We have launched TOSsed Out, a new iteration of EFF’s longstanding work in tracking and documenting the ways that Terms of Service (TOS) and other speech moderating rules are unevenly and unthinkingly applied to people by online services. TOSsed Out will highlight the myriad ways that all kinds of people are negatively affected by these rules and their irregular enforcement. As a result of these practices, posts are deleted and accounts banned, harming those for whom the Internet is an irreplaceable forum to express ideas, connect with others, and find support.
TOSsed Out continues in the vein of Onlinecensorship.org, which EFF launched in 2014 to collect reports from users in an effort to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability as they regulate speech.
Nominations are now open for the 2019 Barlow Awards to be presented at EFF's 28th Annual Pioneer Award Ceremony. Established in 1992, the Pioneer Award Ceremony recognizes leaders who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of technology. In honor of Internet visionary, Grateful Dead lyricist, and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, recipients are awarded a “Barlow." Nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. Their contributions may be technical, social, legal, academic, economic or cultural. Nominations will be open until 11:59pm PDT on June 5, 2019.
The future of competition in high-speed broadband access looks bleak. A vast majority of homes only have their cable monopoly as their choice for high-speed broadband, and small ISPs and local governments are carrying the heavy load of deploying fiber networks that surpass gigabit cable networks. Research now shows that these new monopolies have striking similarities to the telephone monopolies of old. But we don’t have to repeat the past; we’ve already seen how laws can promote competition and break monopolies.
A federal district court in San Francisco has ruled strongly in favor of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking records of how and when the FBI lifts gag orders issued with National Security Letters (NSLs). These records will provide a window into the FBI’s use of a highly secretive investigative tool that has been historically misused. They will also provide insight into the effectiveness of the USA Freedom Act, the national security reform law passed by Congress in 2015.
The century-old tradition that the Espionage Act not be used against journalistic activities has now been broken. Seventeen new charges were filed this month against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which make clear that he is being prosecuted for basic journalistic tasks—dropping the charade that this prosecution is only about hacking or helping in hacking. Regardless of what one thinks of Assange’s personal behavior, the indictment itself will inevitably have a chilling effect on critical national security journalism, and the dissemination in the public interest of available information that the government would prefer to hide. There can be no doubt now that the Assange indictment is an attack on the freedoms of speech and the press, and it must not stand.
Facebook has indicated that it expects to be fined between $3 and $5 billion by the FTC. But punitive fines alone, no matter the size, are unlikely to change the overlapping privacy and competition harms at the center of Facebook’s business model. Whether or not it levies fines, the FTC should use its power to make Facebook better in meaningful ways. A new settlement with the company could compel it to change its behavior.
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From June 11 to June 14, EFF will be represented by several staffers at RightsCon—held this year in Tunis, Tunisia.
On June 14, EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass will speak at the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Houston, Texas on how journalists can protect their devices, communications, and sensitive data, particularly in an era of mass surveillance, data breaches, and targeted hacking. There is no suite of tools or practices that will fit all circumstances, and the field of options can be daunting. The panelists will provide an overview of basic threat modeling, device security, encrypted communications, and an array of online resources that can help inform newsroom discussions about these critical issues as the risks facing journalists evolve. Maass will be joined by Jorge Luis Sierra of Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers, Neena Kapur of The New York Times, and Kristen Kozinski of The New York Times.
EFF seeks a Major Gifts Coordinator to support and build relationships with EFF's community of major donors. This individual will join a Development Team of eight, working closely with the Development Director and Associate Director of Donor Relations. The Major Gifts Coordinator helps fulfill the Development Team’s goals of delighting supporters and expanding our capacity to deepen relationships with major donors.
EFF seeks an energetic team-player to support over 30,000 annual donors. The Donor Operations Assistant is a key member of EFF's eight-person Development Team which raises over $10 million each year. This position has room for growth for a motivated individual and is a great way to learn the ins and outs of non-profit fundraising.
EFF is looking for a litigator with an unshakeable sense of justice and strong writing skills to join our legal team, and help us further EFF’s mission of protecting and promoting privacy and free expression. For this position, we are looking for someone with both civil and criminal litigation experience.
EFF seeks a Human Resources Manager. This role reports to the Director of Finance and Operations and works closely with the General Counsel. The Human Resources Manager is responsible for ensuring that our crack team of lawyers, activists, technologists and supporting staff has the workplace support it needs to build a better digital world. The Human Resources Manager is the sole full-time HR professional in an organization of around 100 employees, contractors and interns, with part time administrative support.
EFF is looking for a litigator who is excited about fostering digital creativity, justice and innovation to join our legal team. Ideal candidates will have substantial experience in copyright and/or trademark litigation. Experience with or strong interest in patent, unfair competition, administrative law, privacy and/or First Amendment litigation is preferred but not required.
A federal magistrate in San Francisco has ruled that a Jehovah’s Witness whose online postings were intended to stir debate about the religion’s practices can remain anonymous, except for identification to lawyers for the religion’s Watchtower publication, which says the posting violated its copyright. (San Francisco Chronicle)
EFF’s Eva Galperin identifies and exposes threats to the privacy of journalists, activists, and others online. That includes hundreds of victims of domestic abuse, who are often targeted with surveillance software (aka stalkerware) that lets abusers spy on their victims through digital devices. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People 2019. (Fast Company)
Researchers say Facebook has weakened or disabled certain tools they use to track political ads and content across the platform, just as users are about to be hit with a tsunami of political content. (Vice)
While San Francisco has passed a ban on government use of facial recognition, it does not prohibit businesses or private citizens from using facial recognition systems. It is unclear where corporations will stand in the debate moving forward. (Salon)