EFF in the News
Cell phones aren't luggage, so why are customs agents searching them without a warrant? For years, the U.S. government has been seizing cellphones and performing warrantless searches at airports and points of entry along the northern and southern borders. “Since the 1800s there’s been a 4th amendment exception called the border search doctrine that allows searches to be performed routinely without a warrant,” Sophia Cope, a staff attorney for the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Fusion.
Eva Galperin, global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation stated, “Blocking porn is the fastest way to ensure widespread adoption of censorship circumvention in your country.” In 2015, the media watchdog Roskomnadzor, whose name translated into English is the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, banned the publishing and use of any Internet meme that “depicts a public figure in a way that has nothing to do with his personality.”
Security vs. privacy? Or security vs. security? Take a look back at Apple vs. FBI and speak to hackers and coders fighting to keep your private data safe. "It does appear to us, especially in hindsight, the the San Bernardino case was one that the government picked to move its agenda forward," said EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn.
Schwartz told The Daily Beast. “I’ve seen documents produced by the government regarding Hemisphere, but this is the first time I’ve seen an AT&T document which requires parallel construction in a service to government. It’s very troubling and not the way law enforcement should work in this country.”
The USA Freedom Act ended the NSA's bulk collection of metadata but charged the telecommunications companies with keeping the data on hand. The NSA and other U.S. government agencies now must request information about specific phone numbers or other identifying elements from the telecommunications companies after going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and arguing that there is a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that the number is associated with international terrorism. Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News he doesn't have much of a problem with the NSA's wider access to telephone data, since now the agency has to go through a "legitimate" system with "procedural protections" before jumping into the databases.
Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News he doesn't have much of a problem with the NSA's wider access to telephone data, since now the agency has to go through a "legitimate" system with "procedural protections" before jumping into the databases.
"Their ability to obtain records has broadened, but by all accounts, they're collecting a far narrower pool of data than they were initially," he said, referring to returns on specific searches. "They can use a type of legal process with a broader spectrum of providers than earlier. To me, that isn't like a strike against it. That's almost something in favor of it, because we've gone through this public process, we've had this debate, and this is where we settled on the scope of the authority we were going to give them."
Companies processing people's personal data have a responsibility to find out who the end user is going to be, Sophia Cope, A lawyer specializing in Civil Liberties at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Investigators in Lancaster, Calif., were granted a search warrant last May with a scope that allowed them to force anyone inside the premises at the time of search to open up their phones via fingerprint recognition, Forbes reported Sunday. The government argued that this did not violate the citizens' Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination because no actual passcode was handed over to authorities. Forbes was able to confirm with the residents of the building that the warrant was served, but the residents did not give any more details about whether their phones were successfully accessed by the investigators.
How the CFAA, which was originally intended to target criminals for havoc-wreaking computer break-ins and data theft, came to be used to convict people for using someone else's password is a study in prosecutorial overreach and shows how the law has failed to keep up with technology. Congress needs to step up and overhaul this flawed and outdated law. This summer, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued two confusing rulings in two separate cases that could allow prosecutors to charge users with CFAA violations for seemingly innocuous conduct—specifically, sharing a password.
Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), added: “It’s not enough for a government to just say we have a warrant to search this house and therefore this person should unlock their phone. The government needs to say specifically what information they expect to find on the phone, how that relates to criminal activity and I would argue they need to set up a way to access only the information that is relevant to the investigation.