Monday, October 31, 2011

Blue Coat: Concern for Criminal Penalties, Not Human Rights

In early September, EFF was among the first to report on evidence published by activist collective Telecomix that Blue Coat technology was being used by the Syrian Government to conduct surveillance.   Following a release of more detailed log files as well as a more detailed report from our friends at Global Voices Advocacy, Mother Jones produced a detailed report, followed shortly by other publications.

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U.S. Senator, Encryption Innovator, and Tunisian Blogging Group Win EFF Pioneer Awards

EFF to Honor Senator Ron Wyden, Technologist Ian Goldberg, and Blogging Collective Nawaat at San Francisco Ceremony San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is pleased to announce the winners of its 2011 Pioneer Awards: U. S. Senator Ron Wyden, encryption innovator Ian Goldberg, and Tunisian blogging collective Nawaat. The award ceremony will be held on the evening of November 15 at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco.

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Bad Cases that Make Bad Law: EFF Urges Federal Circuit to Reverse the Trend

Today, EFF, along with CCIA and Red Hat, filed a brief urging the entire Federal Circuit to rehear Ultramercial v. Hulu, a case that found an abstract idea patentable when it was tied to the Internet or other computer programming.  Cases like this one make bad law, and unfortunately it's innovators and consumers who will feel that law's harshest effects.

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BART Board Members Pledge to Implement Many of EFF’s Recommendations in Their Cell Phone Policy

On October 27th, board members of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) held a public meeting to discuss the draft of their new cell phone shutdown policy. EFF attended the meeting and presented our recommendations, which would ensure that the final policy complied with the First Amendment and mandated transparency. Encouragingly, the members pledged to adopt many of EFF's proposed changes.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Embracing Africa’s Online Future

ICANN has always tried to embrace Africa. Imagine, then, our delight that Africa has embraced us in return – with great ardor. I had the privilege of speaking Wednesday morning with the men and women attending the AFRALO capacity building program. AFRALO is the African expression of At-Large, the group within ICANN representing the voice of individual Internet users.

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SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet

As promised, here's the first installment of our closer review of the massive piece of job-killing Internet regulation that is the Stop Online Piracy Act. We'll start with how it could impact Twitter, Tumblr, and the next innovative social network, Cloud Computing, or web hosting service that some smart kid is designing in her garage right now.

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Appeals Court Heeds EFF''s Advice to Revisit Case That Makes Terms of Service Violations A Crime

In June, we filed an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the troubling decision of a three judge panel in United States v. Nosal, which ruled that employees commit a crime anytime they use a work computer for purposes that violate a company's computer use policy. We're happy to report that the entire Ninth Circuit listened to us, and agreed to rehear the case (PDF) the week of December 12.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Free FreeBieber.org! Fight for the Future Faces Bogus Legal Threats

Americans have a long history of using parodies and satire in their political and social debates. Whether it's the Daily Show, the Onion, or  books like The Wind Done Gone, humor and poking fun can have a powerful political impact and are plainly protected by law. So what's with Justin Bieber trying to take down the website freebieber. org?

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Bloggers Under Fire

One of the most grave threats to free expression in many countries these days is the intimidation and persecution of bloggers and online journalists.   The effects are often far-reaching as bloggers are scared into silence.   While the Arab Spring has brought about many positive changes throughout the region, several Middle Eastern countries continue to take measures to silence bloggers.   This issue is not, of course, limited to the Middle East.

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BART Considers a Cell Phone Shutdown Policy

This summer, decision-makers at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) garnered considerable criticism -- not to mention the ire of Anonymous and days of protests -- after they chose to shut down cell phone access to four BART stations in downtown San Francisco based on rumors of an upcoming protest. Now BART's Board Directors has drafted a Cell Phone Interruption Policy, which they will consider at an upcoming meeting on October 27th.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Disastrous IP Legislation Is Back – And It’s Worse than Ever

We've reported here often on efforts to ram through Congress legislation that would authorize massive interference with the Internet, all in the name of a fruitless quest to stamp out all infringement online.

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Geo-Mapping and the FBI: High-Level Statements Contradict Practices on the Ground

This week, Wired's Danger Room blog reported on the FBI's efforts to track Muslims in the United States using "geo-maps. " The maps, released in response to ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, show that the FBI is tracking Muslims and mapping Muslim communities extensively and with little, if any, suspicion of criminal activities. These practices are in direct contrast to language in agency materials EFF received from the FBI yesterday in response to a FOIA request.

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Ten Years After the Patriot Act, a Look at Three of the Most Dangerous Provisions Affecting Ordinary Americans

Ten years ago today, in the name of protecting national security and guarding against terrorism, President George W. Bush signed into law some of the most sweeping changes to search and surveillance law in modern American history. Unfortunately known as the USA PATRIOT Act, many of its provisions incorporate decidedly unpatriotic principles barred by the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution.

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EFF Sues for Answers About PATRIOT Act on Law''s 10th Anniversary

'Secret Interpretations' Raise Questions from Lawmakers, Public San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) today for answers about "secret interpretations" of the USA PATRIOT Act, signed into law ten years ago today. Several senators have warned that the DOJ is using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what Government attorneys call a "sensitive collection program" that may be targeting large numbers of Americans.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How secure is HTTPS today? How often is it attacked?

This is part 1 of a series on the security of HTTPS and TLS/SSL HTTPS is a lot more secure than HTTP! If a site uses accounts, or publishes material that people might prefer to read in private, the site should be protected with HTTPS. Unfortunately, is still feasible for some attackers to break HTTPS. Leaving aside cryptographic protocol vulnerabilities, there are structural ways for its authentication mechanism to be fooled for any domain, including mail. Google. com, www. citibank.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

“Know Your Customer†Standards for Sales of Surveillance Equipment

or  How Technology Companies Can Avoid Being "Repression's Little Helper" For years, there's been ample evidence that authoritarian governments around the world are relying on the technology of U. S. and European companies to facilitate abuse of human rights, with a wealth of recent evidence in the Arab Spring and China.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

An EFF Guide to the Silicon Valley Human Rights Summit

Next week, several EFF staffers will be speaking at the first-ever Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference (Rightscon) in San Francisco.   The conference, organized by Access Now and sponsored by several foundations and companies, brings together some of the leading thinkers in the digital human rights space, as well as representatives of technology companies from Silicon Valley and beyond for discussions on the human rights implications of the ICT industry.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Week in Internet Censorship: Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, and a Criminal Suit Against Amesys

Egypt: Free Mikael Nabil Sanad EFF has grave concerns about the health of Egyptian blogger Mikael Nabil Sanad, who has now been on hunger strike for 57 days.   Sanad's retrial was scheduled for October 13, but was postponed.   Sanad, who was sentenced in April by a military court to three years in prison on charges of insulting the military on his blog, has stated that he will boycott any retrial.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

EFF''s Membership Program Goes Open Source

If you were inspired to support digital civil liberties this afternoon, you may have noticed that EFF's donation pages look different. The information you enter will now wind its way to an EFF-hosted server and populate a local installation of the first-class, Open Source database management product for nonprofits, CiviCRM. EFF is proud to join a growing cadre of activist organizations using CiviCRM and will continue contributing to its ongoing success.

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Victory! Google Surrenders in the Nymwars

Proponents of pseudonymity scored a major victory today, when Google executive Vic Gundotra revealed at the Web 2. 0 Summit that social networking service Google+ will begin supporting pseudonyms and other types of identity. The news comes after several months of what has been dubbed Nymwars, in which opposing parties have debated--often heatedly--the merits of the Google+ policy requiring users to identify using their "common name.

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FBI Ramps Up Next Generation ID Roll-Out—Will You End Up in the Database?

NextGov. com is reporting that the FBI will begin rolling out its Next Generation Identification (NGI) facial recognition service as early as this January.   Once NGI is fully deployed and once each of its approximately 100 million records also includes photographs, it will become trivially easy to find and track Americans.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Google Encrypts More Searches

Today, Google announced that it is switching its Search service for logged-in users over from insecure HTTP to encrypted HTTPS. This is a significant win for users: HTTPS is an essential protection against surveillance and alteration of your search traffic — whether by governments, companies, or hackers.

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EFF Gets Straight Privacy Answers From Amazon About New "Silk" Tablet Browser

Amazon recently announced that the new Kindle Fire tablet will ship with a brand new browser called Silk. The Silk browser works in "cloud acceleration" mode by routing most webpage requests through servers controlled by Amazon. The idea is to capitalize on Amazon's powerful AWS cloud servers to parallelize and hence speed up downloading web page elements, and then pass that information back to the tablet through a persistent connection using the SPDY protocol.

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The Dangers in Classifying the News

"When everything is classified, then nothing is classified…The system becomes one to be disregarded by the cynical or the careless and to be manipulated by those intent on self-protection or self-promotion. " ~ Justice Stewart, New York Times v. United States, 1971. Last week, the White House issued the so-called 'WikiLeaks' Executive Order, which mandates better security for the nation's classified computer systems.

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Blogging IGF: EFF Fights Against Dangers of Intermediaries as Internet Police

As several international organizations hatch new ways to impose control over online activities, genuine multi-stakeholder input in policy development becomes extremely crucial. The sixth UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF), held in Nairobi, Kenya, was an important venue for discussing competing models for governing the Internet.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

ECPA Anniversary Week Brings Calls for Change

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the main federal law setting standards for Government access to electronic communications like email.   As we've been saying for years, ECPA is woefully outdated, putting Americans' privacy at risk. That's why EFF is a co-sponsor of Tuesday's press conference about updating privacy law for the 21st Century.

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Privacy Advocates Gather in Mexico City to Fight for Your Rights

Co-authored by Annie Harrison Two years ago, civil society organizations met in Madrid to draft a Declaration that reaffirmed international standards for Internet privacy. On October 31, civil society groups will meet again in Mexico City to review the Madrid Privacy Declaration and examine privacy laws and policies in Latin America and around the world.

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Princeton Scientists Sue Over Squelched Research

Electronic Frontier Foundation Challenges Record Companies Trenton, NJ -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today asked a federal court to rule that Princeton University Professor Edward Felten and his research team have a First Amendment right to present their research on digital music access-control technologies at the USENIX Security Conference this August in Washington, DC, despite threats from the recording industry.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Cell Phone Guide for Occupy Wall Street Protesters (and Everyone Else)

Occupy Wall Street has called for a global day of action  on October 15, and protesters are mobilizing all over the world. In the United States, the Occupy Wall Street movement has already spawned sizeable protests in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Austin, and other cities. Several of these movements have faced opposition from their local police departments, including mass arrests.

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Test Drive for the “Reply Cycle†Concept for Public Comments Process

The Initial Comment Period for "Phase II of Public Comments Process Enhancements" ended on 30 September 2011. On the same day, as an initial test of the "Reply Cycle" concept introduced within this solicitation, the comment forum on this topic was extended for an additional 15 days, until 15 October 2011. We have a few more days before this date.

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UK Enacts Filtering for Porn, Gambling, and Other Content.

Just three months ago, we at EFF expressed our disappointment with Australia's two largest Internet service providers (ISPs), Telstra and Optus, for agreeing to implement a filtering scheme after a filtering bill from the Australian Government failed to pass.

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Senators Call for Privacy Law Update

Sens. Wyden and Kirk Join EFF for Press Conference and 'Retro Tech' Fair Washington, D. C. - On Oct. 18 at 11 a. m. , Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) will jointly call for updating U. S. privacy law to keep pace with 21st Century technology. The press conference comes the same week as the 25th anniversary of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the main federal law setting standards for Government surveillance of digital technologies.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Police Who Illegally Broke Into Gizmodo Journalist''s House Deride Seized E-mails as "Juvenile"

The saga of the lost IPhone prototype -- the 2010 incident at least, not the most recent one -- has finally concluded. On Tuesday, Brian Hogan (who allegedly found the iPhone 4 prototype in a Redwood City bar) and Sage Wallower (who allegedly helped Hogan contact various web sites about the find) pleaded no contest to misdemeanor theft and were sentenced to probation, 40 hours of community service, and $250 each in restitution payments to Apple.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ACTA Signed by 8 of 11 Countries - Now What?

On Saturday October 1st, eight countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea) signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in Tokyo, Japan. Three of the participating countries (the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland) have not yet signed the treaty, but have issued a joint statement affirming their intentions to sign it "as soon as practicable. " ACTA will remain open for signature until May 2013.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Governor Brown Vetoes Warrant Protection for Cell Phones

For the past six months, EFF has strongly supported SB 914, a bill recently passed by the California state legislature that would require police officers to get a warrant before searching through an arrested suspect's cell phone. Last month, the bill received overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans, passing the California State Assembly 70-0 and then the State Senate, 32-4.

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Keeping the Pressure On to Oppose Canada’s Fishy “Lawful Access†Bill

Co-authored by Annie Harrison Canada is a popular destination for those who like to fish, but the Canadian Government is attempting to spark what may be the country's largest-ever fishing expedition into its citizens' private online Data. Supporters of Canada's "lawful access" legislation were foiled on September 20th when they were pressured to withdraw proposed warrantless digital surveillance measures from an omnibus crime bill.

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Keep the Pressure On: Oppose Canada’s Fishy “Lawful Access†Bill

Co-authored by Annie Harrison Canada is a popular destination for those who like to fish, but the Canadian Government is attempting to spark what may be the country's largest-ever fishing expedition into its citizens' private online Data. Supporters of Canada's "lawful access" legislation were foiled on September 20th when they were pressured to withdraw proposed warrantless digital surveillance measures from an omnibus crime bill.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Guidelines for Securing Open Source Software

Part two in a short series on EFF's Open Source Security Audit Our recent security audit of libpurple and related libraries got us thinking about the general problem of open source security auditing, and we wanted to share what we've learned. Free and open source software that happens to be community-supported can be challenging from a security perspective.

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Facebook’s Hotel California: Cross-Site Tracking and the Potential Impact on Digital Privacy Legislation

Tracking of Logged Out Users For its 800 millions users, logging out of Facebook is not something done idly. Closing the Facebook tab won't do it. Closing your browser won't do it unless you've adjusted the settings in your browser to clear cookies upon closing. And Facebook has buried the log-out button so that it isn't apparent from your Facebook main page or profile page. This doesn't mean that logging out of Facebook is difficult; it's not.

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EFF Supports Release of Egyptian Blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad

Tomorrow, October 11, Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad will have reached the 50th day of his hunger strike. Arrested in March, Sanad was later sentenced, by a military court, to three years in prison for accusing the military of having conducted virginity tests on female protesters (a charge later found to be true) and stating that "the army and the people are not one," a statement that runs counter to much of the sentiment expressed in Tahrir Square throughout January.

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