EFF in the News
In an amicus brief, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Center for Democracy & Technology joined the plaintiffs, aiming to emphasize the core First Amendment protections that library users have and to remind the court that libraries play a key role in providing Internet access, particularly in rural areas.
As a practical matter, NCRL’s processing of unblocking requests can severely hinder job-seekers, the brief states. Even under NCRL’s new “automated’ unblocking system, fewer than one third of the 90 requests were responded to on the same day, and some were delayed by more than three days.
"The same folks are being potentially entrusted with cybersecurity who have already shown that they have no regard for the law," says Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that sued AT&T for its involvement in those wiretapping programs. "It's troubling that the Obama administration would consider this sort of thing."
"I would say that it looks like saner heads prevailed -- I don't think this lawsuit should've been brought in the first place," said Corynne McSherry, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has followed the case. "I think their legal claims were weak at best."
If ASCAP proves its case, the Electronic Frontier Foundation of San Francisco says it could cost consumers and technically turn millions of ring tone users into copyright violators.
"Clearly they are pointing a finger at every consumer that is holding a cell phone that goes off in the park or at the beach," said Fred von Lohmann, the digital rights group's senior intellectual property attorney. "We may be annoying people, but we're not infringing copyright law."
"The implication was that anyone on the Internet would be a criminal if they filled out a website registration using a fake name or using the wrong age," said Matt Zimmerman, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"And I think that was a path the judge was not terribly interested in going down."
It isn't often that you find AT&T and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in agreement, but consensus has been reached on one matter: ASCAP's demand that wireless companies pay it license fees for ringtones is, well, ridiculous.
Public Knowledge, the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Frontier Foundation told a federal court Wednesday that a publicly ringing phone is no different from a person humming a tune in an elevator, listening to music in a convertible, or singing Happy Birthday at a party in the park — all activities that are not considered copyright infringements.
Unsurprisingly, free speech advocates are applauding the decision. "The idea is, you hold the speaker responsible, not the soapbox," Electronic Frontier Foundation spokesperson Rebecca Jeschke told Reuters. "If you want any kind of social interaction on the Internet this is very important."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology and Public Knowledge joined in an amicus brief that argues against ASCAP in its lawsuit brought against mobile carriers for additional royalties for the public performance of ringtones.
Some consumer advocates said they were unimpressed with the new principles. Lee Tien, an attorney at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, argues that self-regulatory programs will not adequately protect privacy because consumers currently have no way of knowing their privacy has been compromised, much less complaining about it to an enforcement body.
"There's no good reason to expect self-regulation to work," Tien says, adding that companies currently compile dossiers used to target people based on behind-the-scenes data-crunching without explaining how specific information is being used.