EFF in the News
“It really sets a dangerous precedent for any law enforcement records that are gathered using any sort of automated technology,” said Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney for EFF. “About 99 percent of the time, license plate records that are collected by law enforcement are never tied to any criminal investigation, or even a vehicle registration issue.”
"So all of these devices together make up what we call the The Internet of Things, and if a hacker can get into one of these devices, then they can see the entire network from that device's point of view." Jeremy Gillula of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says most connected devices weren't designed for regular software updates where vulnerabilities are found, like those at all nine of the name brand baby monitors tested by Rapid 7.
Dave Maass, investigative researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), told SCMagazine.com that it's not uncommon for police departments to try to withhold this type of information.
“I think law enforcement should give up on the secrecy because information will get out there eventually,” Maass said. “We need accountability and with all the secrecy there is no way that accountability can happen.”
Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group, praised the policy as an important step, though he said he suspected Justice Department attorneys saw "the writing on the wall" and recognized that judges would increasingly begin requiring warrants.
Though the policy does not require local police to follow the lead of federal agencies, "this is going to let the air out of state law enforcement's argument that a warrant shouldn't be required."
"We think that given the power of cell-site simulators and the sort of information that they can collect — not just from the target but from every innocent cellphone user in the area — a warrant based on probable cause is required by the Fourth Amendment," Cardozo said.
In the U.S., the government has so far been mostly concerned with car data from a security context, such as protecting against incidents like the July hacking of a Jeep via its entertainment system, said Kit Walsh, a staff attorney for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation. That puts the onus on Europe to lead the way in privacy, Walsh said.
"The challenge that Russia finds itself in, is how you enforce your law on companies and services that aren't based in Russia?" said Danny O'Brien, international director for the nonprofit advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"If Russia is requiring Facebook and Google house servers in their territory, what's to stop any other country from requiring the same thing?" he added. "It's a race to the bottom."
The case has made for strange bedfellows: Apple filed an amicus brief with Microsoft, as did the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Verizon, NPR and Fox News, the Irish government, the ACLU, eBay, and the Guardian.
...“Part of what we’re seeing here is the desire to go unilateral,” said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “We have formal mechanisms for this. They are cumbersome, and we fully support expediting them and appropriating more money to make that thing work, but at the end of the day it’s like saying: ‘Gee, we shouldn’t have to get a search warrant because it’s a pain in the ass.’”
“Companies, because they know more about you, will market to you,” said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the privacy-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Some people don’t mind that. But they are also compiling dossiers [in] places that everyone looks for information about you, whether it’s your employer or the FBI.”
Lee Tien, senior staff attorney and Adams Chair for Internet Rights at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (which also signed the letter), said that the word “sharing” is, “such a euphemism. The bills are about monitoring other people’s communications and sending those communications or information from or about those communications to the U.S. government. Surveillance, in other words.”
The online exposure of the Ashley Madison cheating sites' membership data has, to say the least, shaken the Internet like a giant earthquake.
Many of the site's members have been unmasked as one of the millions of cheaters searching for an affair. Some have committed suicide. Extortionists have taken advantage of those fearing being named. And now it appears that the site's Canadian owner, Avid Life Media, is misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in a bid to make people unpublish the data that lists millions of Ashley Madison members' e-mail addresses and other information. The problem with this scenario is that such data isn't subject to copyright, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says.
"Ashley Madison’s owners have been sending numerous DMCA takedown notices to platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and others in an attempt to stop the dissemination of millions of names and email addresses of the site’s users...," Mitch Stoltz, an EFF staff attorney, wrote in a recent blog post. "While there’s no doubt that the leak is embarrassing and potentially disastrous for the millions of people who have been revealed as users of a site that promotes marital infidelity, Ashley Madison’s attempts to use the DMCA to put the genie back in the bottle are misguided, and in some cases, may violate the DMCA itself."