EFF in the News
You might think that an organisation boasting as long a history and as much accumulated savvy about how the American political system works as the US Chamber of Commerce would know better than to pick a fight with satirical hoaxsters who will only gain from more publicity. This is not the kind of behaviour we expect from such an august institution. As Corynne McSherry, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the Yes Men in its legal battle with the Chamber, told Salon, "We are surprised and disappointed that the Chamber of Commerce has chosen to go to court over obvious political criticism."
"The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases," said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, "even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege."
Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group in San Francisco that is pursuing a similar lawsuit against the government, called Holder's decision "quite disappointing."
"The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases, even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration's abuse of the state secrets privilege," said Bankston.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s latest effort to call out what it considers violations of copyright and trademark law comes in the form of a mock-awards page, complete with “honorees,” called the Takedown Hall of Shame.
“Nothing would stop Netflix from renting titles under First Sale, other than the risk of losing the discount,” said Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"It feels to me like the alumni meeting of the framers of the US Constitution," Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow said as he addressed the gathering.
"There are a lot of people in this room who are honest to god uncles and aunts of the Internet. What you did is conceivably the most important technological event since the capture of fire."
In arguing against ancillary jurisdiction, Comcast has found a surprising ally: the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The advocacy group--strong supporters of the principles of neutrality--believes that the commission has no authority to issue these rules without sweeping new authority from Congress. Regulating neutrality under ancillary jurisdiction, the EFF worries, is a cure far worse than the disease; a "power grab that would leave the Internet subject to the regulatory whims of the FCC long after Chairman Genachowski leaves his post."
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on net neutrality rules that revolve around the idea of “reasonable network management.” Princeton’s Ed Felten points out that this framework would leave regulators with enormous discretion to determine what constitutes permissible manipulation of the Internet by network providers and what would be verboten. Giving the FCC so much leeway has some digital rights advocates nervous. Those advocates support the principles of neutrality, but they’re worried that the FCC’s jurisdiction grab here gives it an opening to exert greater control over the Internet down the road – which, given the Federal Communications Commission’s historic coziness with the industry it regulates, might not play out in the public’s favor. Those advocates might have a point. But adding a wrinkle to things is that Congress hasn't exactly proven itself capable of handling the complexities of the Internet age.