EFF in the News
Some U.S. privacy rights groups expressed concern that the agreement sets a dangerous precedent because the removals will be based on flagging by third parties.
“It does not address that different speech is deemed illegal in different jurisdictions, nor how such 'voluntary agreements' between the private sector and state might be imitated or misused outside Europe,” said Danny O’Brien, international director of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civic rights group.
Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the ruling relied on "a strained definition of what it means to 'voluntarily' give information to third parties."
"The use of a cell phone is all but a necessity in today's world, but the court sidesteps any consideration of the realities of how people use this technology and of how long-term location tracking can reveal the intimacies of people's lives," he said in an email.
Google also recently announced an optional end-to-end encrypted mode in its new messaging app, Allo — but the move drew fire from some privacy advocates, who typically cheer advances in commercial encryption.
“Hey @google, what the shit? You support encryption? Turn it on by default, or don't bother playing,” tweeted Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization.
Mitch Stoltz, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in an article for Law.com that software developers “breathed a sigh of relief” as a result of the jury decision on Thursday. ‘The jury’s finding that Google’s use of elements of the Java programming language was a fair use under copyright law validates a common practice in the software industry, one that has led to a great deal of innovation,” he wrote.
Stoltz added that he was still troubled by the appellate ruling in the case that left Google with only a fair use defense. “Fair use cases can be unpredictable,” he said, "especially where complex new technology is involved.”
David Greene, senior staff attorney at the EFF, said the dispute was between the company and the agency that released the documents. Ultimately, whatever harm may or may not fall on the company because of documents provided to MuckRock “does not diminish MuckRock's right to publish information,” he told Motherboard in a phone call.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is assisting the plaintiffs in several of the key cases, said the government should find a way to get rid of most of the data.
“Talks are continuing about a plan under which the government would destroy the phone records — including those still lingering in its various databases — while ensuring that the courts can still consider our challenge to 14 years of NSA telephone records collection from millions of innocent Americans,” said EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene.
“Changes to the e-commerce chapter continue to be made in complete isolation from the stakeholders it affects, notably the global Internet community of users and innovators. This legacy, closed model of trade negotiation is no way to be making public policy for the digital environment,” noted Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Global Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“It does give a lot of breathing room to other companies and individuals trying to do a lot of innovative activity,” said Parker Higgins, director of copyright activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group.
“At this point, it should go without saying that the information the FBI wants to include in the statue is extremely revealing — URLs, for example, may reveal the content of a website that users have visited, their location, and so on,” Andrew Crocker, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in an email to The Intercept.
"Your car essentially knows where you sleep, where you work, where you eat, where your kids go to school, if you go to church, if you're having an affair -- you name it," said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to civil liberties online. "But the OEMs are opaque. They don't tell us what they're collecting, they don't tell us with whom they're sharing it, and they don't tell us how often the government comes knocking."