In our 660th issue:
A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of computer researcher Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, making it clear that even in the Internet age, the location of a criminal defendant remains an important constitutional limitation. Aurnheimer was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for exposing a massive flaw in AT&T's online infrastructure. Auernheimer's appeal team—made up of EFF, Professor Orin Kerr, Marcia Hofmann, and Tor Ekeland—argued that accessing a publicly available website does not constitute unauthorized access to a computer. They also argued that Auernheimer should not have been charged in New Jersey, a jurisdiction with no connection to
the defendants or the allegations. He has been released from prison following the court's decision.
We keep learning more disturbing details about the true extent of NSA's mission to spy on millions of innocent people, but Congress hasn't done anything about it—yet. Contact your members of Congress and tell them that you want to see an end to the NSA's mass surveillance now.
In Aereo, Supreme Court Rightly Skeptical About Becoming Technology Regulators
The Supreme Court expressed a healthy skepticism about its role in regulating new technologies in this week's oral argument in ABC v. Aereo, a case in which broadcasters are suing a company that has provided an innovative new way to watch TV.
EFF FOIA Litigation Reveals: FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in its NGI Face Recognition Database by Next Year
The FBI's massive "Next Generation Initiative" database, which contains biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans, will include 4.3 million images taken for non-criminal purposes among its 52 million photos.
Making Sure NSA Reform Survives the Gears of the DC Machine
After months of revelations about the NSA's rampant privacy and human rights abuses, there are still some hurdles for real change: legislation masquerading as reform that entrenches some of the NSA's worst practices, Obama's failure to produce actual legislative proposals, and powerful House Judiciary chair Rep. Bob Goodlatte. But these aren’t insurmountable for the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill which has the broadest support of any proposal to reform the surveillance state.
Australian Attorney General Picks Surveillance Over Fair Use on U.S. Visit
Despite recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission and hard evidence from copyright scholars that emphasized the benefits of meaningful fair use policies, Australia's Attorney General George Brandis used his recent trip to the United States to instead meet with enemies of fair use and NSA defenders.
EFF Asks Court To Allow Human Rights Case Against Cisco to Proceed
Cisco is being sued for its alleged role in creating highly tailored tools that allow the Chinese government to target and politically repress religious minority group Falun Gong. EFF filed a brief in the case, Doe v. Cisco Systems, in which we argued that the allegations that Cisco intentionally customized its tools to repress Falun Gong should be enough to allow the case to go forward.
LGBTQ Communities in the Arab World Face Unique Digital Threats
Members of the LGBTQ community in the Arab World use the Internet to connect with each other—often as their only choice—but they regularly face filtering, censoring, and covert online operations designed to entrap them. Fortunately, there are tools available to help them be safer online.
Answers and Questions About Military, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence Agency Chatbots
We used a Freedom of Information Act request to get information about the Army's creepy recruitment chatbot, Sgt. Star. What we learned about how the government uses artificial intelligence may prove to be a chilling preview of the future of intelligence gathering.
Internet freedom in Myanmar: A curse or an opportunity?
Myanmar has shifted from a heavily restricted Internet to free access, but this shift has also led to a burst of hate speech about the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group.
NSA Said to Exploit Heartbleed Bug for Intelligence for Years
Two anonymous individuals told Bloomberg that the NSA knew about the Heartbleed flaw and exploited it for years, although the Office of the Director of National Intelligence flatly denied such a claim was true.
The mentality of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI undergirds today's surveillance state
The FBI deserves far more scrutiny than it receives, not only because it makes NSA surveillance possible, but also because what the domestic intelligence agency does has a far greater impact on most Americans than the NSA.
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Editor: Nadia Kayyali, Activist
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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