In our 643rd issue:
Nineteen organizations including Unitarian church groups, gun ownership advocates, and a broad coalition of membership and political advocacy organizations recently filed suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) for violating their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records. The coalition is represented by EFF.
The U.S. House of Representatives came within a few votes of passing a novel amendment that attempted to strike out funding for the highly controversial NSA call-records surveillance program. Under this program, the NSA acquires the records of who you called, when you called, and how long you spoke, for all calls made within the United States—including international, long distance, and even local. While the amendment failed, many observers now think that NSA reform is more likely than ever.
Nominations are now open for EFF’s 22nd Annual Pioneer Awards, to be presented on September 19th in San Francisco. EFF established the Pioneer Awards in 1992 to recognize leaders on the electronic frontier who are extending freedom and innovation in the realm of information technology. Nominations will be open until Thursday, August 1st. Nominate the next Pioneer Award winner today!
State AGs Ask Congress to Gut Critical CDA 230 Online Speech Protections
Forty-seven state attorneys general asked Congress to severely undermine the most important law protecting free speech on the Internet. In a letter to congressional leaders, the AGs asked Congress to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act--which protects online service providers from liability for the vast majority of what their users do--to carve out all state criminal laws from the statute's protection. This should be disturbing to anyone who values free speech on the Internet.
Congress and the Justice Dept's Dangerous Attempts to Define "Journalist" Threaten to Exclude Bloggers
Congress will soon start debating federal shield bills that arguably would exclude bloggers, freelancers, and other non-salaried journalists from protection because they are not included within the bills' narrow definition of who qualifies as a journalist. If these bills pass without change, Congress effectively will create two tiers of journalists: the institutional press licensed by the government, and everyone else.
Barrett Brown Prosecution Threatens Right to Link, Could Criminalize Routine Journalism Practices
Twitter was abuzz recently when an unknown person published what was alleged to be a group of passwords for the email accounts of congressional staffers, which multiple journalists commented on while linking to it. Barrett Brown is currently under indictment, in part, for remarkably similar behavior and his case has dire consequences for press freedom.
Summer of Transparency: The Public’s Right to Know Prevails in Two Courts and the California Legislature
Open-government advocates have much to celebrate this summer, particularly in California, where three EFF-involved efforts have resulted in conclusive victories for the public's right to know what their government is up to.
Let’s Create an Alternative Copyright Agenda By and For the Users
Negotiations over the TPP have excluded public participation from the entire process, while allowing Big Content interests to see and direct the terms of this trade agreement. Help us crowdsource alternative copyright proposals and we'll take this feedback to policymakers to make sure they listen to the Internet community's demands.
Victory for Fair Use and Consumer Choice: Ninth Circuit Rejects Networks’ Appeal in Fox v. Dish.
In a crucial ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that a major TV network can't use copyright to limit consumer choice, ruling that ad-skipping and time-shifting don't violate Fox News' copyright.
EFF to Court: Forced Decryption Unconstitutional
You shouldn't have to surrender your constitutional rights in order to safeguard your electronic privacy. In a new amicus brief, we told a federal court in Wisconsin that ordering a man to decrypt the contents of computers seized from his apartment would violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
New York Times: Spy Agencies Under Heaviest Scrutiny Since Abuse Scandal of the '70s
American intelligence agencies, after a boom in financing and public support in the decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, are facing the highest levels of public scrutiny since the 1970s.
New York Times: Momentum Builds Against N.S.A. Surveillance
NSA reform, which began on the political fringes only a week ago, has built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable, drawing support from Republican and Democratic leaders.
The Atlantic: Mission Creep -- When Everything Is Terrorism
Bruce Schneier argues against the expanding scope of the NSA, noting that even if we believe claims that its tools are fighting terrorism, ubiquitous surveillance is an invitation for abuse.
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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist
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