Two Senators are working on a bill that will make the U.S. patent system much worse. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have published a framework of the intended bill, which will take out the basic requirement that patents be “new and useful.” We’re asking EFF supporters to oppose this wrongheaded proposal, which will be a boon for patent trolls and other companies that license bad patents.
A bill that will treat certain copyright claims like traffic tickets is back. If passed, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) will be an invitation to abuse copyright law. It will allow a “Claims Officer” in the Copyright Office to award damages of up to $15,000 per work infringed, and agreements that are essentially binding injunctions. Copyright law impacts freedom of expression, and can’t be treated in such a cavalier manner. Tell your representatives to oppose the CASE Act.
The NSA has searched through the phone records of millions of Americans since 2001, without ever having obtained a warrant. The Call Detail Records program is a massive violation of Americans’ privacy. What’s more, it’s been ineffective at its goal of aiding counterterrorism investigations, according to oversight bodies. Rather than modifying the program to comply with the law, the NSA has now chosen to stop using it, according to news reports.
We have work to do to make sure the program doesn’t come back. Join us in urging Congress to support the Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act.
The public has a First Amendment right to record the activity of on-duty police officers. This week, we filed an amicus brief in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that argues that the use of electronic devices to record police activity increases accountability, and enhances the public discussion about police use of force and racial disparities in the justice system. The case, Frasier v. Evans, was brought by Levi Frasier, who recorded Denver police punching a suspect in the face to get drugs out of his mouth. Police retaliated by seizing Frasier’s tablet and apparently deleting the video, which was later retrieved from cloud storage.
A number of companies, including Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and GoFundMe, have recently banned anti-vaccine posts. The anti-vaccine trend is a bigger problem than censorship can solve. That’s why we advocate that platforms with categorical bans follow the Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation. It ensures users are notified about when and why their content is removed, and that they have the chance to appeal.
The U.S. Constitution doesn’t end at the border. EFF has asked a federal court to rule that the Department of Homeland Security violates the First and Fourth Amendments when it searches travelers’ smartphones and laptops at airports and other ports of entry without a warrant. Our request comes after we obtained documents and deposition testimony from our Alasaad v. McAleenan lawsuit, showing that U.S. border agencies like CBP and ICE engage in engage in unfettered searches through travelers’ personal information. Last year, CBP conducted more than 33,000 border device searches, almost four times the number they did just three years ago.
On May 10 in Boston, EFF Surveillance Litigation Director Jennifer Lynch will speak at a conference that explores the regulatory, legal, and human implications in facial recognition technology. The event takes place at 9:00am at Northeastern Law School.
Certbot is EFF's tool for getting automated certificates from Let's Encrypt. Certbot makes getting certificates easier, but how much easier? And which groups of users get left behind?
On May 16 at 1:30pm, EFF's Certbot team will discuss the results of our usability studies to find out how people were using tooling around HTTPS. We'll discuss our often surprising results, and lessons we learned to make Certbot more helpful. The event is at NorthSec in Montreal, Canada.
EFF's Jillian York will keynote a conference at the University of Toronto's Art Museum on the topic: "What do we mean when we say 'content moderation'?" Her talk takes place on May 25 at 10:30am.
Tech leaders like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook have publicly said they’re committed to privacy, but lobbying groups that represent those tech giants are pushing to weaken the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, which is set to take effect in January. (Wired)
A county in Western Oregon has become ground zero “for a high-stakes battle over the unregulated growth of policing by algorithm.” (The Washington Post)
If a government official claims AI can predict where and when crime will occur with “99% accuracy,” you can be 100% sure that they’re wrong. (Quartz)
Social media monitoring is increasing in schools, but there’s little evidence it is keeping students safer. (Brennan Center for Justice)