In our 674th issue:
"There can be no faith in government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny - they should be setting the example of transparency." - Edward Snowden
It's Sunshine Week—an annual celebration of government transparency and access to public records. Government transparency is one of our core values, and EFF has been fighting in the courts for greater access to records about mass surveillance, drone flights in the United States, misconduct by intelligence agencies, government efforts to expand electronic surveillance, and much more.
To celebrate Sunshine Week this year, we're introducing The Foilies, our "awards" for the most outrageous responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. We solicited suggestions from our members and friends, and found some remarkable and absurd government excuses for keeping the public in the dark:
Round 1: Foiled by process
Round 2: Absurd responses from law enforcement agencies
Round 3: Ridiculous redactions and records errata
Round 4: Retaliations and consequences
EFF Outlines Plan to Fix the Broken Patent System
EFF released a new whitepaper outlining the problems with the U.S. patent system and how Congress and the White House can mitigate the impact of vague patents and patent trolls. The "Defend Innovation" whitepaper is the culmination of two-and-a-half years worth of research, drawing from the stories, expertise, and ideas of more than 16,500 people who agree that the current patent system is broken. Read our report.
Are Your Devices Hardwired for Betrayal?
Kaspersky Lab recently released a report demonstrating for the first time that firmware-based attacks have been used in the wild by malware authors. This should serve as a wake-up call to security professionals and the hardware industry in general: firmware-based attacks are real and their numbers will only increase. If we don't address this issue now, we risk facing disastrous consequences.
Blurred Lines Copyright Verdict is Bad News for Music
A federal jury in Los Angeles found that the 2013 song "Blurred Lines" was an infringement of Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" composition from 1977. Following the 7-million-dollar verdict, professional musicians are waking up to a fact that ordinary Internet users have long known: our overbearing copyright laws are a threat to creativity.
Will the U.S. Senate Allow Big Media to Hold Blind People for Ransom?
Congress should ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, which would help create global limitations to copyright that would improve accessibility for people who are blind or have other reading disabilities. But in an act of craven cynicism, the copyright lobby is trying to tie its passage to another agreement—the Beijing Treaty—which could fatten Hollywood profit margins by creating a new thicket of restrictions on audiovisual works.
Net Neutrality Order is a Win, with a Few Blemishes
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of net neutrality rules. As promised, the rules start by putting net neutrality on the right legal footing, which means they have a much stronger chance of surviving the inevitable legal challenge. There's much to appreciate, including bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of Internet traffic. Nonetheless, we remain concerned about certain elements—including the "general conduct" rule.
A Blimp to Protest TPP
Senator Ron Wyden has been getting an unexpected guest showing up outside his recent town hall meetings: a friendly blimp, flown by our friends at Fight for the Future. The blimp is flying high to urge the senator to continue his record of defending Internet rights by opposing attempts to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership.
CITIZENFOUR Wins Oscar for Best Documentary
CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras' riveting documentary following Edward Snowden's journey as he blew the whistle on mass surveillance by the NSA, won an Oscar for best documentary. The film is available on iTunes, HBO, and in some theaters.
ACLU and Wikimedia Sue Over NSA Internet Surveillance
A new ACLU lawsuit challenges dragnet NSA spying on behalf of Wikimedia and a broad coalition of educational, human rights, legal, and media organizations whose work depends on the privacy of their communications.
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: Rainey Reitman, Activism Director
EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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The Free Software Foundation's LibrePlanet is an annual conference for free software enthusiasts. LibrePlanet brings together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments and face challenges to software freedom.
March 21-22, 2015
Don't Spy On Us
Restore the Fourth, in collaboration with Pow Magazine, presents a first-of-its-kind musical event dedicated to the fight against government mass surveillance. EFF Activist Nadia Kayyali will speak on NSA spying and local surveillance.
March 22, 2015
Video Games, Modding, and the Law
Join EFF Director of Copyright Activism Parker Higgins and others for a conversation about the state of video game culture and current U.S. law as it concerns user-driven modifications to video games.
March 24, 2015
CSPRI's University Seminar on Electronic Surveillance and National Security
Join EFF Senior Staff Attorney and Adams Chair for Internet Rights Lee Tien, the ACLU's Chris Soghoian, and others in a debate about whether the government should engage in bulk collection of personal data for national security purposes.
March 25, 2015
Munich Satellite Navigation Summit
EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel will join the closing session of the Munich Satellite Navigation Summit on a panel about the role of GNSS and space sensors in "big data."
March 26, 2015
EFF at Emerald City ComiCon
EFF Activist Nadia Kayyali will join attorney Katie Lane, librarian and co-founder of Unshelved Gene Ambaum, and artist Pat Race of Alaska Robotics for a panel on "The Role of the Artist on the Electronic Frontier."
March 27-28, 2015
The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Hanni Fakhoury will be at the Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age Symposium organized by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Foundation for Criminal Justice, and American University Washington College of Law's Criminal Practitioner Journal.
April 3, 2015
Global Conference on Cyberspace
EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York will speak at the fourth Global Conference on Cyberspace. Representatives from governments, the private sector, and civil society will gather in order to promote practical cooperation in cyberspace, to enhance cyber capacity building, and to discuss norms for responsible behavior in cyberspace.
April 16-17, 2015