EFF in the News
he EFF and other groups want to take jailbreaking a step further: The EFF wants the US Government to maintain the DMCA exemption for smartphone jailbreaking, and extend it to cover tablets and consoles--apparently, jailbreaking your gaming console or tablet is still legally iffy, and many companies oppose the practice. Now, I'm no lawyer, but as a tech journalist and a consumer, I can't see how outlawing jailbreaking will do anything but hurt us users--and tech companies too. Here's why.
According to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the FBI’s CIPAV spyware, when installed on a target's computer, allows the feds to collect the following information: IP address; media access control (MAC) address; browser environment variables; open communication ports; list of the programs running; operating system type, version, and serial number; browser type and version; language encoding; the URL that the target computer was previously connected to; registered computer and company name; currently logged-in user name; and other information that would assist with "identifying computer users, computer software installed, [and] computer hardware installed", EFF said in a news release.
The choose-your-own-price Humble Bundle has proven to be a runaway success on desktop platforms -- helping fund indie developers and causes like Child's Play and the EFF alike -- and it's now finally taken the plunge onto mobile devices.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is calling bullshit on this, and along with Carpathia, MegaUpload's hosting service, they've started MegaRetrieval.com, a new site meant to call attention and serve those affected. There's not much to the site right now, aside from providing a mission statement and an email address for Megaupload refugees to air their grievances. According to Forbes, they're not so much trying to take action in the short term as they are gathering info to see if there's a valid class-action lawsuit to be pursued. But it's the thought that counts, ya know?
Unlike other industries, in tech there is much more confusion about what the language in software patents covers, said Julie Samuels, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"Folks who want to use those patents offensively can take advantage of that confusion," Samuels said.
EFF spokeswoman Rebecca Jeschke said the non-profit foundation is also open to starting a similar arrangement with Cogent. “We're very pleased that both Cogent and Carpathia have agreed not to destroy the users' data for the time being,” she wrote in an e-mailed statement
A number of advocacy groups — including Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Center for Democracy & Technology — had been working to stop the bills for months. But it wasn’t until Google and Wikipedia famously joined the fight that SOPA and PIPA became household words and millions of people were activated to express their opposition.
“EFF is troubled that so many lawful users of Megaupload.com had their property taken from them without warning and that the government has taken no steps to help them,” reads a statement on the project from the EFF Attorney Julie Samuels. ”We think it’s important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward.”
“It’s really important that users can see what kind of information they’re sharing and who is getting access to it,” Electronic Frontier Foundation activism coordinator Rainey Reitman said. “It shouldn’t be a guessing game for consumers about what they are broadcasting online.”