EFF in the News
Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group and other record labels were awarded $1.92 million in the retrial of a Minnesota woman accused of swapping music over the Kazaa Internet service...
“The disproportionate size of the verdict raises constitutional questions,” said Fred von Lohmann, a lawyer with the consumer group Electronic Frontier Foundation that’s criticized the music industry’s tactics. “Was the jury punishing her for what she did, or punishing her for the music sharing habits of tens of millions of American Internet users?”
Everybody who religiously reads those terms-of-use documents that Web sites and services ask us to accept -- then re-reads them after every announced change -- can stop reading this post now.
Now that I've reduced my readership by two, let me tell you about an interesting Web site that debuted a couple of weeks ago. TOSBack -- a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based online civil-liberties group -- monitors the terms-of-service rules of 58 sites and services, using open-source software to scan for revisions, then highlight deletions in blue and additions in yellow.
With the Obama administration bizarrely claiming that documents pertaining to negotiations over ACTA, the industry-written treaty that will push countries to change their copyright laws, are somehow a state secret, EFF and Public Knowledge have reluctantly decided to drop their lawsuit to try to open up the proceedings and get access to the documents (freely shared with industry lobbyists, but kept secret from consumers or consumer watchdogs).
American intelligence agencies have been accused of spying on the emails of millions of Americans, including those of former president Bill Clinton...
"Ordinary Americans' most private emails have been and still are being intercepted in bulk and then stored in secret NSA databases, without probable cause," said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the campaign group Electronic Frontier Foundation.
In writing about ridiculously bad patents, we've seen a trend of commenters insisting that if a patent is truly "bad," then there's no problem, since it will likely get rejected. However, the process of getting a bogus patent rejected is ridiculously long and cumbersome. The EFF is rightfully happy that the USPTO is going to throw out a ridiculous patent on web subdomains, presenting another victory for the EFF's Patent Busting Project.
The Obama administration's promises to increase transparency in government gained strength during Sunshine Week in March when Attorney General Eric Holder issued a far-reaching memo for agencies on the Freedom of Information Act...
"The articulation of the policy has been fairly good, starting with the president, men fleshed out by the AG and then . . . with the OIP guidance," said David Sobel, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "All of which I diink are very positive."
A Bay Area think tank noted that the DTV transition arrived without the broadcast flag, a code embedded into HDTV content meant to prevent copyright violation...
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is one of the groups that fought the flag in court.
In an apparent acknowledgment of the concerns expressed by privacy advocates, YouTube has changed its use of tracking cookies for videos embedded on the Whitehouse.gov Web site...
YouTube has agreed to ditch its monitoring cookies for videos viewed on the official White House Web site, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
"This is a good step and we commend YouTube and the government for taking it," Cindy Cohn, legal director at EFF, wrote in a blog post. "It shows that they recognize that tracking the government videos that Americans view is creepy and wrong. It also shows that Google/YouTube technologists can build and offer clever, useful privacy-protective modifications to their standard software."
In the course of gathering electronic evidence in an investigation, apparently the Justice Department sometimes has trouble telling the difference between a subpoena of "stored communications" and warrantless wiretapping... So, the EFF filed an amicus brief in Warshak v. United States to help ensure that the DOJ's apparent confusion isn't transmitted to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals.