EFF in the News
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of the Nation's Capital, and Public Citizen filed amicus briefs on Wednesday in three suits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to an Electronic Frontier Foundation computer scientist, Peter Eckersley, modern browsers have been designed to send Web sites a slew of seemingly innocuous information such as operating system and screen-size information.
By collating and combing this information, then comparing it against other users' browsers--which Eckersley called "browser fingerprinting"--the data can be personally identifiable. He went on to add that this discovery would have "implications" for both privacy policies and technical designs for browsers.
But in multiple court filings today, the American Civil Liberties Union has joined forces with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen to attack this “sue 'em all” P2P litigation strategy.
In an amicus brief contesting the U.S. Copyright Group's attempt to lump together thousands of unrelated defendants in the "Hurt Locker" suit and several similar actions, the Electronic Frontier Foundation accused USCG of abusing the discovery process and "jeopardizing [the defendants'] rights to an individual evaluation of their actions and defenses." According to the EFF, the suit's shotgun approach is designed to intimidate defendants into settling out of court rather than risk trial in a jurisdiction that might be thousands of miles away.
Eva Galperin, referral coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the advocacy group for tech companies and Internet users, advises those accused in a copyright suit to begin the process by consulting an attorney. For the past several weeks, EFF.org has been soliciting attorneys for help in defending people in the cases brought by Voltage and the other film companies.
But reader Hephaestus alerts us to the EFF's highlighting of a brief by a group of content creators who have used YouTube to get their works seen and heard without having to go through the usual gatekeepers. The group refers to itself as the "Sideshow Coalition" in response to Viacom's rather demeaning claim that the interests of such legitimate creators was nothing more than a sideshow. But the brief (pdf) shows that they're not a sideshow at all, but people who were enabled to do great things because of YouTube, and that would be put at risk with a ruling in favor of Viacom
"It's an incredibly competitive market right now when talking about search and social networks," said Tim Jones, an activist and technology manager at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Any newcomer is trying to find any advantage they can get, so it's only natural that as consumer awareness on privacy issues increases and as the big players lose credibility, the newcomers will try to take advantage of that."
But some experts including the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation feel that it will be better if Google does not hand over this data to the European authorities. They fear that giving this data back to the authorities can result in further harming privacy.
eWEEK reported Wednesday that antitrust investigators are looking into the strategy behind Apple's iTunes store to determine if the company has abused any monopoly power it might have in the digital music space to stifle competition. Not long before that, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice were rumored to be digging a little deeper into the terms of its iPhone developer agreement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others, claimed the agreement was anti-competitive.
But is Apple, a secretive company at best, suited as an arbiter of what people can download onto their own devices?
‘No-one would be comfortable in a world where Microsoft had to "approve" every application on a Windows computer,' says Fred Von Lohmann, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.