In our 688th issue:
This week, we launched our final membership drive of 2015. Every donor supporting EFF in the last 10 days of the year helps unlock a series of increasing challenge grants. Starting at 32 donors, EFF gets a grant of $100; at 64 donors, EFF gets a grant of $250, and so forth, all the way up to 4,096 donors resulting in a grant of $20,000! Thanks to all of EFF's supporters for making 2015 an incredible year for digital civil liberties—look out for our year in review blog post series to recount all the moments. Please share the campaign with the digital rights
advocates you know and gear up for an ambitious 2016!
Panopticlick analyzes how well your browser and add-ons protect you against online tracking techniques. It also checks if your system is uniquely configured—and thus identifiable—even if you are using privacy-protective software.
Six years after the original version was launched, Panopticlick 2.0 brings new tests to our existing tool, such as canvas and touch-capability fingerprinting, updating its ability to uniquely identify browsers with current techniques. In addition, we're adding a brand new suite of tests that detect how well your browser and extensions are protecting you from tracking by ads and invisible beacons.
We've updated Panopticlick's Privacy Polices to reflect the new features and changes. The policy is available here.
Demon hackers, robot Santas, overprotective smart fridges, and violently loyal cyber-pets—all this and more in EFF’s first digital anthology of short fiction: “Pwning Tomorrow: Stories from the Electronic Frontier.”
The Creative Commons-licensed collection features a star-studded line-up of authors, including Neil Gaiman, Bruce Sterling, Lauren Beukes, Cory Doctorow, Charlie Jane Anders, Eileen Gunn, Rudy Rucker, and many more. The book also include a novella from Carolyn Jewel, the lead plaintiff in EFF's long-running lawsuit against NSA mass surveillance, Jewel v. NSA.
The book is available in ePub in MOBI formats. Download it for free and donate what you can.
EFF and the White House Sat Down to Talk About Encryption
Ever since EFF's "We the People" petition for strong encryption hit the 100,000-signature mark, we've been waiting for President Barack Obama to declare that he unequivocally opposes any law, policy, or mandate that would undermine our security. In December, the White House announced that it needed to hear more about the importance of encryption and launched an online form for users to make their cases. EFF and Access Now were also able to have an extensive conversation with senior staff where we outlined our concerns and demands. Please read our notes from the meeting, then spend a few minutes telling the Obama administration
why anything less than strong encryption will make us less safe.
EFF's 2015 Holiday Wishlist
If the North Pole really has a total-information-awareness operation, then Santa knows that EFF has been very, very nice all year and not at all naughty. Here are 12 things we'd like in the New Year, including better transparency reports from tech companies and more websites adopting our Do No Track policy.
Changes to Facebook’s "Real Names" Policy Still Don’t Fix the Problem
In response to significant pressure from a coalition of activist groups, Facebook announced several changes to its policy requiring users to register under their real names. These adjustments may make the social network a friendlier platform for some users, but in our view Facebook is just rearranging chairs on the Titanic.
"Code Is Speech" Faces New Challenges In 3-D Printing Case
This month EFF filed a brief in Defense Distributed v. Department of State over the government's efforts to use export controls to block the online publication of design files and documentation describing 3D-printable weapon components. This is a clear First Amendment issue: the government has gone too far by criminalizing online speech generally about certain technologies.
The First Amendment Protects Everyone—Including People on Supervised Release from Prison
EFF joined with other free speech groups to file an amicus brief supporting an offender who had his probation revoked after he criticized a law enforcement officer on a blog. This month, the government made some major concessions, but the battle is far from over.
The Punishment Should Fit the Crime: Matthew Keys and the CFAA
Journalist Matthew Keys was recently convicted under the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act for his role in defacing the Los Angeles Times' website. The fact that he could face 25 years in prison for an act of vandalism that lasted barely 40 minutes illustrates much of what is wrong with the draconian computer crime law.
Victory in Lawsuit over DEA Mass Surveillance
In a victory for millions of people in the U.S. who have placed telephone calls to locations overseas, EFF and our client, Human Rights Watch, have confirmed that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s practice of collecting those records in bulk has stopped and that the only bulk database of those records has been destroyed.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Cell-Site Simulators
IMSI catcher. Stingray. Dirt box. Cell-site simulator. The list of aliases used by the devices that masquerade as a cell phone tower, trick your phone into connecting with them, and suck up your data, seems to grow every day. No matter what name law enforcement uses, there’s no question they’re a serious threat to privacy.
How the TPP Will Affect You and Your Digital Rights
The Trans-Pacific Partnership will have terrible, lasting consequences for free expression and innovation. It's not too late to stop it: read how TPP will affect everyone from cosplayers to people with disabilities, from gamers to whistleblowers, from business owners to journalists, then tell your representative to stand with us against this trade agreement.
The Loading Screen Game Patent Finally Expires
After 17 years, the patent has finally expired on a method for avoiding “unnecessary wastage of time” in video games, i.e. loading screen games. We take a trip through history to show how this case is a prime example of why the patent system needs to be reformed.
No Photo IDs for FBI FOIAs
The FBI has launched a new online FOIA system to streamline the process for obtaining public records. One problem: the FBI requires requesters to upload a scan of their photo ID. Sen. Ron Wyden agreed with our concerns and sent the FBI a letter demanding to know why the agency needs that information and what it plans to with the IDs.
The Secret Surveillance Catalogue
A whistleblower concerned with privacy provided The Intercept with a secret product catalogue of surveillance technologies, including many never previously disclosed. EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch helped by providing tongue-in-cheek reviews of some of the most invasive devices.
The Worst Patents of 2015
The Washington Post rounds up the worst patents of 2015 as identified by EFF Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents Daniel Nazer.
Shari Steele Is the New Head of the Tor Project
Last spring, EFF's heroic leader Shari Steele stepped down to pursue other opportunities. This month we received great news: Shari is the new executive director of the Tor Project, guaranteeing the crucial privacy technology will continue to strengthen over many years to come.
Supported by Donors
Our members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.
If you aren't already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Editor: Dave Maass, Investigative Researcher
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Membership & donation queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
General EFF, legal, policy, or online resources queries: email@example.com
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. MiniLinks do not necessarily represent the views of EFF.
Back issues of EFFector
This newsletter is printed from 100% recycled electrons.
Unsubscribe or change your email preferences, or opt out of all EFF email
815 Eddy Street
San Francisco, CA 94109-7701