EFF in the News
As promised, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has thrown down the legal gauntlet. "The Dervaes Institute should recognize that this is one community that will not be intimidated, cease its heavy-handed tactics, and take steps to repair the damage it has caused," writes EFF intellectual-property director Corynne McSherry. Her legal letter to the Dervaeses minces no words, calling their campaign misguided and giving them until this Friday to demonstrate to the EFF that they have taken steps to right the wrongs they specifically committed against The Urban Homestead and Process Media.
At stake in the legal fight -- beyond placing criminal responsibility for thousands of classified U.S. documents being posted on the Internet -- is how much privacy Twitter and other social network users can expect or whether such messages are considered private at all.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation went to court in Alexandria, Va., last week to try to stop the government's acquisition of the Twitter messages.
Fortunately, some of the organizations they’ve sued have begun to fight back. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has offered to help a number of bloggers and businesses that have been sued. In fact they defended Democratic Underground from the suit brought against them and won. In December EFF asked a judge to force Righthaven to pay for the cost of the defense. Hopefully, this is the first of many failed suits which will make Righthaven’s business model ultimately unsustainable.
Government regulation, Harper argues, “will make consumers worse off than they could be. The better alternative is to get people educated and involved in their own privacy protection.”
To wit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation provides a list of the Top 12 ways to protect your privacy, itemized/condensed as follows:
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.