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EFF Statement on the Declaration for the Future of the Internet
April 28, 2022, 8:12 PM
The White House announced today that sixty one countries have signed the Declaration for the Future of the Internet. The high-level vision and principles expressed in the Declaration—to have a single, global network that is truly open, fosters competition, respects privacy and inclusion, and protects human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people—are laudable. But clearly they are aspirational. Implementing these principles will require many signatory countries to change their current p...
Canvas and other Online Learning Platforms Aren't Perfect—Just Ask Students
April 27, 2022, 6:21 PM
School digital environments are increasingly locked down, increasingly invasive, and increasingly used for disciplinary action. This has never been more troubling than during the pandemic, with schools adopting remote proctoring and surveillance tools at alarming rates and entering students’ homes via school-issued and personal devices. As students have tried to educate their teachers and administrators about the dangers of surveillance and the need for student privacy, they have often fought ...
Amidst Invasion of Ukraine, Platforms Continue to Erase Critical War Crimes Documentation
April 27, 2022, 1:53 PM
When atrocities happen—in Mariupol, Gaza, Kabul, or Christchurch—users and social media companies face a difficult question: how do we handle online content that shows those atrocities? Can and should we differentiate between pro-violence content containing atrocities and documentation by journalists or human rights activists? In a conflict, should platforms take sides as to whose violent content is allowed?
The past decade has demonstrated that social media platforms play an important role ...
EFF to European Court: No Intermediary Liability for Social Media Users
April 26, 2022, 11:41 PM
Courts and legislatures around the globe are hotly debating to what degree online intermediaries—the chain of entities that facilitate or support speech on the internet—are liable for the content they help publish. One thing they should not be doing is holding social media users legally responsible for comments posted by others to their social media feeds, EFF and Media Defence told the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).Before the court is the case Sanchez v. France, in which a politici...
What Low-Income People Will Lose with a Deadlocked FCC
April 26, 2022, 11:09 PM
When the massive, bipartisan infrastructure package passed Congress, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tasked with ensuring equal access to broadband services. That provision is called “Digital Discrimination” and it states, for the first time in federal law, that specifically broadband access cannot be built along the lines of race, income, and other protected classes unless an ISP has an economic or technical justification for the discrimination. In other words, it is now a m...
DSA Agreement: No Filternet, But Human Rights Concerns Remain
April 26, 2022, 9:14 PM
The European Union reached another milestone late last week in its journey to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA) and revamp regulation of digital platforms to address a myriad of problems users face—from overbroad content takedown rules to weak personal data privacy safeguards. There’s a lot to like in the new DSA agreement EU lawmakers reached, and a lot to fear.Based on what we have learned so far, the deal avoids transforming social networks and search engines into censorship tools, whic...
Plaintiffs Press Appeals Court to Rule That FOSTA Violates the First Amendment
April 25, 2022, 11:40 PM
Two human rights organizations, a digital library, a sex worker activist, and a certified massage therapist on Monday appealed a ruling that denied their constitutional challenge to FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), an overbroad and censorious internet law that harms sex workers.
The plaintiffs, Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Human Rights Watch, The Internet Archive, Alex Andrews, and Eric Koszyk, have been challenging the law since it was enacted in 2018. The...
Twitter Has a New Owner. Here’s What He Should Do.
April 25, 2022, 7:40 PM
Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter highlights the risks to human rights and personal safety when any single person has complete control over policies affecting almost 400 million users. And in this case, that person has repeatedly demonstrated that they do not understand the realities of platform policy at scale.
The core reality is this: Twitter and other social networks play an increasingly important role in social and political discourse, and have an increasingly important corollary responsi...
Our Fight To Prevent Patent Suits From Being Shrouded in Secrecy
April 25, 2022, 5:01 PM
The public has a right to know what happens when companies litigate in publicly funded courts. Unfortunately, when it comes to patent cases, companies routinely ignore the public’s rights—for example, by filing entire documents under seal without making any attempt to justify that much secrecy. Even when courts have specific rules requiring justification for sealing requests and publicly filing redacted versions of sealed documents, parties can often defy them without consequence.
Victory! Maryland Legislature Says Police Must Now Be Trained To Recognize Stalkerware
April 22, 2022, 7:00 PM
Maryland's legislature has unanimously passed a bill that will require law enforcement agencies to learn, as part of their standard training, to recognize the common tactics of electronic surveillance and the laws around such activities. This victory will help provide survivors of domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, and other electronic stalking with much-needed support. The bill, S.B. 134, passed unanimously through the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates. EFF thanks this bill's a...
Stop Forced Arbitration in Data Privacy Legislation https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/04/stop-forced-arbitration-data-privacy-legislation
April 19, 2022, 6:37 PM
People who want their day in court should be able to have it. That's why EFF has long opposed forced arbitration agreements—agreements that require people to resolve conflicts without going to court—because they place unfair limits on one’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights. Too often, they also act as a get-out-of-jail-free card for companies.
There is a growing recognition that forced arbitration agreements impede the defense of fundamental rights. The U.S. Supreme Court hears...
Scraping Public Websites (Still) Isn’t a Crime, Court of Appeals Declares
April 19, 2022, 4:14 PM
Reiterating its prior common-sense opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in hiQ v. LinkedIn that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act likely does not bar scraping data from a public website against the wishes of the website owner. Last year, after the Supreme Court decided its first CFAA case, Van Buren v. United States, it vacated the Ninth Circuit’s original ruling in hiQ and sent it back to court of appeals for reconsideration. According to the Ninth Circuit, Van Buren only “reinf...
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