When the gods dance...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The patent system is broken -- and we need your help | EFFector 25.17


EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation
In our 612th issue:

The Patent System Is Broken -- And We Need Your Help

Patents are supposed to foster innovation, but modern software patents have been turned against inventors. We need your help to defend innovation from a broken patent system. Sign on to EFF's seven proposals for fixing the patent system, and we'll take these signatures with us when we go to Washington, D.C., to tell legislators about our concerns. Let's create a system that defends innovation, instead of hindering it.

Want to Abolish Software Patents Completely? Tell Us.

Our campaign to Defend Innovation isn't just about our proposals -- we want to hear, and amplify, the views of the technical community. Many engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs have suggested that reform is not enough and that software should not be patentable, period. We want to record these views.

EFF Updates

The Internet Archive has filed a federal challenge to a new Washington State law that intends to make online service providers criminally liable for providing access to third parties' offensive materials. EFF is representing the Internet Archive in order to block the enforcement of SB 6251, a law aimed at combatting advertisements for underage sex workers but with vague and overbroad language that is squarely in conflict with federal law.
In recent years, online tracking companies have begun to monitor our clicks, searches and reading habits as we move around the Internet. If you are concerned about pervasive online web tracking by behavioral advertisers, then you may want to enable Do Not Track on your web browser. Our tutorial walks you through the enabling Do Not Track in the four most popular browsers: Safari, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and Chrome.
People tend to think that digital copies of our biological features, stored in a government-run database, are problems of a dystopian future. But governments around the world are already using such technologies. Several countries are collecting massive amounts of biometric data for their national identity and passport schemes -- a development that raises significant civil liberties and privacy concerns.
The British government has unveiled a bill that has a familiar ring to it. The Communications Data Bill would require all Internet Service Providers and mobile phone network providers in Britain to collect and store information on everyone's Internet and phone activity. Essentially, the bill seeks to publicly require in the UK what EFF and many others have long maintained is happening in the US in secret -- and what we have been trying to bring to public and judicial review since 2005.
Earlier this month, an inmate in Texas was denied access to computers and an electronic messaging system because he ordered a copy of the information security handbook Hacking Exposed. Does simply ordering a copy of an information security handbook render an individual a threat to the safe, secure, and orderly operation of a federal prison? Almost certainly not.
Since March of this year, EFF has reported extensively on the ongoing campaign to use social engineering to install surveillance software that spies on Syrian activists. Syrian opposition activists have been targeted using several Trojans, including one disguised as a Skype encryption tool, which covertly install spying software onto the infected computer, as well as a multitude of phishing attacks which steal YouTube and Facebook login credentials. The latest attack covertly installs a new remote access tool, Blackshades Remote Controller, whose capabilities include keystroke logging and remote screenshots.


The parallels between ACTA and TPP can't be ignored. But, as CitizenVox explains, TPP is even worse.
Phil Zimmermann and some of the original PGP team have joined up with former US Navy SEALs to build an encrypted communications platform. Silent Circle will launch later this year, and $20 a month will buy encrypted email, text messages, phone calls, and videoconferencing.
The prevalence of online tracking on the top 50 websites has risen exponentially since 2010, driven in part by the rise of online advertising auctions, according to a new study by San Francisco-based data protection company Krux Digital Inc.


ISSN 1062-9424
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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist
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Join EFF!


Carolina Rossini has joined the EFF as its International Intellectual Property Director, bringing more than ten years of experience in global IP law and policy to EFF's international team. Rossini joins an expanded international team that brings new depth to EFF's work on global digital rights issues.
Nominations are now open for EFF's 21st Annual Pioneer Awards, to be presented this fall in San Francisco. EFF established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology.
Could recent cybersecurity bills erode our civil liberties as well as our right to know what our government is doing? Why are these bills of concern for libraries and our patrons? Join Dr. Patrice McDermott, Director of Open the Government, and Rainey Reitman, Activism Director at EFF, in a morning session on CISPA and other cybersecurity bills.
June 23, 2012
Anaheim, CA
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will join a number of other speakers at the 8th Annual Pitney Bowes Privacy and Security Conference. He'll be discussing "The Future of Location Privacy After U.S. v. Jones."
June 26, 2012
Stamford, CT
For three full days and nights, HOPE hosts hackerspace villages, film festivals, art installations, vintage computers, electronic workshops, the country's biggest supply of Club-Mate, and of course the provocative talks that it has become well-known for offering. This year, many EFF staffers will be attending and speaking.
July 14-16
New York, NY
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