EFF in the News
On the northern side of the United States border, Katitza Rodriguez, the international rights director at the EFF, called the Mexican legal reforms a "time bomb for abuse."
"The Mexican Government knows what it's getting," she wrote in an e-mail sent to Ars on Tuesday. "This is sensitive information that reveals so much information about where people go. In an environment where it is dangerous for bloggers to report sensitive information about drug-related violence—especially since this information is rarely reported in local newspapers or on television. It is important that [the Mexican Government] protect the privacy and location of Mexicans by requiring a warrant under reasonable grounds prior to requesting the monitoring of the online information."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization dedicated to protecting civil liberties online, has been following this issue closely and blames the U.S. government's "piecemeal" approach to sanctions and licenses for causing confusion among companies about what is or isn't legal.
What about other countries like Bahrain? It is "ridiculous," says the EFF's Jillian York, that the executive order "only covers Syria and Iran and not Bahrain."
The Federal Aviation Administration released a list of 63 authorized launch sites last week after a Freedom of Information Act request was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Using the information gathered from the FAA, the EFF put together a map that shows where authorized domestic unmanned aerial vehicles are being launched from.
"Right now, companies can only look at your communications in very specific, very narrow situations," says Trevor Timm, an activist with the group. "The government, if they want to read them, needs some sort of warrant and probable cause. This allows companies to read your communication as long as they can claim a cybersecurity purpose."
The EFF, which requested this information, has parsed it into map form based on the locations of the organizations listed. What the information doesn't reveal, however, is what kind of drone they use and what they use it for. The FAA does say this data is forthcoming.
What sparked the privacy worries -- including opposition from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Library Association, the ACLU, and the Republican Liberty Caucus -- is the section of CISPA that says "notwithstanding any other provision of law," companies may share information "with any other entity, including the federal government."
But civil liberties groups, including the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, are campaigning against the bill, warning it would encourage companies to hand over private information to government spy agencies.
The dispute over the subpoena has received attention from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which defends free speech and digital rights online, and from former Manhattan civil court judge Emily Jane Goodman, who wrote about the matter in The Nation in February.
Not surprisingly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California have been arguing in favor of the new bill. Who’s against? Why, it’s CTIA, the industry trade group of the cellphone industry.
Op-ed by EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels:
Oracle v. Google has all the ingredients of an epic, high-stakes courtroom battle: a damages claim of up to $1 billion over the use of Java in the popular Android operating system, testimony by both Larrys (CEOs Page and Ellison) in the first week alone, and, of course, the disposition of some interesting legal issues, not the least of them whether APIs can be copyrighted.