EFF in the News
The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation is raising concerns about whether Google's upcoming digital book service will adequately protect readers' privacy.
"As Google expands its Google Book Search service, adding millions of titles, it will dramatically increase the public's access to books," the civil liberties organization says. "But Google may be leaving out the privacy we have come to expect, with systems that monitor the digital books you search, the pages you read, how long you spend on various pages, and even what you write down in the margins."
The EFF posted its concerns with Google Book Search on its blog Thursday, with EFF designer/activist Hugh D'Andrade saying the search product could infringe on "privacy of thought."
"If you suspect you may have a serious disease, you can go into a bookstore and browse for books about your illness, find one that's useful, and buy it with cash," D'Andrade wrote. "And you can rest assured that your insurance premiums won't increase as a result, because there is no way your insurance company can find out about your choice of reading material."
EFF hopes to tap into CIA, NSA, and other agencies’ records of self-reporting on potential wrongdoing to learn more about how US collects intelligence on US citizens, for example, or homicides or other crimes that may have occurred during detainee interrogations or detentions. EFF’s earlier FOIA requests to US intelligence agencies for information on these topics have yielded little, Threat Level reports.
OdioWorks and the EFF insisted that hosting information on how to enable third-party software to work with Apple's devices did not make one a hacker or pirate, and they apparently still do. Apple decided to call off the dogs only because the code is now obsolete; what will happen when users inevitably start talking about Apple's new code and trying to get the Palm Pre to work with iTunes again?
Fred von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the EFF, said he was a little disappointed that he didn’t have a chance to argue the case, adding that the hobbyists’ discussions on BluWiki were protected by the first amendment.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Apple are standing down over a legal dispute involving the Web site Bluwiki. Apple is no longer going after Bluwiki's operators for what it says was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and in return EFF has dropped its own lawsuit against Apple, reports The Loop.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Nate Cardozo said the lawsuit is especially important now because some members of Congress have complained this year that the intelligence community hasn't kept them informed about spy activities.
"We have long been concerned that digital rights management is essentially tricking people," says Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the campaign group based in San Francisco. "It's creating a situation where people think they've purchased something – in the way you might purchase a pair of shoes, for example. But from the perspective of the seller, and often from the perspective of the law, it's quite a lot less."
Members of the Open Source For America coalition, which launched Wednesday, include Google, The Linux Foundation, the Mozilla and Debian projects, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Advanced Micro Devices and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Political protests overseas demonstrate the enormous power of the most mundane Internet technologies. Social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being used to organize protests after Iran's contested election and have allowed Iranians to speak anonymously to one another and the world. In China, access to reports and photos on the Internet fueled protests in Urumqi after a violent confrontation ended with more than 150 dead.