Tag Archive: EFF


Civil Liberties Groups Appeal Ruling Over Automatic License Plate Reader Data

 

 

 

 

” The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California are taking the fight over automatic license plate reader (ALPR) data to the next level by asking the California Court of Appeal to rule that the public has a right to know how Los Angeles cops are tracking their locations.

  ALPRs are cameras mounted to patrol cars and fixed locations, such as light poles, that are able to capture, process, and store the license plates of every vehicle that passes nearby. The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department together collect close to 3 million license plates each week; these data points could give police an intimate picture of the comings and goings of the entire population over several years. By our estimates, these agencies currently have an average of 61 plate scans for each vehicle registered in Los Angeles County.”

 

EFF has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Says NSA Can Continue To Destroy Evidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

” Well, this is unfortunate. After yesterday’s back and forth between the DOJ and the EFF over the ongoing destruction of key evidence in the Jewel v. NSA case, the court ordered an emergency hearing for this afternoon. About an hour before the hearing, the DOJ presented its opposition to the temporary restraining order, arguing, basically, that it would be too damn complicated to stop destroying evidence in the case. Part of this is because the data collected under the Section 702 program apparently isn’t just one big database, but is quickly fed into all sorts of other systems.”

 

 

Tech Dirt has the whole story . See also :

 

Judge Asks for More Information About NSA Spying Evidence Destruction After Emergency Hearing

Judge Changes Mind, Says NSA Can Resume Destroying Evidence

Judge Says NSA Can Continue To Destroy Evidence

FISA Court Reverses Order to Destroy NSA Phone Data -CIO.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Encrypt The Web Report: Who’s Doing What

 

EFF Privacy Report

 

” We’ve asked the companies in our Who Has Your Back Program what they are doing to bolster encryption in light of the NSA’s unlawful surveillance of your communications. We’re pleased to see that four five six seven companies—Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sonic.net,SpiderOak, and Twitter—are implementing five out of five of our best practices for encryption. See the infographic.

  By adopting these practices, described below, these service providers have taken a critical step towards protecting their users from warrantless seizure of their information off of fiber-optic cables. By enabling encryption across their networks, service providers can make backdoor surveillance more challenging, requiring the government to go to courts and use legal process. While Lavabit’s travails have shown how difficult that can be for service providers, at least there was the opportunity to fight back in court.

  While not every company in our survey has implemented every recommendation, each step taken helps, and we appreciate those who have worked to strengthen their security. We hope that every online service provider adopts these best practices and continues to work to protect their networks and their users.”

 

     Read more at EFF and consider making a donation to help fund their valuable contributions to online freedom and privacy .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tech Companies And Activists Unite To Protest The NSA

 

 

 

 

” Get ready for another day of internet-wide activism. This is billed as “The Day We Fight Back,” with sites across the web joining a campaign to end mass surveillance programs from the National Security Agency.

  The campaign was organized by public advocacy groups such as Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Fight for the Future, working alongside tech companies such as Reddit, Namecheap, and Tumblr. With the protest, activists hope to not only push public opinion even further against the NSA, but also defeat the FISA Improvements Act, a bill sponsored by California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein. Demand Progress executive director David Segal says that although the bill is touted as reform legislation, it would actually codify many of the surveillance practices that activists oppose — practices that have received added attention in recent months after ex-government contractor Edward Snowden began sharing NSA secrets with the press.

  At least in spirit, today’s protest resembles a successful 2012 campaign to stop the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills, which critics argued were over-broad and would have allowed the government to censor the web. But it also honors the memory of Aaron Schwartz, the political activist and co-founder of both Demand Progress and Reddit, who took his life last year.”

 

Wired has more

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Radio Yacht

 YACHT Parties at the NSA with Marc Maron

 

 

 

 

 


” The National Security Agency is snatching the emails and telephone calls of millions of ordinary Americans from the fiber-optic backbones that carry our most private thoughts across the world. They are doing this with the assistance of our nation’s largest phone and Internet companies. Even if you trust these corporations and the NSA–the largest and most obscure of U.S. intelligence organizations–with your private information, the precedent set by this far-reaching and unaccountable domestic spying program is unacceptable. We live much of our lives online; we should be outraged by the extent of the NSA’s domestic spying programs. Instead, we are sinking into a dangerous indifference. Insidious forces are at work. Help us reverse the entropy. 

  The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a donation-supported nonprofit that fights back against the government to protect our digital rights; 100% of your donation to download “Party at the NSA” will go straight to fund their important work.”

 

“Party at the NSA” Lyrics:

Did you read my mail again?
How do you find the time?
I lost my signal yesterday,
But it was never mine.

We don’t need no privacy.
What do you want that for?
Don’t you think it’ll spoil our fun
If you let that whistle blow?

P-P-P-Party at the NSA,
Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours a day!

There is a rainbow at the end of every P-R-I-S-M.

Be careful where you look today,
Careful what you share.
We’re gonna make history.
But it won’t know we’re there.

The world looks stranger when you look
Through electronic eyes.
There’s a place in the Beehive State
Where the network goes to die.

P-P-P-Party at the NSA,
Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours a day! “
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Privacy Leaders React To Obama’s NSA Reform Proposals

 

 

” President Barack Obama delivered a speech this morning on proposed reforms to the NSA’s mass surveillance program. To help illustrate what human rights and other organizations around the world are saying internationally, we have highlighted some excerpts that raise awareness of the need to protect the privacy rights of everyone everywhere, regardless of national boundaries:

Carly Nyst, Legal Director of Privacy International:

“The reforms proposed by President Obama fundamentally ignore those who are spied on simply because they don’t have an American passport. We need genuine, effective changes that account for the way the world now communicates. Secret international intelligence-sharing arrangements must come to an end and human rights must be properly guaranteed to humans, not just American citizens.” “

 

 

Below is the complete video of Obama’s speech on NSA “reforms” .

 

 

Read on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET

 

The Day We Fight Back

 

 

 

” In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. A year ago this month one of that movement’s leaders, Aaron Swartz, tragically passed away.

  Today we face a different threat, one that undermines the Internet, and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.”

 

 

 

 

” If Aaron were alive, he’d be on the front lines, fighting against a world in which governments observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action.

  Now, on the eve of the anniversary of Aaron’s passing, and in celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA that he helped make possible, we are announcing a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.”

 

 

 

Do your part to protect privacy and internet freedom . Click the link to see how .

 

 

 

 

 

Crossword Puzzle: What Did We Learn About The NSA This Year?

 

 

 

” We’ve certainly learned a lot this year about the surveillance state. Thanks to the cache of intelligence documents leaked by Edward Snowden, as well as the hoards of legal records we liberated through our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, we’ve had immense amounts of new information to consume and process. But how many of the details do you remember? It’s time for a pop quiz.

  And Dec. 21 just happens to be the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle.

  We’ve written about the word games top US officials play when defending the NSA’s massive electronic surveillance system, so it felt especially appropriate to round-up the highlights in one big crossword puzzle. You can click the puzzle above for a larger image to print, or just download this PDF. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet CO-TRAVELER: The NSA’s Cell Phone Location Tracking Program

 

 

” An article yesterday in the Washington Post disclosed the NSA’s massive cell phone location program. The program, codenamed CO-TRAVELER, is designed to track who meets with whom and covers everyone who carries a cell phone, all around the world.

  With neither public debate nor court authorization, CO-TRAVELER collects billions of records daily of cell phone user location information. It maps the relationships of cell phone users across global mobile network cables, gathering data about who you are physically with and how often your movements intersect with other cell phone users. The program even tracks when your phone is turned on or off.”

 

 

 

 

” The trillions of collected records, which add up to twice the amount of data in the Library of Congress’ print collection, are saved and stored in the NSA’s mammoth database called FASCIA.  While allegedly aimed at foreigners and mobile phones overseas, the NSA admits that it has “incidentally” collected location information on U.S. persons.

  CO-TRAVELER ignores fundamental values in the Constitution the NSA has sworn to uphold, including the right against unreasonable search and seizure as well as freedom of association. Thinking globally, the program disregards international human rights law, which is currently in the process of being reaffirmed in a draft resolution by the UN General Assembly.”

 

 

 

 

 

   For the German speakers among us here is the only video we could find on the NSA’s Co-Traveler program . Big Brother has truly arrived . 

 

 

 

2 + 2 = 5

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the twenty first century . Orwell wasn’t wrong , just off by a few years .

 

 

 

 

 

 

EFF Has Lavabit’s Back In Contempt Of Court Appeal

 

 

 

” For nearly two decades, secure Internet communication has relied on HTTPS, a encryption system in which there are two keys: A public key that anyone can use to encrypt communications to a service provider, and a private key that only the service provide can use to decrypt the messages.

In July, the Department of Justice demanded Lavabit’s private key—first with a subpoena, then with a search warrant. Although the government was investigating a single user, having access to the private key means the government would have the power to read all of Lavabit’s customers’ communications. The target of the investigation has not been named, but journalists have noted that the requests came shortly after reports that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden used a Lavabit email account to communicate.

“Obtaining a warrant for a service’s private key is no different than obtaining a warrant to search all the houses in a city to find the papers of one suspect,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch said. “This case represents an unprecedented use of subpoena power, with the government claiming it can compel a disclosure that would, in one fell swoop, expose the communications of every single one of Lavabit’s users to government scrutiny.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrities Tell The NSA To Get Out Of Their Business

 

 

 

 

” Amongst those joining Crabapple and Wheaton are actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack, director Oliver Stone, and talk show host Phil Donahue, as well as a number of whistleblowers, including Mark Klein, the former AT&T technician who has claimed for years the company was forwarding internet traffic to the government, and J. Kirk Wiebe, a former NSA analyst who went public with information about domestic surveillance programs.

The three-and-a-half minute video is directed by Brian Knappenberger, a documentary writer, director and producer arguably best known for his Anonymous documentary We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists. Describing himself as “very honored” to create the video, Kaneppenberger called this “the moment for a large scale debate on the future of this thing we all love, the internet, the way we communicate, our relationship with our government and how technology and its progress can blend with more traditional notions of privacy, liberty and democracy.”

The rally, which is scheduled to take place in Washington D.C. this Saturday, is the culmination of an ongoing campaign on behalf of the EFF and more than 100 other organizations asking for current laws regarding internet surveillance to be amended to outlaw blanket surveillance, as well as the creation of a special committee to investigate just how widespread surveillance related to current NSA programs has been.”

 

 

Read the rest 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join EFF & The Stopwatching.us Coalition In DC On October 26th

 

 

 

 

” This summer, some of our worst fears and suspicions about the NSA have been confirmed. We now have evidence that the NSA is actively undermining the basic security of the Internet. It iscollecting millions and millions of phone records of individuals not suspected of any crime. It issurveilling journalists.

The NSA’s overreaching surveillance is creating a climate of fear and chilling free speech. Its addiction to secrecy makes real accountability impossible

But there’s a movement forming to change all of this. And we’re about to take the next step.

On the weekend of October 26 — the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act — thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to take a stand against unconstitutional surveillance. Please join EFF in D.C. for a day of grassroots training and citizen lobbying on October 25th and a historic rally and petition delivery on October 26th.”

 

Join us in Washington.

— RSVP on the event page (privacy policy here): https://rally.stopwatching.us
— RSVP for the lobby day here: https://rally.stopwatching.us/lobbyday.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World To U.S. Congress: I’m Not American But I Have Privacy Rights

 

 

” In a letter sent today to the United States Congress, an international coalition of non-profit organizations called upon the U.S. government to protect the privacy and freedoms of not only its citizens, but of people everywhere. As news of the alarmingly broad reach and scope of America’s surveillance program reverberates around the globe, now is the time for the United States to pass formal privacy safeguards to protect the billions of foreign Internet users whose communications are stored in U.S. servers or whose data travels across U.S. networks.

EFF joined more than 50 NGOs—including European Digital Rights, Association For Progressive Communications, Center for Technology and Society (Brazil) and Thai Netizen Network—in signing the letter, which was organized through Best Bits, a global network of civil society organizations.  In its letter, the coalition also expressed grave concern over information-sharing between U.S. authorities and the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium and New Zealand.”

     How can America continue to lay claim to being the custodian of the internet and the guardian of free speech when the world looks on and sees nothing but a massive violation of privacy rights , both of Americans and themselves ? The hypocrisy is plain for all to see , even if DC refuses to acknowledge it .

FISA Court Rejects Catch-22 Secrecy Argument In FOIA Case

 

 

” In the first publicly known victory by a non-government party before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secret court today granted a motion filed by EFF related to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The victory today was a modest one. The Court didn’t order disclosure of its opinion; it just made clear, as EFF had argued, that the FISC’s own rules don’t serve as an obstacle to disclosure of the opinion. The FISC also clarified that the executive branch cannot rely on the judiciary to hide its surveillance: the only thing obstructing the opinion from the public’s review is the executive branch’s own claims that it can hide its unconstitutional action behind a veil of classification.”

 

 

Here are the proceedings : U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Public Filings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret

 

 

 

” In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion finding government surveillance to be unconstitutional.  Significantly, the activities at issue were carried out under the controversial legal authority that underlies the National Security Agency’s recently-revealed PRISM program.

EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling.  Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702  “circumvented the spirit of the law” and violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Enable Two-Factor Authentication On Twitter (And Everywhere Else)

 

 

 

” Twitter rolled out two-factor authentication last week, joining a growing group of tech companies to support the important security feature. Two-factor authentication can help mitigate the damage of a password breach or phishing attack.

The Three Authentication Factors

  • A knowledge factor, like a password or PIN. Something you know.
  • A possession factor, like a key or a hardware dongle. Something you have.
  • An inherence factor, like a fingerprint or an iris. Something you are.

The principle comes from the idea that any authentication system—whether it’s the deadbolt on your front door, the lockscreen on your smartphone, or the bouncer at a secret clubhouse—works by confirming something you know, something you have, or something you are. Each of these are called “factors.”

Normal password logins just check whether you know a password, which means anybody else who learns it can log in as you. Adding a second factor—in this case, checking something you have, your phone—means that even if your password is compromised by, say, a keylogger in an Internet cafe, or through a company’s security breach, your account is safe.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Companies Help Protect Your Data From The Government (An Important Infographic)

 

 

 

eff cc cc

 

” The folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation do such good work. Everyone who cares about freedom in the online world should send them a check (or some bitcoin.)”

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Dead For Now:’ CISPA Halted In The Senate

 

 

 

 

” Privacy advocates can breathe a sigh of relief as the controversial US Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) appears to be all but dead in the water, with all signs pointing to it being shelved by the Senate.

The bill, which was purportedly designed to allow the federal government to share private user information with corporations in situations of a suspected cyber threat, was the source of widespread ire from privacy advocates.

According to US News & World Report, a representative of the Senate committee stated that, though CISPA seems to be dead for the time being, issues and key provisions from that bill may still re-emerge.

I think it’s dead for now,” says Michelle Richardson, legislative council with the ACLU. “CISPA is too controversial, it’s too expansive, it’s just not the same sort of program contemplated by the Senate last year. We’re pleased to hear the Senate will probably pick up where it left off last year,” she told US News.

According to the EFF, CISPA represents a “dangerous” level of access to private information, and would allow the National Security Agency to obtain online communications data without a warrant.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Censorship In America: 34 Civil Liberties Groups Speak Out Against CISPA In Lead Up To Hearings

 

 

 

” On Monday, EFF and over 30 other Internet rights organizations sent a letter to members of Congress demanding they vote no on the “cybersecurity” bill known as CISPA. The letter starts off a week in which Congress will hold three different hearings about CISPA and computer and network security. In addition to the letter, each hearing will provide opportunity to voice many of the bill’s problems. We encourage you to join the fight and tell your Representative to say no to CISPA.

 

The first hearing this week will focus on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in cybersecurity. In the past couple of years there has been a turf battle over whether the National Security Agency (NSA) or DHS should run the nation’s Internet and network security. Even after NSA head General Keith Alexander declared that civilian agencies should be in charge, the House didn’t get the message. The letter we sent highlights a loophole in CISPA allowing companies to bypass privacy laws and share potentially personal information directly with the NSA. We agree with General Alexander. Civilian control of our domestic cybersecurity is a necessity. “