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IFAction Round-Up, February 11–17, 2013

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from February 11 –February 17, 2013.

Privacy and Cybersecurity

In a Major Privacy Victory, Seattle Mayor Orders Police to Dismantle Its Drone Program After Protests [EFF]

Cyberattacks reanimate CISPA, spark move by Obama — reports

 

Censorship and Free Speech

Egyptians Condemn Court Order Blocking YouTube In Egypt For 30 Days

Azerbaijani [Akram Aylisli “Stone Dreams”] author stripped of title, pension for novel showing sympathy to Armenians

States mull violence studies, even sin tax on games

Parents pushing for book ban in Danbury Local Schools [Fallen Angels; Toledo, OH]

Librarians Rally Behind Blogger Sued by Publisher Over Critical Comments

North Dakota State U. Gives Go-Ahead to Controversial Sex-Education Program

 

Access

FCC Chairman Says “Libraries Are More Important Than Ever”

Reading e-books easier than printed versions for older people

New Open Access Project for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Amazon Has a Patent ...

Tennessee Legislators Introduce New Bill to Combat ‘All-Comers’ Policies

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Tennessee State LegislatureLast May, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam vetoed a bill that would have prohibited public institutions of higher education located in Tennessee from maintaining "all-comers" policies, while stripping state funding from large private universities that chose to do so (such as Vanderbilt University). These controversial policies prohibit student organizations, most notably religious and political groups, from making belief-based decisions about leadership and membership. (For more background on Vanderbilt and on all-comers policies, check out this column my colleague Robert Shibley published last year.) 

Earlier this month, new bills (SB 0802 and HB 0534) were introduced in the Tennessee Legislature to revisit this important issue. The bills, which contain identical text, read in relevant part:  

(a) No state higher education institution that grants recognition to any student organization shall discriminate against or deny recognition to a student organization, or deny to a student organization access to programs, funding, or facilities otherwise available to another student organization, on the basis of: 

(1) The religious content of the organization's speech including, but not limited to, worship; or 

(2) The organization's exercise of its rights pursuant to subsection (b). 

(b) A religious student organization may determine that the organization's religious mission requires ...

FIRE’s Robert Shibley On Air with Vicki McKenna This Evening

Monday, February 18th, 2013

FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley will discuss the recent decision in Barnes v. Zaccari on air with Vicki McKenna this evening from 5:35 to 5:48 p.m. EST. Tune in to hear Robert on WISN in Milwaukee and WIBA in Madison, or listen live online.

Industry Experts to Congress: We Can Remove Personally Identifiable Information Before Reporting Cybersecurity Threats

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Companies say redacting personally identifiable information of users is possible, but it wouldn’t be required under CISPA.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on CISPA, the newly introduced “cybersecurity” legislation that would allow companies to pass sensitive user data directly to the government without a judge’s oversight. No members of the civil liberties community were invited to testify. But while Internet freedom advocates were barred from voicing our concerns at the hearing, there was one important fact brought to light during the testimony of industry representatives: experts from the financial industry and the business roundtable confirmed that it’s possible for them to remove data that identifies users from cybersecurity data before sharing it with the government.

EFF and other civil liberties groups have long said that a smart cybersecurity bill wouldn’t give companies blanket permission to share any and all data with the government. At the hearing, experts from fields of business and finance went on record to agree with us that this is possible: companies are able to strip out personally identifiable information of users.

In the hearing, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) questioned former Governor John Engler, President of the Business Roundtable, ...

FIRE in the Wall Street Journal: ‘Campus Clampdowns on Free Speech Flunk Their Legal Tests’

Saturday, February 16th, 2013
WSJ LogoFIRE President Greg Lukianoff took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal this weekend with an op-ed titled "Campus Clampdowns on Free Speech Flunk Their Legal Tests." Greg writes about the recent decision by a federal jury in Georgia to hold a former college president personally liable for $50,000 for violating the Constitutional rights of student Hayden Barnes, and discusses how, thanks to legal factors and five years of work by FIRE, this case may help end the decades-long scandal of speech codes on our nation's college campuses.

California Sheriff Faces Loud Privacy Protests Against Drone Plans

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Yesterday the Alameda County Sheriff's Office presented a proposal for the purchase of a drone in a public hearing with the Board of Supervisors Public Protection Committee in Oakland, California. EFF joined the ACLU of Northern California and several other public interest groups in testifying against a drone purchase until the Sheriff's Office adopts a substantive, binding privacy policy—with no loopholes—that protects citizens from undue surveillance.

A sample of the drone model the Sheriff hopes to purchase.A sample of the drone model the Sheriff hopes to purchase.

The hearing comes after a number of inauspicious false starts for an Alameda County drone program. In October, documents obtained in the EFF/Muckrock 2012 Drone Census revealed a significant discrepancy between the Office's proposal to the County Supervisors and its request to another agency for funding. In particular, while the Sheriff's Office had told the County that it intended to use the drone only for emergency purposes, its funding request named surveillance on "suspicious persons," "large crowd control disturbances," and counter-terrorism applications.

When that discrepancy came to light, the Sheriff agreed to revisit his proposal, this time seeking input from the ACLU and other organizations to write a policy governing drone use. But while the public interest groups provided feedback, the final proposal ...

New Bill Helps Expand Public Access to Scientific Knowledge

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Internet users around the world got a Valentine's Day present yesterday in the form of new legislation that requires U.S. government agencies to improve public access to federally funded research.

The proposed mandate, called the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act, or FASTR (PDF), is simple. Agencies like the National Science Foundation, which invests millions of taxpayer dollars in scientific research every year, must design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to—and robust reuse of—the results of that investment. The contours of the plans are equally simple: researchers who receive funding from most federal agencies must submit a copy of any resulting journal articles to the funding agency, which will then make that research freely available to the world within six months.

Compare that to the traditional system, which gives journal publishers substantial control over access to academic work, even though they don't pay a dime in exchange to the authors who do the research, the peer-reviewers who vet the research, or the institutions that help make it possible. Those publishers will doubtless oppose the bill, but it is their own decision to continually raise the bar to access that is driving support for ...

‘Georgetown Law Journal’ Writer Proposes Stiff Penalties for Flouting FERPA

Friday, February 15th, 2013

The Georgetown Law Journal Logo

In The Georgetown Law Journal, Georgetown University Law Center student Rob Silverblatt makes a worthwhile contribution to the steadily-growing body of literature critical of the widespread abuse of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by America's colleges. Though FERPA was enacted in 1974 for the purpose of protecting the educational records of students (such as their grades) from exposure to the general public, universities today routinely—and wrongly—use FERPA to block the release of public records they are obligated to provide at the public's request.

Among the main points of Silverblatt's note, titled "Hiding Behind Ivory Towers: Penalizing Schools That Improperly Invoke Student Privacy to Suppress Open Records Requests," is that universities have few incentives to properly comply with FERPA, because the consequences for failing to do so are minor. Litigation over what FERPA does and does not cover is relatively rare, and when universities are sued, they are easily able to absorb the associated costs while bringing themselves into full compliance with FERPA. As Silverblatt notes, "these incentives often result in schools staking out extreme positions rather than paying close attention to compliance."

Silverblatt suggests that Congress make universities face real financial consequences ...

EFF Welcomes New Member of Board of Directors: Brian Behlendorf

Friday, February 15th, 2013

EFF is extraordinarily pleased to officially announce a new addition to our Board of Directors: entrepreneur and technologist Brian Behlendorf.  

We have long been a fan of Brian and his tireless work in the open source community – ranging from software development in the early days of the Web to open source advocacy at the highest levels of government.  

As the Web was in the midst of its first big growth spurt, Brian co-founded the Apache Group (later the Apache Software Foundation), helping to build and give away the popular Apache HTTP Server.  He also launched CollabNet, which brought the principles and tools used by the open source software community to large enterprises.

After eight years as Chief Technology Officer of CollabNet, Brian brought his expertise to the political realm, working as a technology advisor on the 2008 Obama campaign and then working at the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, where he developed strategies for open access to data and APIs.   Brian also advised the Department of Health and Human Services on the launch of two open source software projects designed to accelerate the adoption of standards for the exchange ...

Obama Calls for Patent Reform to Topple Trolls

Friday, February 15th, 2013

In a welcome turn of events, President Barack Obama spoke directly to the patent troll problem and the need for more comprehensive patent reform yesterday in a "Fireside Hangout" — a live question and answer session hosted in a Google+ hangout. The President was responding to a question by the prominent electrical engineer and entrepreneur Limor "Ladyada" Fried, who in 2009 won an EFF Pioneer Award for her work with free software and open-source hardware.

Obama acknowledged that the much-touted patent reforms that came in his first term "only went about halfway to where we need to go." Specifically, he describes patent trolls as "a classic example," of the problem, and that "they don't actually produce anything themselves." Obama's statement yesterday is another encouraging reminder that these issues are becoming more and more mainstream, and that meaningful reform is not just an idealistic dream of a small niche group, but rather a necessary step to address a large and growing problem.

We think software patents are a mess that have borne a dangerous troll problem. To that end, we've proposed some reforms at Defend Innovation. The seven proposals we list there are open for public comment and sign-on, and ...

Attention Students! FIRE Workshop in D.C. This Saturday

Friday, February 15th, 2013

FIRE will be hosting a breakout session titled “Free Speech on Your Campus: Real Students, Real Solutions” at the International Students For Liberty Conference this Saturday in Washington, D.C. The session, led by FIRE staffers, will teach students how to fight back when colleges and universities infringe upon their free speech rights. It will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington on Saturday, February 16, at 5:15 p.m. in the Farragut Square Room.

 If you’re headed to the conference, please stop by for this eye-opening presentation!

Jury Finds Former College President Personally Liable for $50,000 in Victory for Student Rights

Friday, February 15th, 2013

ATLANTA, February 1, 2013-A federal jury today found former Valdosta State University (VSU) President Ronald M. Zaccari personally liable for $50,000 for violating the due process rights of former student Hayden Barnes in the case of Barnes v. Zaccari. In May 2007, Zaccari expelled Barnes for peacefully protesting Zaccari's plan to construct two parking garages on campus, calling a collage posted by Barnes on his personal Facebook page a "threatening document" and labeling Barnes a "clear and present danger" to VSU. Barnes first came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help in October 2007.

"College administrators have been blatantly and willfully violating student rights for decades, but they have far too often dodged personal responsibility. Not so today," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. "We hope this serves as a much-needed wake up call to college administrators that it's time to start paying close attention to the basic rights of their students."

"After five years, I finally feel vindicated. This is a victory for me but it's also a victory for students everywhere," said Barnes. "I hope that other college administrators take heed and see that violating students' rights can be costly and that they will be ...

Don’t Be Fooled: "Six Strikes" Will Undoubtedly Harm Open Wireless

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

In a recent blog post, Jill Lesser, Executive Director of the Center for Copyright Information, responded to widespread concerns that the copyright surveillance machine known as the Copyright Alert System—or "Six Strikes"—would cripple libraries and cafes that provided open wireless networks. The title of said post: "CAS Will Not Harm Public Wi-Fi."

We disagree. 

One key and enduring problem is the CCI's blinkered view of open wireless. Lesser protests that the "vast majority of businesses, including those like Starbucks that provide legitimate open Wi-Fi connections, will have an Internet connection that is tailored to a business operation." Well, maybe. As of now, few large Internet service providers (ISPs) allow for open wireless through their corporate Internet plans—and even then, it usually requires a special agreement between the business and the ISP.

In any event, the notion that some "legitimate open Wi-Fi connections" are protected provides little comfort. Open wireless can—and should—mean much, much more than services provided by deep-pocketed businesses like Starbucks negotiating special deals with giant ISPs. As the Open Wireless Movement aims to explain, the benefits of open wireless should be available in all spaces—commercial, residential, and public. Having ubiquitous access to the Internet through shared connections ...

Vassar College Chooses to Combat Unwanted Speech with More Speech, Not Censorship

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Vassar CollegeLike so many First Amendment defenders before us, FIRE regularly calls upon college students, faculty, and administrators to combat speech they don't like with more speech, as opposed to censoring unpopular speakers. Unfortunately, as our case archives demonstrate, that approach is too seldom followed. That's why when students, faculty, or administrators buck the trend, we like to call attention to it. 

Responding to the Westboro Baptist Church's (WBC's) announced plan to hold a protest at Vassar College, Vassar's acting president, Jon Chenette, sent a campus-wide letter inviting the campus community to respond to WBC's activity in a manner that would "celebrate the inclusiveness of our community and the multitude of backgrounds, interests, and preferences that enrich our experiences." 

Today, Inside Higher Ed reported on the campus response to Chenette's call, noting that:

Some students and alumni created an online fund-raiser for the Trevor Project, which provides counseling for young gay people who may be facing crises or thinking of suicide. The initial goal was to raise $4,500 -- or $100 for each minute that Westboro plans to be at Vassar. So far, contributions have topped $47,000.

By responding to WBC with speech and fundraising as opposed to censorship, ...

Talking Software Patents with the Patent Office: A Sign of Reform to Come?

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

There is much wrong with software patents. But one of their worst side effects has to be the advent of the patent troll: one who makes nothing, sells nothing, and capitalizes on legal loopholes to extort money in the guise of “licenses,” oftentimes from parties who don’t even arguably infringe the patent at issue. Lately, patent trolls have behaving even worse than usual, targeting downstream users, consumers, and others who lack the resources to fight back.

So it’s no wonder that people are starting to pay attention: first, the Federal Circuit agreed to rehear a case on the scope of what is and what isn’t patentable. Second, Representatives DeFazio and Chaffetz introduced the SHIELD Act, proposed legislation that would make the patent troll business model less attractive. And these come on top of promising self-help remedies, such as Twitter’s Innovator’s Patent Agreement and the Defensive Patent License, that third parties are taking upon themselves.

Now the Patent Office is joining the crowd, holding two roundtables to talk about some of the worst problems with software patents. The first occurred this week at Stanford University, where representatives from the Patent Office, professors, lawyers, engineers, and members of ...

CISPA, the Privacy-Invading Cybersecurity Spying Bill, is Back in Congress

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

It's official: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives yesterday. CISPA is the contentious bill civil liberties advocates fought last year, which would provide a poorly-defined "cybersecurity" exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies (including the private communications of users) in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA).

EFF is adamantly opposed to CISPA. Will you join us in calling on Congress to stop this and any other privacy-invasive cybersecurity legislation?

As others have noted, “CISPA is deeply flawed. Under a broad cybersecurity umbrella, it permits companies to share user communications directly with the super secret NSA and permits the NSA to use that information for non-cybersecurity reasons. This risks turning the cybersecurity program into a back door intelligence surveillance program run by a military entity with little transparency or public accountability.”  

Last year, CISPA passed the House with a few handful of amendments that tried to fix some of its vague language. But the amendments didn't address ...

ACRL members: Friday deadline to volunteer for committees

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Members of the Association of College & Research Libraries have until this Friday, February 15 to volunteer for ACRL committees.  OIF and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee particularly encourage those who are interested to volunteer for the Ethics Committee and the Intellectual Freedom Committee.

To put your name forward as a potential appointee for these committees, fill out the online form on the ACRL site.

ACRL is in the process of re-evaluating the charges of the two committees, including the possibility of combining them (this was one of the recommendations of the ACRL Task Force on Structure of Core Organization Values which was charged to suggest how ACRL might best accomplish its aims in this area).  If you wish to formally express your interest in serving ACRL on issues of intellectual freedom and ethics, volunteering for BOTH the IFC and Ethics committees on the current volunteer forms is recommended at this time.

For more information, please refer to Volunteer & Appointment Process and Member Service on ACRL Committees.

Researcher Proves Wertham Fabricated Evidence Against Comics

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Seduction of the InnocentIf you’ve been reading the CBLDF blog for a while, you are undoubtedly familiar with Frederic Wertham, the child psychologist whose 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent claimed that comics transformed innocent children into depraved juvenile delinquents, making Wertham almost single-handedly responsible for decades of comics censorship. Although it is already fairly obvious to most modern-day readers that Wertham’s conclusions were laughable and completely groundless, new research proves that even the “supporting evidence” in the book was largely fabricated. Carol Tilley, a University of Illinois professor of Library Science, compared Wertham’s notes to the final published version of Seduction and found that “the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general ‘played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics.’”

Tilley says Seduction of the Innocent lacks citations or a bibliography, making it difficult for casual readers to verify Wertham’s data. As one of the first researchers to access Wertham’s personal papers after they were made available by the Library of Congress in 2010, Tilley came across quotations from children — patients of Wertham and his colleagues — that she recognized from Seduction. However, in many cases the quotes differed ...

FTRF Conable Conference Scholarship applications now open

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Applications for the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship are now open.  Check out the press release and please forward the information to any LIS students and recent graduates you know who have a passion for intellectual freedom and an interest in attending the ALA Annual Conference with all expenses paid.

Questions? Contact Jonathan Kelley at jokelley@ala.org or (312) 280-4226.

It’s Your Big Day, Judy Blume! Happy Birthday, Love Your Biggest Fans

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Chris and Judy at NCAC's annual benefit 2009.

Chris and Judy at NCAC’s annual benefit 2009.

Happy Birthday Judy,

Don’t worry, your fifties will be every bit as good as your forties were. I swear, you are timeless. You have been such a warrior in the fight against censorship, and a mentor simply by your existence and peerless storytelling style. Thank you and may you have many, many more happy birthdays. Chris Crutcher

Lois LowryPersonally, I am in favor of Censorship…of Birthdays.

But I hope yours is a happy one!
Lois Lowry

scieszka_oliver_blume

Happy Hugging Birthday, Judy
Jon Scieszka

judyWilliamsGarciaRita ap1 cDear Judy,

Thank you for writing those wonderfully uncomfortable and much needed words for children, teens and writers. From those who read you under the covers with a flashlight, to those who read you out in the open, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JUDY!
xo Rita Williams-Garcia

Happy Birthday, dear Judy. Carolyn and Judy

To me, you are completely sixteen. And so am I! But somehow, even though we are sixteen, we are still able to meet for classy lunches in NYC and share all our stories and life experiences and parenting tales with wisdom and humor. That is the beauty of our friendship; we are ageless. I’m sending you so much love and good cheer…on your ...

As Secretive "Stingray" Surveillance Tool Becomes More Pervasive, Questions Over Its Illegality Increase

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

A few months ago, EFF warned of a secretive new surveillance tool being used by the FBI in cases around the country commonly referred to as a “Stingray.” Recently, more information on the device has come to light and it makes us even more concerned than before.

The device, which acts as a fake cell phone tower, essentially allows the government to electronically search large areas for a particular cell phone's signal—sucking down data on potentially thousands of innocent people along the way. At the same time, law enforcement has attempted use them while avoiding many of the traditional limitations set forth in the Constitution, like individualized warrants. This is why we called the tool "an unconstitutional, all-you-can-eat data buffet."

Recently, LA Weekly reported the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) got a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant in 2006 to buy a stingray. The original grant request said it would be used for "regional terrorism investigations." Instead LAPD has been using it for just about any investigation imaginable.

In just a four month period in 2012, according to documents obtained by the First Amendment Coalition, the LAPD has used the device at least 21 times in “far more ...

Black Comedians and Censorship

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

“Black comics are given such strict censorship rules to follow, TV networks might as well hire somebody else,” said Black comic Rodney Perry.

Check out the two clips below of legendary comic Richard Pryor. The first is his first (heavily-censored) tv debut in 1964, followed by his uncensored special “Live in Concert” filmed 15 years later. Which clip is funnier: the censored or uncensored version?


IFAction Round-Up, February 4–10, 2013

Monday, February 11th, 2013

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from February 4–10, 2013.

 

Privacy and Cybersecurity

Tech Tips: Is your cellphone safe from ‘Smishing?’

Lawmakers renew push to bar bosses from asking for Facebook passwords

 

Censorship and Free Speech

Prosser teacher wants two books removed [Washington]
Update 1: Prosser book committee gives OK to argued novel ‘A Child Called It’
Update 2: Prosser School District committee votes to keep ['The Popularity Papers'] in library

Students Have Free Speech and Due Process Rights Too [Valdosta State]

Fairfax County parent wants ‘Beloved’ banned from school system [Virginia]

Mt. Lebanon library says partially nude woman in photo exhibit breaks rule [Pittsburgh]

Public prayer amendment shelved for the year [Virginia]

 

Access to Information

Copyright Insanity: School Policy Requires Students Hand Over Copyright On All Work [Prince George County, MD]

Prison and Libraries: Public Service Inside and Out

No, free Wi-Fi isn’t coming to every ...

Mandatory Black Boxes in Cars Raise Privacy Questions

Monday, February 11th, 2013
EFF Urges Strict Rules to Protect Drivers’ Data

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today to include strict privacy protections for data collected by vehicle "black boxes" to protect drivers from long-term tracking as well as the misuse of their information.

Black boxes, more formally called event data recorders (EDRs), can serve a valuable forensic function for accident investigations, because they can capture information like vehicle speed before the crash, whether the brake was activated, whether the seat belt was buckled, and whether the airbag deployed. NHTSA is proposing the mandatory inclusion of black boxes in all new cars and light trucks sold in America. But while the proposed rules would require the collection of data in at least the last few seconds before a crash, they don't block the long-term monitoring of driver behavior or the ongoing capture of much more private information like audio, video, or vehicle location.

"The NHTSA's proposed rules fail to address driver privacy in any meaningful way," said EFF Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. "These regulations must include more than minimum requirements of what should be collected and stored – they need a reasonable maximum ...

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi Defends Video Games

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Nancy PelosiAs you may have noticed, we’ve been closely following the debate in Congress and the media over violent video games. Too often, elected officials such as Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-KY) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) have made fallacious claims linking video games to violent behavior, despite copious evidence to the contrary. So, we are gratified to note that House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not been taken in by the rhetoric. Yesterday in an interview on Fox News, as host Chris Wallace asserted that more research on video games is not needed because the link to violent behavior is obvious, Pelosi pushed back: “the evidence… says that in Japan, for example,… they have the most violent games than the rest and the lowest mortality from guns.”

Pelosi may be referring to an oft-cited study by Max Fisher of the Washington Post which compared per capita video game spending to gun murders in 10 different countries. Japan did indeed have a very low rate of gun deaths, but the really striking examples were South Korea and the Netherlands, where video game spending far outpaced the other countries yet gun murders remained well under 0.5 per 100,000 people. ...

THE POPULARITY PAPERS Stays in District Libraries

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Last week, CBLDF and the Kids’ Right to Read Project defended two books in the Prosser, Washington, school district: A Child Called “It” and The Popularity Papers. At the time of reporting, the review board had elected to retain A Child Called “It” but the fate of The Popularity Papers was unknown. CBLDF is pleased to report that the review board elected to retain The Popularity Papers. A high school social studies teacher in the district had filed a complaint against both books.

The Popularity Papers, by Amy Ignatow, is an award-winning series aimed at fourth through sixth graders that follows the friendship of two girls as they navigate junior high school. The series deals with bullying and the social hierarchy of teens. The Popularity Papers is already under restricted access and only available to fifth graders in the district. Objections were raised to the book because one of the main characters has two fathers. The Tri-City Herald reported on the decision, disclosing some of the complainant’s motivation:

Rich Korb, the Prosser High School social studies teacher who filed the complaint against the book, told the committee the book should be removed because it isn’t age appropriate, ...

The Sweet Sounds of the Subversive: Billie Holiday

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Since the 1920′s, disgruntled Americans have tried to ban the performing of music they deem morally unsound. From the emergence of jazz almost a century ago to modern hip-hop, cutting-edge Black music has always been at war with those who can’t tell a good tune when they hear it.

Check out Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, a haunting ballad once banned on American radio.


M.C.A. Hogarth on Trademark Bullying and Free Speech

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

The following is a guest post from M.C.A. Hogarth—author, space marine enthusiast, and indie business advisor.

I'm M.C.A. Hogarth and I'd like to tell you how the EFF helped protect my work and the idea of a "space marine" from a shameless legal bully.

I wrote a web serial called Spots the Space Marine as an homage to Heinlein and the greats of science fiction. Crowdfunding allowed me to launch print and e-book editions that I made available on Amazon... until a trademark threat from Games Workshop over the term "space marine" caused Amazon to remove the ebook from its virtual shelves.

I made an honest effort to find out what it would take to fight the legal battle. Even more than wanting to save Spots the Space Marine, I wanted to save all space marines for the genre I grew up reading. I wanted there to be a world where Heinlein and E.E. Smith's space marines could live alongside mine and everyone else's. No one should have the hubris to think that they can own a fundamental genre trope and deny it to everyone else.

But that legal fight would have cost a lot of money -- ...

Special 301 Report 2013: USTR Wants To Hear About Infringement, Not Innovation

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has long treated the content industry and major pharmaceutical companies as its principal constituents, using its bully pulpit to export overbroad intellectual property (IP) enforcement practices around the world. This is evidenced in the negotiations over trade agreements like ACTA and TPP, but we can also see it in the process of developing the yearly Special 301 reports—a set of tiered “watch lists” of countries that have been singled out for having “bad” IP policies.

Since 1989, the USTR has used these reports to hint at the threat of trade repercussions for those countries who do not choose to adopt copyright, trademark, and patent laws that mirror, or in some cases exceed, US law. Although a listing in the 301 report doesn’t lead directly to the imposition of trade sanctions, several countries—such as Spain—have unfortunately felt compelled to enact dangerous IP laws to pacify the USTR. The USTR has never published its exact criteria for determining who will be included in the Special 301 reports, but we do know that the reports are far from objective and almost always follow the recommendations of big pharma companies and the ...

Rebooting Computer Crime Part 3: The Punishment Should Fit the Crime

Friday, February 8th, 2013

In the wake of social justice activist Aaron Swartz's tragic death, Internet users around the country are taking a hard look at the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal anti-hacking law. As we've noted, the CFAA has many problems. In this three-part series, we're exploring these problems in detail and giving more explanation of our suggested fixes. For more details about our proposal for CFAA reform, see part 1 and part 2.

As we've noted before, we suggest four basic penalty changes to the CFAA.1 As Aaron's case indicated, the CFAA's current broad language and draconian penalty scheme allow overreaching prosecutors to abuse their discretion. This can turn minor incidents with no real harm into serious criminal prosecutions, with the threat of long prison sentences and the consequences that go along with a felony conviction—like not being able to vote.

Take action to fix computer crime law.Our suggested changes aren't a get-out-of-jail-free card for computer criminals. Computer crime can be serious and law enforcement should properly investigate and prosecute those who use computers to cause financial harm and violate the privacy of others. But at the same time, punishments should fit crimes.

Our full reform proposal (which is ...

The State of Free Speech on Campus: Middlebury College

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Today, FIRE continues our blog series on the state of free speech at America's top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Up for discussion today is U.S. News' fourth-ranked liberal arts college, Middlebury College.

Like third-ranked Swarthmore College, Middlebury receives a "red light" rating, which means that it maintains at least one policy (in Middlebury's case, two policies) that both clearly and substantially prohibits what would otherwise be protected expression. Although Middlebury is private, its College Handbook states that "The College recognizes that its students are citizens of larger communities—local, state, and federal—and should enjoy the same rights of petition and freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly that other citizens enjoy." But one look at Middlebury's policies quickly reveals that Middlebury students emphatically do not the same the same rights as their fellow citizens.

Turning to the first of Middlebury's two red light policies, the College Handbook's policy on General Conduct prohibits "flagrant disrespect for persons," a provision that infringes upon a substantial amount of protected expression. The university cannot prohibit "disrespect"—as individuals with "the same rights ... that other citizens enjoy," students at Middlebury are free to express their ...

In a Major Privacy Victory, Seattle Mayor Orders Police to Dismantle Its Drone Program After Protests

Friday, February 8th, 2013

In an amazing victory for privacy advocates and drone activists, yesterday, Seattle’s mayor ordered the city's police agency to cease trying use surveillance drones and dismantle its drone program. The police will return the two drones they previously purchased with a Department of Homeland Security grant to the manufacturer.

EFF has been warning of the privacy dangers surveillance drones pose to US citizens for more than a year now. In May of last year, we urged concerned citizens to take their complaints to their local governments, given Congress has been slow to act on any privacy legislation. The events of Seattle proves this strategy can work and should serve as a blueprint for local activism across the country.

Back in early 2012, the Seattle city council was told that the Seattle police agency had obtained an authorization to fly drones from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But they did not find out from the police; they found out from a reporter who called after the council after he saw Seattle’s name on the list obtained by EFF as part of our lawsuit against the FAA.

City council was understandably not happy, and the police agency was forced to appear ...

Trademark Bully Thwarted: Spots the Space Marine Back Online

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Score one for the space marines. 

Last month, a UK game developer, Games Workshop, complained to Amazon.com that an ebook, Spots the Space Marine, infringed its trademarks in the term “space marine.”  Turns out Games Workshop sells a popular game, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, and has registered marks in the term “space marine” in connection with games. But Games Workshop lost all sense of proportion and decided that it also had trademark rights to the term in books. And thus a trademark bully was born.  

After it received the complaint, Amazon promptly removed the book from its virtual shelves.  When the author, M.C.A Hogarth, protested, Amazon initially refused to reinstate the book and instead politely suggested she resolve the dispute directly with Games Workshop.  

Hogarth was understandably shocked. As many folks pointed out, “space marine” dates back to at least the 1930s, appearing in a variety of science fiction including works by Robert Heinlein. It is a science fiction icon. So the notion that any single entity, much less a gaming company, could have broad rights in the “space marine” is outrageous.

Hogarth tried to resolve the dispute in a friendly way, but Games ...

YALSA Announces Great Graphic Novels for 2013

Friday, February 8th, 2013

My Friend DahmerThe Young Adult Library Services Association’s latest annual list of Great Graphic Novels is out! Books are nominated for inclusion on the list by members of YALSA, a division of the American Library Association, and then voted on by a committee made up of school and public librarians from across the United States. The books on the list are judged to exemplify “both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” From the long list of 55 titles, committee members also selected their top ten “titles that exemplify the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences.” And here’s the top ten list:

Non-Fiction

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

Go to high school with the nation’s most notorious serial killer.

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

A look at one of the most controversial decisions in American history.

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert

You thought you knew the whole story.

Ultimate Comics Spider-man, V.1Fiction

Ultimate Comics Spider-man, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli

Witness the birth of a new Spider-man Miles Morales.

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

From homeschool to high school, ...

In ‘Chronicle of Higher Education,’ Civil Liberties Attorney Marjorie Heins Discusses Past and Present Threats to Academic Freedom

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Civil liberties attorney Marjorie Heins, founding director of the Free Expression Policy Project, has authored what is sure to be a worthwhile book on academic freedom and its past and present threats. The book, Priests of Our Democracy: The Supreme Court, Academic Freedom, and the Anti-Communist Purge, is out now from the New York University Press.

Priests of Our Democracy

In a column in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Heins discusses some of the main themes of her book, including the background of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Keyishian v. Board of Regents (1967), which invalidated an anti-communist loyalty oath required of faculty in the State University of New York system. Heins also discusses more recent threats to the academic freedom protections Keyishian affirmed, especially from the Court’s controversial (and much opposed by FIRE) decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos (2006), which, as Heins notes, ruled “that statements [made by public employees] made ‘pursuant to their official duties’ can be subject to discipline without violating the Constitution.”

Heins identifies speech codes as another threat to academic freedom, highlighting one of FIRE’s hallmark cases, the shocking (and still unresolved) case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis University:

Whatever the fate of academic freedom ...

UPDATED: CBLDF Defends Books in Washington School District

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Earlier this week, the Kids’ Right to Read Project, which is sponsored by CBLDF, sent a letter to the Prosser School District outside Yakima, Washington, in defense of A Child Called “It” and The Popularity Papers. Both books had been challenged as inappropriate by a high school social studies teacher in the district.  The Tri-City Herald reports that the Prosser school district’s Materials Committee has recommended A Child Called “It” remain available to students.  A verdict on The Popularity Papers is not yet known.

A Child Called “It” is a best-selling autobiographical account by David Pelzer that describes his survival of childhood abuse by his alcoholic mother. The book already requires parental permission for seventh and eighth grade students to check it out. On Wednesday, a nine-member review panel voted to retain the book. The Tri-City Herald reports that the book was retained because “it depicts something older children need to learn about, can be inspirational and could motivate children to seek help if they need it.”

The Popularity Papers, by Amy Ignatow, is an award-winning series aimed at fourth through sixth graders that follows the friendship of two girls as they navigate junior high school. The series ...

Congressional Task Force Recommends More Research on Media and Violence

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Yesterday, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) released “A Comprehensive Plan That Reduces Gun Violence and Respects the 2nd Amendment Rights of Law-Abiding Americans,” which describes the recommendations of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Nearly all of the recommendations the task force made pertain to guns, mental health, and school safety. However, the last recommendation pertains to violence in the media:

Address our culture’s glorification of violence seen and heard though our movie screens,television shows, music and video games: Congress should fund scientific research on the relationship between popular culture and gun violence, while ensuring that parents have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about what their families watch, listen to, and play.

In discussing the above point in more detail, the task force acknowledges that the current research does not support a link between violent media and violent behavior. Regardless, it advocates for further scientific research:

Many Americans are concerned that television programs, movies, video games and other forms of media are starting to desensitize young Americans to violence, specifically gun violence, at a very early age. While we have a shared responsibility in this area, it is essential that parents, educators, and our communities at ...

Group Formed to Free Dissidents

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Burma announced Thursday that it would establish a presidential steering committee to “grant liberty” to those imprisoned for voicing political dissent, in the government’s first public acknowledgement that it is holding political prisoners in the country’s jails.

“Committee to be formed to grant liberty to remaining political prisoners,” read a headline carried on the official New Light of Myanmar newspaper, which signaled the first usage of the term that Burma’s government had avoided for decades.

The article said that the Political Prisoners Review Committee, led by presidential advisor Soe Thein, would provide a definition of who is a “prisoner of conscience” among the country’s jailed and work to free them.

Members of the committee have not yet been picked, but will be selected from a pool of government representatives, civil society groups, and other political party members, the newspaper said.

President Thein Sein has freed hundreds of political prisoners as part of sweeping reforms since he came to power in March 2011, but the Burmese government never officially acknowledged them as such.

As recently as November, the government said it would review all “politically concerned” cases in the country.

Western nations have long made the release of all political prisoners ...

‘The Eastern Progress’ Reports on EKU’s New Green Light Status

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

The Eastern Progress Online

Monday, FIRE announced that it had added Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to its exclusive list of 16 colleges and universities whose policies do not unduly burden free speech (or "green light" schools, if you prefer something shorter).

Today, EKU's student newspaper, The Eastern Progress, reports on the school's brand new green light rating and quotes FIRE's Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris.

Be sure to check out the full article on The Eastern Progress' website!

Scholar Put on 24-hour Watch

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

An ethnic Uyghur scholar who was blocked last week from leaving China to take up a post at a U.S. university said Thursday that he is being watched around the clock by police stationed outside his Beijing home and that his website has also been hacked.

Ilham Tohti said one of his students at the Central Minorities University in Beijing where he teaches is also being harassed by the authorities, who have warned him against giving interviews to foreign news organizations.

“Because I speak to foreign media, they question me and warn me, but I will never stop speaking out,” Ilham Tohti told RFA’s Uyghur Service by telephone from his Beijing residence. “In China, there is no freedom for anyone,” he said.

On Saturday, Tohti was detained at an airport in Beijing while attempting to board a flight that would take him to the U.S., where he was set to take up a post on a U.S.-issued J-1 visa as a visiting scholar at Indiana University.

Daughter safe

His teenage daughter, who was to have accompanied him, was allowed to take the American Airlines flight to the U.S. and is now safe in Indiana, Tohti said.

After being questioned by ...

Libraries and Violent Media

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

One consequence of the recent  gun violence tragedies in the United States is increased scrutiny of video games, films, and other media with violent content held in library collections. As a result, libraries are now receiving requests to remove or restrict access to these materials. The discussion points below provide an intellectual freedom framework for talking about the issue of violent video games and violence in media with library trustees, staff, and library users. Resources listed below the discussion points provide more detailed information and analysis about violent media and intellectual freedom.

Discussion points:

• Like literature and film, video games are a creative and expressive medium that entertains, educates, and tells a story. Many libraries collect and lend video games to their users and host video game festivals and contests just as they host book discussions and film festivals.

• The courts of law that have examined the legal status of video games have ruled that video games are a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. These courts have also ruled that laws restricting minors’ access to video games that are violent or are rated “Mature” are a form of censorship that violates minors’ First Amendment ...

Students Admit to Vandalism at DePaul University

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Just two weeks after we first reported news of student vandalism at DePaul University, school officials have concluded their investigation and released a report on the students involved. As Torch readers may recall, the controversy first began when the campus chapter of Young Americans for Freedom erected a pro-life display consisting of 500 small blue and pink flags to mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Rather than engage in a debate with their fellow students, several individuals tore up the display and tossed the flags into nearby trash cans. According to the school's report, the named students 

had seen anti-abortion posters around campus earlier in the day that they found offensive. They had an emotional discussion prior to class, and after class they all walked out to the quad together. They then started pulling up all the flags and put them in garbage cans and carried some off to their next class.

Such a reaction is all too common on campus today, as more and more students are bamboozled into believing that the destruction of another's expression is a permissible—even noble—action. But as FIRE's Peter Bonilla pointed out in his coverage of the incident, "Suppressing another ...

Join the Team Today! Be a Free Speech Fighter!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Join the CBLDF team in 2013, and show your pride by sporting some members-only apparel! With art by the legendary Jaime Hernandez, the only way to get these awesome shirts is by becoming a CBLDF Member today!

Last month, we launched our 2013 Membership Program, and previewed a few of the exclusive premiums that Members will receive in 2013.

Since then, we’ve gotten a better look at the awesome shirts that have started shipping out to supporters, and we wanted to show off the apparel end of our Member premiums.

The FREE SPEECH FIGHTER raglan sleeve, jersey style tee comes in men’s and women’s sizes. This shirt comes with the standard Membership. Printed on high quality, brand name shirts, it reads “COMIC BOOK LEGAL DEFENSE FUND MEMBER 2013″ across the bottom and will be available to all members joining at the $100 level throughout the year.

The FREE SPEECH FIGHTER Hooded Pullover Sweatshirt comes with all Memberships starting at $250 or up ($500 and $1000). (There is an option for a classy, embroidered, polo-style shirt as well starting at the $500 level.) These sweatshirts are cozy as the dickens, and available in limited quantities to Members ...

FAA Releases New Drone List—Is Your Town on the Map?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

View EFF's updated Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations in a larger window. (Clicking this link will serve content from Google.)

The Federal Aviation Administration has finally released a new drone authorization list. This list, released in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, includes law enforcement agencies and universities across the country, and—for the first time—an Indian tribal agency. In all, the list includes more than 20 new entities over the FAA’s original list, bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012.

Some of these new drone license applicants include:

  • The State Department
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (near San Diego, California)
  • Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (Idaho)
  • Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Northwest Oregon)
  • Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (North Dakota)
  • King County Sheriff’s Office (covering Seattle, Washington)

And several new entities in Ohio, including:

  • Medina County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Sinclair Community College
  • Lorain County Community College

The list comes amid extensive controversy over a newly-released memo documenting the CIA’s policy on the targeted killing of American citizens and on the heels of ...

Jailed Blogger Blasts Government

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

In a petition that has been smuggled out of prison, Vietnam's most prominent jailed blogger has blasted the communist authorities for imposing a harsh sentence on him and questioned the relevance of the law under which he was punished.

Nguyen Van Hai, a founding member of the banned Free Journalists Club website, also said in the petition that he was hopeful that Article 88 of the Penal Code, which has been used by the one-party Communist government to muzzle dissent, will be abolished before he leaves prison.

A copy of Hai's petition appealing his harsh 12-year prison sentence in September last year was provided to RFA's Vietnamese Service by Vietnamese-American pro-democracy activist Nguyen Quoc Quan, who was freed last week by Hanoi after being jailed for nine months on subversion charges.

Hai, who is popularly known by his pen name Dieu Cay, gave the petition to Quan while they were in the same prison block for two weeks last year.

Quan, worried that prison guards would seize the petition, gave it to another source to smuggle it out. It was handed to Quan on his release last week.

The prison officials had refused to submit Hai's critical appeal petition to ...

Facing Down A Copyright Troll in Federal Appeals Court

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Copyright troll Righthaven LLC just doesn’t know when to stay down. Faced with six district court judges determining it didn't have the right to sue people over copyrights it didn't own, it turned to a higher power: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, EFF appeared before that court to argue (audio) against Righthaven on behalf of Tad DiBiase, a criminal justice blogger who provides resources for difficult-to-prosecute "no body" murder cases and was one of Righthaven’s victims.

The leading issue on appeal was whether a newspaper could transfer the right to sue for copyright infringement to a copyright troll, while retaining all other rights in the newspaper articles. Under the Copyright Act, only the "owner of an exclusive right under a copyright is entitled ... to institute an action for any infringement of that particular right committed while he or she is the owner of it." In a previous case, the Ninth Circuit explained that the "Copyright Act does not permit copyright holders to choose third parties to bring suits on their behalf." Nevertheless, Righthaven insisted that it was entitled to sue because it claimed ownership of the copyright for an instant, before immediately returning the rights to the newspaper publisher. A secret agreement between Righthaven and Stephens Media ensured that the ...

Iraq Takes Steps Toward Revoking Cybercrime Act

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Following the events of the 'Arab Spring,' numerous countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa have begun assessing—or reassessing—their regulation of the Internet. Last April, we criticized Iraq's attempt at legislation: a heavy-handed bill that, if passed, would impose life imprisonment for vaguely-worded "crimes" such as promoting "ideas which are disruptive to public order" and lesser sentences for a range of other offenses.

The Cybercrime Act, as it was dubbed, would also levy heavy punishments over infringements of copyright-like protections. This includes publishing or copying "any scientific research work, literary, or intellectual properties which belong to someone else and is protected by international laws and agreements" and accessing "a private website of a company or institution with the intent to [change, modify, delete or unduly use it]." Such vague language could expand protections over online content and research in ways that leaves the door wide open for abuse. Even the most questionable copyright infringement allegation, such as a student's school paper that quotes published research or even political comments made on a web forum, could be used as a basis for severe criminal penalties including imprisonment.

Fortunately, it looks as if this bill will not become law. A document ...

Joe Cohn in ‘LGBTQ Nation’ On Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

On Monday, Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Rush Holt, both of New Jersey, re-introduced the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act (S. 216 in the Senate and H.R. 482 in the House of Representatives), legislation that would require colleges and universities receiving federal aid to prohibit harassment based on certain personal characteristics, including sexual orientation and gender identity. 

FIRE takes no position on what should be explicitly listed as protected classes under federal anti-discrimination laws. Nevertheless, we do have some concerns about these bills, assuming they are the same as prior versions (the text of the newly introduced bills are not yet publicly available, so we have not been able to review them). 

Yesterday, in one of America's leading LGBTQ publications, LGBTQ Nation, I was given the opportunity to explain FIRE's concerns regarding the legislation:

"Policy makers and public university administrators have a moral and legal obligation to make sure that the definitions of harassment and bullying written into law and policy properly recognize both the need to provide safe learning environments for all and the need to comply with First Amendment's guarantee of free speech," Cohen (sic) said. "These two goals do not need to conflict."

Cohn noted ...

Black Boxes in Cars: Open Call for Comments

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

You might be surprised to learn that the vast majority of new cars sold in the United States contain a device that continuously monitors the driver’s behavior and vehicle performance. This so-called “black box” or Event Data Recorder (EDR) records at least the last several seconds of vehicle and driver data before a crash, ostensibly for use by crash investigators. Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed rules that would mandate EDRs in all new cars and light trucks.

While we agree that EDRs can serve a valuable forensic function, we are concerned that the NHTSA’s proposed rules fail to address driver and car-owner privacy in a meaningful way.

The proposed rules are open for public comment due by next Monday, February 11. EFF plans to submit our own formal comments to the NHTSA, but we also wanted to give our supporters a preview of our concerns so that any of you who are so inspired can share your own views with the NHTSA. You don’t have to be a lawyer or an engineer, and in fact comments are best submitted online. You can even submit comments anonymously.

What do black boxes record?

Under the proposed ...

Home Video Surveillance Without a Warrant? EFF Asks Appeals Court to Reconsider

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

The next time you allow a guest into your home for dinner, should you be worried they're secretly video recording every detail of your home for the government? In a new amicus brief filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, we've asked the court to reconsider a decision finding that allowing someone into your home means you're also placing yourself at the risk of warrantless home video surveillance. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents were investigating Ricky Wahchumwah for the federal crime of selling bald eagle and gold eagle feathers. An undercover agent who went to Wahchumwah's home pretending to be interested in buying feathers was secretly recording all the details of Wahchumwah's home with a small video camera hidden in his clothes. The agent did not obtain a search warrant before recording. After the trial court found no Fourth Amendment violation and refused to suppress the video, Wahchumwah was convicted and eventually appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We filed an amicus brief in support of Wahchumwah, but a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit rejected our arguments, finding no Fourth Amendment problems. In our new amicus brief asking the entire Ninth Circuit to rehear the case, ...