EFF in the News
Regardless, Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who focuses on privacy, said the message of Please Rob Me is still important.
"There is clearly a privacy issue here _ one they are trying to shed light on," he said.
"It absolutely is a threat," said Danny O'Brien, international outreach coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation of San Francisco.
"If intermediaries like Google or the person who hosts your Web site can be thrown in jail in any country for the acts of other people and suddenly have a legal obligation to prescreen everything anyone says on their Web site before putting it online, the tools for free speech that everyone uses on the Net would grind to a halt."
Eddan Katz, international affairs director of San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that the incident itself might have gone unreported if not for the video. That supposition was supported by a statement made to authorities by the autistic teen's father, who expressed anguish at seeing on the video how his son had suffered but hadn't had the courage to tell his family.
Thanks to the footage and Google's co-operation, the four bullies were identified and sentenced by a juvenile court to community service.
Exposing wrongdoing and abuse, Katz said, is a strong argument against placing limits on the Web.
"The implication would be that those videos exposing wrongdoing on the part of government, corruption, or organized crime would not be aired. How do we differentiate between the positive exposure of that kind of information, and the negative?"
Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a call today, "We find it troubling that copyright law is being invoked here. Microsoft doesn't sell this manual. There's no market for this work. It's not a copyright issue. John's copying of it is fair use. We don't do this anywhere else in speech law."
For example, in cases involving libel or trade secrets, said Cohn, "You go to court, you make a case and you get an injunction. You don't just file a form. DMCA makes censorship easy."
Attorney Lee Tien of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation shares Harris’ concern for online rights.
“The threat to internet free speech from nations around the world that don’t have the same laws and attitudes about free speech is absolutely a constant problem and is getting worse,” Tien said.
Matt Zimmerman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says the U.S. shields Internet speech from government interference. In Europe -- not so much.
MATT ZIMMERMAN: The First Amendment provides much greater protection for free expression than do comparable laws in Europe.
"They are built into the cars," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights advocacy group. "So the general idea is how much surveillance should you be subjected to? Depending on how they're configured, what you end up with is the possibility of the boxes recording the entire travel history of your car and therefore of you."
A lot and little has transpired following the Electronic Frontier Foundation asking the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for authorization to jailbreak an iPhone or any “wireless telephone handsets"...
“We limited it to phones. This was the only category of devices where this was a problem in 2008,” said Fred von Lohmann, the EFF attorney who wrote the DMCA phone exemption...
“It’s a very glacial process when compared to the pace of technology,” von Lohmann said. “Since it happens every three years, you’re always behind the technology curve.”
"I've always felt that one of the missed parts of this story is Google's early emphasis on the fact that human rights activists had been targeted" in the attacks, Danny O'Brien, international outreach coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the E-Commerce Times.
Not only was that fact emphasized as justification for the "very radical steps" Google took upon discovering the attacks, O'Brien said, but "it was also a major clue that this was an attack by a major state actor -- or someone who believed they could sell the information to a state actor."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supports and defends freedom in the digital world, has listed 7 “corporations of interest” who are violating this call by selling surveillance technology to the Chinese government, Katz said. These corporations include: Cisco, Nortel, Oracle, Motorola, EMC, Sybase and L-1 Identity Solutions. It has also launched a “Surveillance Self-Defense” project detailing what kinds of surveillance are currently legal in the United States and providing practical data for protecting private information.