EFF in the News
This move drew a quick rebuke from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which portrayed the move as a boon for data miners and targeted advertisers, as well as a potentially sticky situation for people who'd rather the known world not be privy to their political beliefs, leisure time activities, sexuality, or place of residence.
"I see it as a loss of control over information you used to have control over," said Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "I don't see how it's meant to benefit Facebook users. I can see what it will get you is data mining and targeted advertising."
Last year, Apple argued against claims filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which proposed a legal exemption to the DMCA that could enable large scale commercial jailbreaking that could no longer be challenged under existing laws. The EFF argued such an exemption would allow more innovation and investment in creative works.
Apple argued that the "EFF apparently desires to use the rulemaking process to alter Apple’s business practices by negating DMCA protection for technologies that interfere with what EFF seems to assume would be a more socially desirable business model that is more 'open.' Specifically, it seeks through the proposed exemption to clear the path for those who would hack the iPhone’s operating system so that a proprietary mobile computing platform protected by copyright can be transformed into one on which any third party application can be run, without taking account of the undesirable consequences that would ensue from the transformation."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation compiled a much larger list of horribles, saying the Ninth Circuit's decision gives manufacturers an incentive to slap logos on "otherwise unremarkable goods" making them ineligible for sale in the U.S. at prices they don't like. Resellers like eBay or the corner antiques store will be liable for serious damages if they sell a good with an imported logo -- and manufacturers have no incentive to make it easier for those resellers to determine where the logo originated. "Readers will suddenly require the consent of the publisher or author before lending their favorite foreign books to a friend," the EFF warns.
Yahoo was backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google and the Center for Democracy & Technology in challenging the government’s position. It defied a court order to turn over those e-mails to the feds in a Colorado criminal probe that is under seal. Litigation over the topic ensued, and the government blinked in a legal standoff highlighting antiquated privacy laws.
Yahoo's efforts to fend off federal prosecutors' broad request attracted allies--in the form of Google, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Progress and Freedom Foundation--who argued that Americans who keep their e-mail in the cloud enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy that is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
The message cited Section 3.3.14 of Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement -- although Apple hasn't published it, the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently obtained a copy -- which bans things that "in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable."
See, the RIAA and the MPAA submitted a joint commentary that the EFF refers to as a "wish list" and, most accurately, a dystopian view of a future in which most government and police resources go toward stopping intellectual property theft and illegal downloading.
As a result, the DOJ is now seeking a federal court Order compelling the company to comply with its demands, and a coalition of privacy groups and technology companies -- led by EFF and including Google -- have now filed a brief supporting Yahoo's position. Both Yahoo and that coalition insist that federal law as well as the Fourth Amendment's search and seizure protection bar the Obama DOJ from acquiring these emails without a search warrant.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has announced that it is siding with Yahoo after government attempts to access the company's Webmail accounts without a search warrant.