As part of the unfolding scandal that led to the resignation of CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, the FBI read massive amounts of private email messages that uncovered an affair between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. We've received a lot of questions about how this works, and what legal process the FBI needs to conduct its email investigation. The short answer? Our email privacy laws are hopelessly out of date. If we learn nothing else from the Petraeus scandal, it should be that our private digital lives can become all too public when over-eager federal agents aren't held to rigorous legal standards.
Internet radio is a favorite source of music for many, but there are relatively few big players in the medium. That's because success in this space depends the ability to navigate through an obscure, rough-and-tumble neighborhood of copyright-land known as digital performance royalties. Thus far, that's been a tough challenge: Internet radio services like Pandora pay about 50% of their revenues to record labels and artists, while satellite radio pays only about 10% and traditional AM/FM stations pay nothing. Thankfully, some of the same Congressmembers who helped lead the fight against the SOPA and PIPA bills this year want to level the playing field so that Internet radio can thrive.
A few hours after EFF and the ACLU of Northern California filed a class action lawsuit challenging California's recently enacted Proposition 35, the court issued a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of the initiative due to the existence of "serious questions" about whether it violated the First Amendment. Proposition 35 is ostensibly about increasing punishment for human traffickers, but would also require all registered sex offenders in California to turn over a list of all their Internet identifiers and service providers to law enforcement.
Full disk encryption is one of the best ways you can ensure all of the private information on your laptop stays private in case it's lost, seized, or stolen. In previous versions of Ubuntu, this feature was hidden away in the "alternate" text-mode installer that many non-technical users don't even know exists. But now the Ubuntu developers have made full disk encryption on Ubuntu easy and accessible for everyone.
Now that the election is over, Congress can get back to work doing the people's business. And if that work is going to affect online expression, innovation, and/or privacy, it should start with a simple proposition: bring in the nerds -- aka experts -- and Internet users who care deeply about protecting their digital rights.
In a first for EFF's Freedom of Information Act litigation, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has demanded we return records it gave us more than a year ago. The release of these documents doesn't endanger national security or create a risk to an ongoing law enforcement investigation. Instead, it seems that ICE simply wants to stymie further FOIA requests from EFF as we try to get answers about the government's electronic surveillance procedures.
Stripe initially suspended the account of Nifty Archive Alliance, a nonprofit entity that supports the Nifty Erotic Stories Archive, because they believed that some of the content on Nifty.org might violate Stripe's agreements with Visa and MasterCard. After hearing about the suspension, EFF reached out to Stripe. We're pleased to announce that Stripe has now reinstated Nifty's account and will continue to process payments for a website that hosts constitutionally protected speech.
Egypt's Prosecutor General, Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, ordered government ministries to enforce a ban on pornographic websites. The order was based on a three-year old ruling by Egypt's administrative court, which declared that "freedom of expression and public rights should be restricted by maintaining the fundamentals of religion, morality and patriotism" and denounced pornographic content as "venomous and vile."
Brazil is in the midst of rolling out an Internet bill of rights, called Marco Civil da Internet, which is intended to afford strong protections for freedom of online expression and Internet intermediaries. Unfortunately, last-minute changes have made it increasingly clear that it is falling short of its original promise, leaving users and Internet service providers in an ocean of legal uncertainty.
Australian law enforcement and intelligence agencies are pushing for legislative amendments that would broaden online surveillance powers around wiretapping. The most controversial proposal is a mandatory data retention framework, which would require blanket storage of all Australians' communications data for up to two full years. Despite the oft-repeated narrative that there is an urgent need for this new set of wiretapping capabilities, a recently published official overview points out that the government has offered very little in the way of concrete evidence to back up this claim.
After nearly two years of non-stop social unrest and protests against the ruling monarchy, things have taken a precipitous turn for the worse for civil liberties in Bahrain. The government took the remarkable step of declaring a ban on all public rallies and demonstrations -- a move a government spokesman claims is "temporary" and intended to "calm things down" after the recent deaths of protesters and police officers.
Creative Commons' Timothy Vollmer covers why the World Intellectual Property Organization's "Broadcasting Treaty" is largely problematic.
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In response to EFF's actions against California's Proposition 35, supporter Patrick Larvie posted on our Google Plus page, "Thank god. This was a privacy nightmare couched in feel-good language. Thank you for taking this on." You're welcome, Patrick. Thank you for supporting us in this fight.
We need your help explaining to the Federal Circuit why tying up APIs with copyright protection is dangerous. Are you a developer? An engineer? Do you benefit from widespread access to APIs? We want to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com.
EFF is doing essential work to secure an open, democratic, and activism-friendly future for the Internet. Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will share the latest focus areas for EFF and let folks know what they can do to get involved. November 14-16, 2012 Oakland, CA
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will join a panel discussion at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer's Annual White Collar Seminar on Friday November 16 at 1:45 PM. He'll discuss "Silence Is Golden: Protecting Your Client's Electronic Information and Communications." November 15-16, 2012 New York, NY
EFF Activist Adi Kamdar will speak about the newly launched Open Wireless Movement at Five Minutes of Fame, a lightning talk event held at the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge. November 15, 2012 San Francisco, CA
This event will focus on software patents and how to address the problems they create. Join specialists in the field including EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels, UC Berkeley School of Law Professor and EFF Board Member Pam Samuelson, and Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman. November 16, 2012 Santa Clara University, CA
To make it easier for users to understand what websites do with their data, Disconnect is hosting a project to crowdsource turning websites' privacy policies into a set of Creative Commons licensed privacy icons. EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will participate in a discussion during the Hackathon about privacy icons, privacy policies, data practices, and transparency. November 16, 2012 San Francisco, CA
EFF Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury and Assistant Federal Public Defender Chet Kaufman will discuss ways to maintain privacy in electronic communications at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' "Defending the White Collar Case" Seminar. November 16, 2012 New York, New York
CryptoParty is a decentralized series of events around the world dedicated to spreading information and education around security and cryptography software, and now it's coming to San Francisco. Join EFF staffers and others for talks and workshops on protecting your privacy online. November 17, 2012 San Francisco, CA