EFF in the News
"Until they show us the algorithm and the exhaustive factors of what goes into the algorithm, the public should be concerned about whether the program further replicates racial disparities in the criminal justice system," said Adam Schwartz, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"The ISPs were actually throttling the traffic to make it so slow as to render the websites and the services almost completely unusable," said Eva Galperin, global policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Galeprin says it's a move used to control the narrative about what's happening on the streets. Though she says censorship is so common, many Turkish people also know how to circumvent it.
Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Electronic Intifada that US-based social media companies “are only somewhat responsible for the content they host.”
But she added that holding Internet companies responsible for user’s content, called intermediary liability, is a “global problem with real risks.” EFF and other digital rights organizations are pushing for global intermediary protections.
"This is a groundbreaking decision that helps protect privacy rights around the world," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"The court recognized the vital privacy protections under the SCA, and correctly ruled that the government can't use a U.S. search warrant to force Internet service providers to reach email stored outside the U.S.," he told the E-Commerce Times.
Jamie Williams is an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights non-profit. She breaks down the cases and what they mean for letting friends and family use your Hulu password.
This settles a long-running ambiguity in how US law should handle search warrants when data is increasingly scattered in storage centers around the world. And it could represent a new privacy assurance for foreigners under investigation by American authorities and even for Americans whose data ends up in foreign data centers. “This is a big win for privacy,” says Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It circumscribes the US government’s power abroad. It reiterates the rule that US law doesn’t apply outside the US …[And] it keeps foreigners’ data secure from the US government, which has shown again and again that it’s willing to overstep reasonable bounds on its power.”
Jamie Williams, a legal fellow and lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the CFAA needs to be amended to clarify what is and isn't a crime, so "prosecutors do not have broad discretion to just go after whatever violation they choose to at any particular point in time for any given reason."
She says the EFF has been arguing for CFAA reform ever since the Aaron Swartz case. Swartz was a computer prodigy and activist who faced charges of computer fraud and possibly years in federal prison because he downloaded millions of pages of academic articles. Swartz supporters, including Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, say the Justice Department had taken this out of hand. Swartz hanged himself in 2013.
Williams says overly broad interpretations of the statute will become more and more relevant as more of our thermostats and other household devices are connected to the cloud. Those are also "protected" devices under the CFAA, and she says sharing those passwords could also be seen as violations of the terms of service and thus the CFAA. The tech companies agree, and so does the dissenting judge.
One big red flag to watch out for in situations like this is to compare a downloaded app’s list of permissions to the list of permissions required by the authorized version, advises Noah Swartz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“The way that you can tell if it’s malware is if it requests more permissions than the app says it does,” he explained to Consumerist. “So you can go check in the Play Store and see what permissions Pokémon Go app would normally request, and then you can see what the app on your phone requests.”
In the case of the recent fake Pokémon Go app that was being circulated, for example, the permissions it was requesting should’ve made it somewhat easy to spot: while the real version of the app only wants location data and the ability to say things to your phone, the malware version wanted access to users’ contacts, a full data connection — basically, “it wanted all of these things that the normal one didn’t,” Swartz notes.
Aaron Mackey, a legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation says such lawsuits that blame websites for the actions of their users threaten to curtail access to platforms in Middle Eastern countries where users rely on social media to bypass censorship. New social media rules that are too strict in filtering terms related to hate speech, Mackey says, could also strike down “robust political debate” about the topics like the Middle East even if the content does not seek to incite violence.
“That would be a net loss for journalists, bloggers, academics and normal Americans chatting online,” he says. “It would also disempower people in countries who rely on social media for news and debate.”
That approach has drawn criticism. Mixing “secret” and regular messages is not secure by definition, said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It’s too easy to mess up. It’s too easy to send a message believing that it’s secure, but accidentally send it in the insecure mode.”