EFF in the News
Cindy Cohn at the EFF has published an extensive—but easy-to-read—analysis of the positives and negatives in Google and Verizon's 'net neutrality proposal.
Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation likes Google and Verizon's idea of giving the Federal Communications Commission a very narrow mandate to regulate the Internet. This would solve what the EFF calls the "Trojan Horse problem" where net neutrality regulations give the FCC too much control over the Internet.
But the EFF isn't so hot on the rest of the Google-Verizon proposal. Its biggest complaints are with the proposals that let carriers have "reasonable network management" and allow only "lawful content" on their networks.
However, the Google-Verizon proposal has a bevy of items that make sense on the wireline front. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a nice analysis of the nuances here and at least tries to cut through the clutter....Overall, the Google-Verizon missive isn’t all that jarring—until you get to the wireless part of the net neutrality issue. Then the technology peanut gallery goes nuclear. Is Google really “carrier-humping net neutrality surrender monkey“?
"A company like RIM really needs to think not just about the UAE or Saudi Arabia, but about their customers worldwide," said Cindy Cohn, legal director and general counsel for digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "If BlackBerry is willing to offer backdoor access (in the Gulf), other countries are going to want that too. And at that point it's really a race to the bottom."
Less understood, but equally important is the work of groups like EFF.org who is working to expand the public's digital domain and copy rights.
...[Obama's] refusal to oppose telecom immunity when he had made such a big deal about it earlier in the campaign was a shocking blow to his political base, one from which the President has never recovered.
Obama's position has stiffened further since he became President. It was Attorney General Holder, not one of Bush's cronies, who argued to dismiss Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU lawsuits to revoke telecoms' immunity.
Indeed, a variety of software tools that R.I.M. provides to corporations to monitor and record nearly everything employees do with their BlackBerrys — including where they carry them — potentially makes the devices powerful tools for surveillance by companies and governments.
“Users need to know that the security is not for them,” said Seth D. Schoen, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the case has important implications for cellphone GPS tracking. The federal government has mandated that U.S. cellphone carriers make nearly all their phones trackable for help in 911 emergencies. However, companies say that the federal law that allows them to turn over data to law enforcement without subpoenas is prone to abuse.
The Journal reported last week that engineers working on a new version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser thought they might set certain defaults to protect privacy better, but they were overruled when the business segments at Microsoft learned of the plan.
Privacy "sabotage," the Electronic Frontier Foundation called it. And a Wired news story says Microsoft "crippled" online privacy protections.
"The court correctly recognized the important differences between limited surveillance of public activities possible through visual surveillance or traditional 'bumper beepers,' and the sort of extended, invasive, pervasive, always-on tracking that GPS devices allow," said Jennifer Granick of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a brief in the case.
"This same logic applies in cases of cell phone tracking, and we hope that this decision will be followed by courts that are currently grappling with the question of whether the government must obtain a warrant before using your cell phone as a tracking device."