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January 13th, 2014

Pre-Order the Paperback Edition of ‘Unlearning Liberty’ Today at a Discounted Rate!

Amazon.com is currently offering pre-orders for the paperback edition of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate—at a steep discount. The new edition will be released on Tuesday, March 11, and features new content not found in the hardcover edition, including a picture section and an afterword. Order your copy today to take advantage of Amazon’s amazing deal! 

FIRE - The Torch

January 13th, 2014

EFF Calls Out DOJ for Failing to Provide Crucial Public Information in NSA Case

Latest Filing in Jewel v. NSA Demands Documents Government Is Trying to Conceal

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked a federal court on Friday to order the Department of Justice (DOJ) to release more thorough information about the dragnet electronic surveillance being conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). The filing in EFF's long-standing case, Jewel v. NSA, also argues that the DOJ must stop pretending that information revealed and publicly acknowledged about government surveillance over the last seven months is still secret.

"The government has now publicly admitted much about its mass spying, but its filings before the court still try to claim broad secrecy about some of those same admissions," EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said. "It's long past time for the Department of Justice to stop using overblown secrecy claims to try to prevent an open, adversarial court from deciding whether the NSA's spying is constitutional."

Since the Jewel case was first filed in 2008, the government has used claims of state secrets to fight court review. Last year, documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirmed many of the case's allegations. As a result of the Snowden disclosures, Judge Jeffrey White ...

Deeplinks

January 13th, 2014

Pittsburg State President Unintentionally Concedes Problem with Kansas Social Media Policy

Facing mounting criticism that its new policy on “improper use of social media” endangers not just academic freedom but potentially also the University of Kansas’s accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, the Kansas Board of Regents is continuing with its plan to form a “workgroup” that will review the policy. Faculty rights advocates are concerned about the policy’s broad and vaguely-worded prohibitions on, among other things, “impair[ing] harmony among co-workers” or making a communication that is, according to a university’s CEO’s judgment, “contrary to the best interest of the university.” And in trying to alleviate faculty concerns, Pittsburg State University (PSU) President Steve Scott has illustrated exactly why the policy is problematic.

According to a PSU press release, Scott said in a meeting with faculty and staff on Monday that members of the PSU community, at least, have nothing to worry about:

“The new policy authorizes me to do something,” Scott told representatives of key campus groups at a meeting in Russ Hall. “It puts the burden on me and I think I have a pretty good track record. I want to reassure faculty and staff about my intention to continue to act as I have in the past. ...

FIRE - The Torch

January 13th, 2014

Supreme Court to Tackle Big Questions in Patent and Copyright Law

Last Friday the Supreme Court granted certiorari in three important cases. This means a busy spring for EFF as we will likely file amicus briefs in all of them.

In ABC, Inc., v. Aereo, Inc., the Court will decide whether Aereo “publicly performs” television programs it streams over the Internet to users from individual antennas. TV networks complain that Aereo is "retransmitting" free-to-air stations without a license. They insist that while Joe Citizen can put an antenna on his roof and run a wire to his TV, he can't rent an antenna from Aereo and replace the wire with the Internet. The case raises a number of complex legal questions. But, as we have explained before, it is a classic example of legacy industries demanding that the law protect their business model from competition. We hope the Supreme Court will affirm the Second Circuit’s pro-innovation decision.

In Limelight Networks v. Akamai Technologies, the Court will decide whether a company can be found liable for inducing patent infringement when no single entity infringes the patent. When this case was before the Federal Circuit, we filed an amicus brief explaining that allowing divided infringement was contrary to the ...

Deeplinks

January 13th, 2014

Transparency Is Fundamental to Good Copyright Policy

In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself. Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.

In the days after millions of Internet users banded together to derail the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and just as millions of others were organizing to stop the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Motion Picture Association of America Chairman Chris Dodd told the New York Times that he would “welcome a summit meeting between Internet companies and content companies, perhaps convened by the White House, that could lead to a compromise." The former Senator apparently hoped for a return to the traditional game, where law and policy are written by lobbyists, sold through back-room deals negotiated behind closed doors, and passed with little ...

Deeplinks

January 13th, 2014

Copyright Week: Taking Copyright Back

In the week leading up the two-year anniversary of the SOPA blackout protests, EFF and others are talking about key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day, we'll take on a different piece, exploring what’s at stake and and what we need to do to make sure the law promotes creativity and innovation. We've put together a page where you can read and endorse the principles yourself. Let's send a message to DC, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Brussels, and wherever else folks are making new copyright rules: We're from the Internet, and we're here to help.

Copyright used to be a pretty specialized area of law, one that didn’t seem to affect the lives of most people. But with the proliferation of digital technologies and the Internet, a funny thing happened: copyright policy became speech policy, and it started to show up in all sorts of unexpected and unwelcome places.

It's no longer the case that copyright is only a concern if you run the kind of company that has its own theme parks. Instead, copyright policy can have an effect on any user posting to her favorite sites, sharing videos she's captured or photos she's taken. It can ...

Deeplinks

January 11th, 2014

President’s Review Group Puzzler: Why is Massively Overbroad Surveillance Wrong under 215 but OK under Section 702?

The report from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies on the U.S. government’s mass spying—domestically and around the globe— has much that’s good in it. As the folks handling the only ongoing case where National Security Letters have been declared unconstitutional, we also especially appreciate the recommendation that NSLs may only be issued after judicial review and subject to significant additional limitations. We appreciate their strong endorsement of strong, non-backdoored encryption. And we never thought we’d see a presidential panel explain the risks posed by the government’s stockpiling of Zero Days rather than making sure that they are fixed.

But there’s also a strange disconnection in the report when it comes to mass surveillance. On the one hand, the report seems to take a strong stance against the government’s “review it all” strategy. It explains that ensuring privacy of communications is part of creating security in a free society, noting:

  •  “In a free society, one that is genuinely committed to self-government, people are secure in the sense that they need not fear that their conversations and activities are being watched, monitored, questioned, interrogated, or scrutinized." 
  • “If people are fearful that their conversations are being monitored, expressions ...

Deeplinks

January 11th, 2014

Remembering Aaron

One year ago, we lost Aaron Swartz, a dear friend and a leader in the fight for a free and open Internet. The shock was, and remains, a profound one. It's a testament to the power of his commitments and ideals that both in life and in death he has inspired millions around the world, including all of us at EFF, to redouble our own efforts to advance the causes that he believed in, and to untangle the twisted and brutal computer crime laws that were used to persecute him.

Aaron was a passionate activist, but he also stood out as a technologist whose ambitions were always aligned towards a better, more just future. His pioneering work demonstrated a passion for harnessing technology to advance the public interest. As the Internet community confronted massive new challenges to free speech and privacy in 2013, there were many moments when we wondered quietly about what Aaron would have said and done.

Sadly, we are left to wonder. We know from his work on the software that would become SecureDrop that Aaron believed in making the world a safer place for whistleblowers to expose injustice and wrongdoing. We are all worse off without ...

Deeplinks

January 10th, 2014

California Bill Would Require Reporting of Violent Campus Crimes to Police

California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto introduced legislation Monday that, if passed, would require college campus police to report violent crimes to local law enforcement unless the alleged victim explicitly asks that his or her report not be shared. The bill, AB 1433, would govern reports of homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and hate crimes. It was drafted in response to allegations that Occidental College violated the Clery Act when it failed to properly disclose information about campus crimes. Some Occidental students also claimed that they were discouraged from reporting assaults to the police. By making reporting a crime to the local police the default procedure, the bill is intended to increase the number of cases that are decided by the criminal justice system, as opposed to just a campus disciplinary hearing.

University of California at Berkeley students Sofie Karasek and Aryle Butler, who identified themselves as sexual assault survivors, persuaded Gatto to add the opt-out clause, explaining that many sexual assault victims prefer not to report their cases to the police. Butler said that she would have chosen not to file a report in her case if she knew that reporting would result in a police investigation. ...

FIRE - The Torch

January 10th, 2014

Tell President Obama To End Mass Spying at His Upcoming Press Conference

In the next week or two, President Obama will give a press briefing where he plans to announce his plans to reform the NSA's spying activities—which include the collection of users' phone calls, emails, address books, buddy lists, calling records, online video game chats, financial documents, browsing history, and calendar data. The briefing comes in response to a report by his own review group recommending the government stop collecting every single Americans' calling records. Now is the time to tweet, email, and call the White House telling Obama to demand he end the government's use of the Patriot Act to collect any bulk records of users' information.

This is a key opportunity to push President Obama and his Press Secretary Jay Carney to end one major aspect of the NSA's spying program. Since June, one goal of EFF and the StopWatching.Us campaign—a group of over half-a-million people and hundreds of civil liberties organizations—has been to stop the NSA's illegal and unconstitutional mass spying. And today, we're asking the Internet to call, email, and tweet at President Obama and his Press Secretary. We need to put as much pressure on the ...

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