EFF in the News
"Even if we’re told that there are protections and safeguards, the lack of transparency and the intimate ties to agencies and secret surveillance programs feel like major red flags," said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group and a fierce critic of NSA surveillance.
Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital consumer advocacy group, doesn't think advertising is inherently bad and says EFF isn't opposed to ads. However, the group is very much against many of the data mining techniques in play today. "I really don't see how ad blockers subvert freedom of speech," he says. "Is it meaningfully different from skipping commercials, whether by muting and leaving the room, or by using your DVR to fast forward?"
David Greene, civil liberties director and senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, thinks Twitter could make a case for immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which says that networks and service providers aren’t responsible for the content users post. Greene also says there’s a constitutional issue. “Those who publish information to the public at large are not generally held responsible for what the people who get that information do with it,” he tells Newsweek.
If the lawsuit is successful, “there will be less of an incentive to provide an unmoderated free platform that’s available to all people,” Greene says. “And that means less speech.”
David Greene, an attorney for Respublika with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in an interview that he believed this to be the first case in which a foreign government used the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act against its citizens.
At the World Forum for Democracy 2015, we interviewed the Electronic Frontier Foundation activist about their work, hopes for inspiring legislative change, and building on the stubborn success of Max Schrems.
The potential for abuse still worries privacy advocates, who fear the cameras could easily be converted into a surveillance tool.
“These cameras would be trained on traffic, potentially picking up license plate data, which would allow for location tracking from law enforcement and others,” said Rebecca Jeschke, a digital rights analyst and media relations director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The White House endorsed the bill even before it passed the Senate, so it was no surprise that the president signed the must-pass federal budget bill to which the House of Representatives added CISA in December. And while the White House previously identified the need for more robust privacy protection, the bill passed with no improvements to CISA’s privacy provisions. “One of the main things we were searching for was for companies to scrub personal data, and that did not make it into the bill,” says Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is defending civil liberties in the digital world.
“This is [a] terrible policy that is entirely infeasible from a technical perspective,” said Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “There is no way to ensure that phones can be decrypted by the police and not the ‘bad guys.’ It's not about privacy but security — the security of innocent people's devices against hackers, thieves and others.”
"So one undereported aspect to the Safe Harbor decision is that much of it hangs off the judgement by the ECJ that it's the United States' existing surveillance laws that are the problem, not just the companies' compliance with EU privacy law," says Danny O'Brien, international director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Similarly, Andrew Crocker, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Ars that the bill had "glaring problems" and that it was "entirely infeasible from a technical perspective."
"There is no way to ensure that phones can be decrypted by the police and not the ‘bad guys,’" he e-mailed Ars. "Just as in New York, this California lawmaker misses the point that it's not about privacy but security—the security of innocent people's devices against hackers, thieves and others. It could well be unconstitutional under the First Amendment as well."