EFF in the News
In the latest case, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, Sony has sued computer security researchers:
for publishing information about security holes in Sony’s PlayStation 3. At first glance, it's hard to see why Sony is bothering — after all, the research was presented three weeks ago at the Chaos Communication Congress and promptly circulated around the world. The security flaws discovered by the researchers allow users to run Linux on their machines again — something Sony used to support but recently started trying to prevent. Paying lawyers to try to put the cat back in the bag is just throwing good money after bad. And even if they won — we'll save the legal analysis for another post — the defendants seem unlikely to be able to pay significant damages. So what's the point?
But existing laws cover such problems, and this one clumsily attempts to preserve freedom of speech exceptions by outlawing only "credible" impersonations, whatever those are. The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that there’s potential for abuse, such as quashing parodies, perhaps even political speech. Just as annoying is the new word coined by the law: “epersonation.”
Lawmaker outbursts led a coalition of advocacy organizations spearheaded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to publish an open letter calling on government officials to respect freedom of expression in the debate over Cablegate.
Freedom's Just Another Word
The EFF's letter described legislation proposed by American lawmakers in response to Cablegate as "rash" and warned it could, in effect, muzzle the free press. Government officials' statements have created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the general public, leading them to question their rights with regard to the documents posted by Wikileaks, the EFF's letter charged.
Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group, told FoxNews.com that he believes that the initiative poses a serious threat to privacy and free speech online.
"It's not entirely clear to me what, even now after having followed this program for months, what problems it's really trying to solve and how what it's proposing will solve it," he said, adding that the burden is on the government to show "what's the real benefit here."
Tien said it's pretty clear that the initiative will help law enforcement even though administration officials haven't mentioned it.
An ex-WikiLeaks volunteer has hired American lawyers to oppose the U.S. government's efforts to obtain the contents of her Twitter account, CNET has learned.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament who helped with WikiLeaks' release of a classified U.S. military video, is being represented by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"We're looking at options and various things we can do to help our client," EFF legal director Cindy Cohn said yesterday. "She's disturbed that her information is being sought."
When Twitter revealed to some Wikileaks-related users that the Department of Justice had issued a subpoena asking for their Twitter records, it suggested they might seek legal counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. That is exactly what at least one of them has done.
The EFF has reportedly stepped up to represent some clients the firm has gone after, while most are just settling with Righthaven, which has been seeking a maximum penalty of $150,000 plus seizure of the domain name in every case, according to the report.
Some Apps May Leak Your Data
The U.S. Justice Department has served Twitter with a subpoena seeking information on an Icelandic lawmaker who has worked with WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, the lawmaker told Threat Level on Friday.
“I got the letter from Twitter a couple of hours ago, saying I got 10 days to stop it,” wrote Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, in an e-mail. “Looking for legal ways to do it. Will be talking to lawyers from EFF tonight.”
EFF refers to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil liberties group in the United States.
The EFF also asserts that bad patents threaten free expression by allowing the patent holder to threaten anyone using the technology for any purpose, whether or not the use causes any harm to the patent holder, is used for non-commercial purposes, or the user had any idea they were even using an infringing technology.
The latest patent infringement claim on the EFF's radar is made by a company called Flightprep against a company called RunwayFinder. The EFF believes the copyright is one that should never have been granted. In their words: