EFF in the News
A 2002 case — Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress — would seem to have settled the issue. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled, “Public ownership of the law means precisely that ‘the law’ is in the ‘public domain’ for whatever use citizens choose to make of it.” One of Public Resource’s pro bono lawyers, Corynne McSherry of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says there are also Supreme Court decisions that make it clear that publishing laws is a constitutional right. “Copyright does not trump the Constitution,” she says.
Janine Jackson interviewed Shahid Buttar on retaliation against copwatchers for the September 9, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.
"I really worry with this mass collection of biometric data that the government is not going to protect it appropriately and then all of a sudden we’ll see this information released and people’s identities will be stolen," said Jennifer Lynch, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
But modern technology has afforded them new, more private avenues for communication. Visitors and prison guards smuggle in cell phones, a brisk trade that prison authorities are constantly working on trying to stop or at least discourage by deadening phone signals. But those efforts haven’t worked. “Contraband cellphones make it into facilities all the time,” says Electronic Frontier Foundation investigative researcher Dave Maass.
Part 1: Our podcast czar Michael Catano speaks with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior staff attorney, Mitch Stoltz, and learns why wireless earbuds are also a clever way to stop music piracy.
In 1996, Congress passed Section 230 to protect the still nascent internet from being trampled by litigation. It was unreasonable, Congress felt, to expect websites to be able to police every single thing a user posted online. More importantly, such expectations would probably kill the young internet and stifle innovation. In a single, short statute, Congress protected websites from being sued or prosecuted for content posted by visitors. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called Section 230 “the most important law protecting internet speech.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling for the labelling of products encumbered with digital rights management – an increasingly important issue as we trust technology with our lives
Some find that prospect troubling. Digital rights groups have long expressed concerns over allowing Facebook and Twitter to be arbiters of free speech, and they fear that an automated system would lead to more widespread censorship. Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, cautioned in an email that "automation always comes with false positives," adding that "sometimes it's not merely the technology, but also the implementation or implementers, that are flawed." Joe McNamee, executive director of the Brussels-based advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi), said in an interview that efforts to automate content removal may actually hinder counter-speech, which a recent Google-backed study found to be an effective way of sparking online debate.
"I'm not sure how far these proposals will really get," Danny O'Brien from the Electronic Frontier Foundation told Newstalk.com. "There are plenty of officials and parliamentarians at the EU level who understand that attempting to require companies to decrypt their messaging services won't work, and will undermine the security of millions of European users — and beyond."