EFF in the News
For starters, people know if their blinds are broken and have a chance to fix them. An officer looking through them is only observing what anyone else could observe. And "even if their blinds are broken doesn't mean you get to go into their house and search," said Mark Rumold, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"The court's decision that you don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a laptop in your own home — people should be very worried," he said.
The size of the total pool of photos the bureau can access, which was not clear until the new report from the Government Accountability Office, is shocking even to those who have been paying close attention to the FBI’s growing use of biometric data, says Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And the degree to which the FBI has access to photos in state-owned face image databases, which contain mostly driver’s license images, has Lynch and other privacy advocates concerned.
The rest of the data comes from “the State Department’s Visa and Passport databases, the Defense Department’s biometric database, and the drivers license databases of at least 16 states,” according to Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"I'm happy ... that Apple has announced this and seems to be working on it in a way that has a lot of potential," said Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group. "Apple has said the right words at this point, and now we're waiting for the details."
“You would have to prove that Twitter took a certain step–or failed to take a step–that caused the Paris attack to happen,” Aaron Mackey, a legal fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told FRANCE 24.
The causality argument may be even harder to win than the argument against the CDA, Mackey says.
The ordinance won praise from privacy advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Adam Schwartz, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the new regulations on surveillance will be a good way to improve the trust between the public and law enforcement, and that it's important for the supervisors to ultimately decide whether the benefits of new surveillance technology outweigh the costs.
"We believe the decisions about such powerful, transformative technologies ought to be made at the very top," Schwartz said.
Still, AMC is likely walking on shaky legal grounds, some analysts said. "It's not infringement to make guesses about what will happen in a TV series, even if those guesses turn out to be right," said Mitch Stoltz, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "Copyright doesn't cover facts, or isolated details from a fictional TV show. So revealing which character gets killed, or other spoilers like that, isn't copyright infringement." In fact, the Lucille Victim spoiler singled out by AMC's lawyers is already available to fans through the original comic book series on which the TV show is based.
“Part of the people’s desire to use ad blockers is to safeguard their privacy as well as clean up a cluttered experience, or simply just take control of their browsing experience and … see the things that they want to see,” said Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.
What happens in the background when a user encounters online ads is that “networks that deliver them are collecting vast amounts of information about consumers using the Internet and aggregating vast amounts of information across multiple websites,” said Stoltz.
That means that visits to multiple websites, buying and reading habits – all “have the potential to be combined into very comprehensive profiles of a person’s life and preferences and activities,” he added. “And then that information is sold.”
A lawyer working for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil rights group that focuses on technology-related matters, said Wednesday that social media companies likely have a strong legal shield in cases like those filed by Fields’ and Gonzalez’s family members.
Federal law generally holds that social media companies and other publishers are not liable for user-generated content, lawyer Aaron Mackey said Wednesday.
Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation agreed.
The report shows the FBI "has access to hundreds of millions more photos than we ever thought -- and the bureau has been hiding this fact from the public, in flagrant violation of federal law and agency policy, for years," she said.
The database contains "an unprecedented number of photographs, most of which are of Americans and foreigners who have committed no crimes," she added.