June 28, 2012 | By Micah Lee

EFF at Hackers on Planet Earth

Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE), one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. HOPE Number Nine will be taking place on July 13, 14, and 15, 2012 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Several EFF staffers from the legal, tech, and activism teams will be giving presentations. Stop by the EFF booth at HOPE for an invite to our Speakeasy meetup at a secret location on Friday night. Here is a round-up of talks you should make sure not to miss.

Destroying Evidence Before It's Evidence
Hanni Fakhoury, Staff Attorney
Friday 5:00pm Sassaman Room

Covering your tracks out of fear of getting caught with your hands in the digital cookie jar can sometimes get you in more trouble than whatever crime the feds think you may have committed in the first place. This presentation identifies three specific scenarios where the act of trying to cover your digital footprints - oftentimes in innocuous and legal ways - can get you into trouble: the nebulous crime of “anticipatory obstruction of justice,” which can cover something as mundane as deleting an email before you’re even suspected of committing (let alone charged with) a crime; the ever-expanding Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which has been stretched to cover things that are neither fraudulent nor abusive; and the potential problems with encryption. The presentation will conclude with some ways you can protect yourself that can help minimize claims that you obstructed justice.

Nymwars: Fighting for Anonymity and Pseudonymity on the Internet
Eva Galperin, International Freedom of Expression Coordinator
Friday 7:00pm Sassaman Room

The last year has seen an Internet-wide debate over real names, pseudonyms, and anonymity online, especially on social networks and in the comment sections of blogs and newspapers. Facebook has required users to use their real names from the very beginning and newspapers have increasingly embraced the same requirement for commenting on their websites. Proponents of real name policies cite increased civility and quality of content. But pseudonymity and anonymity have a long history in public discourse, and they are essential for privacy and speaking truth to power. This talk will examine the debate over anonymity and pseudonymity online, with a focus on Facebook and the Arab Spring, and Google Plus and Nymwars.

Protecting Your Data from the Cops
Marcia Hofmann, Senior Staff Attorney
Saturday 11:00am Dennis

What should you do if the police show up at your door to seize your computer? If they ask for passwords or passphrases, do you have to turn them over? Can they search your phone if they arrest you during a protest? What about when you’re crossing the border? Your computer, phone, and other digital devices hold vast amounts of sensitive data that’s worth protecting from prying eyes - including the government’s. The Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, but how does this work in the real world? This talk with help you understand your rights when officers try to search the data stored on your digital devices, or keep it for further examination somewhere else. The constitutional protections that you have in these situations, and what their limits are will be discussed, along with technical measures you can take to protect the data on your devices.

Privacy Tricks for Activist Web Developers
Micah Lee, Web Developer
Saturday 3:00pm Nutt

Do you care about the privacy of your website’s visitors, but also depend on social media to get your message out? Do you want to protect your visitors’ anonymity in case you or a third party service you use gets subpoenaed? Do you want to be able to get meaningful and pretty analytics without third parties tracking your visitors? Can some kid in a coffee shop really hijack your users’ accounts that easily?

Chances are Google, Facebook, and Twitter know as much about your website’s visitors as you do, IP addresses and user agents are sprinkled about your server’s filesystem, Google Analytics is watching everyone’s every move, and some kid in a coffee shop is already pwning your users. But it doesn’t have to be this way! This technical talk will cover tricks that web developers and sysadmins can use to minimize the privacy problems that plague the modern web.

Pwn the Drones: A Survey of UAV Hacks and Exploits
Trevor Timm and Parker Higgins, Activists
Saturday 4:00pm Dennis

Drones are no longer a scary possible future of surveillance and remote force - they’re here. Internationally, drones are being deployed for military action and observation. At home, police departments, border patrols, and others are acquiring UAVs and developing programs to fly them; there’s even talk about adding “less lethal” arms to these domestic drones. Think Tasers and rubber bullets shot from the sky. But a series of alarming events over the past few years have demonstrated that many of these unmanned vehicles are dangerously vulnerable to exploits, leading to intercepted data, flight failures, and even remote takeovers. In this talk, Parker and Trevor will explain the privacy and security implications of some of the most sensational drone exploits and the weaknesses that enabled them. They’ll also go over the work of communities and individuals that have been hacking drones from scratch, and what their efforts mean for our future understanding and regulation of drones.

Cell Site Location Data and Nontrespassory Surveillance after U.S. v. Jones
Hanni Fakhoury, Staff Attorney
Sunday 3:00pm Dennis

With the rise of smartphones, the government’s use of cell site location data to pinpoint our exact location has grown more widespread (and precise) over time. For years, courts permitted the government to get this location data without a search warrant. And judges that fought against the government’s attempts at getting this data were met with an unfortunate reality of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: we don’t have any privacy in data we turn over to third parties, like cell phone providers. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in U.S. v. Jones however, presented a “sea change” in the law of warrantless surveillance, calling into question the future viability of the third party doctrine. This talk will review the law of location data, go in depth into how Jones calls this law into question, and conclude with the steps we need to take in the future in order to safeguard our privacy.

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