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EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 699th issue:

Senator Grassley, Don’t Give Up on Venue Reform

Every time it looks like patent litigation reform is finally in reach, it suddenly vanishes from the agenda. Meanwhile, patent trolls continue to chill American innovation. We can’t keep waiting for a time when reform becomes politically convenient.

For years, trolls have exploited a rule that lets them file disputes in any court in the U.S., turning differences between courts into unfair advantages. There’s a bill in Congress that would solve that problem, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley recently said that he doesn’t plan to move forward with it.

Join us in asking Sen. Grassley to stand up for comprehensive patent reform and to keep venue reform on the table.

EFF Updates

Pakistan’s Senate Gets Smart About Terrible Cyber-Crime Bill

Over the last few months, Pakistan’s Internet community has been fighting to stop one of the world’s worst cyber-crime proposals: the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill. Thanks in part to the hundreds of messages sent to Pakistan’s senators, they secured a major victory this week—public assurances from key members of Pakistan’s Senate that they will oppose the bill in its entirety.

Zendesk and the Art of Trademark Trolling

Who owns Zen? Helpdesk software company Zendesk has been bullying smaller companies into removing the word “Zen” from their names.

New Studies Show How Surveillance Chills Speech

EFF has long held that government surveillance has a chilling effect on people’s activities, choices, and communications. Two new studies show how awareness of surveillance can lead Internet users to self-police their online activity.

Victory: A Sliver of Light to Be Shed on Patent Case

In a victory for the First Amendment and public access to court proceedings, a magistrate judge ruled in favor of EFF’s motion to unseal documents in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas. This means that the patent owner in that case, Blue Spike, will no longer be able to shield its arguments from the public.

Dear Sony Music: It’s Not “Fee Use.” It’s “Fair Use”

YouTube’s Content ID recently flagged an educational video with very short music clips as copyright infringement. Sony Music—the original recordings’ copyright holder—has now backtracked on its accusation of infringement, but Sony’s response leads us to think that its misuse of copyright and of YouTube’s automated enforcement system will continue.

California’s Legislature Wants to Copyright All Government Works

The California Assembly Committee on Judiciary recently approved a bill to grant local and state governments copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights. EFF strongly opposes the bill. Such a broad grant of copyright authority to state and local governments will chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain.

Announcing Certbot: EFF’s Client for Let’s Encrypt

EFF is proud to introduce Certbot, a powerful tool to help websites encrypt their traffic. Certbot is the next iteration of the Let’s Encrypt Client. It obtains TLS/SSL certificates and can automatically configure HTTPS encryption on your server.

Stakes Are High in Oracle v. Google, But the Public Has Already Lost Big

Google and Oracle are in the midst of a high-stakes court battle over whether Google’s use of Java API labels qualifies as fair use. This comes after the Federal Circuit ruled that the labels are copyrightable in the first place. No matter which side wins the current case, the public has already lost something important.

Save Firefox!

When the Mozilla Web browser launched, it disrupted the stalemate between the two browsers that nearly everyone used at the time. Mozilla made bold choices that prioritized users’ needs over those of advertisers. Unfortunately, the World Wide Web Consortium is currently making decisions that could prevent new browsers from changing the game in the future.

In Hearing on Internet Surveillance, Nobody Knows How Many Americans Impacted in Data Collection

A revealing moment came in a recent hearing on the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act. Sen. Al Franken asked the panel of government officials how many Americans had had their data swept up in the surveillance authorized by FISA. The panelists couldn’t even offer a rough estimate.


Machine Bias (ProPublica)

Some law enforcement agencies use “risk assessment” algorithms to predict criminal behavior. ProPublica examines the racial bias in these systems.

Open, Closed, and Demon Haunted: An Internet of Things That Act like Inkjet Printers (O'Reilly)

A world where every product has a digital lock is a nightmare for privacy and security. Watch Cory Doctorow’s OSCON talk.

Shaking My Head (Medium)

Sen. Ron Wyden explains how an obscure rule change is about to dramatically expand the U.S. government’s power to spy on citizens.

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If you aren't already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.

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Editor: Elliot Harmon, Activist

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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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
Utrecht, Netherlands

EFF at the Davis Community Forum

EFF Director of Grassroots Advocacy Shahid Buttar and Intake Coordinator Amul Kalia will speak on a panel discussion about community organizing strategies and digital rights issues.
June 2, 2016
Davis, CA

MLK Library in Service Day

EFF Director of Grassroots Advocacy Shahid Buttar will speak about the role that librarians have played in the movement for digital rights and local policy reform processes underway in San Jose.
June 3, 2016
San Jose, CA

Surveillance Self-Defense 201

EFF and the Los Angeles chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will co-host a free workshop on surveillance self-defense. EFF Senior Engineer Mark Burdett will facilitate a teach-in and skill-share on surveillance, steps you can take to protect your communications, and how to advocate for improved surveillance policy.
June 4, 2016
Los Angeles, CA

Basic Digital Privacy and Security Workshop

Join EFF technologists Lisa Wright and William Theaker for a hands-on workshop on how to keep your Internet activity safe, private, and secure. We encourage you to bring a laptop so that you can install software during the training.
June 7, 2016
San Francisco, CA

Decentralized Web Summit

This event aims to explore how we can “lock the web open” to ensure access to information and avenues of free expression. Join keynote speakers Vint Cerf, Cory Doctorow, Brewster Kahle, and others to discuss where we are in building the Decentralized Web and where we should be headed.
June 8-9, 2016
San Francisco, CA

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
Minneapolis, MN

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

Investigative Reporters & Editors

EFF Investigative Researcher Dave Maass and Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula will be speaking on various panels at the annual investigative journalism gathering.
June 16–19, 2016
New Orleans, LA

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

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