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  1. #61
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #745.Jan, 2019.


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    Top Features
    Copyright Week 2019

    Each day this week, EFF and allied groups are hosting discussions about principles that should guide copyright policy. On Monday, we looked at how copyright can be a tool of censorship. Case in point: the makers of a much-criticized movie about a Nazi-era romance, Where Hands Touch, chose to react to video criticism by filing unjustified takedown notices under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.

    On Tuesday, we looked at how the DMCA is being used to undermine ownership of technological devices—preventing users from jailbreaking a phone, or re-programming a scooter. On Wednesday, we examined some good news: the growth of the public domain, which on January 1st expanded for the first time in 20 years.

    2018 In Review

    In 2018, digital privacy and free speech were front-and-center in the public conversation. We continued our tradition of writing year-end blog posts about the most important developments in this space. The past year saw advances for state-level net neutrality, with four states, including California, passing net neutrality laws. The Carpenter v. United States case was one of our big legal wins of the year, as the U.S. Supreme Court cited EFF’s amicus brief in deciding that cell phone location information is protected by the Fourth Amendment.

    Other posts cover the dawn of the GDPR (Europe’s new digital privacy law), how we’re grappling with monopoly power in the online world, and EFF’s new logo.

    EFF Updates

    The Internet is Facing a Catastrophe For Free Expression and Competition: You Could Tip The Balance

    The new EU Copyright Directive is progressing at an alarming rate. This week, the EU is asking its member-states to approve new negotiating positions for the final language. If you live in Europe, let your ministers know that you’re concerned that Articles 13 and 11 will lead to online censorship. So far, we’ve set up action pages for Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Belgium, and the Czech Republic—and we'll keep adding more over the coming days.

    Bird Rides Inc. Demands Takedown of News Report on Lawful Re-use of Scooters

    Every now and then we have to remind someone that it's not illegal for people to report facts that they dislike. Electric scooter rental company Bird Rides, Inc. sent a "Notice of Claimed Infringement" over an article on Boing Boing about lawfully modifying scooters. Bird cites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and implies that even writing about the issue could be illegal. It’s not.
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    (Don't) Return to Sender: How to Protect Yourself From Email Tracking

    Email senders can monitor who opens which emails, when, and what device they use to do it. There are a lot of different ways to track email, and different techniques range from marginally acceptable to atrocious. Here are some friendly suggestions to help make tracking less pervasive, less creepy, and less leaky.
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    Apple Says Patent Troll Case Should Be Dismissed Because [REDACTED] but the Public Should Know Why

    Uniloc is one of the most active patent trolls in the world, having filed more than 170 lawsuits last year alone. But its most recent court records are so heavily redacted, it’s impossible for members of the public to know what’s going on. This month, EFF filed a motion to intervene in Uniloc v. Apple, seeking to unseal a series of documents related to whether Uniloc should be allowed to bring the case at all.
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    You Should Have the Right to Sue Companies That Violate Your Privacy

    There’s a lot to like about the new California Consumer Privacy Act, but we need to work to amend its critical flaw—a lack of a private right of action. Consumer enforcement is part of EFF’s “bottom-up” approach to public policy.
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    Give Up the Ghost: A Backdoor by Another Name

    Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s counterpart to the National Security Agency (NSA), has proposed a method of eavesdropping in which a company would be required to convert a 1-on-1 conversation into a group chat—with the government as the third member of the chat. The so-called “ghost” proposal is just another word for an encryption backdoor.

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    Our Cellphones Aren’t Safe


    Cellular communication infrastructure is woefully insecure, and we are doing nothing to fix it. EFF Senior Staff Technologist Cooper Quintin explains some of the resultant dangers in an op-ed. (New York Times)

    100 Days for Alaa

    Alaa Abd El Fattah has been imprisoned for five years—for organizing a protest. When he’s released in March, he will face an additional five-year “parole” that will require him to spend each night in a police station. Organizations are re-focusing attention on Alaa and his case as his release date approaches. (100 Days for Alaa)
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    January 1, 2019 is (finally) Public Domain Day

    Works from 1923 are open to all! Newly joining the public domain are films such as The Ten Commandments, and comedies featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd. It’s the first time the public domain has grown in 20 years. (Center for the Study of the Public Domain)

    San Bernardino County Sheriff's electronic surveillance use continues to surge

    San Bernardino County’s already high electronic surveillance rate continues to surge. EFF has filed a lawsuit demanding records over this department’s extraordinary use of surveillance. (Palm Springs Desert Sun)

    In 2019, your tattoo could get you arrested

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology has completed testing on a tattoo-matching system that could be used to finger criminal suspects, and found that its algorithm is only 67.9 percent accurate—and that’s before factoring in the possibility of “false positives.” (Washington Examiner)





    About EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading organization protecting civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization. Find out more at https://eff.org.

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    View this Issue 745 in it's entirety.

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    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
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  2. #62
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #746.February 1, 2019.


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    Top Features

    Victory! Illinois Supreme Court Protects Biometric Privacy

    The collection and use of biometric data gets more widespread and invasive each year. That’s why it’s more important than ever to advocate for—and defend—robust privacy laws in this space.

    The Illinois Biometric Privacy Act, or BIPA, is the strongest biometric privacy law in the United States. Last week, in Rosenbach v. Six Flags, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected an amusement park’s argument that violation of a privacy statute is a mere “technical violation.” The plaintiff in that case, a 14-year-old who says his thumbprint was collected without his informed consent, will be allowed to move forward with a lawsuit.

    EFF, along with ACLU, CDT, and other allied groups, filed an amicus brief asking for a strong interpretation of BIPA. We’ve been resisting big business efforts to gut BIPA for years now, and we’re glad the Illinois Supreme Court agreed with us in this case.

    It could have major ramifications for a separate case against Facebook, involving biometric face surveillance, that's currently on appeal in California. Like the defendant in the Illinois case, Facebook is arguing that losing one’s privacy rights isn’t enough to support a lawsuit, and that a plaintiff must show additional harm in order to sue. Hopefully, the strong result in Rosenbach shuts down that flawed argument once and for all.

    Washington Post Tries to Take Down Parody Site

    If you were in Washington D.C. earlier this month, you might have passed by folks on the street passing out a parody newspaper spoofing The Washington Post. The comedic newspaper, created by the group the Yes Men, has a joke lead story about Donald Trump fleeing the White House in an “Unpresidented” move.

    The parody paper, which was dated May 1, 2019, also featured unlikely articles such as a media apology for Donald Trump’s rise to power, and a fictional timeline of Trump’s rise and fall.

    But The Washington Post’s lawyers didn’t get the joke. They called the parody an act of trademark infringement, and raised copyright threats. EFF wrote back on behalf of the Yes Men, explaining that political speech has strong protections from trademark claims, which aren’t supposed to be used to policing other peoples’ language. The parody paper is still online, where it belongs.

    EFF Updates
    A Surveillance Wall Is Not a Good Alternative to a Concrete Wall

    If there’s one political dynamic that’s become perfectly clear in 2019, it’s this: President Trump is calling for a physical wall to be built along the U.S. southern border. Trump's political opponents, and many other groups, oppose that wall.

    In response, some congressional Democrats have suggested building up a kind of virtual wall, built on surveillance technology. They’d like to expand social media screening, deploy drones, scan license plates (and not just from cars crossing the border), and even collect DNA from immigrants. All of these methods raise serious privacy concerns.

    At EFF, we’re staying focused on making sure any new border measure protects the essential liberties of both U.S. residents and foreign visitors. The border shouldn't be treated like a Constitution-free zone.

    Article 13 and 11 Update: Even The Compromises are Compromised In This Copyright Trainwreck

    Some European negotiators are still hoping to pass Article 13 and 11, which would impose online copyright filters, as well as licensing requirements for quoting snippets of news. More than four million Europeans have publicly opposed the directive, along with copyright and technical experts and journalists. Even big movie studios and sports leagues have backed away.

    We're not out of the woods yet. Our sources tell us that it's just barely possible that if an agreement is reached before February 14, legislation could be vetted, translated, and presented for a vote before EU elections this spring. Keep up the pressure!


    EFF Client Responds to Ludicrous 'Collusion' Trademark Threat


    Sometimes trademark owners seem to think that they own ordinary words. In this case, U.K. clothing giant Asos sent a cease and desist letter [PDF] to an EFF client for registering a domain with the word “collusion” in it. Our client’s domain, collusion.so, has nothing to do with clothes—it’s about contemporary U.S. political debates. It’s about as far from trademark infringement as possible.

    The case has its origins in typographical errors made on Twitter by Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor and current attorney to President Donald Trump. Giuliani's typos inadvertently created new URLs, and Twitter users creatively re-directed those newly famous web links to locations of their choosing.

    EFF sent a response letter, explaining that there’s no real trademark claim here. Asos quickly apologized, saying that the letter, signed by its outside law firm, should “never have been sent” and assuring us it would take no further action against our client. We’re glad for the apology and hope the whole episode serves as a notice to others who might make overbroad trademark threats.

    Victory: Federal Court in Seattle Will Begin Disclosing Surveillance Records

    Federal investigators in Seattle will begin tracking and docketing their warrantless surveillance requests, under an agreement reached after EFF client The Stranger brought a petition to unseal those records. They’ll also issue reports every six months detailing the surveillance requests.

    The reports will include case numbers and the main crime being investigated each time the government uses warrantless surveillance. Until now, there’s been no public docket at all on these cases. Now, the public will learn basic details about the requests, and can also request to unseal specific cases.


    EFF responds to Mark Zuckerberg’s WSJ editorial


    A misleading Wall Street Journal op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg hits some familiar points in justifying Facebook’s business model. Users don’t need to submit to massive data harvesting to see “relevant ads,” for one thing. And while Zuckerberg calls for government regulation that codifies “transparency, choice, and control,” Facebook is fighting to weaken the most important state privacy laws, like Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, and California’s Consumer Privacy Act.

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    Police license plate readers are still exposed on the Internet

    Cameras that can read license plates are scattered throughout the U.S., used mostly by police departments. What’s worse, some of those cameras are connected to the Internet, easily identifiable, and leaking sensitive data about vehicles and their drivers. (TechCrunch)


    It’s Time for Action on Privacy, Says Apple’s CEO Tim Cook

    Even the CEO of a global tech icon agrees: “We all deserve control over our digital lives. That’s why we must rein in the data brokers.” (Time)




    About EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading organization protecting civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization. Find out more at https://eff.org.

    .EFF is Supported By Donors.
    Donate Today

    Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
    MiniLinks may not represent the views of EFF.
    This newsletter is printed from 100% recycled electrons.

    View this Issue 746 in it's entirety.

    Back issues of EFFector
    The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but
    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
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  3. #63
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #747.February 20, 2019.


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    Top Features

    Trolls Are Real

    In most issues of EFFector, we give an overview of all the work we’re doing at EFF. Today, in light of recent developments at the U.S. Patent Office, we’re doing a deep dive into a single issue: recent changes to the patent system, and how it’s in danger of heading backwards.

    The patent system is broken. The U.S. Patent Office has been issuing vague, overbroad patents for years, especially relating to software. And now the Patent Office is threatening to open the door to even more low-quality software patents. Please join us in telling them to abandon this misguided plan.

    Take Action

    There are hundreds of “patent troll” companies that exploit our patent system. Today, patent trolls file the majority of high-tech patent lawsuits, covering commonly-used technology from podcasts to newspapers to virtual reality. These companies and individuals produce no products or services—instead, they simply collect patents, and demand money from those working to innovate.

    After years of complaints about frivolous patent claims, both Congress and the courts made small steps in the right direction. In a case called Alice v. CLS Bank, the Supreme Court barred patents that claim abstract ideas simply by adding computer language. Congress passed the America Invents Act, which allows the public to challenge patents at the Patent Office in a process called “inter partes review.”

    Reforms Under Fire

    Now, both Alice and the IPR process are under attack. The new Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Andre Iancu, denies that patent trolls are a problem at all—he called them “monster stories.” The Patent Office has issued new guidance to patent examiners, encouraging them to make an end-run to get around the rules of Alice. This could take us back to the bad old days, opening the floodgates to even more of the overbroad software patents that already plague the system.

    At the same time, lobbyists are working to weaken Section 101 of the U.S. patent laws. That’s the section that we rely on to kick many of the worst patents out of the system—without going through jury trials that can cost millions of dollars. Lobbyists for patent trolling companies are on the same side as big corporate patent-holders.

    If you care about a patent system that doesn’t trample on and extort small developers and business owners, now is the time to speak up. First, check out our Take Action page, and tell the U.S. Patent Office to stop trying to get around the Alice rules. Also, if you’ve personally been affected by bad patents or patent trolls, and are willing to speak out about it, get in touch with us at EFF. We’ll need your help as this debate moves forward—Congress has to hear from those who want a balanced patent system, not one that works just for licensing companies and giant patent-holders.
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    EFF Updates
    Call to Action: Tell the Patent Office Not to Reopen the Software Patent Floodgates

    Until the Alice v. CLS Bank decision, the U.S. Patent Office had been issuing tens of thousands of abstract software patents. All too often, these patents described everyday culture or business relationships, and then added “do-it-on-a-computer” language describing generic computer hardware and software.

    The Alice decision made it clear that abstract ideas can’t be patented just by adding computer language. Unfortunately, new guidance issued by the U.S. Patent Office could undermine the Alice ruling. The guidance downplays rulings that find software-related patent claims ineligible, exaggerates the importance of a few rulings that have allowed software claims, and asks examiners to review applications in a way that is inconsistent with Alice.

    Rather than fairly representing all sides, the Patent Office is putting its thumb on the scale in favor of patent applicants, at the public’s expense.

    We’re asking EFF supporters to weigh in and tell the Patent Office that creating new rules to bypass a Supreme Court ruling is unacceptable. You can submit a comment on our action page from now through the close of the comment period on March 6.
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    Announcements
    Refiguring the Future Exhibition

    Eyebeam, a local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host a new exhibition (Feb. 8-March 31) offering a politically engaged and inclusive vision of the intersection of art, science, and technology. The exhibition, in partnership with the REFRESH collective, is hosted by Hunter College Art Galleries.
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    MiniLinks
    Telecom Companies Are Seriously Overhyping 5G Networks

    Telecom companies are pushing misleading hype about 5G, which is still years away. 5G standards will rely on existing fiber infrastructure—and we aren’t ready for it. (Slate)

    Inside the Lobbying War Over California’s Landmark Privacy Law


    Facebook, Google, and other tech companies are lobbying to water down a California law passed last year to regulate data collection. (Washington Post)





    About EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading organization protecting civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization. Find out more at https://eff.org.

    .EFF is Supported By Donors.
    Donate Today

    Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
    MiniLinks may not represent the views of EFF.
    This newsletter is printed from 100% recycled electrons.

    View this Issue 747 in it's entirety.

    Back issues of EFFector
    The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but
    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
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  4. #64
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #748. March 15, 2019.


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    Top Features

    Fix It Already: Nine Steps That Companies Should Take To Protect You

    EFF has launched a new way to tell companies that we’re serious about the security and privacy fixes that are well-known, and eminently do-able. We’re calling it “Fix It Already,” and are asking nine different companies to bring their products in line with what consumers expect and deserve.

    A few examples: Android should let users deny and revoke apps’ Internet permissions. Venmo should let users hide their friends lists. WhatsApp should stop pre-installing spyware on users’ phones. Facebook should leave your phone number where you put it.

    We’ve also got suggestions for Apple, Slack, Twitter, Verizon, and Windows 10. Check out Fix It Already, and tell us—and these companies—what these issues mean to you.

    Tell Congress to Stand Up for Real Net Neutrality Protections

    When the FCC announced that it would repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, a historic number of Americans spoke up, sending more than 1.6 million comments to the FCC. The fight for net neutrality has continued, in states, in the courts, and in Congress.

    Earlier this month, the Save the Internet Act was introduced in both the House and the Senate. The bill would restore the protections of the 2015 Open Internet Order that we fought so hard for. Competing bills that focus solely on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization miss the point—net neutrality is about basic fairness, not just banning three specific bad acts.

    Now’s the time to tell your representatives to stand up for real net neutrality.

    EFF Updates
    Artists Against Article 13: When Big Tech and Big Content Make a Meal of Creators, It Doesn't Matter Who Gets the Bigger Piece

    Article 13 is the European proposal that would make nearly every online service, community, and platform legally liable for material posted by users that infringes copyright—even if it’s up for just a few seconds.

    If it passes, Article 13 will impose copyright filters that won’t stop dedicated infringers—but will have massive collateral damage. Far from protecting artists, “filters for everything” will be a bonanza for fraudsters and crooks who prey on artists.

    If Article 13 passes, it’s bound to enrich large media companies, but not the artists whose works they sell. The full European Parliament will likely vote this month or next—this is our last chance to overturn this proposal.


    Artists Against Article 13: When Big Tech and Big Content Make a Meal of Creators, It Doesn't Matter Who Gets the Bigger Piece

    Article 13 is the European proposal that would make nearly every online service, community, and platform legally liable for material posted by users that infringes copyright—even if it’s up for just a few seconds.

    If it passes, Article 13 will impose copyright filters that won’t stop dedicated infringers—but will have massive collateral damage. Far from protecting artists, “filters for everything” will be a bonanza for fraudsters and crooks who prey on artists.

    If Article 13 passes, it’s bound to enrich large media companies, but not the artists whose works they sell. The full European Parliament will likely vote this month or next—this is our last chance to overturn this proposal.

    The Patent Office Can’t Ignore Law it Dislikes

    We asked EFF supporters last month to help save Alice v. CLS Bank, the 2014 Supreme Court decision that has helped stem the tide of stupid software patents and abusive patent litigation. The Patent Office received hundreds of comments from EFF supporters telling it to do the right thing and apply the law, not narrow it. Thank you!

    The Patent Office is applying new guidance that aims to undermine Alice. Last week, EFF filed its own comments opposing the new guidance. If examiners can’t apply Alice, more invalid patents will issue. The Patent Office shouldn’t be allowed to ignore case law it dislikes. With your help, we’ll keep fighting for a system that limits patent grants to actual inventions.

    The Foilies 2019

    EFF has published The Foilies since 2015, a set of tongue-in-cheek “awards” in which we call out attempts to block transparency and retaliate against those seeking information. We also include simply ridiculous examples of government incompetence.

    This year, on Sunshine Week, we have 17 award winners—courts, government agencies, police forces, and tech companies that have done what they can to obscure and hide information that should be public.



    It’s Time for California to Guarantee “Privacy for All”


    It’s time to demand that the companies making money off our personal information keep it private. Last year’s California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, was a big step in the right direction. But there’s still a lot to be done. The best way forward is “Privacy for All,” a bill introduced by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks. The Privacy for All proposal builds on the foundation of CCPA to give everyone the rights, knowledge, and power to reclaim their own privacy.

    EFF stands with 30 other privacy and civil rights organizations behind Privacy for All, and its commitment to protecting our fundamental right to privacy. We'll be keeping you updated as this bill moves through the legislative process.

    Announcements
    Portland TA3M Meetup for March

    Portland Techno Activism 3rd Mondays, or TA3M, will host a presentation and discussion about facial recognition. This event, a combined meeting with Seattle TA3M, will start at 7:00pm at Portland's Northwest Academy.

    The event is not hosted by EFF, but by Portland TA3M, a member of the Electronic Frontier Alliance.

    EFF @ CRASH Space: Fighting Back Against DRM

    On March 20 at Los Angeles' CRASH Space, join us for a talk about how digital rights management (DRM) has impacted the hacker and tinkerer community, and how the community can fight back.

    MiniLinks

    Here are the data brokers quietly buying and selling your personal information


    You have likely never heard of these companies, but they are hidden in the sites you visit, and are tracking your browsing behavior. (Fast Company)


    The US Government Will Be Scanning Your Face At 20 Top Airports, Documents Show

    US Customs and Border Protection is creating a "biometric entry-exit system" that threatens privacy on a mass scale. Much facial recognition data isn't reliable at all, and agencies haven't said how they'll protect this highly sensitive information. (BuzzFeed News)


    Documents Reveal ICE Using Driver Location Data From Local Police for Deportations

    Local governments in places like Merced and Union City, California, are giving their residents' personal information to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE), even when it violates privacy laws or sanctuary policies. (ACLU.org)



    About EFF

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading organization protecting civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, we defend free speech online, fight illegal surveillance, promote the rights of digital innovators, and work to ensure that the rights and freedoms we enjoy are enhanced, rather than eroded, as our use of technology grows. EFF is a member-supported organization. Find out more at https://eff.org.

    .EFF is Supported By Donors.
    Donate Today

    Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged.
    MiniLinks may not represent the views of EFF.
    This newsletter is printed from 100% recycled electrons.

    View this Issue 748 in it's entirety.

    Back issues of EFFector
    The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but
    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
    Attachment 1008

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