EFF in the News
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) is urging individuals to join its petition to convince the FCC to remove language from the proposed net neutrality guidelines which provide a legal loophole for the entertainment industry to "hijack the Internet."
In its comments filed with the FCC, the EFF states "EFF is also concerned that content-based discrimination may be looming on the horizon. The entertainment industry, for example, has been pressing ISPs to implement network-based measures to address the problem of online copyright infringement.7 Experience suggests that these technologies are likely to be overbroad, ineffective, expensive, and impede innovation."
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission should avoid adopting strict net neutrality rules that would limit broadband providers' flexibly to "address" illegal online file sharing, the Recording Industry Association of America said in comments filed with the FCC on Thursday.
Internet service providers should have authority to block subscribers from sharing music and other files without permission of the copyright owner, the RIAA said. "ISPs are in a unique position to limit online theft," the RIAA said in its comments. "They control the facilities over which infringement takes place and are singularly positioned to address it at the source. Without ISP participation, it is extremely difficult to develop an effective prevention approach."
Other groups called on the FCC to stay out of the copyright enforcement business. If ISPs are required to check for copyright infringement, they could interfere with legal online activities, said six digital rights and business groups, including Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
ISPs are "poorly placed to determine whether or not transfers of content are infringing or otherwise unlawful, a task generally reserved to attorneys, courts, and law enforcement," the groups said in a filing with the FCC. "In short, the issue raised by broadening the 'reasonable network management' exception to include copyright enforcement and the blocking of unlawful content is not whether ISPs may undertake these efforts, but rather whether they may inflict collateral damage on lawful traffic when they do so."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil liberties group and frequent critic of Google, commended the company in a blog post titled “Uncensoring China — Bravo Google.” Human Rights Watch said that Google’s response to the attacks “sets a great example.” On Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats alike hailed Google’s move.
The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation helped expose one of the biggest net neutrality violations to date -- Comcast's deliberate throttling of peer-to-peer traffic.
But that doesn't mean the EFF supports the Federal Communications Commission's efforts to craft neutrality rules. In comments filed today, the civil rights organization says the FCC lacks authority to issue neutrality regulations that would ban ISPs from discriminating against content.
A good example is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed its comments today in opposition to the proposed rules. The EFF is a strong proponent of online freedom -- that's practically the group's raison d'être. It was a vocal critic of Comcast when it surreptitiously interfered with BitTorrent traffic in 2007, and has offered Internet users a tool to help them detect similar violations of Net neutrality by their ISPs. Nevertheless, the group doesn't believe the FCC has as much authority to regulate as the commission asserts.
The groups have the support of Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has argued in court that laptop searches are invasive because devices like laptops contain personal data, which people should be able to keep private. EFF has also argued that some searches have been conducted without suspicion.
"This lawsuit will not seek monetary damages for individuals who have been searched; instead, it will focus exclusively on fixing the unconstitutional policy," wrote Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director and lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a blog entry on Wednesday.
Apex denies any wrongdoing and sought to quiet the perception storm with legal action by claiming libel, EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said in the blog post.
"This order dangerously overreaches," Opsahl wrote. "By restricting access to entire Websites, it places a prior restraint on all of the speech on the Websites, even if that speech is unrelated to Apex or Mr. Dharayan. Imagine if a court could order Amazon.com or Yelp.com shut down because of a disparaging review of a single product ... The New Jersey court's overreaching order shutting down these Websites also is inconsistent with federal law to the extent that it holds service providers to account for user posts."
But civil liberties groups and technology companies have been cautious about that kind of legislation because it is considered to be "using companies as a wing of U.S. foreign relations policy," said Danny O'Brien, international outreach director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview. "But on the other hand, having the back-up and support for a strong human rights agenda from other executives makes companies more comfortable to do the right thing."
"The biggest focus on this from the Hill will surround cybersecurity," O'Brien said. "The real tipping point for Google was attacks on its infrastructure."
The contracts typically limit patient comments for five years from the last doctor’s visit and they imply that breaking the terms could land the patients in court. Matthew Zimmerman, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which monitors digital rights, says it’s not likely lawsuits against patients or Web site providers would be successful.
“The doctor can’t legally go to the Web site and demand that the content come down,” said Zimmerman.
"China may throw Google out, and it will undoubtedly block Google.cn," said Danny O'Brien, an international coordinator at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group.