The use of proctoring apps—privacy-invasive software products that “watch” students as they take tests or complete schoolwork—has skyrocketed. These apps make a seductive promise: that schools can still rely on high-stakes tests, where they have complete control of a student's environment, even during remote learning. But that promise comes with a huge catch. These apps violate student privacy, negatively impact some populations, and will likely never fully stop creative students from outsmarting the system.
In partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, we’ve launched the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies—with a map and a database of over 5300 datapoints. Learn about facial recognition, drones, license plate readers, and other devices law enforcement agencies are acquiring to spy on our communities.
The whole idea behind Section 230 is to make sure that you are responsible for your own speech online—not someone else’s. Currently, if a state prosecutor wants to bring a criminal case related to something said or done online, or a private lawyer wants to sue they must seek out the actual speaker in most cases. They can’t just haul a website owner into court because of the user’s actions. But that will change if EARN IT passes. Once websites lose Section 230 protections, they’ll take drastic measures to mitigate their exposure. That will limit free speech across the Internet.
The public’s right of access to court proceedings is well-established as a legal principle, but it needs constant defending. In part, that’s because private parties keep asking publicly-funded courts to resolve their disputes in secret. As we and others have written before, this problem is especially great in patent cases, where parties on opposite sides of a case often agree with each other to keep as much of the litigation as possible hidden from view.
The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) conducted mass surveillance of protesters at the end of May and in early June using a downtown business district's camera network, according to new records obtained by EFF. The records show that SFPD received real-time live access to hundreds of cameras as well as a "data dump" of camera footage amid the ongoing demonstrations against police violence.
As students, parents, and schools prepare the new school year, universities are considering ways to make returning to campus safer. Some are even mandating that students install COVID-related technology on their personal devices, but this is the wrong call.
EFF joined dozens of other groups in a letter condemning the behavior of federal law enforcement agencies in Portland, Oregon. Despite the wishes of Portland officials, the federal government deployed law enforcement, including U.S. Marshals and Customs and Border Protection officers. The federal government officially explained these actions as an effort to protect federal buildings, but it appears to be a militarized counter-insurgent effort to suppress protesters and the residents of Portland.
A high-profile Twitter hack in July put the risks of internal compromise in the spotlight. Attackers gained access to an internal admin tool at the company, and used it to take over approximately 130 accounts. Twitter has access to users’ direct messages (or DMs), which are some of the most sensitive user data on the platform, and are vulnerable to that hack’s kind of internal compromise. That’s because they are not end-to-end encrypted. But Twitter wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not these attackers read or exfiltrated DMs if it had end-to-end encrypted them, like we have been asking Twitter to do for years.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary held another in its year-long series of hearings on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) last month. The topic of this hearing was “How Does the DMCA Contemplate Limitations and Exceptions Like Fair Use?” We’re glad Congress is asking the question. Without fair use, much of our common culture would be inaccessible, cordoned off by copyright. Fair use creates breathing space for innovation and new creativity by allowing us to re-use and comment on existing works. But, unfortunately, the answer to Congress’s question is: not enough.
COVID-19 has pushed millions of people to work from home, and a flock of companies offering software for tracking workers has swooped in to pitch their products to employers across the country. Some vendors bill their tools as “automatic time tracking” or “workplace analytics” software. Others market to companies concerned about data breaches or intellectual property theft. While aimed at helping employers, bossware puts workers’ privacy and security at risk by logging every click and keystroke, covertly gathering information for lawsuits, and using other spying features that go far beyond what is necessary and proportionate to manage a workforce.
Every year, EFF honors leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. This year’s winners will be announced soon, and the celebration will be livestreamed, so mark your calendars for September 10th from 5:30-7:00 pm PDT!
This article explores the ways in which masks and face coverings increase the error rates in facial recognition systems.
No surprise: It will increase racial disparities in policing. History teaches us that when we rely on law enforcement to police public health, we will re-entrench inequality.
The NSA "rolled out guidance warning that location data from mobile and other internet-connected devices could pose a security threat for users if it were accessed by adversaries."
EFF's latest project helps detect cell site simulators and determine whether a cell tower is legitimate or not.
"In the United States, at least one in four law enforcement agencies are able to use facial recognition technology. The implications are troubling."