In our 702nd issue:
Some day, your life may depend on the work of a security researcher. Whether it’s a simple malfunction in a piece of computerized medical equipment or a malicious compromise of your networked car, it’s critically important that people working in security can find and fix the problem before the worst happens.
And yet, Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) casts a dark legal cloud over the work of those researchers. It gives companies a blunt instrument with which to threaten that research, keeping potentially embarrassing or costly errors from seeing the light of day. EFF believes that 1201 is unconstitutional, and today, we’re taking our case to court.
Copyright law shouldn’t cast a legal shadow over activities as basic as popping the hood of your own car, offering commentary on a shared piece of culture, or testing security infrastructure. It’s time for the courts to revisit Section 1201 and fix Congress’ constitutional mistake.
Security Experts: Tell the W3C To Protect Researchers Who Investigate Browsers
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has taken the extraordinary, controversial step of standardizing digital rights management (DRM) technology in the official HTML5 specifications. Because of laws protecting DRM, that means that security researchers who reveal flaws in HTML5-compliant browsers could face serious legal repercussions. We’re calling on security researchers to help us urge the W3C to protect their important work.
Ninth Circuit Panel Backs Away From Dangerous Password Sharing Decision—But Creates Even More Confusion About the CFAA
Three judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have taken a step back from criminalizing password sharing, limiting the dangerous rationale of a recent decision issued by the same court. That’s good news, but the new decision creates even more confusion about how to interpret the notoriously vague Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
New EEOC Rules Allow Employers to Pay for Employees’ Health Information
The Affordable Care Act provisions for employee wellness programs give employers the power to reward or penalize their employees based on whether they complete health screenings and participate in fitness programs. Wellness programs put employees in a bind: give your employer access to extensive, private health data, or give up potentially thousands of dollars a year.
California Grounds Two Bad Drone Bills
Two bills were introduced in the California legislature this session to regulate the use of drones. Both were overly restrictive of private drone use, even potentially criminalizing fun and educational drone sports events. Now, we’re happy to announce that both of these drone bills have been grounded.
EFF Joins Stars to Rock Against the TPP and Finally Defeat It
EFF is proud to support Rock Against the TPP, a series of music festivals and rallies around the country to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Fight for the Future is organizing the rallies featuring Tom Morello, Talib Kweli, and many other big names. Together, we can send the message to Congress to refuse to ratify the TPP.
Tell Your Senators: Don’t Give FBI More Power to Spy on Browser History
Despite strong opposition in Congress and from the grassroots, the FBI is still pushing to expand its National Security Letter (NSL) authority. The proposed amendments would allow the FBI to serve companies with NSLs and obtain a wide range of Internet records including browsing history. Take a moment to tell your Senators to vote against expanding NSL powers.
Patents: The Next Open Access Fight
Signs are looking good that Congress will finally pass a bill requiring that publicly funded research be made available to the public. Even if we pass an open access law this year, though, there’s still a major obstacle in the way of publicly funded research fully benefiting the public: patent trolls.
New Court Ruling Underscores the Need to Stop the Changes to Rule 41
A federal court recently held that individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy in a personal computer located inside their home. In this court’s view, the FBI is free to hack into networked devices without a warrant. This stunning decision makes it clear that we need to stop the changes to Rule 41, amendments that will make it easier for the government to get a warrant to remotely search computers.
With Canada’s Entry, Treaty for the Blind Will Come Into Force
A groundbreaking international agreement to address the “book famine” for blind and print-disabled people is now set to go into force after passing a key milestone. The agreement requires countries to allow the reproduction and distribution of accessible ebooks by limiting the scope of copyright restrictions.
Stupid Patent of the Month: Storage Cabinets on a Computer
This month’s stupid patent claims the idea of using “virtual cabinets” to graphically represent data storage and organization. The patent’s owner has been using it to sue just about anyone who runs a website.
Bulgaria Passes Law Requiring Government Software to Be Open Source (ZDNet)
Bulgaria’s new open source law is a win for transparency and security.
The Fight for the Right to Repair (Smithsonian)
Laws that keep technology locked down make everyone less safe.
Startups Should Be Watching as the Supreme Court Decides Samsung v. Apple (Recode)
A dispute over design patents could have major ramifications for the future of innovation.
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Elliot Harmon, Activist
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