EFF in the News
“We’re thrilled with the kind of support we’ve received for the Smackdown videos so far,” said Hunsanger. The first three spots have received thousands of hits since launching last Wednesday, and have already shown up on Boing Boing and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website. “They’ve greatly exceeded our hopes, and we have seven more to come over the next week. As satire, the videos are very effective in conveying the message about the Kindle’s presence in the marketplace,” said Hunsanger.
“These devices allow for the forensic reconstruction of much of your life,” says Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The police could go back through GPS data and plate records and know when you visited a strip club or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, or which political rallies or gun shows you drove to.”
But Apple's rejection of the Google Voice app may be enough to bring the company to the attention of government regulators. Although spokespeople for the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice all declined to comment on whether Apple's actions might merit regulatory scrutiny, Fred Von Lohmann, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes that Apple will have to confront questions about anti-competitive behavior.
"The Google Voice events this week underscore the fact that if you're worried about competition, you're worried about Apple," he said, noting that the incident shows why the EFF asked the Copyright Office to sanction the jailbreaking of iPhones.
Well, there wouldn't be any problems at all, really, if the devices were shipped without being locked down to a carrier or to Apple's App Store. People just want to use their devices the way they want, and they should be able to do so. This is why the Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked regulators (PDF) to basically legalize the jailbreaking practice of the iPhones.
Apple's arguments, filed June 23, seek to rebut a request to the agency by the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that modifications to the iPhone's software do not violate the DMCA and should be allowed.
What makes me feel a little better for my wrongdoing with my iPhones, however, is the fact that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has asked regulators for the DMCA exemption (PDF) that would allow consumers to run any app on the phone, including those not authorized by Apple. This would basically legalize the jailbreaking practice of the iPhones.
Fred von Lohmann, the EFF attorney who made the request, said Apple’s latest claims are preposterous. During a May public hearing on the issue in Palo Alto, California, he told regulators there were as many as a million unauthorized, jailbroken phones.
In an interview Tuesday, he said he suspected those phones have not been used to destroy mobile phone towers. “As far as I know, nothing like that has ever happened,” he said.
This week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit to compel the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency and other members of the intelligence community to turn over documents detailing their concerns about their own misdeeds. We sued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a law that allows anyone to request information about the federal government's activities. President Obama has called the FOIA "the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open Government."
David Sobel, senior counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which studies and advocates on electronic privacy issues, says he has been struck by how closely Obama is hewing to Bush-era objections to increased disclosure.
For instance, the new administration used arguments identical to those marshaled by Bush’s Justice Department when it moved in April to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Sobel’s organization on behalf of those who contend that they were subjected to illegal warrantless wiretaps. “No change. Not one word,” Sobel said. “They’ve said all the right things, but they haven’t really delivered on the rhetoric.”
Cindy Cohn, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that she decided to go ahead with the public campaign after months of discussions with Google. She said that Google’s response was insufficient and that the company should commit to guarantees in writing before the settlement is reviewed by a court in October. And she dismissed the argument that Google could not make privacy guarantees until the product was built.
“Whether to hand data only in response to a warrant or not is not a tech decision,” she said in an interview. “Whether you are holding data for 30 days or longer is not a tech decision.”