The Foilies are EFF’s annual opportunity to name-and-shame government agencies and officials who have stood in the way of public access. We collect the most outrageous and ridiculous stories from journalists, activists, academics, and everyday folk who have filed public record requests and experienced retaliation, over-redactions, exorbitant fees, and other transparency malpractice. We publish this rogues' gallery as a faux awards program during Sunshine Week (March 14-20, 2021), the annual celebration of open government organized by the News Leaders Association.
Google is leading the charge to replace third-party cookies with a new suite of technologies to target ads on the web. And some of its proposals show that it hasn’t learned the right lessons from the ongoing backlash to the surveillance business model. This post will focus on one of those proposals, Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which is perhaps the most ambitious—and potentially the most harmful. We emphatically reject the future of FLoC. That is not the world we want, nor the one users deserve. Google needs to learn the correct lessons from the era of third-party tracking and design its browser to work for users, not for advertisers.
The Tampa Bay Times has revealed a destructive “data-driven” policing program run by the Pasco County, Florida Sheriff's Office. Young people's school grades and absences, minor infractions, and even instances where they are a victim of crime are used to inform a bogus rubric and point system, based on a formula that intends to "prevent future crimes"—essentially labeling youths as potential future criminals. EFF is working with a coalition of local, statewide, and national organizations that are trying to dismantle this harmful program.
An organization calling itself Safe Cities Northwest is aiming to create public-private surveillance networks in Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. The organization claims that it is building off of a “successful model for public safety” that it built in San Francisco. However, it’s hard to call that model successful when it has been at the center of a civil rights lawsuit and has been used to spy on a number of public events, including Black-led protests against police violence and a Pride parade. Now it’s facing resistance from a neighborhood hoping to prevent the spread of the surveillance program.
There are nearly a dozen broadband policy bills in California, many proposing massive, positive changes to reinvent how broadband access is delivered to people. This could shed some light on the broader conversation around the digital divide.
We’ve written about the problems with app-store monopolies: companies shouldn’t have control over what software users can choose to run on their devices. But that doesn’t mean app stores shouldn’t moderate.
Federal law enforcement has been asking for a backdoor to read Americans’ encrypted communications for years now, and FBI Director Christopher Wray did it again earlier this month. But instead of inviting Wray up to Capitol Hill to ask for special ways to invade our privacy and security, senators should be asking Wray about the private data his agents are already trawling through. In all 50 states, police are breaking into phones on a vast scale.
Early March was the deadline for comments on the draft of the so-called “Digital Copyright Act,” a proposal which would fundamentally change how creativity functions online. We asked for creators to add their voices to the many groups opposing this draft, and you did it. Ultimately, over 900 of you signed a letter expressing your concern.
March 30, 2021 - 10:00am PDT (Virtual)
EFF is proud to be a supporter of this year's Open Source 101, hosted by a team at All Things Open. Open Source 101 is a one-day conference covering the technologies and processes foundational to open source, open tech, and the open web. The event features industry experts delivering 10 minute keynotes, 45 minute track talks, and extended workshop sessions. All content featured is delivered at an introductory or intermediate level. Target audience includes current technology professionals, students, entrepreneurs, and decision makers of all types.
April 3, 2021 - 12:00pm PDT (Virtual)
EFF's Jillian York will be discussing her new book, Silicon Values: The Future of Free Speech Under Surveillance Capitalism, with Ben Tarnoff at a virtual event hosted by SF's own City Lights Bookstore. The event is free but advance registration is required.
April 20, 2021, 4:35 - 5:20pm (Virtual)
EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow presents a keynote lecture at the 2021 edition of the FITC design conference, entitled "Interop: Self-Determination vs Dystopia."
Repeat after us: proctoring software doesn’t even work.
The latest version of Firefox comes with "total cookie protection" built in. What does that mean?
We're proud to have been awarded a James Madison Freedom of Information Award for our Atlas of Surveillance project, the largest-ever collection of searchable data on the use of surveillance technologies by law enforcement agencies across the country.
Would requiring “Real names” or “Real ID’s” make the Internet a safer place? “The short answer is no,” says EFF’s Eva Galperin on the Malwarebytes podcast. The long answer: "Hell no."
Kudos to the The Chicago Sun-Times Ed Board for raising the alarm: "Under the guise of helping small businesses, lawmakers are trying to repeal or eviscerate Illinois’ pioneering Biometric Information Protection Act."