EFF in the News
Circuit Judge Mayer made a much more drastic argument, saying that patents that constrain “essential channels of online communication” are antithetical to free speech. The implication is that for constitutional reasons, patents on common email antivirus software should be invalidated. Mayer’s approach potentially tosses out an entire category of software patents because of their effect on the Internet. A less extreme way of interpreting Mayer’s opinion is he only meant to make a policy argument, pointing out the importance of judging patents harshly. If courts aren’t strict with software patents related to the Internet, free speech is imperiled.
Federal agents revealed they used a controversial cellphone snooping device to hunt for a low-level accused drug dealer in a case that illustrates the creeping use of a terror-fighting tool to solve everyday crimes. The device was used by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to find and arrest Inkster resident Daiven Hollinshed late last month, according to federal search warrant records obtained by The Detroit News. The secret device, known as a Hailstorm or Stingray, masquerades as a cell tower and tricks nearby phones into providing location data and helped track Hollinshed to an Inkster home in September.
Andrew Crocker, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that the use of the word “directive” to describe the program indicated that the request may have been ordered under the section 702 of the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act, which allows the government to target non-US citizens abroad for surveillance.
Revelations by Edward Snowden about the Prism and Upstream programs – of which the Yahoo program looks like a hybrid, Crocker said – show that US citizens were also subject to mass surveillance.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and others say the Reuters report, while incomplete, drives more distrust between US citizens, government spy agencies and one of the nation’s largest Internet companies. They assert, whatever the truth, American citizens have a constitutional right to know the truth.
See more at: Yahoo Slams Email Surveillance Story: Experts Demand Details https://wp.me/p3AjUX-vve
The NSA has lost some terrorists because of their adoption of strong encryption, but the agency is supportive of the use of the technology, it's top lawyer said. Glenn Gerstell, general counsel of the National Security Agency, speaking at the Cambridge Cyber Summit at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the NSA sees ISIS terrorists using end-to-end encryption, and that has prevented the agency from finding out the key information about those bad actors.
Privacy advocate Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, listed some of the methods the government may use when encryption blocks access to information shared by suspects. "We know they purchase vulnerabilities and don't tell the companies their systems are vulnerable," she said.
The tech giant known for its laptops and printers made a controversial decision to quietly trigger a digital lock in the September firmware update. After the update, any customer who attempted to print with a non-HP cartridge would deactivate the printer and receive a cartridge replacement warning. The printer would not resume working until an HP brand cartridge was inserted.
"We should have done a better job of communicating about the authentication procedure to customers, and we apologize," HP said in a corporate blog post last Thursday.
According to the Tuesday report, Yahoo acceded to a 2015 government directive to give email access to the National Security Agency or the FBI. Reuters cited anonymous sources including two former employees and another person with knowledge of the events. Yahoo continues to face questions about a breach in 2014 that compromised at least 500 million accounts.
Yahoo secretly built software in 2015 that let it search the incoming emails of its hundreds of millions of users on behalf of the U.S. government, Reuters reported Tuesday.
“They secretly scanned everything you ever wrote, far beyond what law requires. Close your account today,” tweeted Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details about the government’s surveillance programs in 2013.
“The Fourth Amendment implications are staggering,” tweeted Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a California-based digital rights group.
A major distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on cybersecurity blog Krebs on Security reminded technology users that faulty Internet of Things (IOT) security makes all of our devices and appliance vulnerable. But some manufacturers may not be willing to spend money to make their appliances more secure, said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. For a company designing a new fitness tracker, "it would be a lot easier and a lot cheaper to design it without having storage and all sorts of things that people think they should have," Tien said.
According to a document obtained by The Intercept, your blue-bubbled texts do leave behind a log of which phone numbers you are poised to contact and shares this (and other potentially sensitive metadata) with law enforcement when compelled by court order. Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said the document prompted further questions: “How often are lookups performed? Does opening [an iMessage] thread cause a lookup? Why is Apple retaining this information?”.