EFF in the News
Berkeley activists can sue federal agents for their role in a 2008 raid in which officers seized their computers and records in search of alleged threats by animal-rights advocates, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a consumer watchdog, embarked on a new project called Terms of (Ab)Use. Terms of (Ab)Use is the EFF's attempt to enable people to understand what their End User License Agreements (EULAs) mean.
USTR released 36 pages about ACTA on April 30, but digital rights groups Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation complained then that the agency was still withholding more than 1,000 pages on the proposed treaty. The two groups filed a lawsuit against USTR in September 2008, complaining that the agency had largely ignored their Freedom of Information Act request to disclose details of the trade pact, which has been negotiated among the U.S., Japan, the European Union and other countries since 2006.
Shortly after the Halloween incident, Miller and the two other DJs who were at the party contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group specializing in technology and privacy issues. Jennifer Granick, a civil liberties lawyer with EFF, said most people haven't heard about this because few of these DJs, if any, ever get convicted of a crime.
"DJs and the police department know that sound equipment and laptops are being unlawfully seized. But the public and the courts haven't heard much about it because every time a DJ asks for a hearing, the cops just give them their property back rather than show up and defend the practice in open court before a judge," she said.
Major Hollywood movie studios have recently launched a public relations offensive against internet “piracy” of their movies and television programming, making their case before Congress, the FCC and even on "60 Minutes."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation received a copy with 159 pages intact, but an additional 1,362 pages redacted with the claim that the contents were crucial to national security.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is taking on Credible's and Higgins' cases. The San Francisco–based organization strives to protect privacy as it relates to computer and Internet technology and does a lot of work with computer searches and seizures. Civil liberties director Jennifer Granick says she's concerned about the recent laptop grabs because they've apparently been done without arrests being made. She explains that police can seize the property of someone who is being arrested, and if, say, alcohol is being sold illegally or people have weapons in their possession, cops can confiscate those items. "You can't just go to a party and say, 'You can't have a party because it's after hours and you don't have a permit,' and just take people's property," she adds. She points out that taking laptops away is "a real interference with people's livelihood, whether they are professional DJs or they work somewhere else."
Jones’ appellate lawyer, Stephen Leckar of Washington’s Shainis & Peltzman, argued that the circumstance in the Jones case is different from the scenario the Supreme Court ruled on in Knotts. In the Jones case, police used GPS to supplant traditional surveillance, not to augment it, Leckar said. (Both the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation supported Jones as an amicus in the case.)
Tatel noted what he called the “big caveat” in Knotts. The late Justice William Rehnquist said in Knotts that if 24-hour surveillance were ever implemented, “[t]here will be time enough then to determine whether different constitutional principles may be applicable. The Jones case, [Judge] Tatel said, presents that scenario.
In order to get the fixes to customers, Kafasis took out all of the offending images and replaced them with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) logo. If you tap on the logo, you will be taken to a page explaining why the images have been removed.
Psystar has a ray of hope left in this case, but the ruling's language indicates that the clone maker's success on the remaining claims is unlikely. Psystar did not respond to our request for comment, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohmann doesn't think this is necessarily a death blow to the hackintosh industry as a whole.
"While the ruling is a serious setback for Psystar, I don't see it having much impact beyond the facts of that case," von Lohmann told Ars. "On a number of important points, the outcome was driven by Psystar-specific factors, such as Psystar forfeiting one of their strongest defenses by failing to plead it in time. Moreover, my understanding is that the commercial 'hackintosh' industry has moved on to selling software that enables the user to bring their own PC and OS X DVD, rather than selling a pre-installed solution like the one at issue in the ruling."