In our 686th issue:
In a major victory for digital rights, the Librarian of Congress granted all of the DMCA exemptions that EFF and our supporters requested. Quick refresher: the DMCA as written creates legal uncertainty around circumventing technical restrictions on copyrighted works, and directs the Librarian of Congress to grant special, temporary exemptions every three years.
The new exemptions mean that the following types of technological tinkering are explicitly lawful, at least for the next three years:
- Jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software;
- Ripping DVDs and Blu-ray video that you own in order to create fair use remixes and analysis;
- Preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them;
- Security research and modification and repairs on car.
We're thrilled with this outcome. At the same time, a critical long-term solution is to eliminate the need for this onerous rulemaking process by reforming the broken law that threatens these activities in the first place.
The Zone 9 Bloggers are Free, But Ethiopia Still Thinks Digital Security is Terrorism
The last of the Zone 9 Bloggers are finally free from jail, after nearly 18 months of detention for simply speaking out online. The victory of the bloggers over these baseless accusations of terrorism is a relief to everyone concerned. However, it will not undo the months each of them unjustly spent in jail, in often horrendous conditions, isolated from their family and friends.
EFF Uncovers Major Vulnerabilities in Vehicle Surveillance Tech
A discovery by EFF 's investigative team: more than a hundred police-operated camera systems were exposed online, often with totally open Web pages accessible by anyone with a browser. These cameras are used to track the licenses plates of vehicles, but poor digital security meant anybody could access them.
We Did It! 100,000 People Call on Obama to Support Strong Crypto
Over 100,000 people signed our petition calling on President Obama to reject compelled backdoors in our communications—meaning we crossed the threshold to get an official response from the president. Thanks to everyone who took part in the campaign!
Hurricane LTE-U: Don’t Let Wi-Fi Get Blown Away
A storm is brewing over use of the 5.8 GHz unlicensed band of the radio spectrum as telecommunications companies plan to expand their LTE networks outside their traditional, licensed ranges and into the same unlicensed bands used by Wi-Fi, cordless headsets, and plenty of other consumer technology. Will LTE-U seriously interfere with Wi-Fi? The only thing we know for sure is that there’s an enormous amount of controversy about how this technology will perform in the real world.
Consumer Review Freedom Act Would Protect Customers’ Right to Post Reviews
Yelpers take heart: the new Consumer Review Freedom Act, now pending in Congress, seeks to limit several ways that companies attempt to keep their customers from criticizing them on the Internet. Anti-review clauses are being used to try to squelch legitimate speech by online reviewers, and this bill—with a few tweaks—could be a powerful reform to stop them.
Updates from the Legal Challenges to NSA Surveillance
We have bad news from the fight to stop NSA mass surveillance. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant the ACLU a preliminary injunction against the NSA’s bulk telephone records program, despite having previously found that the program was illegal. And a federal district court in Maryland dismissed a lawsuit brought by the ACLU challenging the NSA’s Upstream surveillance of the Internet backbone.
6 Spooky Ways Local Law Enforcement Is Watching You
Often, the discussion on government surveillance in the US is all about the NSA or the FBI. But the feds aren’t the only ones spying on you. Local law enforcement has been getting in on the action, and it’s not good.
Crypto Is For Everyone—and American History Proves It
Over the last year, law enforcement officials around the world have been pressing for a magical "backdoor" to access the content of any and all encrypted communications by ordinary people. But encryption has been used by civilians, businesspeople, and revolutionaries—including the Founding Fathers of the United States—for centuries.
EFF, ACLU Ask California Supreme Court to Order Release of Los Angeles License Plate Reader Data
EFF and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California urged California’s highest court to rule that license plate data, collected indiscriminately on millions of drivers by police across the state, are not investigative records and should be made available to the public.
A More Private Browsing Experience: Mozilla Ships Tracking Protection for Firefox
Good news for Firefox users sick of online trackers shadowing their every click: Mozilla just released Tracking Protection for use with their private browsing mode. Firefox uses Disconnect's blacklist to block requests to known trackers, such as invisible 'tracking pixels,' calls to analytics engines, and ads that are trying to track you around the Web.
Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index
The 2015 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index evaluates 16 of the world’s most powerful Internet and telecommunications companies on their public commitments and disclosed policies affecting users’ freedom of expression and privacy.
Bangladesh Book Publishers Suffer Fatal Attacks in Wake of Blogger Killings
Two publishing houses in Bangladesh suffered brutal attacks on October 31 by armed assailants who took the life of one man and left two others in serious condition. The violence against bloggers and writers continues with impunity.
Is Digital Privacy a Pipe Dream?
Reporter Julia Angwin tried to hide from the prying eyes of government and big business—and says Privacy Badger can help!
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Editor: Rainey Reitman, Activism Director
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