EFF in the News
Yet, the prevalence of these trackers raises consumer questions. Because trackers are invisible, many people are unaware of them and have no inkling of how to dodge them. “It’s definitely a privacy concern,” said Cooper Quintin, a technologist and privacy advocate for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “There’s no mechanism for people to opt out.”
"We have no idea how the terrorists in the Paris bombings and shootings (communicated), but notice that (government officials) already have the solution," said Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who works specifically on international security and privacy issues.
"After any kind of security event, politicians believe that they must do something, and this is something and therefore it must be done."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation also weighed in, issuing a statement. "These heinous attacks must not be used to justify further erosion of our security, civil liberties or privacy," wrote EFF executive director Cindy Cohn. The privacy advocacy organization points out that there has been no public confirmation that the terrorists used end-to-end encryption, nor that it was the encryption of communications that caused the intelligence agencies to fail to detect the plot.
"What we do know is that strong encryption is crucial to allow political organizers, government officials and ordinary people around the world to protect their security, privacy and safety from criminals and terrorists alike. Any 'back door' into our communications will inevitably (and perhaps primarily) be used for illegal and repressive purposes rather than lawful ones," wrote Cohn.
OnlineCensorship.org was founded by Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that advocates for internet freedom, and Ramzi Jaber of Visualizing Impact, a firm that designs visual tools for presenting data. The new censorship tracker is designed to collect as much information as possible about what content gets taken down from social media.
Jeremy Gillula, a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the idea of deploying multiple-key encryption is not new, and was proposed earlier this spring by the director of the NSA.
“The problem is, even if you split up the key, it is still essentially creating a backdoor in a crypto system,” Gillula said. “The system will still be insecure. It will still create an opening for hackers.”
“We have no idea how the terrorists in the Paris bombings and shootings (communicated), but notice that (government officials) already have the solution,” said Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who works specifically on international security and privacy issues.
“After any kind of security event, politicians believe that they must do something, and this is something and therefore it must be done.”
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment, but civil liberties advocates in the United States were sharply critical of the censorship requests and of Twitter's apparent willingness to comply. "In the face of terrorism, usually the first casualties are free speech and privacy, and that is extremely disappointing," said Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco-based group advocating for freedom of expression online.
"It crosses an ethical line, because you're vacuuming up the data of lots of innocent people," added Jeremy Gillula, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"For a long time, computer science researchers haven't thought about the ethical aspects of their research, because their research has just been about computers," he told TechNewsWorld, "but when it starts to affect people, researchers have to start thinking about the ethical implications."
To Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wheeler's comments appeared to reference a debate over whether tech companies should be forced to give the government access even to the secret, encrypted user communications that some services build into their products.