In our 713 issue:
The United States has entered a new era. Donald Trump has sworn the oath of office, pledging to uphold the Constitution. But as EFF has learned in the course of defending our fundamental rights over four American presidencies, our civil liberties need an independent defense force.
The first 100 days will set the tone for the rest of Mr. Trump’s time in office. The transition team has laid out what they hope to accomplish over this period. Some of the things he and his team said have us preparing for the worst. Based on statements about surveillance, net neutrality, and press freedom, we anticipate attempts to undercut many of the
hard-won protections for technology users and thwart efforts to reform broken laws.
So we’ve set out how we will fight for your rights over those first 100 Days, including continuing to defend digital rights in court, testing and leveraging the Freedom of Information Act, and holding Silicon Valley accountable.
Copyright law not only impacts the music you hear or the movies you watch, it shapes your ability to communicate with others online, to create, post or share content to online platforms, to make art that talks back to popular culture, and to use, fix, and tinker with your own belongings. When copyright law is out of balance–when content holders are given too much power to control how new technologies and copyrighted works are used–it limits our basic freedoms to access information, to express ourselves, to control our own digital devices, and to innovate to create new tools and creative works.
Five years ago this week, a diverse coalition of Internet users, non-profit groups, and Internet companies defeated the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), bills that would have forced Internet companies to blacklist and block websites accused of hosting copyright infringing content. In the five years since SOPA, new threats have emerged. We continue to fight alongside our allies to push back against proposals that would expand copyright’s reach and trample on the public interest and push for a better copyright law that serves everyone, not just established copyright industries.
As part of that work, each year we join together with a diverse range of organizations to advocate for a set of principles for making copyright law work for everyone, including defending the public domain, protecting the right to tinker, and transparency and representation in the copyright policy setting process.
EFF Applauds Obama’s Decision to Commute Chelsea Manning’s Sentence
As one of his very last acts in office, President Obama has commuted the sentence of whistleblower Chelsea Manning by 28 years. EFF applauds Obama for using his last days as president to bring justice to Manning’s case. And we congratulate all those who supported, defended, and spoke out on behalf of Manning over the years and supported her clemency petition. Your efforts secured her freedom.
EFF Pushes Back on Ruling that Threatens Free Speech Online
EFF is asking a court to overturn a ruling that could cripple online platforms that host and aggregate user reviews. In a brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF argues that a lower court got it wrong when it ruled that ConsumerAffairs.com could be held liable for reviews written by the site’s users—despite the fact that platforms like ConsumerAffairs.com have broad protections when they aggregate or otherwise edit users’ content. If the decision is allowed to stand, EFF’s brief argues, then platforms may take steps to further censor or otherwise restrict user content out of fear of being held liable.
Kazakhstan’s Legal Harassment, Abuse of Computer Law Finally Ends
The Republic of Kazakhstan’s legal harassment of independent newspaper Respublika and other fierce critics of the ruling regime has finally come to an end. Kazakhstan employed the deeply flawed U.S. hacking statute called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to mount a two-year campaign of harassment, censorship, and retaliation against the publication in courts around the world. The clock ran out on Kazakhstan’s lawsuit and the government finally dismissed it, but not before real damage was done to the free speech rights of the newspaper, which was forced to shut down, and other parties.
EFF Urges Court to Protect Free Speech From Overbroad Use of DMCA
In order to make remix videos, do computer research, or make e-books accessible, people often need to bypass access controls on the media they own. In a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF argues that the government cannot prohibit such speech without running afoul of the First Amendment. The case centers around VidAngel, a service that allows customers to view movies minus the parts it identifies as offensive. We filed to ensure the court understands the impact on speech of an anti-circumvention law that does not include flexible accommodations like a fair use exemption.
Trump Pulls Out of TPP
President Donald Trump has formally pulled the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that raised intellectual property concerns for the digital rights community.
SEC Probing Yahoo over Data Breaches
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Yahoo should have notified investors about its two massive data breaches sooner, The Wall Street Journal reports.
China Gets Tough on VPNs
Chinese authorities are cracking down on services like virtual private networks that let residents gain unauthorized access to websites that have been blocked within the country, according to Reuters.
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If you aren't already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Kate Tummarello, Writer
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Job Opening: Technology Projects Manager / Technology Projects Director
EFF is seeking an experienced project or engineering manager to join our Technology Projects team. The team is responsible for many of EFF's externally visible technical products—including the HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger browser extensions—working with a very large coalition of external organizational and open source collaborators, and provides computer science expertise and leadership to the rest of EFF. This role would manage and support 3-6 of our team members and guide strategy in some of our project areas.
Job Opening: Membership Assistant
EFF is seeking an energetic and enthusiastic Membership Assistant to support fundraising operations and outreach to EFF's 30,000+ annual donors. The ideal candidate is personable, resourceful, demonstrates outstanding attention to detail, and is comfortable using customer relationship management (CRM) software. Experience working with a nonprofit donor program and knowledge of digital civil liberties issues is preferred.
Job Opening: Staff Technologist/Senior Staff Technologist
EFF is seeking an experienced project or engineering manager to join our Technology Projects team. A Staff Technologist would be responsible for being the lead developer for one of our browser extensions, such as Privacy Badger, which are used by millions of people. The candidate would be responsible for updates, bug fixes, new features, promotion, and community management of the project.
EFA January 2017 Teleconference
The Electronic Frontier Alliance will host a teleconference to hear updates and announcements from member groups. Please RSVP in order to participate.
January 26, 2017
Catholic University Law Review Symposium
EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel will participate in a symposium held by the Catholic University Law Review titled "The Freedom of Information Act: A Tool for Transparency, Knowledge, and Litigation."
February 3, 2017
Vote for EFF
EFF is on CREDO's January donation ballot. If you are a CREDO customer or member of their action network, you are eligible to vote. Choose EFF to help direct as much as $150,000 to support the defense of digital privacy and free expression. January 31 is the final day to vote, so act now!