EFF in the News
Mitch Stoltz (@mitchstoltz) is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Mitch works on cases where free speech and innovation collide with copyright and trademark law. His current projects include improving the legal environment for mobile software developers and tinkerers, fighting the use of copyright as a tool for censorship, litigation on the copyright status of mandatory safety codes, and legal analysis in the field of Internet television and video. Mitch also counsels clients on Internet video technology and open source software licensing.
San Francisco’s Electronic Frontier Foundation, which promotes online free speech, said it receives queries at least weekly from consumers being sued over online reviews, usually on Yelp and sometimes on Glassdoor, a site where employees rate their workplaces, said staff attorney Sophia Cope. The EFF does not take individual cases, however.
“We need a federal law that applies in all states,” Cope said.
“The DMCA has given companies a legal hammer to prevent transparency in the way those devices work,” said Kit Walsh, a staff attorney the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). That’s led to a chilling effect on people who want to improve, customize or better secure modern vehicles (it’s unclear how much it has deterred malicious hackers).
“Honestly, the real answer is 'it depends.' Marking election systems as critical infrastructure might help us begin to make them more secure, but not necessarily. And federalizing election systems could make us less secure by creating fewer points of failure. But overall, [the Electronic Frontier Foundation] and our colleagues at Verified Voting have been sounding the alarm about insecure voting systems for a long time, pushing for real auditing of code and risk limiting audits of the results, along with warning about the insecurity of the internet as a network for voting. More must be done. Whether the step of calling it critical infrastructure will help is hard to predict, but certainly raising the profile of this issue is long overdue.” – Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation
But all this user choice isn't necessarily a good thing, said Eva Galperin, a global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for online privacy. In apps that let users switch between private and less-private modes, users either choose the wrong mode or mistakenly believe the whole app is safe.
"When people have those kinds of choices, it's too easy to mess up," she said.
“We are pleased that the courts seem to be recognizing that they have been, perhaps inadvertently, party to creating a culture of secrecy around the government’s use of surveillance tools,” said Cindy Cohn, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a reaction shared by several civil liberties groups.
Interview: Cindy Cohn, Executive Director, EFF
The Bill of Rights is the most important part of the Constitution for individuals and is just as important to technology companies. Much of the precedent surrounding the Bill of Rights was established in the mid-20th century, prior to the introduction of most of the technology we use today. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is one the leading organizations fighting to protect our digital civil liberties. At the helm of EFF is executive director, Cindy Cohn. When she’s not out hiking or walking her Bernese Mountain Dog, Cindy spends her time as one of the most important individuals in privacy and security today – she stands at the crux of technology fighting to protect our liberties.
"There has been a crazy chicken-and-egg problem holding up the deployment of secure encryption on the web," said Peter Eckersley, chief computer scientist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founder of the Let's Encrypt project. "Browsers tried to protect users by blocking insecure parts of secure HTTPS pages, but that made it impossible to deploy encryption incrementally. CloudFlare's new Automatic HTTPS Rewrites will help sites encrypt everything all at once, and fix this deadlock in web security."
In a statement, Attorney Stephanie Lacambra of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) described the use of social media monitoring by police departments as “incredibly troubling for the preservation of individual privacy.”
“I often run into the widespread misperception that ‘because I’m not doing anything wrong,’ or ‘I have nothing to hide,’ ‘digital privacy doesn’t concern me,’” Lacambra said. “This perspective is troubling because it fails to grasp the power of information in the digital age and its potential for abuse—by law enforcement and others.”
After more than 15 years as a web developer and environmental and human rights activist, Bill Budington kept noticing the same problems. Whether it was unpatched hosts or outdated and expired software, many of the non-profits he worked with were highly vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Making matters worse, Bill noticed that many of the organizations weren’t able to invest the resources to follow the best practices for security.
“As much as they’d like to move from some outdated platform to something better, they wouldn’t be able to,” Bill said. “Part of my job was to let them know what some of the larger holes in their security might be and how they can actually protect themselves.”
Bill now combines those passions for activism and technology in his current role as Staff Technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization that champions and defends people’s rights to privacy and expression online.