EFF in the News
Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Aaron Mackey said he was “very pleased with the court’s decision today and are optimistic that its review of the documents will demonstrate or show that the government’s withholdings are unjustifiable and hopefully order the release of documents that have been withheld.”
Peter Eckersley of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) built upon former senator Ted Stevens’ analogy that said the internet is like a bunch of tubes, saying, “If you use HTTP, those tubes are totally transparent. Anyone along the way can look inside and see exactly what you’re doing.” Use HTTPS, and “those tubes become opaque. Only people at the end can see what’s traveling through them.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is keenly worried that President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will step up surveillance activities and pass laws to curtail electronic rights. As a result, the EFF is advising the tech sector to use end-to-end encryption for every transaction by default, and to scrub logs. "You cannot be made to surrender data you do not have," the EFF said. "We need to start securing our systems now," said Rainey Reitman, director of the EFF's activism team, in an interview. "If we wait until he [Trump] starts putting overbroad government demands on tech companies, they won't have the time to clean up their logs and encrypt data."
Sirius won a major victory in the New York Court of Appeals (an oddly named court that's actually New York state's highest court). The state's justices voted 4-2 to reverse the lower court, finding that there was no "public performance" right under New York common law. "This win is important to all the AM/FM radio stations, college radio, small webcasters in New York, and even businesses like restaurants," said Mitch Stoltz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an interview with Ars. "They're not going to have yet another collective licensing agency knocking at their door and asking for royalties. This is policy-making done right. We can't just create new rights at the drop of a hat."
Can Americans expect more government surveillance once President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January? Simply put: Yes. "Sessions has made it clear that he is incredibly hostile to Silicon Valley, the internet in general, and the First and Fourth Amendments," the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Nate Cardozo told the Daily Dot in a phone interview. "He will be a big-government, anti-liberty attorney general."
A Minnesota lawyer who has drawn scorn for his tactics in filing porn copyright lawsuits and disability litigation has been indicted alongside a longtime partner in a multimillion-fraud and extortion conspiracy that counted as its victims hundreds of people nationwide and the court system itself. Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that copyright-trolling suits filed in 2013 by attorneys like Steele and Hansmeier amounted to a third of all copyright infringement litigation nationwide that year.
It’s not every day you hear old-school Vermont liberal Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the conservative curmudgeon from Wisconsin, mentioned in the same sentence. Add to the conversation maverick lefty Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and tea party darling Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, and you have the definition of “strange bedfellows. But when it comes to the heated policy debate over the U.S. National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance operations, exposed by intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s tsunami-sized intelligence leak, they’re all in the same corner. And they’re working to rally support for legislation to fundamentally alter how the government spies. And as Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney with the pro-privacy advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it, “There’s some of the cache to having one of the principle authors of the Patriot Act talking about the reform of the Patriot Act.”
On Thursday, Facebook announced a plan to deal with the proliferation of fake news: Third-party fact-checkers will flag what they think are false stories, and then Facebook will decide whether or not to demote them in people's News Feeds. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has described the effort as an "early test" -- but already the move has prompted concern from critics. "Anything that provides users with more information is a good thing," Jillian York, EFF's director for international freedom of expression, tells Inc. of Facebook's move to label stories as disputed and link to a corresponding article explaining why. She adds however, "If Facebook is going to be doing something like this, then it really needs to be transparent about every element."
As a company, Facebook isn't legally obligated to protect anyone's speech, but its community standards say the site should "give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." Copyright complaints offer a tool with which postings can be removed almost immediately with little review, according to Corynne McSherry, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to digital civil liberties.
You could download Comma.ai’s new open-source Python code from Github, grab the necessary hardware, and follow the company’s instructions to add semi-autonomous capabilities to specific Acura and Honda model cars (with more vehicles to follow). Comma.ai’s CEO George Hotz told IEEE Spectrum last week that Comma.ai’s code has safety features, but what would happen if there’s a bug and your car crashes into a building, another car, or a pedestrian? Self-driving-cars are notoriously difficult to test for safety. Kit Walsh, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, writes in an email that “code is like a set of instructions, and publishing instructions generally cannot be punished consistent with the First Amendment—even if those instructions involve something dangerous like making a weapon or to try to eat a spoonful of cinnamon that will probably wind up in your lungs.”