In August, Apple announced that it would soon install photo and message scanning software in every device. These features would open a backdoor to increased surveillance and censorship around the world, give ammunition to authoritarian governments wishing to expand surveillance, and are the first steps toward ending truly secure messaging for Apple’s users. After public outcry and more than 60,000 signatures in petitions demanding Apple cancel its plans, the company has delayed the features while it conducts more research.
We’re winning, but this delay may well be a diversionary tactic. Every September, Apple holds one of its big product announcement events, where executives detail the new devices and features coming out. Apple likely didn’t want concerns about the phone-scanning features to steal the spotlight. But we can’t let Apple’s disastrous phone-scanning idea fade into the background, only to be announced with minimal changes down the road. Along with protests at Apple stores last week demanding the company keep its promises, EFF turned to an old-school messaging system during the company’s #AppleEvent: aerial advertising.
Since we started offering HTTPS Everywhere, the battle to encrypt the web has made leaps and bounds: HTTPS is now a mainstream standard offered on most web pages. Follow these steps to turn on these native HTTPS-only features in Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari and celebrate with us that HTTPS is truly everywhere for users.
WhatsApp is rolling out an option for users to encrypt their message backups, and that is a big win for user privacy and security. Next, encryption for backups should become the default for all users, not just an option.
Prison technology and telecom companies such as Securus and Global Tel*Link are already notorious for their ongoing efforts to extract every last penny from incarcerated people and, in the process, destroying any shreds of privacy they have left. By exposing some of the horrifying technologies that Securus and GTL have envisioned in their patents, our hope is that most of these ideas never move from concept to reality, and that they remain visible only in obscure patent documents.
The history of the world is filled with stories of information—collected responsibly or not, with intended uses that were benevolent or not—having long afterlives. For two decades, the United States spearheaded the collection of information on the people of Afghanistan, both for commonplace bureaucratic reasons like payroll and employment data—and in massive databases of biometric material. With the Taliban retaking control of the nation, reporting about this program prompted fears that the equipment could be seized and used to identify and target vulnerable people.
The Department of Defense’s “1033 program” has already placed $7.4 billion in military equipment with police departments since 1990. Congress should curtail the amount of dangerous military equipment, including surveillance drones, that could be transferred to local and state law enforcement agencies.
Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23, 2020, hundreds of protestors marched in the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) used a series of “geofence warrants” to force Google to hand over data on people who were in the vicinity of—but potentially as far as a football field away from—property damage incidents. These warrants, which police are increasingly using across the country, threaten the right to protest and violate the Fourth Amendment.
The twentieth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2021 are a good time to reflect on the world we’ve built since then. Those attacks caused incalculable heartbreak, anger and fear. It is also clear that surveillance and government secrecy put into place in the aftermath of the attacks are deeply problematic for our democracy, privacy and fairness.
In addition to the drastic restrictions it places on a woman’s reproductive and medical care rights, the new Texas abortion law, SB8, will have devastating effects on online speech. The law creates a cadre of bounty hunters who can use the courts to punish and silence anyone whose online advocacy, education, and other speech about abortion draws their ire.
Facebook is full of people whose company you enjoy, but if you don’t like its ads, its surveillance, its deceptive practices, or its moderation policies, why not leave Facebook and find a better platform (or run your own), while continuing to send and receive messages from the communities, friends and customers who haven’t left Facebook (yet)? Short answer? Because you can’t.
Join S.T.O.P., a local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance, on September 29 at 3PM PT to learn about the variety of individual surveillance technologies used by Department of Homeland Security agencies.
EFF’s Legislative Counsel, Ernesto Falcon, will be speaking at the Broadband Communities Summit on September 29 at 10:30AM PT. The Summit is the leading event for community leaders, multifamily property owners, and network builders interested in the building, managing, marketing and monetizing of high-speed broadband technologies and services.
Many of the important questions about content moderation practices get even more complicated when they move into the infrastructure layer of the internet - domain registrars, hosting companies, payment systems, and other service providers that underpin the more public-facing online platforms. On October 6th from 9am to noon PT, Techdirt is hosting a salon where the authors will discuss and debate the subject for a live audience.
On October 12 at 8AM Pacific Time, EFF will convene representatives from diverse areas of impact who rely on encrypted platforms to discuss Apple's new child safety products. Discussion will focus on the ramifications of these decisions, what we would like to see changed about the products, and protective principles for initiatives that aim to police private digital spaces.
On October 17-19, EFF will be a part of this year's All Things Open, the largest open technology event on the U.S. East Coast.
Join EFF’s Latin American Senior Policy Analyst, Veridiana Alimonti, Carolina Botero (Fundación Karisma), Caio Machado (Instituto Vero), and Carlos Solar (University of Essex) in an online discussion about surveillance, democracy, and human rights in Latin America. Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice, Luís Roberto Barroso, will be the keynote speaker. Event is on October 22, at 8:00am PDT.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is looking for a full-time litigator to join EFF’s team of dedicated attorneys. The ideal candidate is someone who is excited about and will help us further our mission of protecting and promoting civil liberties, and ensuring that rights and freedoms are enhanced as our use of technology grows. We’re looking for an excellent writer who thinks big and creatively about how impact litigation can advance human rights in the digital world, and who can identify important issues early.
NYPD used face surveillance to identify a speaker at a protest for Black lives, then sent dozens of armed officers to arrest him at his home. Police must stop using face surveillance.
The former FCC chief technologist built a scanning system like Apple's. But then: "We warned against our own system design."
ShotSpotter is inaccurate. ShotSpotter is too secretive. ShotSpotter changes findings that support police claims. ShotSpotter enables police to arrest people for scant evidence. ShotSpotter is dangerous. ShotSpotter does not work.