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In our 623rd issue:
EFF has a long-term mission to encrypt as much of the Web as possible -- in fact, to encrypt all of it. We have been making quite a lot of progress.
HTTPS Everywhere, the browser extension we produce in collaboration with the Tor Project and an awesome community of volunteers, is now used by more than 2.5 million people around the world. We released version 3.0 of HTTPS Everywhere, which adds encryption protection to 1,500 more websites, twice as many as previous stable releases. Our current estimate is that HTTPS Everywhere 3 should encrypt at least a hundred billion page views in the next year, and trillions of individual HTTP requests.
The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union.
A comparison of the leaked draft Canada-EU agreement shows the treaty includes a number of the same controversial provisions, specifically concerning criminal enforcement, private enforcement by Internet Service Providers, and harsh damages. These provisions were the key reasons why the European Parliament rejected ACTA. However, given the lack of transparency associated with the CETA discussions, the concerns that CETA may replicate ACTA appear to be very real despite denials from some members of the European Commission.
In a welcome move, the full Federal Circuit has agreed to revisit a troubling ruling in a case called CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. In light of a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, we think the Federal Circuit has little choice but to throw out dangerous patents in this case and make clear once and for all that ideas that are otherwise abstract cannot be patented simply because they are executed on the Internet or in a computer system.
Courts are investigating the legality of a European Union regulation requiring biometric passports in Europe. The Dutch Council of State (the highest Dutch administrative court) asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide if the regulation requiring fingerprints in passports and travel documents violates citizens' right to privacy. The case entered the courts when three Dutch citizens were denied passports and another citizen was denied an ID card for refusing to provide their fingerprints.
For more than a year, the W3C Tracking Protection Working Group has been hard at work developing a standard called Do Not Track to provide users with a simple way to opt out of increasingly pervasive and invisible tracking on the web. The group's face-to-face meeting in Amsterdam was unproductive, however, due in large part to an increasingly vocal contingent within the advertising industry.
Good news! In a decision that is likely to help shape the future of online fair use, a federal court in New York has concluded that digitizing books in order to enhance research and to provide access to print-disabled individuals is lawful.
The Department of Homeland Security's 70 counterterrrorism "fusion centers" produce "predominantly useless information," "a bunch of crap," while "running afoul of departmental guidelines meant to guard against civil liberties" and are "possibly in violation of the Privacy Act." These may sound like the words of EFF, but in fact, these conclusions come from a new report issued by a US Senate committee.
Despite protests from civil society organizations, but with applause from the entertainment lobby, Canada announced on October 9th that it has officially joined the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations. Canada joins the TPP not as an equal partner in the agreement but as a "second-tier" negotiator, which means it will have far less input into the agreement than the countries currently negotiating.
Imagine this: A government, faced with public evidence that its foreign spy service was conducting domestic surveillance on its residents -- instead of claiming the information is somehow secret and the people responsible are above the reach of the law -- admits in public and in the courtroom that it violated basic rights. That is exactly what happened in New Zealand in the controversial copyright infringement case surrounding Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom.
EFF filed its latest brief in the Jewel v. NSA case, aiming to stop the government from engaging in mass warrantless collection of emails, phone calls, and customer records of ordinary Americans. The matter is set for hearing on December 14, 2012 in federal court in San Francisco, on the question of whether these Americans will get their day in court.
A number of civil liberties groups from around the world have submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court regarding the persistent effects of surveillance -- and the suspicion of surveillance -- on everyday life.
In filing a DMCA notice, textbook publisher Pearson took down 1.5 million teacher and student blogs run by Edublogs.
The New York Times reports that both the Obama and Romney campaigns are mining voters' personal data "at a scale never before imagined."
Editor: Adi Kamdar, Activist
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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In response to a post about the Federal Circuit reviewing an important patent case on our Google+ page, user Jay Bryant said, "I hope software patents go the way of the dodo. They're a brake on innovation, and it's just annoying to see so much time and money spent on companies trying to use them as weapons." We're excited to hear your thoughts, and we want more of your feedback on the broken patent system athttps://defendinnovation.org.
Yesterday, EFF and a number of other organizations participated in Ada Lovelace Day, a day dedicated to celebrating women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Our own Julie Samuels wrote a blog post on how women's health is affected by patents -- an issue core to EFF's mission.
The Humble eBook Bundle is a great way to pay what you want for DRM-free eBooks while helping support authors and organizations like EFF. If you pay more than the community average, you get a whopping thirteen eBooks in a wide variety of formats.
Carolina Rossini, EFF Director of International Intellectual Property, will be the keynote speaker at the OpenEd conference in Vancouver talking about Open Education -- specifically, copyright exemptions and limitations for education.
October 16-18, 2012
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Katitza Rodriguez, EFF's International Rights Director, will be representing the OECD Civil Society Information Society Advisory Council (CSISAC) at the 33rd OECD meeting of the Working Party on Information Security and Privacy.
October 18-19, 2012
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will be be part of a panel discussion at the Association of Criminal Justice Research Conference. He'll discuss "Friending to Bullying -- Social Media and Criminal Justice."
October 18-19, 2012
Huntington Beach, CA
Hackmeet is an (un)conference that brings together hackers and activists to teach and discuss access, privacy, security, and other issues. It is free and open, and it will be held at Noisebridge in San Francisco. Micah Lee, web developer at EFF, will be speaking about Privacy Tricks for Activist Web Developers.
October 20, 2012
San Francisco, CA
Internet Days Forum is one of Sweden's largest conferences on Internet policy and technology. EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression, Jillian York, will give a keynote talk.
October 22-23, 2012
The Public Voice is an annual privacy conference organized by the Public Voice Coalition, led by a host of civil society organizations including EFF. International Privacy Coordinator Rebecca Bowe will represent EFF at The Public Voice.
October 22, 2012
Punta del Este, Uruguay
Katitza Rodriguez, EFF's international rights director, is representing a coalition of 80+ civil society groups that contribute constructively to the policy work of the OECD Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy.
October 23-24, 2012
EFF and a panel of activists and experts will answer your questions on Reddit IAmA. The main focus of the session will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), a multilateral trade agreement that contains a chapter on intellectual property which poses a major threat to digital rights.
October 24, 2012
EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry is speaking at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' (NARM) Entertainment & Technology Law Conference in Los Angeles. She will be on two panels about the first sale doctrine and copyright trolls.
October 25, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Join EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury at the Bar Association of San Francisco's 2012 Barristers Annual Meeting for an in-depth legal discussion of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in United States v. Jones, requiring law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before installing a GPS device onto a car.
October 26, 2012
San Francisco, CA