In our 698th issue:
The “sharing” or “gig” economy is big business. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit have transformed the way we work, play, and travel. They also collect huge amounts of data, both from the customers who use them and from the people who offer services on them.
Do gig economy companies stand up for user privacy? What happens when the government asks them for your data? Unfortunately, many of these companies haven’t done enough to take user privacy seriously in the face of government demands for data.
In this year’s Who Has Your Back? report, we explore what sharing economy companies are doing (or aren’t) to protect your data from government requests.
EFF in 2015: Our Annual Report
A fight for the future of podcasting, a project to encrypt the entire Web, a new law to curb NSA surveillance, and much more. 2015 was a big year for digital rights. Read our annual report and learn what it was like for us to live through these milestones.
New Report Shows Which Brazilian ISPs Stand With Their Users
InternetLab, one of the leading independent research centers on Internet policy in Brazil, has evaluated key Brazilian telecommunications companies’ policies to assess their commitment to user privacy when the government comes calling for their users’ personal data. EFF has partnered with InternetLab to bring you Quem defende seus dados? (“Who Defends Your Data?”), a report card showing how Brazilian Internet services stack up in their treatment of users’ private data.
Forced Arbitration Is a Bad Deal
Virtually every major telecommunications company has a clause in its contract that says you can’t take it to court if it does something wrong. You shouldn’t have to waive your constitutional rights just to get online. Tell your senators to put an end to this unfair practice.
Yes, All DRM
Many users have learned about the dangers of DRM (digital rights management) technologies restricting your ability to use products you own, but what about the DRM in streaming services like Netflix and Spotify? DRM in any form requires us to give up control over our own devices to the companies distributing the media.
If CPICIBER Passes, WhatsApp Blockade in Brazil Could Be Taste of More Censorship To Come
A Brazilian judge recently ordered the country’s largest ISPs to temporarily block the popular messaging service WhatsApp. If lawmakers approve a set of dangerous cybercrime bills, the WhatsApp block could be just a small taste of things to come.
Why Releasing Text Isn’t Enough: Behind the Scenes of TTIP
Thanks to a recent leak, we can now read the text of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement. But leaks don’t fix the underlying problem of international trade agreements being negotiated in secret. Access to the draft texts alone, while the negotiations themselves remain closed and opaque, is worth very little.
With Rule 41, Little-Known Committee Proposes to Grant New Hacking Powers to the Government
The government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It’s not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It’s a proposal from an obscure committee—and if we do nothing, it will go into effect in December.
The Crime of Speech
EFF is proud to present The Crime of Speech, a new report on threats to free expression in the Arab world. The report shows how some Arab world counterterrorism laws are really just licenses to censor the Internet.
Case Closed: Supreme Court Lets Fair Use Ruling Stand in Google Books Litigation
After a decade of litigation, the Google Books case is over once and for all. The Supreme Court turned down the Authors Guild’s request for a hearing, meaning that the Second Circuit’s ruling stands as a major win for fair use.
Texas Prison System Unveils New Inmate Censorship Policy
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is getting in the digital censorship game with a new policy that would punish an offender for having a social media presence, even when someone on the outside is posting updates on their behalf. This policy would not only prohibit the prisoners’ exercise of their First Amendment rights, but also prevent the public from exercising their First Amendment rights to gather information about the criminal justice system from those most affected by it.
Keep Trolls Out of Trade
Patent trolls don’t just demand money from innovators; they can actually interfere with international trade and block imports from entering the country. There’s a new bill in Congress designed to take this powerful tactic away from the trolls’ arsenal.
The Small Town Judge Who Sees a Quarter of the Nation’s Patent Cases (Motherboard)
Because patent owners can essentially file lawsuits anywhere, many of them opt for the patent-owner-friendly Eastern District of Texas. And most of those cases are heard by a single judge.
Hacker Lexicon: What Is HTTPS? (Wired)
We all know that EFF wants to help the entire Internet run on HTTPS, but what is HTTPS anyway? Wired explains with the help of EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley.
A Proposed “Textalyzer” Bill Might Give Cops the Right to Access Your Cellphone (Washington Post)
We’re concerned about a proposed New York law that would allow police officers at the scene of an accident to perform a “textalyzer” test on drivers’ phones.
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Editor: Elliot Harmon, Activist
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British Columbia Library Conference
EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow will deliver the opening keynote at this annual gathering of British Columbia librarians.
May 11, 2016
Copyright in the Digital Environment: Innovative Solutions from Creators and Users
EFF is hosting a special side event during the meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. Our event seeks to amplify some voices that are often absent in international copyright discussions, particularly in the world of music. Renowned musician Imogen Heap will deliver a keynote presentation.
May 12, 2016
Join EFF at OSCON, O’Reilly’s blockbuster open source event at the Austin Convention Center. Stop by the EFF booth to learn about the latest in the digital civil liberties movement. EFF supporters have free access to visit us in the Expo Hall! Just use the code OSCON16XPO while registering.
May 17-19, 2016
New Jersey Library Association
EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow will deliver a keynote at this annual gathering of New Jersey librarians.
May 18, 2016
Atlantic City, NJ
Legal Frontiers in Digital Media Conference
EFF Staff Technologist and primary Privacy Badger developer Cooper Quintin will join a panel on ad-blocking technologies and strategies, including a discussion of Ad Block Plus’ controversial Acceptable Ads program.
May 19, 2016
San Jose, CA
EFF at Maker Faire Bay Area
Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Stop by the EFF booth to learn what we’re working on and how you can get involved.
May 20–22, 2016
San Mateo, CA
ISSA-LA Information Security Summit
Join EFF at the Eighth Annual Information Security Summit presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). EFF Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker and Special Advisor Cory Doctorow will both speak at the conference. EFF supporters receive a 20% discount on event admission! Use the promo code 7N74 during registration.
May 20, 2016
Los Angeles, CA
EFF at Point
EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression Jillian C. York will speak at Point, the gathering of Southeastern European civil society organizations.
May 25, 2016
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
EFF at Dutch Linux User's Group Spring Conference
EFF Senior Staff Technologist Seth Schoen will give a talk on Let’s Encrypt at the Dutch Linux User’s Group spring conference.
May 26, 2016
EFF at Security B-Sides Minneapolis
Security B-Sides Minneapolis is a 100% community-organized conference with two days of information security and technology education. EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo will deliver the closing keynote.
June 11, 2016
EFF’s 9th Annual Cyberlaw Trivia Night
Tech attorneys from throughout the Bay Area will gather to drink wine and beer, eat delicious food, and prove their prowess in summoning obscure tech law minutiae from the very depths of their oversized brains. In a friendly yet fierce battle of the minds, they’ll vie for the coveted EFF Pub Quiz Cup—and an entire year’s worth of bragging rights.
June 16, 2016
San Francisco, CA
EFF at the Eleventh HOPE
We are excited to be a part of the Eleventh HOPE conference! HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) returns to New York for its eleventh iteration this year, hosted by our friends at 2600.
July 22–24, 2016
New York City, NY