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EFF Press Release Archives

Press Releases: November 2003

November 21, 2003

California Takes Lead in Protecting Democratic Voting

Sacramento, CA - Responding to a raft of reports detailing
flaws in electronic voting systems, California Secretary of
State Kevin Shelley today announced that he is requiring all
electronic voting systems purchased by California counties
to provide a paper printout to allow voters to verify their
votes and auditors to verify election results.

The Secretary of State is responsible for certifying all
voting machines used for elections within the state of
California.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged election
officials and legislators to require that electronic voting
machines use publicly reviewed software and generate a paper
record, which would allow voters to verify their votes as
well as create a "paper trail" for potential recounts.

"Secretary of State Shelley has taken a courageous and
important step in response to the growing public concern
about the security of voting machines," said EFF Legal
Director Cindy Cohn. "Paper audit trails are currently the
best way to prevent anyone from bungling or stealing our
elections."

"We hope that California can continue to lead the country
and the world in implementing secure electronic voting
standards," added EFF Activist Ren Bucholz.

"By requiring a voter verified paper trail, the Secretary of
State has taken a critical step toward preserving the
integrity of the voting process in the wake of new
technologies that change the ways in which we vote,"
commented California Voter Foundation President Kim
Alexander.

According to the California Voter Foundation, 9% of
California counties used electronic voting systems in the
October 2003 recall election, and 32-40% will likely use
electronic voting systems in the upcoming March 2004
elections.

Links:

Media coverage anticipating Shelley's electronic voting
paper trail announcement:

  • href="http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~1781838,00.html">www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~1781838,00.html
  • href="http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-shelley21nov21,1,847438.story">www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-shelley21nov21,1,847438.story (requires registration)

Contact:

Cindy Cohn
   Legal Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

   cindy@eff.org

Ren Bucholz
   Activist
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   cindy@eff.org

Kim Alexander
   President
   California Voter Foundation

Related Issues:
November 13, 2003

The Northern District of Illinois District Court today ruled that the universal garage door clicker sold by Skylink Technologies that interoperates with Chamberlain Group garage door openers does not violate the DMCA

"We're pleased the court recognized consumers' reasonable expectation that they can replace lost or damaged remote controls with competing products without violating the DMCA. Congress clearly did not intend to give copyright owners the power to veto interoperable consumer products when it passed the DMCA" said EFF staff attorney Gwen Hinze.

November 4, 2003

"The broadcast flag rule forces manufacturers to remove useful features from television products you can buy today," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen. "The FCC has decided that the way to get Americans to adopt digital DTV is to make it cost more and do less."

November 3, 2003

Student Publishers and ISP Aim to Stop Diebold's Abusive Copyright Claims

PRESS CONFERENCE - LOCATION CHANGE!

Since the court system assigned us a judge in San Jose,
rather than San Francisco, the location of the press
conference in the OPG v. Diebold case has changed to
the location listed below.

EFF invites media professionals in the San Francisco Bay
Area to attend a press conference immediately following the
ruling of the judge at the federal courthouse on the motion
for a temporary restraining order to prevent Diebold from
sending further specious cease-and-desist notices (see media
release below for more details).

Date: Tuesday, November 4, 2003 (Election Day)

Time: Approximately 12:00 PM or when judge announces
decision. Please call cell phone numbers listed below or
EFF Media Relations Director Will Doherty at +1 415 425-3936
on day of press conference only.

Location: Federal Courthouse, 280 South 1st Street, San
Jose, CA 95113, near W. San Carlos St.

Judge: Jeremy Fogel, Courtroom 3, 5th Floor

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 3, 2003

Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford Law Clinic Sue Electronic Voting Company

Student Publishers and ISP Aim to Stop Diebold's Abusive
Copyright Claims

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

San Francisco - A nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP)
and two Swarthmore College students are seeking a court
order on Election Day tomorrow to stop electronic voting
machine manufacturer Diebold Systems, Inc., from issuing
specious legal threats. The Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF) and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw
Clinic at Stanford Law School are providing legal
representation in this important case to prevent abusive
copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting,
the very foundation of our democratic process.

Diebold has delivered dozens of cease-and-desist notices to
website publishers and ISPs demanding that they take down
corporate documents revealing flaws in the company's
electronic voting systems as well as difficulties with
certifying the systems for actual elections.

Swarthmore students Nelson Pavlosky and Luke Smith have
published an email archive of the Diebold documents, which
contain descriptions of these flaws written by the company's
own employees.

"Diebold's blanket cease-and-desist notices are a blatant
abuse of copyright law," said EFF Staff Attorney Wendy
Seltzer. "Publication of the Diebold documents is clear fair
use because of their importance to the public debate over
the accuracy of electronic voting machines."

Diebold threatened not only the ISPs of direct publishers of
the corporate documents, but also the ISPs of those who
merely publish links to the documents. In one such instance,
the ISP Online Policy Group (OPG) refused to comply with
Diebold's demand that it prohibit Independent Media Network
(IndyMedia) from linking to Diebold documents. Neither
IndyMedia nor any other publisher hosted by OPG has yet
published the Diebold documents directly.

"As an ISP committed to free speech, we are defending our
users' right to link to information that's critical to the
debate on the reliability of electronic voting machines,"
said OPG's Colocation Director David Weekly. "This case is
an important step in defending free speech by helping
protect small publishers and ISPs from frivolous legal
threats by large corporations."

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed by
Congress in 1998, provides a "safe harbor" provision as an
incentive for ISPs to take down user-posted content when
they receive cease-and-desist letters such as the ones sent
by Diebold. By removing the content, or forcing the user to
do so, for a minimum of 10 days, an ISP can take itself out
of the middle of any copyright claim. As a result, few ISPs
have tested whether they would face liability for such user
activity in a court of law. EFF has been exposing some of
the ways that the safe harbor provision can be used to
silence legitimate online speech through the Chilling
Effects Clearinghouse.

"Instead of paying lawyers to threaten its critics, Diebold
should invest in creating electronic voting machines that
include voter-verified paper ballots and other security
protections," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.

Links:

Contact:

Wendy Seltzer
   Staff Attorney
 &nbsp Electronic Frontier Foundation
   wendy@eff.org

Cindy Cohn

   Legal Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   cindy@eff.org

David Weekly
   Colocation Director
   Online Policy Group

   david@onlinepolicy.org

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