EFF in the News
When should the public be concerned about Shadow Regulations encroaching on Internet freedoms? Whenever there is no space for transparency, accountability and user participation, very shady Shadow Regulations can be implemented. Mitch Stoltz, Senior Staff Attorney at EFF, explained, "It's an abdication of responsibility to pressure platforms like Facebook to come up with a policy and enforce it while government washes its hands [of any responsibility]."
Tech and civil liberties advocates are imploring the Obama administration to rein in the government's massive surveillance apparatus before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, fearful he will carry out his campaign promises to register Muslims, spy on mosques and punish companies that offer Americans unbreakable encryption. "The surveillance apparatus is going to be turned disproportionately against Muslims," said Nate Cardozo, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocate. "It's going to be turned disproportionately against people of color of all kinds, against immigrants.
"From the perspective of, I think, a lot of privacy advocates, facial recognition is a case of the technology leaping ahead of the law," said Adam Schwartz, senior lawyer with Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that researches technology and civil liberties issues.
Across the country, progressive nonprofits are reporting an unprecedented surge in donations, as disappointed Clinton voters channel their frustration into hard cash for the causes they support. One of the beneficiaries is Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on digital rights. Cindy Cohen is executive director. " We are seeing about four times as much financial support post election as in the days before it."
Facebook worked on special software so it could potentially accommodate censorship demands in China, according to a report in the New York Times. "Kudos to the Facebook employees who brought this to the attention of the New York Times," said the EFF's global policy analyst Eva Galperin."It's very nice to know there are some principled people still working there."
Jillian York is the director for international freedom of expression with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She said a lot of the content takedowns they've seen involved nudity or sexual content, citing a couple of famous examples from earlier this year. "A photo of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen was censored from Facebook. It's a mermaid, so not really human nudity," she noted.
It should bother anyone who believes in government transparency that MassIT is withholding records on the basis that they will alert the public to the existence of other records. Aaron Mackey, a legal fellow with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, agrees. He says that to safeguard personal privacy, the government should not be allowed to keep secret databases—whether for “benign or nefarious” purposes. He pointed to the ’60s and ’70s, when the government kept detailed dossiers on anti-Vietnam war activists. “The idea is that the public should know what type of information the government is maintaining about them,” he says. Releasing the list would actually be a “public service,” according to Mackey.
Section 230 of the Act guarantees that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Judges have affirmed that Section 230 means online platforms cannot be held responsible for what is published by their users. So much of the law is so well established,” said David Greene, the civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation said, that “many cases are not even brought now.” The EFF often advises courts to broadly interpret Section 230 in defense of web publishers.
"No one knows what the heck that Trump is going to do," said Sophia Cope, a staff attorney on the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "To the extent that he feels that weakening encryption is an important policy goal for him, he's going to find a way to do that.
Cindy Cohn, Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is also calling for Trump to listen to security experts on encryption policy. "We desperately need leadership that recognizes that empowering users and companies to provide the strongest security and creating incentives for them to do so is the best way for us to actually be more secure," she says.