EFF in the News
The memo was made public as part of a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which was seeking reports from an intelligence oversight panel. After The New York Times reported on its contents in December, a lawyer representing anti-abortion activists who attended the rally asked Middleton police to release a copy of the assessment under Wisconsin's open records law.
“You’d think it was nuclear weapons kind of stuff, not intellectual property law,” said Eddan Katz, international affairs director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns against regulation of the Internet. “The fact that there are 30 or 50 people sitting around a table deciding the laws of the world’s nations, when there are major areas of disagreement, seems like a wholesale contravention of the democratic process.”
Now, in an appeal of Lenihan's ruling, the 3rd Circuit will become the first federal appellate court to tackle the question as Justice Department lawyers square off against a coalition of privacy and civil liberties lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy & Technology and the American Civil Liberties Union...
Bankston, in a brief jointly filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the ACLU and the Center for Democracy & Technology, urges the 3rd Circuit to uphold Lenihan's ruling on the grounds that Congress intended to give judges the discretion to deny such requests and require prosecutors to meet the ordinary standard for a search warrant.
Cell phone users, Bankston argues, have an expectation of privacy in such data because they "simply do not voluntarily expose their location whenever they make calls and receive calls ... nor do they do so merely by turning on their cell phones."
With its Patent Busting Project, EFF is targeting patents that it claims are invalid and hurt ordinary people by threatening innovation. In this case, the patent affects a technology that has made voice calls more affordable and that depends partly on independent inventors for new advances, said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.
"VoIP is one of these kinds of technologies that really frees people," Cohn said. EFF is worried that fear of lawsuits by C2 could inhibit developers from making new VoIP products available. Meanwhile, its patent is one that never should have been granted, Cohn said.
"This was actually a complete surprise to me," said EFF staff technologist Seth Schoen.
Schoen said copiers represent a major privacy loophole.
"Potentially all of that information is available to anyone who by chance buys the machine or wants to go looking for it. So that sounds like a pretty large scale problem to me," he said.
Hofmann is a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public interest group focused on privacy issues. The Foundation sued the CIA, Justice and Defense Departments after reading reports that the CIA is monitoring social-media sites like Twitter. Hofmann says her group wants to find out if there are any rules in place. She says social networking is like a new frontier.
"It sounds very dangerous," says Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, referring to the police-only Web interface. "Let's assume you set this sort of thing up. What does that mean in terms of what the law enforcement officer be able to do? Would they be able to fish through transactional information for anyone? I don't understand how you create a system like this without it."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has listed seven Western companies responsible for selling censorship and surveillance technology to the Chinese.
The EFF compiled its "corporations of interest" list from published data on companies that have sold surveillance tools to the Chinese. In strongly worded language, the EFF's Danny O'Brien said the named companies are "fostering repression in China" because the Chinese use the technology for "rampant censorship, invasive data collection and intimidation."
"Things have changed slightly — for the worse," said Rebecca Jeschke from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Warning of an FCC power grab, the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation says the commission lacks authority to impose regulations.