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A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 383rd Issue of EFFector:
* Action Alert - Tell Your Senator To Take Out The Flags * EFF and Government Face Off Over 'State Secrets' in San Francisco Courtroom * Government Asserts It Is Above the Law in AT&T Case * Copyright Battle Threatens Right to Surf and Email Anonymously * EFF Podcast #3: Line Noise Goes to Washington * EFF Seeks Staff Technologist * Support EFF Through GoodSearch.com * miniLinks (11): Skype and CALEA * Administrivia
* Action Alert - Tell Your Senator To Take Out the Flags
The Communications, Consumers Choice, and Broadband Deployment Act of 2006 is a monster name for a monster bill -- in its latest form, it contains 159 pages of densely plotted telecommunications reform. But while politicians struggle with its major clauses, the RIAA and MPAA have piggybacked their own agenda: the broadcast and audio flags, which restrict innovation and legitimate use of recorded digital radio and TV content. Your call today could force the flags to find a home of their own.
The Committee markup of this bill is on Thursday, and your Senator is on the Commerce Committee. One last push from you could get Congress to remove the entertainment industry mandates from the bill.
IF YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES
Please call your Senator (numbers below). Here's a sample script:
STAFFER: Hello, Senator Lastname's office.
YOU: Hi, I'm a constituent, and I'd like to let the Senator know that I don't think the broadcast and audio flag provisions belong in S. 2686, the Communications, Consumers Choice and Broadband Deployment Act. These are anti-consumer provisions, which would give the FCC far-reaching powers, and give the entertainment industry a dangerous veto over new technologies. I hope the Senator will insist on excluding these provisions on Thursday.
STAFFER: Okay, I'll let the Senator know. Thanks.
Chairman Ted Stevens (AK), (202) 224-3004 John McCain (AZ), (202) 224-2235 Conrad Burns (MT), Main: 202-224-2644 Trent Lott (MS), (202) 224-6253 Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), (202) 224-5922 Gordon H. Smith (OR), (202) 224 3753 John Ensign (NV), (202) 224-6244 George Allen (VA), (202) 224-4024 John E. Sununu (NH), (202) 224-2841 Jim DeMint (SC), (202) 224-6121 David Vitter (LA),(202) 224-4623 Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI), (202) 224-3934 John D. Rockefeller (WV), (202) 224-6472 John F. Kerry (MA), (202) 224-2742 Barbara Boxer (CA), (202) 224-3553 Bill Nelson (FL), (202) 224-5274 Maria Cantwell (WA), (202) 224-3441 Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ), (202) 224-3224 E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), (202) 224-6551 Mark Pryor (AR), (202) 224-2353
* EFF and Government Face Off Over 'State Secrets' in San Francisco Courtroom
Friday Hearing Over Motions to Dismiss AT&T Surveillance Case
San Francisco - On Friday, June 23, at 9:30 a.m., a federal judge in San Francisco will hear oral arguments on the U.S. government's motion to dismiss the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against AT&T.
EFF's suit accuses the telecom giant of collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in illegal spying on millions of ordinary Americans. The government contends that even if the NSA program is illegal, the lawsuit should not go forward because it might expose state secrets.
The judge will also consider AT&T's motions to dismiss the case in Friday's hearing. Additionally, he will hear requests from media organizations to intervene and unseal critical evidence filed in the lawsuit.
WHAT: Hepting v. AT&T
WHEN: June 23, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: 450 Golden Gate Ave., Courtroom 6 San Francisco, CA 94102
* Government Asserts It Is Above the Law in AT&T Case
Late last Friday night, the Government filed its reply brief, providing a last round of written briefing in advance of this week's hearing in our case against AT&T for collaborating with the Government's surveillance program. Finally the Administration has come out and flatly said what it has hinted at throughout its arguments: that the program is above the law.
The Government wrote that "the court -- even if it were to find unlawfulness upon in camera, ex parte review -- could not then proceed to adjudicate the very question of awarding damages because to do so would confirm Plaintiffs' allegations."
Essentially the Government is saying that, even if the Judiciary found the wholesale surveillance program was illegal after reviewing secret evidence in chambers, the Court nevertheless would be powerless to proceed. The Executive has asserted that the Program, which has been widely reported in every major news outlet, is still such a secret that the Judiciary (a co-equal branch under the Constitution) cannot acknowledge its existence by ruling against it. In short, the Government asserts that AT&T and the Executive can break the laws crafted by Congress, and there is nothing the Judiciary can do about it.
We intend to vigorously oppose this radical assertion of power. Please consider donating to EFF and help stop the illegal spying.
* Copyright Battle Threatens Right to Surf and Email Anonymously
EFF Argues Against Broad Subpoena for User Identities
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argued Tuesday that a battle between Internet real estate services over copyrighted images should not threaten the rights of users to surf web pages and send emails anonymously.
The case began when CoStar, a real estate information database, subpoenaed LoopNet, an online real estate forum, over copyrighted photographs that appeared on LoopNet's service. However, CoStar demanded not only the identification of the uploaders of the offending images, but also identification of "downloaders" -- using a dangerously broad definition that includes both those who simply view the photos online and those who merely email links to the photos to others.
"If upheld, this subpoena would pierce the anonymity of virtually anyone who has ever received, forwarded, or clicked on a link to a webpage that happened at one time to contain a thumbnail of a photograph to which CoStar owns the copyright," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry.
"Courts have long recognized that the right to engage in anonymous communication is fundamental to a free society," said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "CoStar wants to strip Internet users of that anonymity just because they clicked on a link."
The next hearing in CoStar v. LoopNet is set for August 2.
Our latest EFF podcast reverses the polarity of the standard media interview, as we quiz Washington journalist Drew Clark, the National Journal's tech policy expert. He gives us his impartial, frontline view of the battle for the broadcast and audio flags in Congress.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet civil liberties nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, is seeking a fulltime Staff Technologist to work in our Mission District office.
EFF works in that difficult space where law and technology collide. Unlike other nonprofit law firms, EFF is known for our technical expertise. Along with our webmaster and sysadmin, EFF's tech staff includes a couple of technologists who translate technical issues to two major audiences: 1) EFF attorneys, who need to understand the specifics of how technology works in order to do their legal work and 2) the general public, which looks to EFF to explain what's really going on in non-technical jargon.
The staff technologist job includes being part of litigation teams, writing white papers, attending technical meetings, public speaking, preparing evidence or declarations to be presented to courts, and working with the rest of EFF's staff. Technical expertise is absolutely required, as is great writing skill and a healthy respect for deadlines. As part of the tech team, the staff technologist will sometimes be asked to pitch in and assist with whatever tech issue happens to be causing a problem at the moment. A willingness to be a team player is a must. The job requires some travel.
* Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, computer science or a related technical field (mathematics, physics, etc.), or equivalent experience;
* Strong writing and public speaking skills. Must have technical writing sample(s) illustrating the explanation of a technical topic to an intelligent lay audience;
* Detailed knowledge of and experience using and programming for at least one computer operating system;
* Detailed knowledge of and experience using at least one (preferably low-level) programming language, such as C;
* Knowledge of or willingness to learn about information security topics such as cryptography and digital rights management (DRM); and
* Familiarity with Internet architecture and network protocols.
In addition, the ideal candidate will have:
* Experience with radio frequency technologies and communications;
* Detailed knowledge of the Microsoft Windows platform (development, debugging, reverse engineering, etc.);
* Hardware engineering experience;
* System administration or system programming experience; and/or
* Experience presenting at technical conferences.
To apply, send a cover letter and your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send these materials in a non- proprietary format. No phone calls please! Principals only.
GoodSearch.com is a new search engine that donates half its revenues to charities, schools, and nonprofits designated by its users. Before doing a search, simply enter "Electronic Frontier Foundation" in the "I'm Supporting" box, and your searches will contribute to our cause. And check out the site on June 29, when EFF will be the featured Charity of the Day. http://www.goodsearch.com
Reproduction of this publication in electronic media is encouraged. Signed articles do not necessarily represent the views of EFF. To reproduce signed articles individually, please contact the authors for their express permission. Press releases and EFF announcements & articles may be reproduced individually at will.
Amidst all the Net Neutrality hubbub you might have missed the return of the Broadcast Flag, this time tucked into Senator Stevensí 151 page telecommunications bill, S.2686. Whatís an onerous copy protection scheme doing in the middle of a telecommunications bill? If youíre confused, you should be, itís a tactic designed to sneak in a regulation thatís been repeatedly rejected by both Congress and the courts.
The most recent version is worse than any before, without any real exceptions for fair use. Even worse, this time itís paired with an Audio Broadcast Flag that will cover digital and satellite radio too. Government technology mandates all around!
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should be silent.