EFFector Vol. 20, No. 48  December 17, 2007  editor@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 452nd Issue of EFFector:
  • Action Alert: Telecom Immunity Showdown in the Senate!
  • EFF Obtains Government Documents on Congressional Intelligence Briefings
  • Copyright in Canada: No Longer Business as Usual
  • Facebook Beacon Roundup: Data Collection Methods Still Troubling
  • Music Industry Pressures EU Politicians for Filtered Internet
  • "PRO IP Act" Aims to Increase Infringement Penalties and Expand Government Enforcement
  • Join EFF in December and Get BookMooch Points
  • Vote for EFF on the Working Assets 2007 Donations Ballot!
  • EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference
  • Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards!
  • miniLinks (5): ACLU files motion against Verizon in Oregon
  • Administrivia
For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org/ Make a donation and become an EFF member today! http://eff.org/support/ Tell a friend about EFF: http://action.eff.org/site/Ecard?ecard_id=1061 effector: n, Computer Sci. A device for producing a desired change. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Action Alert: Telecom Immunity Showdown in the Senate! A make-or-break moment for telecom immunity has arrived -- after months of back-room committee-meetings, the FISA bill will finally reach the Senate floor on Monday! The clock is ticking, and the upcoming votes will be critical. Contact your Senator now: http://www.eff.org/showdown Almost two years ago, EFF filed suit against AT&T for its illegal participation in a massive digital dragnet of Americans' private communications. In recent months, the Bush Administration has been pressuring Congress to immunize telecommunications companies against this litigation. Just a few months ago, immunity seemed like a forgone conclusion. But last month, outcry from thousands of concerned citizens like you changed the tide, when the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that didn't let lawbreaking telecoms off the hook. Unfortunately, a previously-reported version of the bill that grants telecom immunity will be presented to the Senate extremely early on Monday morning. This vote is our chance to strip immunity from the bill. If you care about holding corporations accountable for lawbreaking and preserving privacy rights, now is the time to take action: http://www.eff.org/showdown Thanks to all the activists that have emailed their senators on this critical issue. For those that have a moment to spare and want to make an additional impact, please consider making a phone call to your Senator's office: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=339 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Obtains Government Documents on Congressional Intelligence Briefings Records Released As Lawmakers Debate Changes to Surveillance Law San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has received a second set of records from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) detailing behind-the-scenes briefings for lawmakers working to make substantial changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). EFF requested release of the records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) earlier this year, but ODNI dragged its feet in response. Last month, a federal judge ordered ODNI to release all documents by December 10. The first batch of records, made public on November 30, detailed contentious negotiations between Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and members of Congress that resulted in the passage of the Protect America Act -- an expansion of spying powers that undermined the Constitution and the privacy of Americans. The second set of records contains more correspondence between McConnell and members of Congress, as well as heavily redacted versions of classified testimony delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and an FAQ detailing how the National Security Agency performs electronic surveillance. Withheld records include ODNI presentation slides used to brief Congress on foreign intelligence issues and other classified documents. "Our democratic system works best when citizens are fully informed about the issues being debated in Congress," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is continuing to withhold information that is central to the pending debate on proposed changes to surveillance law." The Protect America Act expires in February, and lawmakers are working on an extension of the bill -- potentially including more power for the government to spy on Americans as well as possibly granting amnesty for telecommunications companies that participated in the warrantless surveillance. EFF's Freedom of Information Act request also asked for any documentation of lobbying activity from telecoms that are facing lawsuits because of their role in the illegal spying. However, according to ODNI, the agency located a single document on this subject -- classified handwritten notes made by an ODNI employee on a telephone message slip. EFF represents the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class-action lawsuit brought by AT&T customers accusing the telecommunications company of violating their rights by illegally assisting the National Security Agency in domestic surveillance. The Hepting case is just one of many suits aimed at holding telecoms responsible for knowingly violating federal privacy laws. Part one of the ODNI documents: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/foia_C0705278/121007_odni01.pdf Part two of the ODNI documents: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode//121007_odni02.pdf ODNI declaration explaining withholdings: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/foia_C0705278/121007_hackett_decl.pdf For more on EFF v. ODNI: http://www.eff.org/issues/foia/cases/C-07-05278 For this release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2007/12/11 : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Copyright in Canada: No Longer Business as Usual It's been a roller-coaster few weeks for digital rights activists in Canada. A few weeks ago, rumors began circulating that the current minority Conservative government was going to present a copyright reform act before the new year. It's long been known that the US government and media companies are pressuring Canada to "normalize" its IP law with its southern neighbor. The apparent intent of the government to slip the bill through at the very end of the Christmas parliamentary session suggested an administration that believed that importing IP law was a simple enough trade for US approval -- a law that would gather nothing more than a muted protest from those not involved in the backroom negotiations. The administration could not have been more wrong! Despite the unseasonal timing of the bill's announcement, and with no confirmed text of the bill, Net users in Canada quickly created their own opportunities for public discussion. Spearheaded by Canadian law professor Michael Geist, over 20,000 concerned activists joined and co-ordinated their actions over a Facebook group. Thousands of them sent letters to their MPs through the Canadian grassroots site, Online Rights Canada, co-sponsored by EFF, to urge the government to consider fixing copyright law, not tightening it. And dozens visited the bill's backer, Industry Minister Jim Prentice, in person at his constituency Christmas meal last weekend. They brought food for the charity collection and hard copyright questions for the minister -- and filmed and blogged it all. The day after, Prentice announced he was not going to introduce the bill on its scheduled date. Days later, sources close to the ministry were dropping hints that it would still be introduced before Christmas, but Prentice's press secretary confirmed that the bill had been delayed until the new year. Industry Canada's hesitancy is an indication of how radically the political scene around IP has changed in the last few years. Copyright is now a consumer issue, not a set of deals between private industries. And, thanks to the Net, consumers can now learn, react, and protest to what troubles them at a speed that can outrun the usual government messaging tricks. For Online Rights Canada's copyright news and activism website: http://www.copyrightforcanadians.ca/ For this complete post by International Outreach Coordinator Danny O'Brien: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/12/copyright-canadians : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Facebook Beacon Roundup: Data Collection Methods Still Troubling Facebook has been the the target of much criticism in recent weeks, thanks to the rapid spread of reports about Facebook's Beacon, a tool that allows third-party websites to send information about user activities back to Facebook. Despite implementing changes that gave the user more control over the publishing of their information on Facebook pages, important privacy considerations remain. Initial reports on Beacon's behavior demonstrated that Beacon's fundamental technical underpinnings rely on third-party websites sending information to Facebook regardless of the user's opt-out/opt-in preferences. Security researcher Stefan Berteau observed that his behavior on epicurious.com was being transmitted to Facebook in several unexpected scenarios, including while he was completely logged out of Facebook. While his actions on epicurious.com weren't at risk of being published, it was still eerie that epicurious.com was telling Facebook about his actions despite his being logged out. As a general precaution, we would advise users not to send information to any part of the Facebook site unless they are willing to accept a risk that that information could be seen by more or less anyone. For Stefan Berteuau's research on Beacon's behavior: http://community.ca.com/blogs/securityadvisor/archive/2007/11/29/facebook-s-misrepresentation-of-beacon-s-threat-to-privacy-tracking-users-who-opt-out-or-are-not-logged-in.aspx For a post about blocking Facebook's Beacon: http://www.ideashower.com/blog/block-facebook-beacon/ For this complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/12/facebook-beacon-roundup : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Music Industry Pressures EU Politicians for Filtered Internet The music and film industry continues to pursue its idea of a politically "corrected" Internet - one that they imagine could protect their old business models without requiring any extra costs on their part. This time, the fix is Internet-wide filtering. In a memo to European policy-makers, the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) has called upon ISPs in Europe to filter the content sent across their networks, block protocols used by their customers, and cut off access to persistently infringing sites from the Net. Disturbingly, European politicians seem open to the idea of ISPs policing and interfering with their customers' communications on behalf of rightsholders. Last month, the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) tabled an amendment to a Parliamentary report that changed a request to "rethink the critical issue of intellectual property", into a call for "internet service providers to apply filtering measures to prevent copyright infringements". EFF sent a letter pointing out that some of the groups hardest hit by blanket Internet filtering measures would be artists and teachers. But building filtering and censorship tools is not just bad for creators and education; it's bad for all of society. Any country that has a centralized system in place to pry into its citizen's private communications creates a very disturbing precedent and a dangerously powerful tool, vulnerable to misuse. Perhaps the music industry's European lobbyists have lost sight of the serious collateral damage their proposals would cause, but European citizens and their elected policymakers should not. For the full IFPI memo requesting filtering from ISPs: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/effeurope/ifpi_filtering_memo.pdf For EFF Europe's letter addressing calls for ISPs to filter for copyright infringement: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/effeurope/CULT-filtering-letter.pdf For this post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/12/music-industry-europe-filter-pressure : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * "PRO IP Act" Aims to Increase Infringement Penalties and Expand Government Enforcement Members of the House Judiciary Committee have introduced the "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO IP) Act of 2007," a bill that ratchets up the federal government's role in dealing with intellectual property infringement. While portions of the bill seem legitimately targeted at combating mass, commercial counterfeiting operations, other parts are devoted to little more than protecting the entertainment industry's obsolete business models. Going after commercial pirates is a good idea, but copyright law often fails to distinguish between commercial counterfeiters and regular folks. If the entertainment industry wants to pile on extraordinary penalties for the commercial pirates, it also seems like a good time to make adjustments that recognize that lesser penalties are appropriate for noncommercial, personal copying. Unfortunately, at present, the PRO IP Act is just another in a long line of "one-way ratchet" proposals that amplifies copyrights without protecting innovators or technology users. For example, copyright law currently allows the RIAA to seek statutory damages per album, while the new law would allow them to seek damages per song. Beyond its effects on file sharing litigation, the bill would create a new, taxpayer-funded federal bureaucracy focused on policing intellectual property domestically and overseas. These new publicly-funded federal bureaucrats would essentially have one responsibility -- protecting the business interests of the biggest names in movies, music, and software. For this complete post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/12/pro-ip-act-increase-infringement-penalties-and-drastically-expand-government-enfor : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Join EFF in December and Get BookMooch Points In December, for every $10 you donate to EFF, you'll receive one BookMooch point, worth one free book of your choice, from BookMooch founder and EFF board member John Buckman! Just send the receipt of your donation to john@bookmooch.com to redeem your free BookMooch points. BookMooch is a community built around exchanging used books -- it's completely non-commercial and costs nothing to join or use. Members list books that they are willing to exchange, list books that they want to receive, and earn points based on their participation. You get one BookMooch point when you send someone else a book; you spend one BookMooch point when you "mooch" (receive) a book from another member. Take advantage of this promotion to get some free books while supporting EFF and the ongoing fight for digital freedom. : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Vote for EFF on the Working Assets 2007 Donations Ballot! A telecommunications company wants to support EFF! That's right. You heard us correctly. Working Assets offers long distance, wireless and credit card services that donate a portion of customers' charges to nonprofit organizations. Since 1985, Working Assets has raised over $50 million for worthy groups like EFF. Now, the good folks at Working Assets are continuing to do their part to make our world a better place by generously supporting us as a recipient in their 2007 end-of-year donation campaign. Are you or your friends Working Assets customers who rounded up your phone bill all year? Well it's time to spread the love. When you fill out your Working Assets 2007 Donations Ballot, vote to allocate this year's funding to EFF. The distribution of funds is determined solely by how many votes each group receives. The more votes you give EFF, the more money we get. It's that simple. Voting for EFF is easy. Just go to: http://www.WorkingAssets.com/vote The voting deadline is December 31, so act quickly! : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * EFF Seeks Webmaster Who Wants to Make a Difference The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil liberties nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is seeking a full-time webmaster to start immediately. This person will be responsible for managing content and building web features on eff.org, and helping to build and maintain EFF's web initiatives and campaigns. The environment is fast-paced; the work is cutting-edge. A love of technology and familiarity with related civil liberties issues is a must. The ideal candidate will have a broad range of experience in web production, including: * XHTML/CSS web design and implementation * Open-source web technology: PHP, Javascript, Unix, Apache, etc. * Graphics production, editing and optimization * An eye for clean user-centric web design and layout * Organizing and keeping track of large amounts of complex web content Additional familiarity with any of these is a plus: * Drupal CMS * Subversion (or similar concurrent versioning system) * MySQL * Smarty * Flash/ActionScript * Writing blog posts, press releases, web content, etc. Salary in the low $50s with benefits. To apply, send a cover letter and your resume with links to some samples of your work to webjob@eff.org. Please send these materials in a non-proprietary format. No phone calls please! : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Nominate a Pioneer for EFF's 2008 Pioneer Awards! EFF established the Pioneer Awards to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. This is your opportunity to nominate a deserving individual or group to receive a Pioneer Award for 2008. The International Pioneer Awards nominations are open both to individuals and organizations from any country. Nominations are reviewed by a panel of judges chosen for their knowledge of the technical, legal, and social issues associated with information technology. How to Nominate Someone for a 2008 Pioneer Award: You may send as many nominations as you wish, but please use one email per nomination. Please submit your entries via email to pioneer@eff.org. We will accept nominations until January 1, 2008. Simply tell us: 1. The name of the nominee, 2. The phone number or email address or website by which the nominee can be reached, and, most importantly, 3. Why you feel the nominee deserves the award. Nominee Criteria: There are no specific categories for the EFF Pioneer Awards, but the following guidelines apply: 1. The nominees must have contributed substantially to the health, growth, accessibility, or freedom of computer-based communications. 2. To be valid, all nominations must contain your reason, however brief, for nominating the individual or organization and a means of contacting the nominee. In addition, while anonymous nominations will be accepted, ideally we'd like to contact the nominating parties in case we need further information. 3. The contribution may be technical, social, economic, or cultural. 4. Nominations may be of individuals, systems, or organizations in the private or public sectors. 5. Nominations are open to all (other than current members of EFF's staff and operating board or this year's award judges), and you may nominate more than one recipient. You may also nominate yourself or your organization. 6. Persons or representatives of organizations receiving an EFF Pioneer Award will be invited to attend the ceremony at EFF's expense. More on the EFF Pioneer Awards: http://www.eff.org/awards/pioneer/ : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * miniLinks The week's noteworthy news, compressed. ~ ACLU files motion against Verizon in Oregon The ACLU wants its case against Verizon to be allowed to go forward, in light of recent court decisions. http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/newstex/AFX-0013-21496369.htm ~ House vote on illegal images sweeps in Wi-Fi, websites The House approved a bill that would force anyone offering Wi-Fi access to report illegal or "obscene" images. http://www.news.com/8301-13578_3-9829759-38.html ~ Canadian songwriters and artists call for filesharing A Canadian proposal would legalize P2P networks and compensate artists when their music is shared. http://www.songwriters.ca/studio/proposal.php ~ Shedding light on China's underground cybercrime economy A new study gives insight into how the black market in malware and cybercrime in China works. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071205-study-casts-light-on-chinas-underground-cybercrime-economy.html ~ Google keeps what Ask.com erases Ask.com's AskEraser program is intended to protect your privacy by erasing your digital footprints -- but does it do what it promises? http://itnews.com.au/News/66867,google-keeps-what-askcom-erases.aspx : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : . : * Administrivia EFFector is published by: The Electronic Frontier Foundation 454 Shotwell Street San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA +1 415 436 9333 (voice) +1 415 436 9993 (fax) http://www.eff.org/ Editor: Richard Esguerra, EFF Activist richard@eff.org Membership & donation queries: membership@eff.org General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: information@eff.org Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will. Current and back issues of EFFector are available via the Web at: http://www.eff.org/effector/ Click here to change your email address: http://action.eff.org/addresschange This newsletter is printed on 100% recycled electrons.