EFF in the News
"We have long been concerned that digital rights management is essentially tricking people," says Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the campaign group based in San Francisco. "It's creating a situation where people think they've purchased something – in the way you might purchase a pair of shoes, for example. But from the perspective of the seller, and often from the perspective of the law, it's quite a lot less."
Members of the Open Source For America coalition, which launched Wednesday, include Google, The Linux Foundation, the Mozilla and Debian projects, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Political protests overseas demonstrate the enormous power of the most mundane Internet technologies. Social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being used to organize protests after Iran's contested election and have allowed Iranians to speak anonymously to one another and the world. In China, access to reports and photos on the Internet fueled protests in Urumqi after a violent confrontation ended with more than 150 dead.
The CIA is among the agencies that failed to respond to the EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for copies of the reports. Given the unfolding controversy over the CIA’s apparent failure to notify Congress of a secret agency assassination program, the withholding of these documents takes on even greater importance, according to EFF lawyer Nate Cardozo.
“If the CIA hasn’t been reporting these types of activity to Congress, which apparently they haven’t, then who are they reporting it to?” Cardozo asked. “If this is only body for the intelligence oversight, whether they are actually filing these reports is a good question.”
Today the EFF released a guide called "Surveillance Self-Defense International." The guide is exactly what it sounds like: a six-step manual that helps online dissenters living in authoritarian regimes cover their digital tracks and try to remain anonymous.
Last year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge sued to force the trade representative to disclose documents relating to the treaty. But the digital rights groups withdrew their lawsuit last month, after the Obama Administration told the court the documents should remain classified.
This is precisely what the EFF, the Center for Democracy & Technology, Public Knowledge, and the American Library Association fear. In most respects, they don't oppose the idea of ACTA. "Rather, we believe the [US Trade Representative] also should be pursuing this objective in a manner that benefits, rather than harms, US technology companies and consumers," they wrote in a letter (PDF) this week to the US Trade Rep., Ron Kirk.
The gallery threatened legal action against Mr. Coetzee, saying that while the painted portraits may be old and thus beyond copyright protection, the photographs are new and therefore copyrighted work. The gallery is demanding a response by Monday from Mr. Coetzee, who is being represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In an e-mail message on Friday a gallery spokeswoman, Eleanor Macnair, wrote that “contact has now been made” with the Wikimedia Foundation and “we remain hopeful that a dialogue will be possible.”
Wikimedia Foundation did not respond to the NPG's original takedown request in April 2009, so the NPG is pursuing Coetzee directly. Coetzee is now being represented pro bono by attorney Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006, meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for.