In our 631st issue:
It's official: CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives. It's the contentious bill that would provide a poorly-defined "cybersecurity" exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies -- including the private communications of users -- in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency.
EFF is adamantly opposed to CISPA. Join us in calling on Congress to stop this and any other privacy-invasive cybersecurity legislation.
Internet users around the world got a Valentine's Day present last week in the form of new legislation that requires U.S. government agencies to improve public access to federally funded research. Under the bill's proposal, agencies like the National Science Foundation, which invests millions of taxpayer dollars in scientific research every year, must design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to -- and robust reuse of -- the results of that investment.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act's broad language and draconian penalty scheme allows overreaching prosecutors to abuse their discretion. This can turn minor incidents with no real harm into serious criminal prosecutions, with the threat of long prison sentences and the consequences that go along with a felony conviction -- like not being able to vote. Computer crime can be serious and law enforcement should properly investigate and prosecute those who use computers to cause financial harm and violate the privacy of others. But at the same time, punishments should fit crimes.
FAA Releases New Drone List -- Is Your Town on the Map?
The Federal Aviation Administration has finally released a new drone authorization list. This list, released in response to EFF's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, includes law enforcement agencies and universities across the country, and -- for the first time -- an Indian tribal agency. In all, the list includes more than 20 new entities over the FAA's original list, bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012.
Trademark Bully Thwarted: 'Spots the Space Marine' Back Online
Score one for the space marines. Last month, the UK game developer Games Workshop complained to Amazon that an ebook, Spots the Space Marine, infringed its trademarks in the term "space marine." When the author protested, Amazon initially refused to reinstate the book and instead politely suggested she resolve the dispute directly with Games Workshop. We were able to intervene and, to Amazon's credit, the company reviewed the claim and restored the book.
Obama Calls for Patent Reform to Topple Trolls
In a welcome turn of events, President Barack Obama spoke directly to the patent troll problem and the need for more comprehensive patent reform in a live online question and answer session. The president was responding to a question by the prominent electrical engineer and entrepreneur Limor "Ladyada" Fried, who in 2009 won an EFF Pioneer Award for her work with free software and open-source hardware.
Don't Be Fooled: "Six Strikes" Will Undoubtedly Harm Open Wireless
The Center for Copyright Information has claimed in a recent blog post that the copyright surveillance machine known as the Copyright Alert System -- or "Six Strikes" -- would not cripple libraries and cafes that provided open wireless networks. To put it bluntly: We disagree.
Egyptian Court Orders 30-Day Ban On YouTube Over Hosting "The Innocence of Muslims" Video
The Cairo Administrative Court has issued a 30-day ban order on YouTube and all other websites that host or link to content from the anti-Islam film "The Innocence of Muslims," which was protested worldwide after footage from the trailer was shown on Egyptian television. The court's ruling may force the hand of the National Telecom Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which have refrained from pursuing such a ban themselves.
As Secretive "Stingray" Surveillance Tool Becomes More Pervasive, Questions Over Its Illegality Increase
A few months ago, EFF warned of a secretive new surveillance tool, commonly referred to as a "Stingray," being used by the FBI in cases around the country. Recently, more information on the device has come to light and it makes us even more concerned than before.
Bloomberg: Fix Copyright for a Creative World
Obama didn't say much about copyright in his State of the Union speech. But in a perfect world, he might have delivered something along these lines.
Should privacy policies be limited to 100 words, as outlined in one California lawmaker's proposed bill? In a word: no.
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Parker Higgins, Activist
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Innovation or Exploitation? Discussing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
Join EFF staff technologist Dan Auerbach and other experts from the field of law and technology in discussing the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Inspired by the recent tragic death of activist Aaron Swartz, who faced intense prosecution under the CFAA, this event will explore the problems with that law and the road to reforming it. The event will be live-streamed for those who can't attend in person.
February 19, 2013
Stanford, CA and online
SCALE 11x - Southern California Linux Expo
As the first-of-the-year Linux/Open Source software expo in North America, SCALE 11X expects to host more than 100 exhibitors this year, along with presenting more than 70 speakers. Come find us at the EFF table.
February 22-24, 2013
Los Angeles, CA
Recorder Roundtable: Privacy
EFF Legal Directer Cindy Cohn joins a panel of experts to talk about data privacy in the cloud, at the workplace, and in consumer electronic devices. Topics include privacy expectations in a networked world and California's new rules for mobile apps.
February 27, 2013
San Francisco, CA
Panel discussion: "How Patent Trolls Harm Innovation"
EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels joins a panel featuring innovators and policy experts with insights into the patent troll problem.
February 28, 2013
The Loophole: Federal Crimes Not Being Addressed
Are there criminal activities that take place online but outside of the reach of prosecutors? EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann joins a panel discussion on "The Loophole," which will address questions of liability, censorship, and prevention.
February 28, 2013
San Francisco, CA
Yale ISP: Location Tracking and Biometrics Conference
Judges, policymakers, practitioners, academics, and other experts will gather to consider what comes next after last year's Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Jones, about the constitutionality of GPS-tracking vehicles without a warrant. EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch will participate in a panel titled "Nontrespassory tracking: Biometrics, license plate readers, and drones."
March 3, 2013
New Haven, CT
South by Southwest
EFF takes Austin for the annual South by Southwest festival. Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann will speak at the event titled "Legal Bootcamp for Mobile Developers." Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak at the event titled "Cryptowars Deja Vu: Controlling Exports of Tech." More talks to be announced soon.
March 8-17, 2013
15 Year Retrospective of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Hosted by Santa Clara Law's High Tech Law Institute, this conference will look at the past, present, and future of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Corynne McSherry, EFF's Intellectual Property Director, will speak.
March 15, 2013
Santa Clara, CA
CryptoPartySF II: Enciphered Boogaloo
CryptoParty is a worldwide series of ad hoc and decentralized events aimed at spreading information and know-how about privacy, security, and encryption tools. EFF Activist Parker Higgins is co-organizing this event, the second CryptoParty to come to San Francisco.
March 23, 2013
San Francisco, CA
Bitcoin 2013: the Future of Payments
The Bitcoin Foundation presents Bitcoin 2013: The Future of Payments. On May 18, EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman will speak on censorship by financial intermediaries.
May 17-19, 2013
San Jose, CA