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EFF Press Release Archives

Press Releases: December 2004

December 21, 2004

Civil Liberties Group to Support Development of Anonymous Internet Communications System

San Francisco - Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that it is becoming a sponsor of Tor, a technology project that helps organizations and individuals engage in anonymous communication online. Tor is a network-within-a-network that protects communication from a form of surveillance known as "traffic analysis."

Traffic analysis tracks where data goes and when, as well as how much is sent, rather than the content of communications. Knowing the source and destination of Internet traffic allows others to track a person's behavior and interests. This can impact privacy in obvious and secondary ways. For example, an e-commerce site could choose to charge you more for particular items based on your country or institution of origin. It could also threaten your job or physical safety by revealing who and where you are.

"EFF is a great organization to work with," said Roger Dingledine, Tor's project leader, who, along with Nick Mathewson, is also a core developer. "EFF understands the importance of anonymity technology for everyone -- from the average web surfer, to journalists for community sites like Indymedia, to people living under oppressive regimes. With their support and experience, we can focus on making Tor useful and usable by everyone."

"The Tor project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users," said EFF Technology Manager Chris Palmer. "Tor can help people exercise their First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online. And unlike many other security systems, Tor recognizes that there is no security without user-friendliness -- if the mechanism is not accessible, nobody will use it. Tor strikes a balance between performance, usability, and security."

Using Tor can help people anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, and more. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

Non-technical introduction to Tor.

Technical introduction to Tor.

Contact:

Chris Palmer
Technology Manager
Electronic Frontier Foundation
chris@eff.org

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December 21, 2004

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is pleased to announce that it has been funded by the Omidyar Network, an organization that invests to help catalyze social change. This investment represents a partnership between two groups sharing key values and beliefs, and, ultimately, the goal of making a positive difference in the world.

"EFF's efforts are instrumental in preserving people's civil liberties as they extend to the online world," said Doug Solomon, Vice President of Investments at Omidyar Network. "The Internet, by design, is 'of the people, by the people, for the people,' and innovation depends on it staying that way."

"We hope that this is the beginning of a long and productive relationship," said EFF Director of Development Terri Forman. "Omidyar Network partners are dedicated to empowering innovation through bottom-up efforts. This perspective is very much a part of EFF's values."

Added EFF Executive Director Shari Steele, "We're pleased to join the many excellent groups that have already partnered with Omidyar Network."

About Omidyar Network

Omidyar Network seeks out investments that are "of the people, by the people, for the people." The Network is founded on the simple core belief that every individual has the power to make a difference. The Network exists for one single purpose: So that more and more people discover their own power to make good things happen. Since June 2004, Omidyar Network has funded efforts in a number of areas: microfinance, bottom-up media, open source, intellectual property, and electronic voting.

Contacts:

Terri Forman
Development Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
terri@eff.org

Shari Steele
Executive Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
ssteele@eff.org

December 10, 2004

The US Supreme Court today granted certiorari in MGM v. Grokster. The Court will hear oral arguments in the case in March 2005. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents one of the defendants in the case, StreamCast Networks, makers of the Morpheus peer-to-peer (P2P) software application.

"The copyright law principles set out in the Sony Betamax case have served innovators, copyright industries, and the public well for 20 years," said Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property attorney at EFF. "We at EFF look forward to the Supreme Court reaffirming the applicability of Betamax in the 21st century."

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