EFF in the News
There are plenty of people who can muster outrage at Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees third baseman who is the latest example of win-at-any-cost athletes. But I’d prefer to see him as at the cutting edge of another scourge — the growing encroachment on privacy...
Perhaps a more direct explanation is that data collection is part of what Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, calls “the surveillance business model.” That is, there is money to be made from knowing your customers well — with a depth unimaginable before Internet cookies allowed companies to track obsessively online behavior.
Richard Acton-Maher of San Francisco was in nearby Berkeley last month and wanted to meet friends for lunch. Instead of making calls to see who was around, he looked at a digital map on his iPhone that plotted their locations...
Besides competition, Google’s effort to turn mobile phones into tracking devices faces criticism from privacy advocates. Useful for friends and family, location data would also be valuable to the government, said Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on civil-liberties.
There is something deeply exasperating about the debate, exposed today, about whether unlocking an iPhone violates Apple’s copyright on the cellphone’s software. There’s a real issue at stake, but it isn’t fundamentally about copyrights.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a filing to the Copyright Office, argues that the government should allow iPhone owners to circumvent technical barriers meant to keep them from changing the phone’s software, a process called jailbreaking. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act bans people from defeating technical protections for copyrighted materials (such as the encryption on DVDs). The act requires the government to consider exemptions to this ban every three years.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed requests with the US Copyright Office to exempt activities from legal threats under the DMCA, one of which attacks Apple's secured software business model on the iPhone.
Apple has told the US Copyright Office that jailbreaking an iPhone should be illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA).
Apple's defense of its practice of locking down the iPhone to software and services provided only by itself and its partner AT&T came in response to petitions for DCMA exemptions that were proposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in December 2008.
Apple recently told the U.S. Copyright Office that it believes iPhone jailbreaking is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and infringes on its copyright, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The EFF is trying to get the Copyright Office to grant a DMCA exemption on behalf of iPhone owners who have chosen to jailbreak their iPhones, or bypass the restriction Apple places on standard iPhones that only allows the installation of applications from approved sources: the App Store. In its response to the Copyright Office, Apple disagreed that such an exemption was proper because the very act of jailbreaking the iPhone results in copyright infringement.
Apple has remained pretty quiet, on the whole, concerning the fact that people "jailbreak" their iPhones to allow them to run non-Apple-approved software on the devices (or to use them on other mobile carriers). However, in responding to an attempt by the EFF to get jailbreaking (and other phone unlocking efforts) declared clear of any potential copyright claims, Apple has now officially said they believe that jailbreaking the iPhone is infringing on their copyright. This is troubling for a number of reasons.
Last December, the Electronic Frontier Foundation proposed an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that would make legal jailbreaking phones--the process of hacking phones to allow running third-party applications from other sources. Exemptions to the DMCA can be proposed to the Copyright Office every three years, and are valid for three years. In response, Apple has now filed a 27-page argument (PDF link) that jailbreaking should not be given an exemption.
In the lead-up to FTC "Town Hall" meetings on digital rights management, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has issued a statement calling on the U.S. government to "mitigate the damage that digital rights management technologies cause consumers."
The world’s biggest record companies sued college students, a 12-year-old girl and a dead woman and still failed to stamp out music piracy. Now they’re turning to Internet service providers...
“There has been an international push by the rights holders to pursue a similar strategy across the world,” said Danny O’Brien, international outreach coordinator for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates expanded digital rights for consumers. “The end goal is the same: co-opt Internet service providers as copyright cops.”