EFF in the News
While many tech groups have supported net neutrality and accuse Republicans of forwarding their big business agenda, civil rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues the FCC lacks the mandate to impose the regulation. Characterizing net neutrality as a possible FCC “Trojan horse,” EFF legal analyst Abigail Phillips said the basic premise wasn’t bad, but when factoring in ancillary jurisdiction, it sours quickly.
“It would give the FCC pretty much boundless authority to regulate the Internet for whatever it sees fit. And that kind of unrestrained authority makes us nervous,” Phillips wrote.
The hearing came a day after the release of several hundred pages of internal F.B.I. documents showing that the bureau has been working with great urgency to push to change legislation for years. The documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet freedom advocacy group.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), which has closely monitored the government's actions regarding web surveillance, was able to obtain documents showing that the "Going Dark" initiative is a top priority for the FBI.
But EFF has also filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit as the government has stalled on the release of further documents regarding the plan--a hearing occurred today for the suit. Currently, the government will not release the documents to EFF until August 2012, two years after they filed their second FOIA request.
"Ironically, at the hearing today [the government said it] doesn't need to expedite the release because this isn't an issue of sufficient public concern," Kevin Bankston, a senior attorney at EFF, told the Huffington Post. "While at the same time, Congress is holding hearings on it."
Last summer, there was another avalanche of classified documents detailing abuses by government officials, and it wasn't from WikiLeaks.
Compelled by a lawsuit, the government was recently forced to release files detailing abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating cases between 2001 and 2008. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the organization that requested the material under the Freedom of Information Act, the 2,500 heavily redacted files show evidence of chronic abuse at rates far surpassing any previous estimates or documentation.
On our way to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 21st Birthday party, my programmer friend explained to me why, if it weren’t for the work of the good folks over at EFF, neither eBay nor WikiLeaks could do their thing.
What would the world look like if the Electronic Frontier Foundation didn't exist? Perhaps like one of sci-fi cinema's most debilitating dystopias.
n a major speech on internet freedom, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has warned governments not to restrict online liberty, while saying she opposed confidential leaks. This comes in the midst of uprising and protest in Middle Eastern countries, and as the US attempts to gain access to Wikileaks members’ Twitter accounts. Index on Censorship consulted a number of experts for their verdict. (With EFF International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez.)
Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston said this evening that the FBI already can intercept messages on social-networking sites and Web-based e-mail services with existing law. (This was the purpose of the FBI surveillance system known as Carnivore, later renamed DCS1000.)
"Facebook messages and Gmail messages travel in plain text over those same broadband wires for which the FBI demanded wiretapping capability just a few years ago," Bankston said. "Why has that new capability not been sufficient?"
“The usual reason Web sites give for not encrypting all communication is that it will slow down the site and would be a huge engineering expense,” said Chris Palmer, technology director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an electronic rights advocacy group based in San Francisco. “Yes, there are operational hurdles, but they are solvable.”
A week ago, we mentioned that Denton lawyer Evan Stone (not to be confused with, you know, Evan Stone) had run afoul of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen in his case against hundreds of anonymous folks -- known only by their IP addresses -- for illegally downloading the porn flick Der Gute Önkel over BitTorrent, and subsequently dropped that case.