's fundraising operations during a team member’s leave of absence. Do you love Internet freedom? Do you have experience in persuasive writing and grant management? Consider joining us!
EFF is looking to hire an experienced litigator with an unshakeable sense of justice and Fourth Amendment expertise to join our civil liberties team.
EFF is seeking a full-time Staff Technologist to work with our Browser Extensions team as the lead developer for HTTPS Everywhere.
Several Google employees have left the company, writing that continued involvement in the Pentagon's Project Maven deserves more sober reflection and public debate. (Gizmodo)
We need transparency from the platforms themselves when it comes to how they moderate content online. For now, researchers including Nicolas Suzor have been tracking how the content moderation processes of major platforms are actually working in practice. (Digital Social Contract)
Prison phone company Securus, which markets its location-finding service as a feature for law enforcement and corrections officials, can get real-time location data for nearly any cellphone in the country. (New York Times)
Cities and counties are making progress in the fight to rein in law enforcement surveillance. (Slate)
EFF and dozens of privacy groups fought the "extreme vetting" software initiative for more than a year. Its closure is a triumph. (Washington Post)
The CLASSICS Act is "as blatant a gift without any public return as is conceivable. And it's not just a gift through cash; it's a gift through a monopoly regulation of speech," says Lawrence Lessig. (Wired)