In our 596th issue:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked the government's attempt to bury EFF's lawsuit against the government's illegal mass surveillance program, returning Jewel v. NSA to the District Court for the next step. Justices rejected the government's argument that the allegations about the well-known spying program and the evidence of the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco were too speculative. EFF will now move forward with the Jewel litigation in the Northern District of California federal court.
Congress is on recess this week and next — that means now is the optimal time to contact your elected official for an in-district meeting to emphasize the importance of stopping the blacklist bills, known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate. We provide you with information and instructions for scheduling a formal meeting with your congressional representatives.
As a new year begins, EFF looks back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2011 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. From WikiLeaks to the Arab Spring, from fighting the Internet blacklist legislation to exciting wins for reader privacy, 2011 has been a watershed year for digital rights. See below for the 12 posts in our "Year in Review" series.
The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark
The government has been using its secrecy system in absurd ways for decades, but 2011 was particularly egregious.
Fighting the Internet Blacklist Bills
Although SOPA and PIPA are reworked versions of legislation proposed in 2010, 2011 has been a true milestone in the fight against them.
California Reader Privacy Upgrade
2011 saw an important upgrade in privacy for Californians, both online and offline. In early October, Governor Brown signed a law that updates reader privacy laws for the digital age, and not a moment too soon.
While acknowledging that social networking sites are free to set their own policies, EFF advocated for the right of users to choose their own names, whether they're women or minorities concerned about their privacy, activists in authoritarian regimes who want to speak out without the threat of government harassment, or users with persistent nicknames or pseudonyms they'd used online for years.
Defending Location Privacy in Courts and Congress
2011 was the year that location privacy hit the mainstream, with action around cell phone and GPS tracking in Congress, in the courts (including the Supreme Court), and in the press.
Ever-Clearer Vulnerabilities in Certificate Authority System
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in the case of the security of HTTPS, the weakest link is the hodgepodge of hundreds of organizations that make up our Certificate Authority system.
Developments in ACTA
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), signed by the U.S. in 2011, would strengthen intellectual property enforcement norms between signatory countries and hand overbroad powers to the content industry to preserve their antiquated business model.
Search Incident to Arrest and Your Cell Phone
With all the mobile computing smartphones are capable of, it comes as no surprise that law enforcement wants to get their hands on the digital goodies. And unfortunately, in 2011 courts gave them the ammunition to do so.
Patents Misused to Stifle Innovation
2011 saw what many had written off as impossible: patent reform legislation became law. Despite the urgent need for reform, the new law – the America Invents Act – managed to do almost nothing to address many of the most pressing problems facing innovators.
Four Cases That Promoted Transparency in 2011
2011 was an important year for court decisions interpreting the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Supreme Court issued two decisions that promoted government transparency and limited the scope of FOIA exemptions, while two district courts addressed how the government administers FOIA.
Internet Freedom in the Wake of the Arab Spring
When Egyptians and Tunisians kicked off 2011 with a bang, observers were hopeful that the two countries — both with strong contingencies of free expression advocates — would move in the right direction toward Internet freedom.
Full Disk Encryption on Every Computer You Own
This year, why not make a resolution to protect your data privacy with one of the most powerful tools available? Commit to full disk encryption on each of your computers.
A New Year for Privacy: The PRC Launches Online Complaint Center
Do you have a privacy complaint? Privacy Rights Clearinghouse announces the launch of an interactive online complaint center designed to serve as a clearinghouse for consumer privacy complaints.
The Danger of an Attack on Piracy Online
In the New York Times, David Carr explains what's wrong with the Internet blacklist legislation, and why we shouldn't let groups who don't understand the Internet determine its future.
EFF's 2011 Holiday Wish List
The winter holidays may have come and gone, but we have some New Year's resolutions for companies that want to protect digital civil liberties.
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