EFF in the News
A coalition of consumer and privacy groups is taking its fight for online consumer privacy to Capitol Hill. In their sights: online advertising practices and behavioral targeting. In a joint letter to Congress, the groups warn that tracking and targeting of consumers have reached “alarming levels.”
They say they want legislation, not self-regulation. The coalition includes the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumers Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
"It's a very, very, very huge potential privacy invasion because we're talking about very, very small sensors that can be undetectable, effectively," said Lee Tien, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocate.
What remains is a sobering combination — on one hand, there is the detailed information held by companies like Amazon and Google, which have a strong business incentive to fight off the government. Yet even as they go to court to protect the information they have collected, that information still represents a “honey pot for the government,” Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says.
In her talk, Boyd suggested that social networking sites could save themselves potential embarrassment by vetting potential new features and changes through privacy rights watchdogs like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
"When (Facebook) started, it was a private space for communication with a group of your choice," the EFF's timeline written by attorney Kurt Opsahl explains. "Soon, it transformed into a platform where much of your information is public by default. Today, it has become a platform where you have no choice but to make certain information public, and this public information may be shared by Facebook with its partner websites and used to target ads."
A group of privacy groups sent their principles for controlling data collection and use, in a letter to be sent to members of Congress on Monday. The groups include the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the United States Public Interest Research Group and the World Privacy Forum.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has written a 12-step guide to protecting your online privacy. The guide explains how to make sure you are not "shedding" your personal details online and provides handy tips about configuring your web browser preferences, setting up "clean" email addresses, and common sense tips about staying safe (and private) on the web.
We aren't lawyers. If you don't believe us, take a look at our paychecks. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's civil liberty director (how rad is that job title?), Jennifer Granick, however, is in fact, a lawyer. Granick took a few minutes out of her hectic civil liberty directing schedule to give some smart answers to some of Brian's dumb questions about the recent raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home.
Political pressure could disrupt Facebook's efforts to extend its reach to other websites and make its already popular service even more attractive to marketers, says Kurt Opsahl, a staff attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit that closely follows online privacy.
"What upsets people is the loss of control over who gets to see your information," Opsahl says. "While Facebook may define (its new feature) as 'public information,' people still want to be able to control who can get that information."
Matt Zimmerman, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online civil liberties group, said in an interview that Gizmodo would most likely argue that the authorities had no right to enter Mr. Chen’s home because he is a journalist working at home, and so his home is a de-facto newsroom.