In our 598th issue:
If there's one thing that encapsulates what's wrong with the way government functions today, ACTA is it. You wouldn't know it from the name, but the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an agreement designed to broaden and extend existing intellectual property enforcement laws to the Internet. Both in substance and in process, ACTA embodies an outdated top-down, arbitrary approach to government that is out of step with modern notions of participatory democracy.
This month's historic protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) made clear just what the tech community and Internet users are capable of accomplishing when they act together. We keep hearing people ask: What's next? And where do we go from here? Our answers: We don't need legislation. And let's keep moving innovation forward.
Twitter announced in a blog post that it was launching a system that would allow the company to take down content on a country-by-country basis, as opposed to taking it down across the Twitter system. The Internet immediately exploded with allegations of censorship, conspiracy theories about Twitter's Saudi investors and automated content filtering, and calls for a January 28 protest. One thing is clear: there is widespread confusion over Twitter's new policy and what its implications are for freedom of expression all over the world.
On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama issued his now infamous memo on transparency and open government, which was supposed to fulfill his campaign promise to lead the "most transparent administration in history." In his first three years in office, his administration has instead been just as secretive -- if not more so -- than his predecessors', and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has become the prime example of his administration's lack of progress.
Supreme Court Gets It Wrong in Golan v. Holder, Public Domain Mourns
Ignoring the pleas of musicians, composers, libraries, archives and public interest groups, the Supreme Court declared that Congress did not violate the Constitution when it yanked millions of foreign works out of the public domain.
No More Back Room Deals -- Users Must Have a Voice in Governing the Internet
As we discuss the future of the Internet, all stakeholders -- including the people who use Internet services and consume, create, and share movies and music -- must have a seat at the table. The Internet is too important to be debated, dissected, and possibly disabled in a private meeting.
Dutch Courts Join Pirate Bay Blocking Bandwagon
At the urging of the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, the Court of The Hague ordered two ISPs to block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The two ISPs -- Ziggo, the largest cable operator in the Netherlands, and XS4ALL, known for its vocal free-speech advocacy -- have until February 1 to block access to a list of URLs and IP addresses specified in the court order.
Fighting Data Retention Mandates Around the World
It has been six years since the highly controversial Data Retention Directive (DRD) was adopted in the European Union. Europeans have widely criticized the DRD, and year after year, it has inspired some of the largest-ever street protests against excessive surveillance.
Interview with Malte Spitz, German Politician and Privacy Advocate
We interviewed Malte Spitz, a German politician and privacy advocate. Malte is well-known for using German privacy law -- which, like the law of many European countries, gives individuals a right to see what private companies know about them -- to force his cell phone carrier to reveal what it knew about him.
Top Concerns of Activists and Data Protection Authorities
As part of International Privacy Day, EFF asked data protection authorities, politicians, and activists about privacy related issues and concerns for 2012. All of the responses focused on government surveillance or data protection laws.
The Right to Anonymity is a Matter of Privacy
Throughout history, there have been a number of reasons why individuals have taken to writing or producing art under a pseudonym. In light of International Privacy Day, we focus on the ways in which the right to anonymity -- or pseudonymity -- is truly a matter of privacy.
Department of Justice Misdirection on Cloud Computing and Privacy
Does using cloud computing services based in the United States create a risk of US law enforcement access to people's data? The US Department of Justice (DOJ) seems to be trying to placate international concern by saying one thing in international fora; but it says something quite different in the US courts.
DOJ Wants to Know Who's Rejecting Your Friend Requests
In the latest turn in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records related to the government's use of social networking websites, the Department of Justice finally agreed to release almost 100 pages of new records. These include draft search warrants and affidavits for Facebook and MySpace, as well as several PowerPoint presentations and articles on how to use social networking sites for investigations.
Google+ and Pseudonyms: A Step in the Right Direction, Not the End of the Road
Nearly four months after first announcing it would support pseudonyms, Google rolled out changes to the account creation process for Google+. The changes will allow users the option of choosing a nickname/alternate name to display in his or her Google+ profile, or choosing a pseudonym which is not linked to a real name.
Internet Censorship From Around the Globe
This week's "On the Media" from NPR describes our Global Chokepoints project and harsh copyright enforcement regimes worldwide.
Uncensored: A Charitable Project to Support The Open Internet
In the new ebook "Uncensored", Internet innovators discuss free speech online after SOPA and PIPA. Proceeds from the ebook will be donated to EFF.
Musician Jonathan Coulton on MegaUpload
Musician Jonathan Coulton, who's made a living distributing music on the Internet, delivers some strong words about the FBI takedown of MegaUpload.
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