EFF in the News
The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reported earlier in February that hundreds of inmates were sentenced to years of solitary confinement for accessing Facebook and other social networking sites.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a new white paper today offering proposals on how to fix the broken U.S. patent system. The first half of the white paper, "Defend Innovation," is based on "two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken," according to the EFF.
Nonpracticing entities should be forced to pay winning defendants’ legal fees, and software patents should have shorter terms and meet strict requirements before they’re granted, if they’re granted at all, Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a Monday report that proposed solutions to a “weak legal process.”
"A 'general conduct rule,' applied on a case-by-case basis with the only touchstone being whether a given practice 'harms' consumers or edge providers, may lead to years of expensive litigation to determine the meaning of 'harm' (for those who can afford to engage in it)," the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a net neutrality advocate, said in a filing submitted on Thursday.
Implicit in the term is a bias. Parker Higgins, director of copyright activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explains: “It does require some, you know, puppet master pulling the strings, but there is reason to think that the people who are pushing for thicker and stronger copyright term benefit from (A) all these things being conflated and (B) them all being called property.” There is a stronger sense of ownership, a sense in which when it’s called “property,” something as intangible as an idea might be perceived of as belonging squarely to one person or one party and not to another.
“It’s something the Republican Party is going to have to debate,” says Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The question is going to be, can new members convince the leadership that these authorities need to be reformed?”
When these issues come up for debate, he said, “we are counting on the members to be consistent in their positions when it comes to privacy issues, surveillance, and national security issues.”
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which obtained records from the prison system under the state Freedom of Information Act, more than 40 inmates received two years in solitary and one man received 37 years. The foundation describes itself as a national nonprofit that defends civil liberties in the digital world.
To view them as part of an investigation, the Justice Department needs only to obtain a subpoena, which is a far lower standard than the “probable cause” needed for a search warrant, said privacy advocate Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“If you were to print out those same e-mails and lay them on your desk, they would need a probable cause warrant,” Jaycox said.
"The Superfish software undermines internet security for the rather ridiculous purpose of serving advertisements," said Rainey Reitman, director of activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "It's a severe security issue, and frankly a betrayal by Lenovo of all of its affected customers."
“I think of HIPAA like Swiss cheese: it’s full of holes everywhere,” Rainey Reitman with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Investigative Unit.
Reitman serves as the director of the Activism Team for the non-profit. EFF’s website states its mission as “defending civil liberties in the digital world.”
Reitman says HIPAA does not apply in these types of cases.
“A lot of people think of HIPAA as this very strong law that is going to make sure that their medical information doesn’t get out there, but HIPAA actually doesn’t work like that at all. In fact it doesn’t really cover workers comp people at all,” Reitman said.