EFF has prepared a transition memo for the incoming Biden administration outlining our recommendations for how it should act to protect everyone’s civil liberties in a digital world. While we hope to work with the new administration on a wide range of policies that affect digital rights in the coming years, this memo focuses on the areas that need immediate attention.
Government and private use of face recognition technology both present a wealth of concerns. Privacy, safety, and amplification of carceral bias are just some of the reasons why we must ban government use. But what about private use? There are many menacing ways for private entities to use face recognition, but not all private use of face recognition technology undermines human rights. That's why we support strict limits on private use of face recognition but do not support a ban.
In response to Apple’s new AppTrackingTransparency feature on iPhones—which requires apps to request permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites or sharing their information with and from third parties—Facebook launched a campaign touting its invasive tracking practices as a lifeline for small businesses. This is a laughable attempt from Facebook to distract you from its poor track record of anticompetitive behavior and privacy issues as it tries to derail pro-privacy changes from Apple that are bad for Facebook’s bottom line.
The new administration can do two things immediately that would help block some of the more nefarious ways that police departments get surveillance technology. It should further roll back the infamous 1033 program of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows local police to inherit military gear. And it should bar the use of funds seized by civil asset forfeiture to fund these technologies.
As we consider the role that social media and online platforms have played in the U.S. in recent months, it’s both instructive and essential to remember the events that took place during the Arab Spring a decade ago, and how policies and decisions made at the time helped to strengthen—or, in some cases, handicap—those democratic movements.
California joined dozens of other states and countries in launching its COVID-19 exposure notification app, CA Notify, built on Google and Apple’s Exposure Notification API. While the Bluetooth technology that powers California’s app and others like it is the most promising approach to COVID exposure notification, there are still important privacy and equity concerns. And, ultimately, COVID tracking apps like these can only be effective if deployed alongside widespread testing and interview-based contact tracing.
The latest entry in our Takedown Hall of Shame involves Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player Two, criticizing tweets, and the DMCA. If your books are famous for making fair use of pop culture, it would probably behoove you to understand that people using portions of your books in critiques of them… are also making fair uses.
January 28, 2021 - 2:00pm PST
Join EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow for the launch of the print edition of his short book about competition, disinformation, and monopoly, How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism.
January 28, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm PST
How does surveillance impact racial justice and public safety in Piedmont and our broader community? Join PREC, PADC, Piedmont League of Women Voters, and our panelists for a discussion on new surveillance technologies to monitor, track, and predict the actions of citizens.
January 29, 2021 - 12:30pm PST
Since the onset of COVID-19, many nonprofit organizations have had to face the question of how to use technology to serve their communities remotely, bringing new risk to some already heavily surveilled communities. In this panel, Albert Cahn from the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Nathan "nash" Sheard from EFF, Matt Mitchell from the Ford Foundation, and Peter Micek from Access Now will discuss the ethical implications of using technology and will help equip organizations with strategies to mitigate risk and reduce harm.
February 3, 2021 - 7:05–7:35 am PST
4G based IMSI catchers such as the Hailstorm are becoming more popular with governments and law enforcement around the world, as well as with spies, and even criminals. Until now, IMSI catcher detection has focused on 2G IMSI catchers such as the Stingray that are quickly falling out of favor. In this talk, we will demonstrate a brand new software project to detect fake 4G base stations with open source software and relatively cheap hardware. We will reveal what we have found so far using our methods and present a plan to dramatically limit the capabilities of IMSI catchers—with the long term goal of making them useless once and for all.
February 3, 2021 - 11:00am to 1:00pm PST
Join EFF and a "host" of platform and content moderation experts with experience at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest for a provocative conversation about the free speech issues facing us today. From the takedown of Parler to the removal of Trump, get an inside look at how these decisions are made, and the ways they can affect everyone on the Internet.
February 9, 2021 - 7:00pm PST
Join EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow in conversation with the whistleblower Edward Snowden for an online event to launch the young adult edition of Snowden's memoir, "Permanent Record."
Police robots may seem fun, but their normalization may be an indicator of more surveillance, racial profiling, and a future full of hard choices.
"It’s past time to begin to restore power to consumers by curbing tech companies’ everyday overreach through lopsided consumer contracts."
Away from the vitriol, researchers are investigating concrete steps companies, officials, and the rest of us can take to tackle the crisis.