EFF to Supreme Court: Put Texas Social Media Law Back on Hold
May 17, 2022, 10:57 PM
Users Should Be Able to Choose Among Platforms With Different Moderation PoliciesWASHINGTON, D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to halt enforcement of Texas’ constitutionally questionable social media law, which allows the state to dictate what speech platforms must publish and may lead to more, not less, censorship of user expression as platforms face a storm of lawsuits.EFF, joined by the Center for Democracy and Technology, the National Coal...
Podcast Episode: An AI Hammer in Search of a Nail
May 17, 2022, 8:17 AM
It often feels like machine learning experts are running around with a hammer, looking at everything as a potential nail - they have a system that does cool things and is fun to work on, and they go in search of things to use it for. But what if we flip that around and start by working with people in various fields - education, health, or economics, for example - to clearly define societal problems, and then design algorithms providing useful steps to solve them?
Rediet Abebe, a researcher and p...
British Citizen Alaa Abd El Fattah Demands An End to Mistreatment in Egyptian Prison
May 16, 2022, 7:26 PM
Egyptian blogger, coder, and free speech activist Alaa Abd El Fattah is on day 45 of a hunger strike in protest of his mistreatment in an Egyptian prison. Alaa was sentenced, without due process, late last year, after spending two years at a maximum-security prison in Tora, 12 miles south of Cairo, in pre-trial detention. He was granted British citizenship in April, and civil society groups—including Access Now, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty UK, English PEN, and EFF—are joining the call...
EFF, Al Sur Launch Guide to Raise Awareness About Deficiencies in Cross-Border Surveillance Treaty and Strategies to Mitigate Human Rights Risks
May 16, 2022, 5:08 PM
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Latin American countries have a choice to make in the coming months—whether to accede to a new set of rules for coordinating and cooperating with each other and nations around the world on criminal investigations. Opened for signature on May 12, the Protocol has already more than 20 signing States, pending their ratification. Chile and Colombia are part of the list.
The 10,000-word Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Cybercrime Convention aims to make cross-border ex...
Geofence Warrants and Reverse Keyword Warrants are So Invasive, Even Big Tech Wants to Ban Them
May 13, 2022, 7:27 PM
Geofence and reverse keyword warrants are some of the most dangerous, civil-liberties-infringing and reviled tools in law enforcement agencies’ digital toolbox. It turns out that these warrants are so invasive of user privacy that big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are willing to support banning them. The three tech giants have issued a public statement through a trade organization,“Reform Government Surveillance,'' that they will support a bill before the New York State le...
California Law Enforcement Now Needs Approval for Military-Grade Surveillance Equipment. We'll Be Watching.
May 12, 2022, 9:19 PM
California residents finally have a law designed to dismantle some of the secrecy around domestic acquisitions of warzone surveillance equipment.
The weapons of the United States military—drones, mobile command centers, sound cannons, and more—have been handed off to local law enforcement for years. The transfers have equipped police departments with the ability to redirect surveillance tools and the weapons of war designed for foreign adversaries toward often-faultless targets on U.S. soil...
In a Blow to Free Speech, Texas’ Social Media Law Allowed to Proceed Pending Appeal
May 12, 2022, 4:56 PM
A constitutionally problematic Texas law limiting social media companies exercising their First Amendment rights to curate the content they carry can go into effect after a federal appeals court lifted a lower court’s injunction blocking it. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, lifted the injunction in a one-sentence order without giving a reason. The law, Texas HB 20, which prohibits large social media platforms from removing or moderating...
The EU Commission’s New Proposal Would Undermine Encryption And Scan Our Messages
May 12, 2022, 12:23 AM
The executive body of the European Union published today a legislative proposal (text) that, if it became law, would be a disaster for online privacy in the EU and throughout the world. In the name of fighting crimes against children, the EU Commission has suggested new rules that would compel a broad range of internet services, including hosting and messaging services, to search for, and report, child abuse material.
The Commission’s new demands would require regular plain-text access to us...
EFF to Court: Fair Use is a Right Congress Cannot Cast Aside
May 11, 2022, 7:18 PM
Copyright law and free expression have always been in tension, with the courts protecting speech from overzealous copyright claims using legal doctrines such as fair use. But in 1998, Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and since then courts have interpreted its “anti-circumvention” provision to give rightsholders the unprecedented power to block even fair uses of their works, whenever that use requires bypassing an access control like encryption or DRM.
This has harmed ind...
How to Disable Ad ID Tracking on iOS and Android, and Why You Should Do It Now
May 11, 2022, 6:12 PM
The ad identifier - aka “IDFA” on iOS, or “AAID” on Android - is the key that enables most third-party tracking on mobile devices. Disabling it will make it substantially harder for advertisers and data brokers to track and profile you, and will limit the amount of your personal information up for sale.
This post explains the history of device ad identifiers and how they have enabled persistent tracking, identification, and other privacy invasions.
But first things first. Here’s how ...
What Companies Can Do Now to Protect Digital Rights In A Post-Roe World
May 10, 2022, 7:57 PM
The increasing risk that the Supreme Court will overturn federal constitutional abortion protections has refocused attention on the role digital service providers of all kinds play in facilitating access to health information, education, and care—and the data they collect in return.
In a post-Roe world, service providers can expect a raft of subpoenas and warrants seeking user data that could be employed to prosecute abortion seekers, providers, and helpers. They can also expect pressure to ag...
Reproductive Privacy Requires Data Privacy
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