EFF in the News
David Greene, the senior staff attorney and civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization that defends civil liberties online that cosigned the Student Press Law Center's amicus brief in the Elonis case, said while the Supreme Court's ruling did address some of his worries, he's still concerned over the effect Elonis might have on student social media speech.
You’ve heard every rumour there is to hear about HTTPS. It’s slow. It’s only for websites that need to be ultra-secure. It doesn’t really work. All wrong. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Peter Eckersley is a technologist who has been researching the use of HTTPS for several years, and working on the EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere project. He says that there’s a dangerous misconception that many websites and apps don’t need HTTPS. He emailed to expand on that:
Another serious misconception is website operators, such as newspapers or advertising networks, thinking “because we don’t process credit card payments, our site doesn’t need to be HTTPS, or our app doesn’t need to use HTTPS”. All sites on the Web need to be HTTPS, because without HTTPS it’s easy for hackers, eavesdroppers, or government surveillance programs to see exactly what people are reading on your site; what data your app is processing; or even to modify or alter that data in malicious ways.
Eckersley has no corporate affiliations (EFF is a charity), and thus no potential conflict of interest when it comes to promoting HTTPS. He’s just interested in user safety.
Digital privacy groups say it is one thing for social media companies to remove posts that might be misinterpreted, but it is quite another for them to alert the FBI that the users involved may be terrorists.
“It becomes this weird sort of surveillance program under this slightly nicer title of ‘mandatory reporting,’” said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"There's a huge amount of power in Google's hands to decide how it does this with very little influence outside of Google," said Danny O'Brien, international director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"It's like a secret agreement between Google and the data protection authorities in Europe. That's sort of disturbing," he told the E-Commerce Times.
"There should be a law," O'Brien urged, "instead of Google and a bunch privacy experts negotiating among themselves on a free expression issue."
The challenge is being brought forward by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization of pro-privacy advocates who have been litigating cases like this for much of a decade.
Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Jamil Jafger, former Republican Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor, U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, squared off at Black Hat USA 2015 in a friendly, but sometime lively, debate on the recently passed USA Freedom Act.Jaycox calked the legislation "a small step, but an important step" for privacy advocates and citizens because it "narrows government surveillance authority."
Passage of the Act proved that "we can have a sustained, coordinated campaign and [get] something through congress."
"The NSA doesn't need more illegal tools," Sophia Cope, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Daily Dot in an email. "Congressional oversight revealed that the illegal bulk collection of Americans' phone records was ineffective at foiling terrorist plots. Sen. Paul's response to Gov. Christie was simple: get a warrant."
It's taken seven years of legal wrangling, but one group of pro-privacy activists are hoping an appeals court will finally declare a critical part of the National Security Agency's spying apparatus unconstitutional.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been challenging the NSA's bulk data collection program in court since 2008, largely running on whisteblower testimony from Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who alleges the NSA inserted technology into the internet company's infrastructure that allowed it to collect and analyze the data.
“The tide I think is turning,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which joined a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Aaron Graham, a man convicted of armed robbery after his cell phone location information over seven months was obtained by the government from Sprint.
“For several years now, car companies have been adding software and computer and Internet capabilities to their automobiles, but they may not have been putting the same level of care into the security,” said Kurt Opsahl, deputy executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil rights group in San Francisco that represents the security research community.
“Cars are really just an example of issues arising from the Internet of Things, where more and more objects are being connected,” Opsahl added.