In our 670th issue:
We're thrilled to announce the relaunch of Surveillance Self-Defense, our guide to defending yourself and your friends from digital surveillance by using encryption tools and developing appropriate privacy and security practices. These resources are intended to inspire better-informed conversations and decision-making about digital security and privacy. The site is available today in English, Arabic, and Spanish, with more languages coming soon.
How can the US government possibly claim that its collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans is legal? It relies mainly on two arguments: first, that no one can have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their metadata and second, that the outcome is controlled by the so-called "third party doctrine," which says that no one has an expectation of privacy in information they convey to a third party, such as telephone numbers dialed. EFF will respond to both of these arguments in oral argument in the NSA spying case Klayman v. Obama on November 4.
EFF has filed six exemption requests with the U.S. Copyright Office today, part of the elaborate, every-three-year process to right the wrongs put in place by the Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. We're seeking to renew and expand previously granted exemptions on jailbreaking devices and ripping video for remixes, and pursuing new exemptions on repairing, modifying, and conducting security research on cars, as well as modifying video games to be playable after they've been abandoned by their publisher.
Verizon Injecting Perma-Cookies to Track Mobile Customers, Bypassing Privacy Controls
Verizon users might want to start looking for another provider. In an effort to better serve advertisers, Verizon Wireless has been silently modifying its users' web traffic on its network to inject a cookie-like tracker. This tracker, included in an HTTP header called X-UIDH, is sent to every unencrypted website a Verizon customer visits from a mobile device. It allows third-party advertisers and websites to assemble a deep, permanent profile of visitors' web browsing habits without their consent.
Peekaboo, I See You: Government Authority Intended for Terrorism is Used for Other Purposes
The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Law enforcement was adamant Section 213, defining a procedure known as a "sneak and peek" warrant, was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of "sneak and peek" warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 requests, only 51 were used for terrorism.
The 90s and Now: FBI and its Inability to Cope with Encryption
Recently, FBI Director James B. Comey, along with several government officials, have issued many public statements regarding their inability to catch criminals due to Apple and Google offering default encryption to their consumers. But we certainly felt a bit of deja vu when we saw current FBI Director Comey’s statements, since they sound eerily like the sentiments expressed by then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 1997.
Dear Rupert Murdoch: Want to Compete with Netflix? Ditch DRM!
Rupert Murdoch, chair of 21st Century Fox, argued recently that major media companies should develop their own video streaming service that could compete with Netflix and Amazon. Given that other streaming services are having a tough time competing (Verizon's foray into video streaming, Redbox Instant, is shutting down), his worries are well-founded. Fortunately, there's one move media companies could could make that would set apart any new video streaming service they develop: they could ditch the DRM.
October’s Very Bad, No Good, Totally Stupid Patent of the Month: Filming A Yoga Class
EFF recently learned about a patent that covered a method of filming a yoga class. We reviewed the patent and discovered that it was just as ridiculous as it sounded. Despite our familiarity with absurd patents and our concerns about cursory review at the Patent and Trademark Office, we were still surprised that this one issued. But there's a silver lining to this story: the yoga community affected by this stupid patent wasn't willing to give in.
New Documentary CITIZENFOUR Highlights Snowden's Motivation for Leaking NSA Documents
Laura Poitras' riveting new documentary about mass surveillance gives an intimate look into the motivations that guided Edward Snowden, who sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose mass surveillance by the NSA. CITIZENFOUR has many scenes that explore the depths of government surveillance gone awry and the high-tension unfolding of Snowden's rendezvous with journalists in Hong Kong. But one of the most powerful scenes in the film comes when Snowden discusses his motivation for the disclosures and points to his fundamental belief in the power and promise of the Internet.
Open Access Week 2014 Wrap Up: Posts, Pictures, and Parties
EFF proudly participated in the eighth annual Open Access Week, a celebration of making scholarly research immediately and freely available for people around the world to read, cite, and re-use. One theme that seemed to run across all blog posts was that open access doesn't exist in a vacuum: there are laws, policies, and happenings in the world that immensely affect our access to research.
UK "Free Our History" Copyright Reform Campaign
Museums, libraries, and archives are showing empty display cases to protest copyright terms that lock up until 2039 unpublished works dating back centuries.
Australia: Stop The Spies
The Australian government has proposed a data retention law that could be devastating to personal privacy. Learn more about the proposal, how it could be abused, and what people can do to fight back.
Hacker Lexicon: Homomorphic Encryption
In Wired, Andy Greenberg explains what homomorphic encryption is, and how it could revolutionize the way cloud computing services are able to protect user privacy.
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Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist
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