EFF Condemns the Unjust Conviction and Sentencing of Activist and Friend Alaa Abd El Fattah
January 4, 2022, 6:37 PM
EFF is deeply saddened and angered by the news that our friend, Egyptian blogger, coder, and free speech activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, long a target of oppression by Egypt's successive authoritarian regimes, was sentenced to five years in prison by an emergency state security court just before the holidays.
According to media reports and social media posts of family members, Fattah, human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, and blogger Mohamed 'Oxygen' Ibrahim were convicted on December 20 of "spr...
Cross-Border Access to User Data by Law Enforcement: 2021 Year in Review https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/12/cross-border-access-user-data-law-enforcement-year-review-2021
January 3, 2022, 7:29 PM
Law enforcement around the world is apparently getting its holiday wish list, thanks to the Council of Europe’s adoption of a flawed new protocol to the Budapest Convention, a treaty governing procedures for accessing digital evidence across borders in criminal investigations. The Second Additional Protocol (“the Protocol”) to the Budapest Convention, which will reshape how police in one country access data from internet companies based in another country, was heavily influenced by law enf...
Fighting For A More Open, Balanced Patent System: 2021 in Review
January 2, 2022, 9:54 PM
At EFF, we’ve always stood up for the freedom to tinker and innovate. Unfortunately, our patent system doesn’t promote those freedoms. In some areas, like software, it’s causing much more harm than good. And the system is rife with patent trolls: companies that are focused on licensing and litigating patents, instead of making things. In 2021, the majority of all patent lawsuits were filed by these trolls. In fact, patent trolls have filed the majority of patent lawsuits for many years now...
Fighting For You From Coast to Coast: 2021 In Review
January 2, 2022, 9:54 PM
EFF makes its presence known in statehouses across the country to advocate for strong privacy laws, broadband access, and to protect and advance your digital rights. The pandemic has changed a lot about how state legislators operate in 2021, but one thing has remained the same: EFF steps up to fight for you from coast to coast.
Golden Opportunities in the Golden State
We helped win a huge victory in for all Californians this year, finally securing an historic $6 billion investment for broadba...
Police Use of Artificial Intelligence: 2021 in Review https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/12/police-use-artificial-intelligence-2021-review
January 1, 2022, 9:49 AM
Decades ago, when imagining the practical uses of artificial intelligence, science fiction writers imagined autonomous digital minds that could serve humanity. Sure, sometimes a HAL 9000 or WOPR would subvert expectations and go rogue, but that was very much unintentional, right?
And for many aspects of life, artificial intelligence is delivering on its promise. AI is, as we speak, looking for evidence of life on Mars. Scientists are using AI to try to develop more accurate and faster ways t...
2021 Year in Review: EFF Graphics
December 31, 2021, 1:33 PM
EFF's small design team sometimes struggles to keep up with the frenetic pace of our activist, legal and development colleagues. Whenever EFF launches a new legal case, activism campaign, tech project, or development campaign, we try to create unique and inspiring graphics to promote it. At EFF, we find that the ability to visualize the issues at hand encourages supporters to engage more fully with our work, to learn more and share more about what we do, and to donate to our cause.
In 2021, the Police Took a Page Out of the NSA’s Playbook: 2021 in Review
December 31, 2021, 11:57 AM
With increasing frequency, law enforcement has been using unconstitutional, suspicionless digital dragnet searches in an attempt to identify unknown suspects in criminal cases. Whether these searches are for everyone who was near a building where a crime occurred or who searched for a keyword like “bomb” or who shares genetic data with a crime scene DNA sample, 2021 saw more and more of these searches—and more attempts to push back and rein in unconstitutional law enforcement behavior.
Every State Has a Chance to Deliver a “Fiber for All” Broadband Future: 2021 in Review
December 30, 2021, 6:23 PM
This year’s passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)—also known as the bipartisan infrastructure package—delivered on a goal EFF has sought for years. It finally creates a way for people to remedy a serious problem: a severe lack of fiber-to-the-home connectivity. Fiber optics lie at the core of all future broadband access options because it is the superior medium for moving data, with no close comparisons. As a result, global demand for fiber infrastructure is extremel...
Shining a Light on Black Box Technology Used to Send People to Jail: 2021 Year in Review
December 30, 2021, 12:32 PM
If you're accused of a crime based on an algorithm's analysis of the evidence, you should have a right to refute the assumptions, methods, and programming of that algorithm. Building on previous wins, EFF and its allies turned the tide this year on the use of these secret programs in criminal prosecutions.
One of the most common forms of forensic programs is probabilistic genotyping software. It is used by the prosecution to examine DNA mixtures, where an analyst doesn't know how many people con...
2021 Year In Review: Sex Online
December 29, 2021, 4:26 PM
We don’t entrust Internet companies to be arbiters of morality. We shouldn't hand them the responsibility of making broad cultural decisions about the forms sexuality is allowed to take online. And yet, this last year has been a steady and consistent drum of Internet companies doing just that. Rather than seeking consensus among users, Apple, Mastercard, Amazon, Ebay and others chose to impose their own values on the world, negatively affecting a broad range of people.
The ability to express o...
Students Are Learning To Resist Surveillance: Year in Review 2021
December 29, 2021, 9:17 AM
It’s been a tough year for students - but a good one for resistance.
As schools have shuffled students from in-person education to at-home learning and testing, then back again, the lines between “school” and “home” have been blurred. This has made it increasingly difficult for students to protect their privacy and to freely express themselves, as online proctoring and other sinister forms of surveillance and disciplinary technology have spread. But students have fought back, and oft...
Where Net Neutrality Is Today and What Comes Next: 2021 in Review
December 28, 2021, 11:12 AM
When all is said and done—and there are some major steps to take in 2022—the United States will mark 2021 as the last year without federal net neutrality protections. Next year is when we will undo the 2017 repeal and once again put the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back to work doing its job: protecting consumers from bad actors, working towards universal and net-neutral internet access, and accurately assessing the playing field in telecommunications.
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