EFFector: Volume 22 (2009)

EFFector Online 22.34 - November 25, 2009

One cannot go online today without eventually being asked to accept a set of so-called Terms of Service (or TOS). Such TOS agreements have become ubiquitous to websites and other online services in the same way End User License Agreements (EULAs) have become the mainstay of the software industry. Yet while we are often aware that such Terms of Service exist, very few of us know and understand what they actually say.

The time has come to shed light on what these Terms of Service agreements contain, and what it means for users. In conjunction with our TOSBack Project, EFF is proud to announce Terms of (Ab)Use: a source for news and TOS issues around the web.

For the full Deep Link:

For the Terms of (Ab)Use page:

EFFector Online 22.33 - November 16, 2009

International Activists Launch New Website to Gather and Share Copyright Knowledge The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL.net), and other international copyright experts joined together today to launch Copyright Watch -- a public website created to centralize resources on national copyright laws at http://www.copyright-watch.org .

Copyright Watch is the first comprehensive and up-to-date online repository of national and regional copyright laws. Users can find links by choosing a continent or by searching a country name. The site will be updated over time to include proposed amendments to laws, as well as commentary and context from national copyright experts. Copyright Watch will help document how legislators around the world are coping with the challenges of new technology and new business models.

EFFector Online 22.32 - November 9, 2009

Two Battles Won: PATRIOT Reform AND State Secrets Reform Bills Pass House Committee After two long days of legislative battle, the House Judiciary Committee rejected almost all amendments that would have weakened Chairman Conyers' PATRIOT reform bill, HR 3845. Thanks in no small part to those of you who took action with our alert, the Committee voted to recommend the bill to the House floor by a vote of 16 to 10.

Better still, the Committee kept going after it was finished with PATRIOT to consider Representative Nadler's State Secret Protection Act (HR 984), which would reform the state secrets privilege that the government has repeatedly used to try and throw EFF's warrantless wiretapping cases out of court. After an impassioned defense by Mr. Nadler, who described how the government has used the privilege like a "magic incantation" to cover-up wrongdoing and warned that state secrecy "is the greatest threat to liberty at present," the bill passed with even better numbers than the PATRIOT bill, 18 to 12!

EFFector Online 22.31 - October 29, 2009

"Hall of Shame" Calls Out Bogus Internet Censorship

Websites like YouTube have ushered in a new era of creativity and free speech on the Internet, but not everyone is celebrating. Some of the web's most interesting content has been yanked from popular websites with bogus copyright claims or other spurious legal threats. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched its "Takedown Hall of Shame" to call attention to particularly bogus takedowns -- and showcase the amazing online videos and other creative works that someone doesn't want you to see.

Hall of Shame: https://www.eff.org/takedowns

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.30 - October 21, 2009

Record 12-Million Digit Prime Number Nets $100,000 Prize

A worldwide volunteer computing project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has discovered a 12-million-digit prime number, netting $100,000 and a Cooperative Computing Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The GIMPS PrimeNet network made the discovery on a computer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Mathematics Department. Computing manager Edson Smith installed and maintained the GIMPS software at UCLA, and thousands of other volunteers also participated in the search process. The discovery was hailed by Time magazine as the 29th top invention of 2008.

EFF is able to give this award through a generous grant from an anonymous donor. The $100,000 prize was earmarked for the first discovered prime number of over 10 million digits.

For the full press release:

For more about the Cooperative Computing Awards:

EFFector Online 22.29 - October 13, 2009

EFF Announces Winners of 2009 Pioneer Awards!

Get your tickets now to the 2009 Pioneer Awards and help us honor this year's winners: hardware hacker Limor "Ladyada" Fried, e-voting security researcher Harri Hursti, and public domain advocate Carl Malamud. Given every year since 1991, the Pioneer Awards recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier. The award ceremony will be held at 7 p.m., October 22, at the Westin San Francisco in conjunction with the Web 2.0 Summit, co-produced by O'Reilly and TechWeb. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffmann will keynote the event, and the celebration will include drinks, fine food, and excellent company.

Tickets available at:

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.28 - September 29, 2009

EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records A judge ordered the government Thursday to release more records about the lobbying campaign to provide immunity to the telecommunications giants that participated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered the records be provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by October 9, 2009.

The decision is part of EFF's long-running battle to gather information about telecommunications lobbying conducted as Congress considered granting immunity to companies that participated in illegal government electronic surveillance.

For the full press release:

For the full order:

EFFector Online 22.26 - September 15, 2009

NATIONAL COALITION OF AUTHORS URGE REJECTION OF GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH DEAL. A coalition of authors and publishers--including best-sellers Michael Chabon, Jonathan Lethem, and technical author Bruce Schneier--is urging a federal judge to reject the proposed settlement in a lawsuit over Google Book Search, arguing that the sweeping agreement to digitize millions of books ignores critical privacy rights for readers and writers.

For the full press release:

For a copy of the filing:

EFFector Online 22.24 - August 28, 2009

CHICAGO DEVELOPMENT CRITICS FIGHT FOR ANONIMITY. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked an Illinois Circuit Court judge to quash subpoenas aimed at outing opponents of a controversial city project. In December, local residents filed a lawsuit in state court against the city of Chicago and local developers, challenging the legality of a development project in the city's Uptown neighborhood. In response, the "Wilson Yard Defendants," six lawfirms associated with Chicago developer Peter Holsten, issued subpoenas directing Google and a local neighborhood association to unmask anonymous online critics who had discussed either the project or Alderman Helen Shiller, the primary governmental sponsor of the project. For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.23 - August 14, 2009

EFF ISSUED A REPORT ON LOCATIONAL PRIVACY LAST WEEK, explaining how your location information is collected by various popular electronic devices and services. In the report, we also argue for concrete technological solutions that would allow you to enjoy these systems' benefits without sacrificing privacy in your everyday life.

CALLING ALL CANADIANS! Last month, the Canadian government launched public consultations on the future of copyright. But powerful Canadian entertainment industry lobbyists are demanding stronger copyrights and harsher penalties, including three strikes-style bans for suspected file-sharing. Now is the time to show your support for balanced copyright laws. Take action at copyright expert Michal Geist's "Speak Out on Copyright" website. Submit your comments online before September 13, 2009.

EFFector Online 22.22 - August 3, 2009

Don't Let Google Close the Book on Reader Privacy!
EFF has written a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, demanding that Google take specific steps to protect your freedom to read privately. We've asked that Google only respond to legitimate warrants when the government comes calling and we've asked that they not share your private reading data with third parties without your permission.

Farhad Manjoo on the Future of Book Banning
Farhad Manjoo at Slate has written the best summation to date on Amazon's 1984 Scandal, in which digital versions of the Orwell classic were surreptitiously removed from users' Kindles without their permission. Amazon has apologized and promised never to delete books in this fashion in the future. But Manjoo points out that the real lesson here is that the power to delete digital books remotely exists in the first place.

The Book vs. The Kindle
San Francisco bookstore Green Apple Books has put together a series of humorous videos that point up the advantages of paper books over Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. We hope that bookstores will take the lead in ensuring that digital books give readers the same or better rights and freedoms that we enjoy with paper books.

EFF Releases Interim Report on the Automated Targeting System EFF today released an interim report on the Automated Targeting System(ATS) through which the Department of Homeland Security monitors and assigns risk assessment scores to Americans and others who cross into or out of the United States. The data reviewed under the ATS system includes seven large government databases, plus the Passenger Name Record data from the airlines (which includes data like whether you've ordered a Muslim or Hindu or Jewish special meal). Effectively, if you travel internationally, ATS creates an instant, personal and detailed dossier on you that CBP officers use to decide whether you get to enter the country, or will be subject to an enhanced (and potentially invasive) search. EFF's report details what we've learned about the ATS program from the over 2,000 pages released by the government so far. We note that because of government's very heavy redacting and refusal to release key information Americans remain in dark about how this powerful system is used on travelers.

EFFector Online 22.21 - July 23, 2009

EFF DEMANDS INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES' REPORTS ABOUT POSSIBLE MISCONDUCT. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit yesterday against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a half-dozen other federal agencies involved in intelligence gathering, demanding the immediate release of reports about potential misconduct. EFF filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requesting records of intelligence agencies' reporting of activities since 2001 that might have been unlawful or contrary to presidential order.

"By executive order, federal intelligence agencies must submit concerns about potentially illegal activity to the Intelligence Oversight Board and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence," said EFF Open Government Legal Fellow Nate Cardozo. "Intelligence agencies are given a wide berth for national security reasons, but at a minimum they're required to act within the limits of the law. These records hold important details about how well the Executive Branch's internal checks operate."

For the full press release:

APPLE WITHDRAWS THREATS AGAINST BLUWIKI. Apple has retracted its legal threats against public wiki hosting site Bluwiki, and, in response, EFF is dismissing its lawsuit against Apple over those threats. The skirmish involved a set of anonymously authored wiki pages in which hobbyists were discussing how to "sync" media to iPods and iPhones using music library playback software other than Apple's own iTunes.

"While we are glad that Apple retracted its baseless legal threats, we are disappointed that it only came after 7 months of censorship and a lawsuit," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann.

For the full press release:

For EFF's Deeplink blog post:

EFF RELEASES 'SURVEILLANCE SELF-DEFENSE INTERNATIONAL' FOR IRANIAN DISSIDENTS AND OTHER PROTESTORS. Earlier this week,EFF released "Surveillance Self-Defense International" (SSDI), a practical guide to help activists from around the world use the Internet safely under repressive regimes.

Recent political protests in Iran, China, and elsewhere have demonstrated the enormous power of the Internet for organizing protests and reporting events to the world. But governments have also used the Internet to track, harass, and undermine. SSDI urges activists to consider the risks in using various technologies and outlines strategies that can allow protestors to continue to use the Internet safely.

For the full press release:

For the SSDI white paper:

HEARING IN FIGHT TO SILENCE GOVERNMENT WARRANTLESS WIRETAPPING CASE. A federal judge in San Francisco heard arguments on the government's motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF's case challenging dragnet government surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.

The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case in April, arguing that litigation over the warrantless wiretapping program would require the government to disclose privileged "state secrets" -- essentially repeating the arguments made by the Bush Administration in its attempts to block lawsuits over the illegal spying. The Justice Department also claims that the U.S. possesses "sovereign immunity" and cannot be held accountable for illegal surveillance under any federal statutes.

For the full press release:

For EFF's Deeplink blog post:

For the SF Chronicle's editorial on the case:

EFFector Online 22.20 - July 3, 2009

EFF SUES DOJ FOR PUBLIC RELEASE OF FBI SURVEILLANCE RULES. EFF filed suit against the Department of Justice this week, demanding the public release of the "Domestic Investigative Operational Guidelines" that govern surveillance of Americans by the FBI. "Americans have the right to know the basic surveillance policies used by federal investigators and how their privacy is -- or is not -- being protected," explains EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel.

For the full press release:

ASCAP MAKES OUTLANDISH COPYRIGHT CLAIMS ON CELL PHONE RING TONES. EFF urged a federal court Wednesday to reject bogus copyright claims in a ringtone royalty battle that could raise costs for consumers, jeopardize consumer rights, and curtail new technological innovation.

As part of a ploy to squeeze more money out of mobile phone companies, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) has told a federal court that each time a phone rings in a public place, the phone user has violated copyright law. Therefore, ASCAP argues, phone carriers must pay additional royalties or face legal liability for contributing to what they claim is cell phone users' copyright infringement. In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, EFF points out that copyright law does not reach public performances "without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage" -- clearly the case with cell phone ringtones. If phone users are not infringing copyright law, then mobile phone service providers are not contributing to any infringement.

For the full press release:

For the blog post:

For more on this case:

EFFector Online 22.19 - June 18, 2009

EFF HAS BUSTED A BOGUS INTERNET SUBDOMAIN PATENT. U.S. Patent No. 6,687,746, now held by Hoshiko, LLC, claimed to cover the method of automatically assigning Internet subdomains, like "action.eff.org" for the parent domain "eff.org." Previous patent owner Ideaflood used this bogus patent to demand payment from website hosting companies offering personalized domains, such as LiveJournal.

In the original reexamination request, EFF showed that the method Ideaflood claimed to have invented was well known before the patent was issued. In fact, website developers were having public discussions about how to create these virtual subdomains on an Apache developer mailing list and on Usenet more than a year before Ideaflood filed its patent application. The open source community's public record of the technology development provided the linchpin to EFF's patent challenge.

For the full press release:

EFF AND PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE HAVE RELUCTANTLY DROPPED THEIR LAWSUIT FOR INFORMATION ABOUT ACTA. The Obama Administration's decision to support Bush-era concealment policies forced the drop of the suit, which sought important documents about the secret anti-counterfeiting enforcement treaty that has broad implications for global privacy and innovation.

Very little is known about ACTA, currently under negotiation between the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries. Leaked documents indicate that it could establish far-reaching customs regulations governing searches of personal computers and iPods, could require mandatory filtering of Internet communications for potentially copyright-infringing material, and could adopt "Three Strikes" policies requiring the termination of Internet access after repeat allegations of copyright infringement. Last year, more than 100 public interest organizations around the world called on ACTA country negotiators to make the draft text available for public comment.

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.18 - June 12, 2009

EFF HAS CHALLENGED GOVERNMENT'S "BACK DOOR WIRETAP," urging the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hold that the government's seizure of defendant Stephen Warshak's email without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment and federal privacy statutes, as well as the Justice Department's own surveillance manual. The government accomplished this "back door wiretap" by illegally ordering Warshak's email provider to prospectively "preserve" copies of his future emails, a misuse the Stored Communications Act, which is only supposed to be used for obtaining emails already in storage with a provider.

In an amicus brief filed earlier this week, EFF argues that the government's seizure violated federal privacy laws and Warshak's Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in his email. As a result, the illegally seized emails should have been suppressed by the district court where Warshak was tried. All told, the government acquired over 27,000 emails spanning over six months from Warshak's email provider, all without probable cause.

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.17 - June 5, 2009

EFF IS PLANNING NEW LEGAL ACTION after dozens of spying cases were dismissed Wednesday as a result of the "telecom immunity" included in the FISA Amendments Act passed by Congress in 2008. While EFF is deeply disappointed by the dismissal of the cases against the telecoms, EFF and the ACLU are planning to appeal. In addition, the ruling leaves the door open for other legal challenges to warrantless spying, meaning EFF will continue litigating Jewel v. NSA -- EFF's lawsuit against the government for illegal surveillance.

For the full press release:

EFF HAS CREATED A TOOL to help you keep track of the policies that determine how Internet businesses interact with you and use your personal information. These terms of service (TOS) agreements change all the time and have tremendous influence on the freedoms you have while using those services. TOSback tracks changes on some of the most popular websites, with information about what changed and when.

For TOSBack:

EFFector Online 22.16 - May 29, 2009

EFF LAUNCHED THE "TEACHING COPYRIGHT" CURRICULUM THIS WEEK to counter misleading educational materials produced by the entertainment industry -- materials that typically try to scare students into believing that making copies is wrong. In contrast, Teaching Copyright is designed to encourage students to make full and fair use of new technology while recognizing their rights and responsibilities. In addition, Teaching Copyright spotlights various stakeholders in the copyright debate, allowing students to better understand the controversies and make informed choices about where they stand.

Please spread the word and pass the link to teachers, librarians, media specialists, and technology instructors. They won't get to use it if they don't know about it! And please support EFF in our efforts to present balanced information about rights and responsibilities online.

For the "Teaching Copyright" website:

For the press release announcing the launch:

EFFector Online 22.15 - May 22, 2009

A JUDGE HAS ORDERED POLICE TO RETURN A LAPTOP AND OTHER PROPERTY SEIZED FROM A BOSTON COLLEGE COMPUTER SCIENCE STUDENT'S DORM ROOM after finding there was no probable cause to search the room in the first place. The police were investigating whether the student sent hoax emails about another student.

EFF and Boston law firm Fish and Richardson are representing the computer science student, who was forced to complete much of the final month of the semester without his computer, phone, and network access in the wake of the now-rejected search.

For the full press release:

For more on this case:

EFFector Online 22.14 - May 8, 2009

FIGHT GOVERNMENT SECRECY AND REFORM THE STATE SECRETS PRIVILEGE! For years, the state secrets privilege was a favorite tool of the Bush Administration. They used it to avoid accountability for both the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and the CIA's "special rendition" program. Recently, the Obama Administration has begun to use the same tactic -- most notably, to attempt to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF's lawsuit against the NSA for warrantless wiretapping.

In light of this continuing abuse, members of Congress have introduced bills to ensure meaningful judicial oversight of state secrets claims. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Senators Leahy, Specter, Feingold and Kennedy, will likely be facing a critical vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee any day now. Your support could be the deciding factor!

To take action:

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS STILL WITHHOLDING A THOUSAND PAGES OF MATERIAL regarding the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Although the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released 36 pages of material in April, most contain no substantive information, and there are still a thousand pages that need to be released.

One of the documents released implies that treaty negotiators are zeroing in on Internet regulation. Other publicly available information shows that the treaty could establish far-reaching customs regulations over Internet traffic in the guise of anti-counterfeiting measures.

Litigation to get the rest of the pages continues, with the USTR asking U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer to uphold its decision to conceal virtually all of the information that EFF seeks concerning the ACTA negotiations.

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.13 - May 1, 2009

EFF HAS FILED SUIT AGAINST APPLE COMPUTER, INC., TO DEFEND THE FIRST AMENDMENT rights of an operator of a public Internet "wiki" site known as BluWiki. The site is entirely noncommercial, operated by OdioWorks as a public service.

Late last year, Apple lawyers demanded removal of some of the content on BluWiki, alleging that the discussions constituted copyright infringement and a violation of the DMCA's prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures. The discussions in question focused on how hobbyists might enable iPods and iPhones to work with desktop media management software other than Apple's own iTunes software, such as WinAmp and Songbird. Fearing legal action by Apple, OdioWorks took down the discussions from the BluWiki site.

OdioWorks filed the lawsuit in order to vindicate its right to restore those discussions. The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the discussions do not violate any of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions and do not infringe any copyrights owned by Apple.

For the full press release:

For more on this case:

EFF HAS CALLED ON CONGRESS TO EXAMINE THE INVESTIGATIVE DATA WAREHOUSE (IDW) -- a massive FBI data-mining project that includes a billion records, many of which contain personal information on American citizens. Supporting its request, EFF provided Congress with its new report on IDW, published this week with information obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.

In August 2006, EFF sought documents about the IDW under the Freedom of Information Act, but the agency has withheld important details about the collection, maintenance, and use of personal information contained in the huge database. The Department of Justice recently told the court that no additional material will be disclosed, despite the Obama administration's new policies on open government.

The IDW contains at least 53 datasets and includes more than four times as many unique documents as the Library of Congress.

For the press release:

For the blog post:

EFFector Online 22.12 - April 24, 2009

EFF URGES THE KENTUCKY SUPREME COURT TO UPHOLD FREE SPEECH AND DUE PROCESS in a friend-of-the-court brief filed last week. The brief, filed jointly with other leading public interest and industry trade groups, advocates that the Kentucky Supreme Court uphold an appeals court ruling that blocked state officials from ordering out-of-state registrars to turn over control of over 100 overseas Internet domain names accused of violating state gambling laws.

The case began in September when the commonwealth of Kentucky convinced a state court judge to order the seizure of 141 domain names, claiming that the names were "gambling devices" banned under Kentucky law. A Kentucky appeals court later overturned the ruling, but state officials appealed the order. EFF and others argue that the commonwealth's attempt to regulate overseas websites is fatally flawed and, if successful, would violate the First Amendment, the Commerce Clause, and the Due Process Clause.

For the press release:

EFFector Online 22.11 - April 17, 2009

A BOSTON COLLEGE STUDENT'S COMPUTER, CELL PHONE, AND OTHER PROPERTY WERE SEIZED as part of an investigation into who sent an e-mail to a school mailing list identifying another student as gay. Not only is there no indication that any crime was committed, the support for the search warrant is at times laughable. Some of the supposedly suspicious activities listed include: the student being seen with "unknown laptop computers," which he "says" he was fixing for other students; the student uses multiple names to log on to his computer; and the student uses two different operating systems, including one that is not the "regular B.C. operating system" but instead has "a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on."

During its March 30th search, police seized (among other things) the student's computers, storage drives, cell phone, iPod Touch, flash drives, digital camera, and Ubuntu Linux CD. None of these items have been returned. His personal documents and information are in the hands of the state police, which continue to examine them without probable cause, searching for evidence to support unsupportable criminal allegations.

For the full blog post:

For the press release:

EFFector Online 22.10 - April 10, 2009

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS EMBRACED BUSH'S POSITION ON WARANTLESS WIRETAPPING, and goes one step further than the previous administration. In a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) made two deeply troubling arguments.

First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They asserted that simply allowing the case to continue "would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.

Second, the DOJ claimed that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying because the USA PATRIOT Act renders the U.S. immune from suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws: the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one -- not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration -- has ever interpreted the law this way.

This isn't change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.

For the full blog post:

For the press release:

For Kevin Bankston on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann":

For Keith Olbermann on Obama and Wiretapping:

EFF AND OTHERS HAVE CALLED FOR OBAMA TO DIVERSIFY IP APPOINTMENTS. Several of the president's recent appointees to positions that oversee intellectual property policy have represented the recording industry or other industries that support overly broad IP protection. But many positions with IP policy responsibilities have not yet been filled.

The coalition urged the administration to appoint individuals representing the diversity of stakeholders involved in IP issues, and also called on the president to create new positions dedicated to promoting innovation and advancing the cause of progress in sciences and the useful arts.

For the full press release:

EFFector Online 22.09 - April 1, 2009

EFFector Online 22.08 - March 20, 2009

EFF LAUNCHED A SEARCH TOOL FOR UNCOVERED GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS as part of our celebration of Sunshine Week. The search tool is sophisticated technology that allows the public to closely examine thousands of pages of documents we have pried loose from secretive government agencies. In addition, we're posting scores of never-before seen documents on several controversial government initiatives, including the FBI's Investigative Data Warehouse and DCS 3000 surveillance program, and the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Targeting System and ADVISE data-mining project.

Over the past two and a half years, EFF has filed hundreds of FOIA requests and made thousands of pages of once-secret documents available to the public on our website. Our FOIA work has revealed details about the FBI's improper use of National Security Letters, uncovered the Department of Homeland Security's internal policies on searching and interrogating travelers at the border, and revealed information about the technology the government uses to wiretap cell phones.

The release of these new documents is just one step in the ongoing fight for greater government transparency. EFF will continue to pressure the government to remember its obligations to transparency and to the public.

To support EFF's FOIA work: secure.eff.org/foia

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/03/16

More on our celebration of Sunshine Week:

ANONMYITY AND PRIVACY SHOULD NOT ADD UP TO PRISON TIME, EFF argued before the United States Sentencing Commission this week. EFF urged the court to reject modifications to federal sentencing guidelines that would require extra prison time for people who use technology that hides one's identity or location. Under current rules, a criminal defendant can get additional time added to a prison sentence if he used "sophisticated means" to commit the offense.

In its testimony before the commission, EFF argued that sentencing courts should not assume that using proxies -- technologies that can anonymize users or mask their location -- is a mark of sophistication. In fact, proxies are widely employed by corporate IT departments and public libraries and, like many computer applications, can be used with little or no knowledge on the part of the user. For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/03/17

EFFector Online 22.07 - March 13, 2009

GOOGLE LAUNCHED A BEHAVORIAL TARGETING AD PROGRAM this week, which it calls "interest-based advertising." EFF is concerned about behavioral targeting, because it means that information about how you use the web is collected, stored and associated with a cookie on your browser, which can track you across different websites and online services. The program'soriginal opt-out option -- using cookies to opt-out of tracking cookies -- was not adequate, because the very users who care most about privacy are the ones most likely to delete cookies, thus removing them from the opt-out protection.

We worked with Google to seek a new solution, and the result is the Advertising Cookie Opt-Out Plug-in, which allows users to keep their opt-out status for a particular browser even when they clear all cookies. If you are a user who shares our concerns about privacy, we encourage you to opt-out of tracking by downloading the plug-in and keep regularly deleting your cookies.

For the full post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/google-begins-behavioral-targeting-ad-program

GOOGLE HAS DECIDED TO MATCH LOOPT'S POLICY for dealing with law enforcement demands in regards to Latitude, Google's new cell phone-based friend-finding service. The gist of the Latitude and Loopt policies? "Come back with a warrant."

Like Loopt, Google's Latitude doesn't (currently) keep a historic log of its users' locations; both companies overwrite the old data each time you report a new location. Google has confirmed that its policy will be to require a wiretap order -- sometimes called a "super-warrant" since it's even harder to get than a regular search warrant -- before tracking a Latitude user's location for law enforcement.

Of course, it remains to be seen how far Google and Loopt will go if faced with a court order that isn't the required super-warrant. But the public commitment alone is an important step forward, and to the extent either Google or Loopt is faced with a law enforcement demand that they don't think is up to snuff legally, the lawyers at EFF stand ready and waiting to help.

For the full post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/03/exclusive-google-takes-stand-location-privacy-alon

EFFector Online 22.06 - March 4, 2009

EFF RELEASES SURVEILLANCE SELF DEFENSE -- an online how-to guide for protecting your private data against government spying. EFF created the site with the help of the Open Society Institute in order to educate Americans about the law and technology of communications surveillance and computer searches and seizures, and to provide the information and tools necessary to keep their private data out of the government's hands. The guide includes tips on assessing the security risks to your personal computer files and communications, strategies for interacting with law enforcement, and articles on specific defensive technologies such as encryption that can help protect the privacy of your data

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/03/03

For Surveillance Self Defense: http://ssd.eff.org</p>

WARNER MUSIC GROUP IS CENSORING A MYRIAD OF FAIR USES by using YouTube's Video Identification tool to send blanket takedown notices, and very few YouTubers are willing to challenge the takedowns. Why? Because our broken copyright system leaves them facing the prospect of paying outrageous statutory damages and even possibly Warner's attorneys' fees if they stand up, fight back and, despite overwhelming odds in their favor, lose.

It's time for Warner to take some responsibility and stop the censorship. The best thing would be for Warner to go back to how it treated videos before. At a minimum, Warner should assure YouTubers that the company won't escalate straight to lawsuit after a content ID takedown is disputed without first availing itself of the DMCA takedown option.

If Warner doesn't stop on its own, EFF is interested in bringing a good case to challenge this behavior. If you made a fair use video and you want to fight back, we want to hear from you.

For our YouTube removal primer: http://www.eff.org/issues/intellectual-property/guide-to-youtube-removals

For fair use video takedowns, contact: info@eff.org

For the full blog post: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/02/hey-warner-leave-those-kids-alone

For examples of fair use videos taken off YouTube: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/02/victims-warner-censorship-literal-videos

EFFector Online 22.05 - February 20, 2009

Since EFF was founded in 1990, we've seen digital technologies become increasingly central to our lives as citizens, consumers, creators, innovators and social beings. And over those nearly 19 years, EFF has been at the forefront of the fight to ensure that these new tools are used to enhance and extend our freedoms, rather than to restrict them.

And for the past 18 years we have kept our members and supporters informed of our work with an electronic newsletter delivered directly to their inbox every week or two -- a novel idea in 1990. The first issue of EFFector was sent out on December 10, 1990. Today, we have just delivered the 500th issue to the inboxes of over 43,000 people.

Here are some highlights of our work that have been covered in EFFector:

May 1, 1991: EFF filed a complaint in Steve Jackson Games v. U.S. Secret Service, claiming digital communications require the same safeguards against unreasonable search and seizures as other communications.

April 16, 1993: EFF published criticism of the Clipper Chip proposal, a government plan to force communications technology providers to build government surveillance backdoors in their products.

December 19, 1996: EFF convinced a federal district court that software is speech in Bernstein v. DOJ.

July 17, 1998: EFF announced defeat of the government's Data Encryption Standard (DES) in less than three days using relatively simple equipment and engineering.

January 20, 2000: EFF defended publishers of 2600 Magazine, which the MPAA had sued for distributing and linking to software that helps consumers make back-ups of their DVDs.

June 6, 2001: EFF brought suit in Felten v. RIAA, asserting security researcher Ed Felten's right to present a paper describing flaws in a proposed music watermarking technology at a conference.

June 6, 2002: In Newmark v. Turner Broadcasting Service, EFF filed suit against the entertainment industry in defense of customers' right to use a digital VCR for saving shows and skipping commercials.

June 30, 2003: EFF launched a campaign to oppose RIAA attempts to shut down P2P networks and sue music fans.

September 30, 2004: EFF brought the first successful suit against abusive online copyright claims in Online Policy Group v. Diebold.

June 27, 2005: The Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster rejected an attempt to hold developers of devices with multiple uses automatically liable for infringing actions of their users.

January 31, 2006: EFF sued AT&T for helping the National Security Agency spy on millions of ordinary Americans in Hepting v. AT&T.

May 26, 2006: EFF successfully defended the right of online journalists to require their ISPs to protect the confidentiality of their sources in Apple v. Does.

June 16, 2007: EFF's FOIA project secured the release of documents concerning the FBI's use of National Security Letters. Revelations from the documents were cited during the Senate investigations that led to the resignation of then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

September 18, 2008: EFF filed suit directly against the NSA in Jewel v. NSA, seeking to stop the illegal warrantless wiretapping program.

Thank you, EFFector readers, for being with us every step of the way!

EFFector Online 22.04 - February 13, 2009

EFF CALLS ON THE FTC TO MITIGATE DAMAGE CAUSED BY DRM. In public comments submitted earlier this week, EFF explained how DRM, backed by the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), impedes innovation and thwarts consumers' rights to make full use of their digital music, movies, software, and videogames. EFF urged the commission to study DRM's effect on competition in the marketplace, investigate whether the effects of DRM are fully disclosed to consumers, and promote a set of "Best Practices" that, if followed, would help alleviate the burdens of DRM for consumers.

EFF's comments were filed in conjunction with the FTC's Town Hall on DRM, set for March 25 in Seattle. The Town Hall is free and open to the public.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/02/09

For more on the FTC Town Hall on DRM: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/12/drm.shtm

SHARK AND THE PRCA HAVE SETTLED THEIR COPYRIGHT BATTLE over YouTube videos, protecting the advocates' right to publicize their critiques of animal treatment at rodeos and creating a new model for handling takedown notices.

EFF represented the group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), a non-profit organization that videotapes and photographs rodeos in order to expose animal abuse, injuries, and deaths. SHARK posted dozens of these critical videos to YouTube throughout 2006 and 2007. When the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) falsely claimed that 13 of the videos infringed PRCA copyrights, YouTube disabled SHARK's entire account.

In a settlement announced yesterday, PRCA agreed that any future copyright claims will be first sent to SHARK's video contact and then reviewed by the PRCA's general counsel for legal merit before any legal notices are sent to YouTube or another video service. This settlement is part of EFF's No Downtime for Free Speech Campaign, which works to protect online expression in the face of baseless copyright claims.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/02/12

For more on the No Downtime for Free Speech Campaign: http://www.eff.org/issues/ip-and-free-speech

EFFector Online 22.03 - February 6, 2009

CA ACTION ALERT: SAY NO TO BIOMETRICS IN CALIFORNIA DRIVERS' LICENSES. The California DMV is attempting to bring biometric information to California IDs through an obscure, rushed exception to the ordinary budget process. Though the impact on California citizens' privacy would be tremendous, the DMV would be able to bypass the public and begin implementation of its biometrics plan unless the budget committee actively rejects the request by February 11, 2009. Contact the Senate President Pro Tem and encourage the legislature to reject the DMV's attempt to implement its new biometrics proposal without genuine public scrutiny.

Contact California State Senator Steinberg: https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=416

ACTION ALERT: TELL THE NEW CONGRESS TO OPEN THE SECRET IP PACT. New revelations about the secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have emerged, and the news is not good for technology users or their digital rights.

Instead of concentrating on physical fakes and fraud, leaked draft language suggests ACTA will provide expansive powers to customs authorities worldwide to search and seize digital technology at the border on suspicion of IP infringements and globally widen the criminalization of IP law way beyond profit-seeking pirates.

An entire section of the trade agreement would create new regulations over the Internet and DRM -- but those details remain secret.

Write to your representatives now to demand that Congress bring transparency to this clandestine pact: http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=420

Learn more about ACTA: http://www.eff.org/action/act-on-acta

EFFector Online 22.02 - January 29, 2009

THE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE (USTR) IS WITHHOLDING HUNDREDS OF DOCUMENTS about a secret intellectual property enforcement treaty currently under negotiation between the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries. In a pending federal lawsuit, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge are demanding that background documents on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) be released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). But the USTR has claimed that more than 1300 pages should be withheld because they implicate national security or expose the USTR's deliberative processes. The USTR has released only 159 pages for public viewing.

ACTA raises serious concerns about citizens' civil liberties and privacy rights. The contents and text of ACTA remain secret, but a document leaked to the public last year shows that ACTA could include stronger criminal measures, increased customs border search powers, and requirements for Internet service providers to cooperate with copyright holders.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/01/29

For more on this case: http://www.eff.org/cases/eff-and-public-knowledge-v-ustr

For more on ACTA: http://www.eff.org/issues/acta/

IN A RECENT REVIEW of the HP Color LaserJET CM3530 printer, the magazine "Government Computer News" called out the use of tracking codes -- which GCN referred to as "a secret spy program" -- as the biggest problem with that printer. GCN found that the yellow dots produced by this printer particularly degraded print quality and noted that some people would question the "logic or appropriateness" of having printers produce the dots at all. It concluded that even people who didn't object to the tracking codes in principle would regret the poor print quality they produced in this case. The review also credited EFF for discovering and exposing this issue.

For the full story: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/01/government-computer-news-pans-printer-dots

For more on printer dots: http://www.eff.org/issues/printers

EFFector Online 22.01 - January 22, 2009

EFF IS ASKING FOR THE PUBLIC'S HELP IN OUR NEW CAMPAIGN TO FREE CELL PHONES from the software locks that stifle competition and cripple consumers. Hundreds of thousands of cell phone owners have modified their phones to connect to a new service provider or run the software of their choosing, and many more would like to. But the threat of litigation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has driven them underground.

On the campaign's website, FreeYourPhone.org, people can sign EFF's petition to the Copyright Office and share their stories about cell phone frustrations. EFF will also help people officially submit those stories to the Copyright Office before the February 2 deadline.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/01/15

For more on the Free Your Phone campaign: http://www.FreeYourPhone.org

EFF AND THE ACLU OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FILED SUIT IN FEDERAL COURT TO PROTECT THE PRIVACY AND FREE SPEECH RIGHTS OF TWO BAY AREA COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS after the groups' computers were seized and the data copied by federal and local law enforcement. Both organizations, Long Haul and the East Bay Prisoner Support Group (EBPS), are publishers of information for social and political activists.

The search was not based on any allegations of wrongdoing on the part of Long Haul, EBPS or their members, and there have been no arrests. The seized computers were eventually returned, but investigators likely copied the data and continued their illegal search of the information.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/01/14

For the full complaint: http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/longhaul_v_UC/longhaulcomplaint.pdf

EFFector Online 21.38 - January 13, 2008

THE PATENT OFFICE HAS GRANTED EFF'S REQUEST FOR REEXAMINATION of an illegitimate music patent, patent No. 5,886,274. Seer Systems was awarded this patent for a system and method for joining different musical data types together in a file, distributing them over the Internet, and then playing that file. In the reexamination request, EFF, along with the law firm Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder, show that descriptions of this technology were published a number of times before Seer Systems made its claim - including in a book written by Seer's own founder and the named inventor of the patent, Stanley Jungleib.

This reexamination request is part of EFF's Patent Busting Project, which combats the chilling effects bad patents have on public and consumer interests. Four more patents are under review and one patent has been revoked by the PTO due to the Patent Busting Project's efforts.

For the full press release: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/01/07

For more on EFF's Patent Busting Project: http://w2.eff.org/patent/