EFF in the News
In what would be the stupidest potential lawsuit in almost a month, the FBI is threatening to sue Wikipedia for posting its official seal online... Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation sums the whole episode up perfectly when she spoke to the New York Times: “I have to believe the FBI has better things to do than this.”
Eva Galperin with the Electronic Frontier Foundation defines it:
EVA GALPERIN: The theory posits that the combination of a perfectly normal human being, total anonymity and an audience will result in a cesspit.
Researcher Chris Paget demonstrated what’s likely the world’s cheapest and most accessible system for intercepting GSM phone calls, the protocol used by AT&T and T-Mobile. His hardware and open source software cost just $1,500, far less than previous methods. Paget went ahead with his talk despite legal concerns by the Federal Communications Commission–thanks in part to legal representation from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, he hasn’t been arrested as of yet.
However, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) suggested that while many counterfeiters had links with organised crime, piracy may not prevent sales and could have the effect of marketing the software or music to a wider audience.
"Piracy and counterfeiting are often incorrectly lumped together to make piracy seem worse than it is," EFF chair John Buckman told ZDNet UK. "It is not at all clear that these copies, if prevented, would have actually led to sales... Furthermore, there is extensive academic evidence that pirated music and software leads to sales."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital advocacy group, is also wary of Facebook's pattern of ever-changing privacy policies. "Facebook takes one step forward, and two steps back," says EFF spokesperson Eva Galperin. "They'll start to erode the privacy of users, roll it back when there are complaints, but in the end you'll have less privacy then you did before."
Discussion of the DMCA rulemaking, in which EFF earned exemptions for jailbreaking and unlocking mobile phones.
The digital-freedom advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the [NSL] letters "one of the most powerful and frightening tools of government surveillance to be expanded by the Patriot Act," and says the gag order and lack of oversight "make this power ripe for abuse."
"Considering the FBI's dismal record on surveillance abuses, this is a stunning and brazen request," the EFF writes. "They're asking the Senate to reward bad behavior by allowing even more bad behavior. We're hoping that the Senate will have the courage and integrity to turn them down."
Just last week we were talking about Perfect 10's lawsuit against Google in Canada, where we noted that in Perfect 10's own bragging press release, it effectively admits that its takedown filings were not properly filed.
As EFF notes:
For example, many of its "notices" consisted of a cover letter, a spreadsheet with URLs (many of which linked only to a top-level URL for a website, as opposed to a specific infringing URL) and a hard drive or DVD containing Perfect 10's electronic files of its photos. Not good enough, said the court -- the information required by the DMCA must be contained in a single written communication; forcing a service provider to cobble together adequate notice from a variety of sources is just too burdensome.
The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to obtain internet records of users without a court order. If Congress approves the plan, the FBI would be able to secretly issue a National Security Letter to an internet provider and obtain who users send email to, the times and dates of e-mails sent and received, and possibly a log of every website visited. Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, "Our biggest concern is that an expanded [National Security Letter] power might be used to obtain Internet search queries and Web histories detailing every Web site visited and every file downloaded."
The use of the national security letters to obtain personal data on Americans has prompted concern.
One issue with both the proposal and the current law is that the phrase "electronic communication transactional records" is not defined anywhere in statute. "Our biggest concern is that an expanded NSL power might be used to obtain Internet search queries and Web histories detailing every Web site visited and every file downloaded," said Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has sued AT&T for assisting the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program.