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Category Archives: Free Speech

EFF Publishes New Whitepaper on the Broken Penalty System

EFF – “Today, the House Judiciary Committee [held] a hearing on “remedies” in copyright law—that is, the penalties, injunctions, and other means of challenging and penalizing alleged infringement. This is hugely important: fixing copyright’s remedy provisions (like excessive, unpredictable monetary penalties and government seizures of domain names) is key to ensuring that copyright does its job—helping to encourage creativity—without unduly interfering with free speech and innovation. To help the Judiciary Committee, and to explain why fixing this part of copyright law is so important, EFF is releasing a white paper today. Collateral Damages explains how copyright’s system of “statutory damages” chills free speech and harms innovation. Statutory damages are automatic penalties of $750 to $150,000 per infringed work that a judge or jury can award to copyright holders without the copyright holders having to present any proof of their actual harm. This system leads to excessive penalties, like $222,000 against a home Internet user for sharing 24 copyrighted songs. It’s also wildly unpredictable, with vastly different amounts being awarded by different juries for the same conduct, making lawsuits a gamble.”

Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad

Arnbak, Axel and Goldberg, Sharon, Loopholes for Circumventing the Constitution: Warrantless Bulk Surveillance on Americans by Collecting Network Traffic Abroad (June 27, 2014). HOTPETS, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2460462 “In this multi-disciplinary paper, we reveal interdependent legal and technical loopholes that intelligence agencies of the U.S. government could use to circumvent constitutional and statutoryContinue Reading

11 Net Neutrality Principles released by Library and University Groups

“The above organizations firmly believe that preserving an open Internet is essential to our  nation’s freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth. The Internet now serves as a primary, open platform for information exchange, intellectual discourse, civic engagement, creativity, research, innovation, teaching, and learning. We are deeply concerned that public broadband providers have financialContinue Reading

World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development

“Freedom of expression in general, and media development in particular, are core to  UNESCO’s constitutional mandate to advance ‘the mutual knowledge and understanding  of peoples, through all means of mass communication’ and promoting ‘the free flow of ideas by word and image.’ For UNESCO, press freedom is a corollary of the general right to freedomContinue Reading

EPIC Defends FOIA Victory in Federal Appeals Court

“EPIC has filed a brief in response to an appeal by the Department of Justice in EPIC v. DHS, concerning the government policy to disrupt cellular networks. EPIC won a major FOIA victory when a federal district court ruled that the DHS could not withhold “SOP 303,” a government procedure to shut down cellular phone service. EPIC sought theContinue Reading

NSA tracking users of privacy applications and monitoring services

NSA targets the privacy-conscious - von J. Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge. “The investigation discloses the following: Two servers in Germany – in Berlin and Nuremberg – are under surveillance by the NSA. Merely searching the web for the privacy-enhancing software tools outlined in the XKeyscore rules causes the NSA toContinue Reading

U.S. Says It Spied on 89,000 Targets Last Year, But the Number Is Deceptive – Wired

Follow up to previous posting – ODNI and DOJ – Declassification of Renewal of Collection Under Section 501 of FISA – this commentary from Wired: “About 89,000 foreigners or organizations were targeted for spying under a U.S. surveillance order last year, according to a new transparency report. The report was released for the first time Friday byContinue Reading

Diverse organizations launch coalition focused on ending mass cyber surveillance

“We are a coalition of organizations from across the political spectrum joining forces to fight mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. We have different missions, different goals, different communities that we represent. However, we all agree that mass surveillance is contrary to freedom and democracy. It must be stopped. Surveillance that sweeps up the communications ofContinue Reading

The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) as Passed by The US House

Via cdt – “The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) is the most significant national security surveillance reform legislation in more than a decade. The bill was watered down in the House prior to final passage, prompting CDT, other public interest groups, and many major technology companies to withdraw support for the bill. CDT is urging the Senate to makeContinue Reading

Coalition to President: End NSA’s Bulk Collection Program Now

“EPIC and a coalition of 25 organizations urged the President and the Attorney General to end the NSA’s bulk record collection program when the current authority expires on June 20. In January, the President committed to “end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists.” The coalition letter states, “[t]he NSA’s Bulk Metadata program is simply notContinue Reading

Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States

“The Digital Media Law Project at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Journalist’s Resource project at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy are pleased to release a new report: Who Gets a Press Pass? Media Credentialing Practices in the United States. Media credentials have long played a critical role in newsgatheringContinue Reading

E-Mail Self Defense

“Bulk surveillance violates our fundamental rights and makes free speech risky. This guide will teach you a basic surveillance self-defense skill: email encryption. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be able to send and receive emails that are coded to make sure that a surveillance agent or thief can’t intercept your email and read it. Even if youContinue Reading