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  1. #51
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #735 updates.
    June 12, 2018.


    Who Has Your Back When It Comes to Government Censorship? - EFFector 31.9

    Top Features


    Who Has Your Back? Censorship Edition 2018

    Given policymakers' and the public's intense focus on cracking down on speech they consider undesirable, this year's Who Has Your Back report features substantially redesigned categories and criteria. Since the Electronic Frontier Foundation began publishing Who Has Your Back in 2011, it has generally focused on the practices of major consumer-facing Internet companies regarding government requests to produce user data. This year, we shift our focus to companies' responses to government requests to take down user content and suspend user accounts.

    For our 2018 report, we assess companies' policies against five all-new criteria:

    Transparency in reporting government takedown requests based on legal requests
    Transparency in reporting government takedown requests based on requests alleging platform policy violations
    Providing meaningful notice to users of every content takedown and account suspension
    Providing users with an appeals process to dispute takedowns and suspensions
    Limiting the geographic scope of takedowns when possible

    Three platforms—the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and YouTube—earned stars in all five of these categories. And three more—Medium, Reddit, and WordPress.com—earned stars in all but the notice category, which proved the most challenging category for the companies we assessed. Some companies fell notably short overall; Facebook's and Instagram's policies in particular lagged behind comparable tech companies and social networks. However, it's clear that public pressure is resulting in real change in corporate policy and practice. We look forward to more long-term improvements across the industry in future years as companies take steps to be more accountable to their users and those users' right to freedom of expression.

    EFF and 23 Civil Liberties Organizations Demand Transparency on NSA Domestic Phone Record Surveillance

    Two dozen civil liberties organizations, including EFF and the ACLU, have urged Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats to report—as required by law—statistics that could help clear up just how many individuals are burdened by broad NSA surveillance of domestic telephone records. These records show who is calling whom and when, but not the content of the calls.

    These numbers are crucial to understanding how the NSA conducts this highly sensitive surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, as amended by the USA Freedom Act of 2015. Under the earlier version of this surveillance program, the NSA collected details of nearly every single American's phone calls. With the NSA’s domestic phone record surveillance powers scheduled to expire in 2019, Congress and the public deserve to know the truth before any legislative attempts to reauthorize the program.

    Despite this, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has failed to report these statistics in its past three annual transparency reports.

    The civil liberties groups also signed a letter to Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, warning about the NSA’s continued failure to comply with the law mandating disclosure of this data.

    EFF Updates


    Email Privacy Act Comes Back, Hopefully to Stay


    The House of Representatives passed a bill this week called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes the nation’s military and defense programs. Earlier in the week, scores of Representatives offered amendments to this must-pass bill in hopes of ensuring that their ideas get a chance to become law.

    Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) used this opportunity to include as an amendment the Email Privacy Act, a piece of legislation long-favored by EFF. The Email Privacy Act would codify the rule announced by the Sixth Circuit—and now followed by providers nationwide—that requires government agents to first obtain a probable cause warrant when seeking the content of communications stored by companies like Google, Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, and Microsoft.

    On Thursday night, the House approved the NDAA—including the amendment with the Email Privacy Act—in a 351-66 vote. We applaud the House’s inclusion of this important statutory language.


    What to Watch for in an Internet Without Net Neutrality (And How To Stop It)

    On Monday, June 11, the FCC's rollback of net neutrality rules went into effect, but don't expect the Internet to change overnight.

    You can look forward to an Internet that's slower when you're trying to visit less popular sites, and where online services get a bit more expensive because they have to pay protection money to the ISPs. It will be harder for new companies to come in and compete with the ones that paid for fast lanes, and the nonprofit information resources on the web will be harder to use.

    It's not going to be a flashy apocalypse; it will be a slow decline into the Internet of ISP gatekeeping, and you probably won't even know what neat services and helpful resources you're missing. And one day, when the ISPs are secure in their victory, they'll test the waters and see if you'll pay extra to access anything that's not Facebook, or Comcast's video platform, or AT&T's paying partners.

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    Cryptoparty Hosted by Cypurr

    Being able to communicate safely and privately with friends and family is part of the foundation of all our lives, so it's also a key skill for using the Internet. This month's cryptoparty will go over easy ways to talk, chat, and email securely online. It's always good to review the tools and habits that our digital security depend on, especially with the recent Signal Desktop flaws and the e-Fail email exploits.







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    View this issue in it's entirety. Issue 735.

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    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
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  2. #52
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Electronic Frontier Foundation.
    Issue #736 updates.
    June 28, 2018.



    Top Features
    Victory! Supreme Court Says Fourth Amendment Applies to Cell Phone Tracking

    The Supreme Court handed down a landmark opinion in Carpenter v. United States last week, ruling 5-4 that the Fourth Amendment protects cell phone location information. In an opinion by Chief Justice Roberts, the court recognized that location information—collected by cell providers like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon—creates a “detailed chronicle of a person’s physical presence compiled every day, every moment over years.” As a result, police must now get a warrant before obtaining this data.

    Perhaps the most significant part of the ruling is its explicit recognition that individuals can maintain an expectation of privacy in information that they provide to third parties. The court termed that a “rare” case, but it’s clear that other invasive surveillance technologies, particularly those that can track individuals through physical space, are now ripe for challenge in light of Carpenter. Expect to see much more litigation on this subject from EFF and our friends.

    Announcing STARTTLS Everywhere: Securing Hop-to-Hop Email Delivery

    We’re announcing the launch of STARTTLS Everywhere, EFF’s initiative to improve the security of the email ecosystem.

    Thanks to previous EFF efforts like Let's Encrypt, and Certbot, as well as help from the major web browsers, we've seen significant wins in encrypting the web. Now we want to do for email what we’ve done for web browsing: make it simple and easy for everyone to help ensure their communications aren’t vulnerable to mass surveillance.

    STARTTLS is an addition to SMTP, which allows one email server to say to the other, “I want to deliver this email to you over an encrypted communications channel.” The recipient email server can then say “Sure! Let’s negotiate an encrypted communications channel.” The two servers then set up the channel and the email is delivered securely, so that anybody listening in on their traffic only sees encrypted data. In other words, network observers gobbling up worldwide information from Internet backbone access points (like the NSA or other governments) won't be able to see the contents of messages while they’re in transit, and will need to use more targeted, low-volume methods.

    STARTTLS Everywhere provides software that a sysadmin can run on an email server to automatically get a valid certificate from Let’s Encrypt. This software can also configure their email server software so that it uses STARTTLS, and presents the valid certificate to other email servers. Finally, STARTTLS Everywhere includes a “preload list” of email servers that have promised to support STARTTLS, which can help detect downgrade attacks. The net result: more secure email, and less mass surveillance.

    EFF Updates

    After More Than a Decade of Litigation, the Dancing Baby Has Done His Part to Strengthen Fair Use for Everyone


    It all started when Stephanie Lenz posted a YouTube video of her then-toddler-aged son dancing while Prince’s song “Let's Go Crazy” played in the background, and Universal used copyright claims to get the link disabled. We brought the case hoping to get some clarity from the courts on a simple but important issue: can a rightsholder use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down an obvious fair use, without consequence?

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the DMCA requires a rightsholder to consider whether the uses she targets in a DMCA notice are actually lawful under the fair use doctrine. However, the court also held that a rightsholder’s determination on that question passes muster as long as she subjectively believes it to be true. This leads to a virtually incoherent result: a rightsholder must consider fair use, but has no incentive to actually learn what such a consideration should entail. After all, if she doesn’t know what the fair use factors are, she can’t be held liable for not applying them thoughtfully.

    Thanks to the Lenz decision, courts will be more likely to think of fair use, correctly, as a crucial vehicle for achieving the real purpose of copyright law: to promote the public interest in creativity and innovation. And rightsholders are on notice: they must at least consider fair use before sending a takedown notice. After the Supreme Court denied petitions to consider the Ninthb Circuit's ruling, the case returned to the district court for trial on the question of whether Universal’s takedown was a misrepresentation under the Ninth Circuit’s subjective standard. Rather than go to trial, the parties have agreed to a settlement.

    Volkswagen Claims Ownership of an Entire Group of Insects

    Using word searches to find infringement is a bad way to go about things. It is likely why Volkswagen filed three takedown requests on art of beetles. Not Beetles with four wheels and headlights. Beetles with six legs and hard, shiny carapaces. For the record, Volkswagen holds no rights to literal bugs.


    Happy Birthday Alice: Four Years Busting Software Patents

    This year marks the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank. In Alice, the court ruled that an abstract idea does not become eligible for a patent simply by being implemented on a generic computer. Now that four years have passed, we know the case’s impact: bad patents went down, and software innovation went up.

    Lower courts have applied Alice to throw out a rogues’ gallery of abstract software patents. Counting both federal courts and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, there are more than 400 decisions finding patent claims invalid under Alice. These include rulings invalidating patents on playing bingo on a computer, computerized meal plans, updating games, and many more. Some of these patents had been asserted by patent trolls dozens or even hundreds of times. A single ruling threw out 168 cases where a troll claimed that companies infringed a patent on the idea of storing and labeling information.


    The GDPR and Browser Fingerprinting: How It Changes the Game for the Sneakiest Web Trackers

    Browser fingerprinting is on a collision course with privacy regulations. Compared to more well-known tracking “cookies,” browser fingerprinting is trickier for users and browser extensions to combat: websites can do it without detection, and it’s very difficult to modify browsers so that they are less vulnerable to it. As cookies have become more visible and easier to block, companies have been increasingly tempted to turn to sneakier fingerprinting techniques.

    But companies also have to obey the law. And for residents of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force on May 25th, is intended to cover exactly this kind of covert data collection. The EU has also begun the process of updating its ePrivacy Directive, best known for its mandate that websites must warn you about any cookies they are using. If you’ve ever seen a message asking you to approve a site’s cookie use, that’s likely based on this earlier Europe-wide law.

    This leads to a key question: Will the GDPR require companies to make fingerprinting as visible to users as the original ePrivacy Directive required them to make cookies?

    The answer, in short, is yes. Where the purpose of fingerprinting is tracking people, it will constitute “personal data processing” and will be covered by the GDPR.



    EFF Pressure Results in Increased Disclosure of Abuse of California’s Law Enforcement Databases

    EFF’s efforts to fix holes in oversight of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) are paying off.


    New data and records released by California Department of Justice (CADOJ) show a steep increase in the number of agencies disclosing cases of abuse of the state's network of law enforcement databases—a major victory for transparency and law enforcement accountability.







    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 in it's entirety. Issue 736.

    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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