EFF in the News
Cisco Systems built a security system for the Chinese government knowing it would be used to track and persecute members of the Falun Gong religious minority, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation technology rights group.
Falun Gong practitioners alleged the same thing in a lawsuit that a federal judge in Northern California dismissed in 2014. That case is being appealed, and on Monday the EFF, Privacy International and free-speech group Article 19 filed a brief that supports the appeal.
...Many U.S. and European companies sell technology to regimes that violate human rights, and if this case goes to trial and Cisco loses, they may think twice, said EFF Staff Attorney Sophia Cope.
"In a lot of instances, these companies are selling directly to the government, and they know exactly what is going to be happening," Cope said.
Andrew Crocker, staff attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation civil liberties team:
“Two really big ones would be affirmative statements on encryption, an issue we’ve kind of been dogging the administration about recently, where we had this petition that we co-organized with Access Now where we’re calling on the White House to affirmatively support strong encryption and say what that means—that they would support end-to-end encryption, and wouldn’t support any kind of backdoor legislation or otherwise subvert encryption. We really have been trying to get the administration to come out and say something positive about it rather than it’s a statement they’ve had so far.
“Do I think it’s realistic? Probably not, but it’d be nice to see.
“The other figure here would be NSA reform. We had the USA Freedom Act pass since the last state of the Union and I’m sure he’ll allude to that, but that really only addresses some small portion of the [National Security Agency's] activities. We haven’t really seen any reform on the [Section] 702 [of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes many foreign surveillance programs], or [Executive order] 12333, and certainly with that story the Wall Street Journal broke just before New Year’s about spying on members of Congress [...] we’re sort of hopeful that there’ll be some attention to that in coming months.”
“This is something that’s been building since September 11,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. It’s the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it.”
Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the ruling, while significant, meets a relatively low standard in civil litigation.
"The judge said the plaintiffs will have an opportunity to prove their claims," Lynch said.
A spokesperson for Shutterfly said the company doesn't comment on pending litigation.
In April, a Chicago man filed a class-action lawsuit against Facebook's "Tag Suggestions," claiming the feature violated BIPA by using facial recognition technology to identify people without their written consent.
"That's the key, whether the company has gotten opt-in consent," Lynch said. "The way I read the law is it's a clear violation if they've not gotten their expressed consent."
One of Binge On's biggest critics is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit Internet advocacy group.
Earlier this week, the EFF published a report on several tests that it conducted on T-Mobile's network.
The organization found that T-Mobile slowed mobile Internet speeds for Binge On users whether they were watching something live or downloading to view videos to watch later. The EFF also found "stuttering or uneven streaming" while watching higher quality videos.
"T-Mobile seems to be arguing that downgrading video quality is not actually throttling, but we disagree," EFF Staff technologist Jeremy Gillula told CNNMoney in a statement.
Gillula says that T-Mobile is forcing customers to use a smaller information pipe, which is just throttling by another name.
"This isn't semantics—it's apples and oranges," he said.
Last month, YouTube said T-Mobile is interfering with its video traffic by effectively throttling, or degrading, its traffic. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit privacy and advocacy organization, said this week that its tests confirm T-Mobile is throttling all video, regardless if the video is part of Binge On. The organization wants the FCC to investigate the practice if T-Mobile doesn't change it. "It's pretty obvious that throttling all traffic based on application type definitely violates the principles of net neutrality," the group said in a report. Jeremy Gillula, the staff technologist at the EFF who wrote the report, said the group wouldn't object to the program if T-Mobile made it clear that all video was being throttled and if customers could "opt in rather than have it automatically turned it on by the carrier"."We aren't big fans of the way that T-Mobile has gone about it," he said.
Listening in to people’s phone conversations is the most intrusive form of government surveillance, said Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that defends civil liberties in the digital world.
“The average consumer would want to understand exactly what a particular company is doing,” said Sophia Cope, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a national nonprofit organization for digital civil liberties. “The expectations are even greater for parents with children in school.”
“It’s a transparency problem,” Cope said. “The companies are not, we believe, being totally upfront in explaining the technology. Districts don’t know what questions to ask before they sign these contracts, and they’re not informing the parents of what they’re doing.”Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/education/article52728555.html#storylink=cpy
“The Internet is still locked in a battle royal with Hollywood and its allies,” said Peter Eckersley, chief computer scientist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group that is supported by technology companies and often squares off against the entertainment business over copyright issues.
To us, 2015 appeared to be the year where major change would happen whether pro- or anti-surveillance. Experts felt a shift was equally imminent. "I think it's impossible to tell which case will be the one that does it, but I believe that, ultimately, the Supreme Court will have to step in and decide the constitutionality of some of the NSA's practices," Mark Rumold, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars last year.