EFF in the News
Early reports from China on Monday suggested that the Chinese government was already restricting access to Google's Hong Kong-based site, said Eddan Katz, International Affairs Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"We've already heard indications that visitors to Google.hk are getting 'can't find page' errors," he said.
"I think that's the key question," said Fred von Lohmann, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocate for Internet users and tech companies. "At the heart of the case is what the court considers red-flag knowledge...and [whether] the kind of knowledge that YouTube had [falls] within that definition."
For lawyers, rapidly changing online tools such as social networks can be a boon — or a minefield. Earlier this week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation posted some interesting documents from the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice that detailed the use of social-networking sites to investigate taxpayers and suspects.
Looking ahead, David Sobel, Senior Counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sees hope in fixing FOIA in the form of a pending bill in the Senate. He says Senators Patrick Leahy (D.-Vermont) and John Cornyn (R.-Texas) this past week introduced the "Faster FOIA" bill, designed to create an advisory committee to look into the problem of FOIA processing delays.
Under what circumstances, for example, is it OK for a police officer to impersonate someone else online? A watchdog group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) demanded, under the Freedom of Information Act, that various government agencies release their guidelines on the subject. This morning, it posted the response from the Department of Justice on its website.
The next time someone tries to “friend” you on Facebook, it may turn out to be an undercover fed looking to examine your private messages and photos, or surveil your friends and family. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has obtained an internal Justice Department document that describes what law enforcement is doing on social networking sites.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group, obtained the Justice Department document when it sued the agency and five others in federal court. The 33-page document underscores the importance of social networking sites to U.S. authorities. The foundation said it would publish the document on its Web site on Tuesday.
RAZ: Now, this week, a group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation got a hold of and then published an Apple corporate document, which the company had kept secret. And it's basically a contract that the developers have to sign before they can even create applications for the iPhone and the iPad. What did the document reveal?
Mr. MANJOO: Yeah. First of all, it's pretty remarkable that it's been secret all this time. And one of the reasons it's secret is because there are 100,000 developers who are creating programs for the iPhone but they all have to sign this document, and one of the provisions on this document says that they can't publicly speak about it.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) disagreed with Aiken, saying that the electronic reading of an e-book does not amount to the creation of a derivative work.
“While a book read aloud may be useful (or not – let's remember this is a speech synthesizer, not a human being, reading the book), where is the originality that makes the version read aloud on a Kindle 2 creative, independent of the original book?” the group asked.
But, even if a few iPad readers do opt to have their books read to them by computer software versus a real person, the EFF said that’s unlikely to hurt the lucrative audio book market.
In the United States, where many cloud companies are based, legal standards make it much easier for law enforcement to obtain data for criminal or other investigations, said Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based digital rights group.
"Data stored in the cloud is substantially easier for the government to obtain than the data you store yourself because of lower legal standards," Bankston said. "And it is easier to do it secretly. We think this is a serious security concern, and the law needs to be updated."