In our 644th issue:
President Obama held a press conference to address the growing public concern over the National Security Agency's surveillance practices. While we're glad Obama responded to the public's concerns with commitments to transparency and reform, as well as a whitepaper on the administration's legal interpretation of the relevant PATRIOT Act provisions, we take Obama's promises with a healthy dose of skepticism.
We have a new contribution to the fight against patent trolls: Trolling Effects, a resource to empower would-be victims of patent trolls through a crowdsourced database of patent demand letters and a clearinghouse for information on the troll epidemic. The site allows demand letter recipients to post the documents online, find letters received by others, and research who is really behind such threats. The site also features comprehensive guides to the patent system and a blueprint for patent reform.
A New Jersey federal district court judge has granted motions for a preliminary injunction, blocking the enforcement of a dangerous state law that would put online service providers at risk by -- among other things -- creating liability based on "indirect" publication of content by speech platforms.
A Guide to the Deceptions, Misinformation, and Word Games Officials Use to Mislead the Public About NSA Surveillance
It's very hard to have a real debate about mass surveillance when the Obama Administration constantly and intentionally misleads Americans about the NSA's capabilities and supposed legal powers. At this point, it seems nothing the government says about the NSA can be taken at face value.
Obama Administration Releases Previously Secret Legal Opinion on NSA's Associational Tracking Program
The Obama Administration released a whitepaper that summarized its claimed legal basis for the bulk collection of telephony metadata, also known as the Associational Tracking Program under section 215 of the Patriot Act. The paper makes one central point clear: There is no direct authorization for the Associational Tracking Program in section Patriot Act section 215.
Stop Congress From Taking the Fast Track to One-Sided Copyright Laws
Fast Track, also called Trade Promotion Authority, is a process that hands away Congress' constitutional power to set the terms of U.S. trade policy, and gives the executive branch concentrated authority to negotiate and finalize trade agreements. This gives more power to corporate interests while cutting the public out.
Global Coalition States Principles to Protect Human Rights from Surveillance
For some time now there has been a need to update understandings of existing human rights law to reflect modern surveillance technologies and techniques. To move toward that goal, we're pleased to announce the launch of the International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance.
MIT in Aaron Swartz Case: Not Neutral, Not Leading, Not Standing Up for Technologists
MIT's independent report on the prosecution of Aaron Swartz was recently released, and we are deeply disappointed. Instead of looking critically at what MIT did and criticizing it where warranted, the report simply recites the same old excuses some members of the MIT community have been giving for the university's failure to act.
The Bradley Manning Verdict and the Dangerous "Hacker Madness" Prosecution Strategy
The Bradley Manning decision continues a trend of government prosecutions that use familiarity with digital tools and knowledge of computers as a scare tactic and a basis for obtaining grossly disproportionate and unfair punishments.
Tor Browser Attacked, Users Should Update Software Immediately
An attack against Tor Browser users on Windows machines was recently discovered, and there is speculation that the malware was used by a law enforcement agency to harvest the IP addresses of users of several hidden services using Freedom Hosting.
DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations
A startling new Reuters story shows one of the biggest dangers of the surveillance state: the unquenchable thirst for access to the NSA's trove of information by other agencies, including the DEA and IRS.
Google Fiber Continues Awful ISP Tradition of Banning "Servers"
Having spent many years fighting to stop Internet Service Providers from discriminating between different types of Internet traffic, Google is now perpetuating a long-standing form of that discrimination with Google Fiber, its own ISP, by adopting a terrible Terms of Service clause that bans the use of "servers."
Email Host Lavabit Shuts Down
"I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit."
Techdirt: Jennifer Hoelzer's Insider's View Of The Administration's Response To NSA Surveillance Leaks
Former deputy chief of staff for Sen. Ron Wyden gives her very insightful perspective on the Obama administration's response to mass surveillance leaks and reform.
New York Times: N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S.
The New York Times breaks an important story about the NSA's searching through the content of Americans' emails and text communications.
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Editor: Adi Kamdar, Activist
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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