EFF in the News
If you don’t want your data going to advertisers, there are a few practical steps you can take to help mask your browsing history. Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggests using a virtual private network to connect online, which creates a secure tunnel for your data to travel through. Just remember that not all VPNs are equal, she says.
“If you are concerned about your ISP having a great big log of all of your browsing data and possibly selling it, then that concern also extends to your VPN provider — you're essentially just sort of moving the nexus of trust.”
Facebook has blocked users in Thailand from accessing a video that shows the country’s king strolling through a German shopping mall wearing a crop-top revealing his distinctive tattoos, accompanied by one of his mistresses. Gennie Gebhart, a researcher for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says Facebook is in a difficult position. “This and other ongoing Thai government attempts to censor social media point to both the government’s increasing willingness to censor content critical of the monarchy as well as all the hurdles it faces in doing so in an HTTPS-encrypted, social media environment,” she said.
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz informs TorrentFreak that they will continue their efforts to return the data to the rightful owners. “We’re disappointed that the appeals court refused to step in to get this case moving. Kyle Goodwin and many others have been waiting five years to get their data back, and soon it might be unrecoverable. We will continue asking the district court to act on Mr. Goodwin’s request,” Stoltz says.
Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, pointed to one court case where T-shirts overall had been tested. And in Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation, LLC, the court ruled in favor of a shirt that used another photographer's photo as the basis for the design. Stoltz also mentioned one other reason companies may be OK with leaving such sites operational: free advertising. "This is free marketing for them, and they know it,” Stoltz said. “It’s not really good marketing strategy to go suing your fans and the websites that they like to use.”
As the tools of surveillance have become more sophisticated, detecting them has become a harder task. “There was a time when you could spot cameras,” Tien says. Maybe a bodega would hang up a metal sign warning passersby that they were being recorded by a clunky, conspicuous device. “But now, they’re smaller, recessed, and don’t look like what you expect them to look like.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, commended the feds for asking a judge to review exactly what data the FBI would and would not touch in victimized devices, which were located across the country. It was a "positive step" toward accountability and transparency in FBI computer break-ins, EFF staff attorney Andrew Crocker said.
H.R. 1695’s supporters insist that it would increase accountability by giving Congress more of a voice in the selection process. But in practice, making the appointment one more contentious political contest would create a Register who’s only really accountable to the lobbyists and special interests that help her get selected and confirmed.
Internet providers can see a wide range of their customers’ online activity, according to Jeremy Gillula, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco-based digital civil liberties group. Unless you’re using special tools like a virtual private network or the free, privacy-minded Tor internet browser, he says, “an ISP could definitely see and sell all the web addresses you visit,” though they would be limited to the domain name for “https” sites using encryption, such as banks, most online shopping sites, Google, Facebook, and Web mail.
When Steve Stephens allegedly killed Robert Godwin in cold blood on Easter Sunday and put videos of the shooting on Facebook, there wasn’t much Stephens’ friends or followers could do to prevent it from appearing in their news feeds. Sophia Cope, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said over email that although Facebook is “immunized” legally under Section 230, that doesn’t release the company from moral responsibility. “We don’t disagree that online companies like Facebook have discretion to set terms of service that ban violent content and enforce those terms. We have consistently called on companies, though, to define content that will be removed as clearly and specifically as possible,” Cope said in an email to VICE News.
Civil rights organizations are sounding the alarm over a proposal by Trump’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that would require visa holders from China to turn over their social media “handles.”
“On the surface, this is a policy directed at citizens from China seeking to travel to the U.S. on a visa,” said Adam Schwartz, staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
But the ripple effect of such a policy has broader implications. Privacy advocates say China could require the same kind of information from U.S. visitors in a tit-for-tat move.
Schwartz also noted that by investigating Chinese nationals’ social media, CBP could investigate anyone associated with them on social media, which would likely include many Chinese Americans