In our 672nd issue:
It has been a momentous year in the fight for digital civil liberties. From major developments in our work to end illegal mass surveillance by the NSA, to critical moments that could define the future of net neutrality, to rumblings of new legal structures around copyright and patent law, and much more: 2014 was busy, and 2015 promises to be even busier.
With such a big year behind us, it's important to take a look back at all that EFF and our members have accomplished--in the courtroom, through activism campaigns, and with cutting-edge security technology. Join us in reviewing the milestones from the past year below, and in looking forward to the critical moments ahead.
In Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack, Let's Not Sacrifice Even More Rights
EFF is stunned and deeply saddened by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper. As free speech advocates, we mourn the use of violence against individuals who used creativity and free expression to engage in cultural and political criticism. Murder is the ultimate form of censorship.
State Courts Strike Blows to Criminal DNA Collection Laws in 2014--What to Look for in 2015
After years of bad DNA law, 2014 laid the groundwork for better, more privacy-protecting procedures. In the wake of Maryland v. King--the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case upholding warrantless, suspicionless DNA collection from arrestees under Maryland state law--the constitutionality of DNA collection in the criminal context has continued to present challenging issues for courts.
Ford Tries to Shut Down Independent Repair Tool with Copyright
The Ford Motor Company has recently sued a manufacturer of third-party diagnostics for creating a tool that includes a list of Ford car parts and their specifications. Ford claims that it owns a copyright on this list of parts, the "FFData file," and thus can keep competitors from including it in their diagnostic tools. It also claims that the company violated the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by writing a program to defeat the "encryption technology and obfuscation" that Ford used to make the file difficult to read.
It's Not Too Late for Uber to Avoid Stupid Patent of the Month
As our devoted readers are aware, each month we highlight a Stupid Patent. This time, in the holiday spirit, we decided to highlight a Stupid Patent application. You see, we recently learned that Uber has filed for a patent on something so basic, so fundamental to our economic system, that it should be called out now before it becomes too late for both Uber and the public.
Supported by Members
Our members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.
Please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Editor: Parker Higgins, Activist
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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Download the EFF Mobile App
Dear smartphone users: great news. We're launching our first-ever EFF mobile app. This app will tell you when there are breaking issues related to digital rights that need your help. You'll get a quick notification and be able to one-click connect to the EFF action center to speak out and help us fight for freedom online.
Sadly, though, we have to leave out the iPhone users. We simply could not agree to the outrageous terms of the Apple Developer Agreement required to get into the iOS App Store.
Copyright Week 2015
We're taking part in the second annual week of action to fix copyright. Once again, we'll lay out a set of simple principles for how copyright can work for all of us–join us!
January 20-23, 2015
Litigating Digital Searches After Riley v. California
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will discuss constitutional challenges to electronic searches and seizures following the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in Riley v. California at the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice annual Winter Seminar.
January 9, 2015
EFF at ShmooCon 2015
Stop by the EFF booth at ShmooCon to say hello and learn about the latest developments in defending digital freedom for all. You can even pick up a special gift as a token of our thanks when you take advantage of our membership specials or donate. On Saturday at 5 PM, be sure to catch EFF's Deputy General Counsel Kurt Opsahl and Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo at the Bring it On Track for an Ask the EFF panel.
January 16-18, 2015
U.S. Surveillance Technology & the Law: Past and Future
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will be the keynote speaker at the 8th National Symposium in Tech Crime and Electronic Evidence, held at the University of Calgary in Canada, discussing U.S. legal trends concerning surveillance.
January 23, 2015