In our 700th issue:
Tattoos are inked on our skin, but their meanings go much deeper. They reveal who we are: our passions, ideologies, religious beliefs, and even our social relationships. That’s exactly why law enforcement wants to crack the symbolism of our tattoos using automated computer algorithms, an effort that threatens our civil liberties.
Right now, government scientists are working with the FBI to develop tattoo recognition technology that police can use to learn as much as possible about people through their tattoos. In examining the kind of tattoo-recognition functionality the scientists are looking to develop, it’s easy to foresee how law enforcement might try to use it in the field, and the potential repercussions for our privacy and right to free expression.
But even more troubling than potential applications of tattoo-recognition research is the way that the research itself is being conducted. An EFF investigation has found that these experiments exploit prison inmates with little regard for the subjects’ privacy. So far, researchers have avoided ethical oversight altogether.
EFF believes that the research program is so fraught with problems that no course correction can redeem it. Please join us in asking the government to suspend the project immediately.
On his podcast WTF, Marc Maron has picked the brains of everyone from President Obama to Carrot Top, and now it’s EFF’s turn.
EFF Staff Attorney Daniel Nazer, who also holds the Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents, sat down with Maron to talk about patent trolls. He gave the latest news about our challenge to Personal Audio’s podcasting patent and about about the ongoing fight for legislative patent reform.
WTF has agreed to match listeners’ donations to EFF for the month of June. Thank you, WTF!
The Danger of Corporate Facial Recognition Tech
Supporters of unregulated corporate facial recognition systems are waging a sneak attack against our nation’s protection of biometric privacy. On one side are business interests seeking to profit by using invasive facial recognition technologies to identify and track vast numbers of people without their consent. On the other side are EFF and many other digital privacy and consumer rights organizations. Our side won the latest round, but the future of biometric privacy will require constant vigilance.
A Coalition Says to Congress: End 702 or Enact Reforms
Congress has no business approving government programs that neither it nor the public understands. Yet policymakers have repeatedly authorized surveillance activities without doing their homework. Over the eight years since enacting reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Congress has failed to gain a functional understanding of NSA Internet surveillance, and has never even considered its impacts on democracy.
Three Years Later, the Snowden Leaks Have Changed How the World Sees NSA Surveillance
Three years ago this week, the world received confirmation that the NSA was spying on the digital lives of hundreds of millions of innocent people. The leaks were thanks in large part to whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has been living in Russia for the last three years, unable to return to the United States for fear of spending his life behind bars. Since the Snowden leaks, EFF and other groups have worked to pass legislation reining in NSA spying, but there’s much more to do.
European Commission’s Hate Speech Deal With Companies Will Chill Speech
A new agreement between the European Commission and four major U.S. companies—Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft—recently went into effect. The agreement will require companies to “review the majority of valid notifications for removal of hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content.” Letting corporations control what constitutes hate speech jeopardizes everyone’s right to free speech.
Stupid Patent AND Trademark of the Month: My Health
This month features not only a stupid patent, but also a stupid trademark to go along with it. My Health has sued 30 companies over a patent that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place. To make things worth, it's also sued three companies for using the term “my health” to describe services that provide health information to their users.
It’s Time to Shut Down the Most Prolific Patent Troll in the Country
Shipping & Transit has filed over 500 lawsuits alleging infringement of its patents on “tracking and messaging technologies.” One company is fighting back with EFF.
Security Win: Burr-Feinstein Proposal Declared Dead for This Year
A few weeks ago, a dangerous proposal began to take hold in Congress that would have undermined security for computers, mobile devices, ISPs, and more. Thanks to thousands of you speaking out to lawmakers, the proposal has died. Make no mistake, though: this won’t be the last time members of Congress try to dismantle encryption.
EFF Applauds Jury Verdict In Favor of Fair Use in Oracle v. Google
A jury unanimously and correctly found that Google’s use of 37 Java package names and some 11,000 lines of “declaring code” in its Android operating system was lawful fair use, showing once again that our robust fair use doctrine is doing the crucial work of ensuring copyright law doesn’t undermine innovation.
One Injunction to Censor Them All: Doe Injunctions Threaten Speech Online (Knight Foundation)
EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn explains John Doe injunctions, a new trick being used to censor the Internet.
Appeals Court Cuts Music Samplers Some Slack (Los Angeles Times)
A recent court decision has given music sampling some new legal breathing room, and that’s good news for creativity.
Why Google’s Fair Use Victory Over Oracle Matters (The Guardian)
Google vs. Oracle wasn’t just a fight between two companies; it was about the future of technology.
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Elliot Harmon, Activist
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