Activist group fights for transparency
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has reportedly won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department, forcing the agency to make public "hundreds of pages" of documents. The activist group requested material relevant to the government's previously secret interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which covers collection of "tangible things" related to investigations.
Report scores tech companies on protecting user data from the government
An annual report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has declared that Twitter and Sonic.net are the best tech companies for protecting its users from government snooping and requests from courts and law enforcement. Out of the 18 companies examined in the report, MySpace and Verizon were judged the worst, failing to score a single star in any category, while Apple, AT&T, and Yahoo managed to attain at least one star out of a possible six.
Companies could be forced to hand over data
The California State Assembly is set to consider a new bill, the "Right to Know Act of 2013," that may force companies to disclose personal data. Supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the proposal (PDF) would require companies to provide copies of all data collected on its customers, including a list of third parties with which the personal data has been shared.
Search results transmitted to Amazon, Facebook, others by default
Web search settings in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 are to blame for what the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls a "data leak" and a privacy violation. Unless settings are altered, every time a search is performed for a document, application, or other file using the Dash feature, the search includes results from Amazon. Search results can also return advertisements sent unencrypted in the results, allowing for Wi-Fi or network sniffers to intercept and read the text.
Public outcry pushes legislators to rethink act
The US Senate is reportedly set to consider a new cybersecurity bill (PDF) that will replace the Lieberman-Collins Cybersecurity Act, which was blasted by privacy advocates. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a vocal critic of the original act, suggests legislators have responded to many of the "most glaring privacy concerns," though the advocacy group still maintains that such laws are unnecessary.
EFF letter asks congress refuse cybersecurity bill
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published an open letter co-signed by a number of engineers, security professionals, and academics who are against proposed cybersecurity bills. Critics argue that security legislation under consideration, including CISPA, uses overly broad language that could potentially lead to privacy loss for Internet users.
CISPA goes too far claim EFF
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a campaign to fight the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a cybersecurity bill designed to allow companies and the federal government to share information to prevent or defend from cyberattacks. The EFF, along with other civil liberties organizations, dispute the bill on the basis that is written too broadly and would be a loophole in existing privacy laws.
MPAA pushes to criminilize embedding videos
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has now included embedding copyrighted videos into the definition of copyright infringement. The legal distinction between actually hosting the pirated video and simply posting a copy of it by embedding it shouldn't exist, the Association argues. It believes doing either should be subjected to the same punishment and be labeled as direct copyright infringement.
Lawmakers asked to take "fresh perspective"
A long list of companies and organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Open Congress, have sent an open letter urging congressional lawmakers to take an entirely new approach to intellectual property law. The authors suggest concerns raised over SOPA and PIPA legislation are "too fundamental and too numerous" to be resolved through "hasty revisions" to the existing bills.
Users asked to visit MegaRetrieval.com
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has vowed to help Megaupload users gain access to legitimate data, after the government shut down the file sharing service for its alleged role in copyright infringement. US prosecutors recently admitted that third-party hosting companies may begin deleting user data within days.
EFF seeking petition to keep jailbreaking legal
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is lobbying users to sign a petition in its quest to convince the US government that jailbreaking smartphones and tablets is legal. Back in mid-2010, the Library of Congress ruled that the act is legal, provided it doesn't violate copyright laws. That ruling will soon expire, some believe, and doesn't cover tablets; the EFF is concerned that both need to be address.
SOPA to no longer censor outside sites
Key Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) promoter Representative Lamar Smith stated Friday that he wanted to remove the domain name blocking provision from the proposed bill. He wanted the Congressional Judiciary Committee to "further examine the issues" surrounding the measure, according to CNET. A corresponding move was already underway with the Senate equivalent of the bill, Protect IP (PIPA), from Senator Patrick Leahy.
EFF greenlit to sue NSA over wiretaps
The Electronic Frontier Foundation confirmed a partial win in trying to combat warrantless wiretapping. While it had lost one appeal for carrier immunity, its representative Caroline Jewel and others were cleared by a Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to sue the NSA, former President George W. Bush, much of the top Bush administration, and President Obama for allegedly violating the US Constitution's rights to association and reasonable search and seizure. The court had decided that there was enough specific detail about the program to go ahead with a complaint directly against the government.
EFF urging public to send in Carrier IQ profiles
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a call to action this week that prompts users to check which Carrier IQ profile is preloaded onto their smartphones. It wants to collect all the different profiles of Carrier IQ in the field and is asking users who find it on their phones to send them a copy. Other than the copy, they need to know which phone and network it was from and where on the phone's file system it resided.
Company apologizes to security researcher
Software maker Carrier IQ has reversed its stance regarding a security researcher, Trevor Eckhart, who criticized the company's mobile tracking utilities. The company issued a press release formally withdrawing its cease-and-desist demands and apologizing to Eckhart and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which vowed to defend him in court if the conflict intensified.
BART takes illegal cell phone blocking action
The Bay Area Rapid Transit have been caught illegally blocking the areas cell phone service as it tried to disrupt protestors organizing a rally in the wake of the shooting death of Charles Hill at Civic Center Station. The Electronic Frontier Foundation described the BART shutdown in a tweet as being a “…chilling strike against free speech.” BART’s action is said to have violated Federal Law, in particular Section 333 of The Communications Act of 1934.
Optus and Telstra opt for voluntary censorship
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published a commentary critical of new voluntary censorship measures adopted by two of Australia’s largest ISPs, Optus and Telstra. Optus and Telstra have taken the decision to block a list of websites that depict child abuse provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). While most people would support the blocking of child porn websites, critics have argued that there is no transparency in the selection of URLs to be blocked and no accountability required of the regulatory bodies that develop the lists.
e-G8 summit works against French president
The e-G8 summit in Paris brought pressure on French president Nicolas Sarkozy for his comments on technology. Having argued for "minimum rules" that would have prevented sites like WikiLeaks from getting hosting and previously backed France's infamous three-strikes law, he was followed by a panel that rejected his calls for tighter regulation. Google executive president recapped a previous stance and said he was looking for a "technological solution" to make both sides happy before turning to laws, noting it was virtually impossible for government to understand change as quickly.
Patent holder suing over in-app purchase system
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called on Apple to defend iOS developers against several "patent troll" lawsuits aimed at technology used for in-app purchases. The group accuses the patent holder, Lodsys, of threatening developers for using an in-app purchase system that is mandated by the iOS terms, rather than pursuing a case directly against Apple.
EFF to form Open Wireless Movement with others
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has recently issued an open letter calling for the need to embrace open Wi-Fi networks. Such networks are harder to find as people fear privacy, performance and broadband allowance theft and are locking down their networks, the EFF argued, which leads to a loss of convenience, privacy and efficient use of the wireless spectrum. The Foundation called for an Open Wireless Movement, both political and technological, to slow and regress the decision to close down Wi-Fi networks by private users.
Hotz gives $10K from saved legal fees to EFF
With the Sony lawsuit behind him, George Hotz has taken some of the money donated to him for a legal help and donated it to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF is a nonprofit digital rights advocacy and legal organization that relies on donations to keep operating. Hotz was sued by Sony for cracking and distributing his code to crack the PS3's software and allow it to run non copy-protected games and movies.
Judge lets Sony spy on Geohot visitors in PS3 suit
George Hotz faced another setback in his defense against Sony's anti-jailbreaking lawsuit late Thursday after a judge granted Sony a potentially controversial amount of information access. It now has permission to get the IP addresses, accounts and other details of anyone who has visited either his main Geohot site or his PS3 jailbreak Blogger site between January 2009 and the modern day. Sony made clear that the access wouldn't be limited to those who downloaded the jailbreak code.
Sony sues Geohot and fail0verflow over PS3 cracks
Sony on Tuesday quietly accompanied its restraining order attempting to silence the discoveries of permanent PS3 jailbreaks by filing a lawsuit against its discoverers. Both the Fail0verflow team and George Hotz, better known as original iPhone unlocker Geohot, were accused of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's rules against bypassing locks. It further accused the two of contributing to copyright infringement and breaking both the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as California's Computer Crime Law.
Court says e-mail privacy guarded by 4th Amendment
A US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that e-mail was legally protected by the Fourth Amendment. It determined in a 3-0 vote that e-mail was similar to traditional communication and thus that the government still needed a search warrant to intercept and read e-mail. Users still had a reasonable expectation of privacy online, the court said.
Lawyers suggest pursuing sheriff's office
Following claims of misconduct surrounding a task force raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home, a lawyer representing the blog suggests the publisher could file a lawsuit against the San Mateo County sheriff's office. The attorney claims California's Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) violated shield laws protecting journalists from such actions, an opinion shared with other groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
DA interrupts search to reconsider laws
Shortly after the Electronic Frontier Foundation voiced concerns over the legality surrounding a police raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's residence, the DA has decided to halt its investigation of the leaked iPhone prototype. TechCrunch contacted Stephen Wagstaffe, Chief Deputy at San Mateo County District Attorney's Office, who acknowledged that the case has been paused for further review.
MPAA and RIAA hope users turn in themselves
The MPAA and RIAA have sent a response to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator that would call for software to spy on users for potential piracy. Answering a request for comments, the music and movie studios would like antivirus software to include tools for "managing copyright infringement" and block or report copyrighted material it finds.
FTC complaint filed over Google Buzz
The recently launched Google Buzz social networking service is facing even more controversy today as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a complaint with the FTC. The public interest research group says it's not satisfied with the changes Google made to help alleviate some of the initial security and privacy concerns. EPIC is urging the service to be made available at a user's request, rather than be enabled by default.