* EFF Joins Forces with Tor Software Project
Civil Liberties Group to Support Development of Anonymous
Internet Communications System
San Francisco - Today EFF announced that it is becoming
a sponsor of Tor, a technology project that helps
organizations and individuals engage in anonymous
communication online. Tor is a network-within-a-network
that protects communication from a form of surveillance
known as "traffic analysis."
Traffic analysis tracks where data goes and when, as well
as how much is sent, rather than the content of
communications. Knowing the source and destination of
Internet traffic allows others to track a person's behavior
and interests. This can impact privacy in obvious and
secondary ways. For example, an e-commerce site could
choose to charge you more for particular items based on
your country or institution of origin. It could also
threaten your job or physical safety by revealing who and
where you are.
"EFF is a great organization to work with," said Roger
Dingledine, Tor's project leader, who, along with Nick
Mathewson, is also a core developer. "EFF understands the
importance of anonymity technology for everyone - from the
average web surfer, to journalists for community sites like
Indymedia, to people living under oppressive regimes. With
their support and experience, we can focus on making Tor
useful and usable by everyone."
"The Tor project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of
our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity
of Internet users," said EFF Technology Manager Chris
Palmer. "Tor can help people exercise their First
Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online. And
unlike many other security systems, Tor recognizes that
there is no security without user-friendliness - if the
mechanism is not accessible, nobody will use it. Tor
strikes a balance between performance, usability, and
For the full press release:
Non-technical introduction to Tor:
Technical research paper on how Tor works:
Some EFF victories, this year:
* We helped eVisa.com win its fight against the Visa
credit card dynasty over fair use of the word "visa"
in domain names.
* We (with your support) helped derail the government's
CAPPS II passenger-profiling system (although we need
your help to continue to fight its evil reincarnation,
* We won the Grokster case in the 9th Circuit. The
Supreme Court has decided to hear this case in March
* We helped individuals assert their due process rights
in cases brought against them by the recording
* We put forth our voluntary collective licensing proposal,
explaining how artists could get paid without suing
* We won the case that got Diebold punished for misusing
* We won the Bunner case, which held that republishing
information about reverse engineering was not
prohibited by trade secret law.
* We started a patent busting campaign and identified
the ten most egregious patent threats to technology
* We were a leader in the fight for a verifiable paper
trail on electronic voting machines.
* We expanded our international work, participating in
the Digital Video Broadcasting group and in WIPO.
* We defended Jibjab's fair use of "This Land Is Your
Land" in its presidential parody "This Land" and in
the process learned that the Woody Guthrie song had
fallen into the public domain.
* We defended technologists using smart card readers
from an overzealous DirecTV.
* We (with your support) helped make sure terrible
legislation like the PIRATE Act and the Induce Act
did not pass.
* We drafted a mock legal complaint to show how the
Induce Act would kill off technologies like the
* We successfully challenged the Child Online Protection
Act at the Supreme Court.
* We wrote and circulated a paper on best practices for
Online Service Providers.
* We fought the expansion of the DMCA, writing amicus
briefs supporting Skylink's right to make interoperable
garage door openers and Static Control's right to make
aftermarket printer cartridges. (We helped win both
* We represented (and continue to represent) Indymedia
in an effort to uncover why their servers were seized
and to assert their First Amendment rights.
* We formed an Advisory Board of some of the smartest
people working on these issues.
9/11 Legislation Launches Misguided Data-Mining and
Domestic Surveillance Schemes
On Friday, President Bush signed into law the Intelligence
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA),
launching several flawed "security" schemes that EFF has
long opposed. The media has focused on turf wars between
the intelligence and defense communities, but the real
story is how IRTPA trades basic rights for the illusion of
security. For instance:
~ Section 1016 - a.k.a. "TIA II" ~
A clause authorizing the creation of a massive "Information
Sharing Environment" (ISE) to link "all appropriate
Federal, State, local, and tribal entities, and the
This vast network would link the information in public and
private databases, posing the same kind of threat to
our privacy and freedom that the notorious Terrorism
Information Awareness (TIA) program did. Yet the IRTPA
contains no meaningful safeguards against unchecked data
mining other than directing the President to issue
guidelines. It also includes a definition of "terrorist
information" that is frighteningly broad.
~ Section 4012 and Sections 7201-7220 - a.k.a. "CAPPS III" ~
A number of provisions that provide the statutory basis
for "Secure Flight," the government's third try at a
controversial passenger-screening system that has
consistently failed to pass muster for protecting
The basic concept: the government will force commercial
air carriers to hand over your private travel
information and compare it with a "consolidated and
integrated terrorist watchlist." It will also establish
a massive "counterterrorist travel intelligence"
infrastructure that calls for travel data mining
("recognition of travel patterns, tactics, and behavior
exhibited by terrorists").
It's not clear how the government would use the travel
patterns of millions of Americans to catch the
small number of individuals worldwide who are planning
terrorist attacks. In fact, this approach has
been thoroughly debunked by security experts. (See
http://www.schneier.com/essay-052.html.) What is
clear is that the system will create fertile ground
for constitutional violations and the abuse of private
information. The latest Privacy Act notice on
Secure Flight shows that the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) still doesn't have a plan for
how long the government will keep your private
information, nor has it mapped out adequate
procedures for correcting your "file" if you are
wrongly flagged as a terrorist.
~ Section 6001 - a.k.a. "PATRIOT III" ~
Straight from the infamous "PATRIOT II" draft legislation
leaked to the public last year comes a provision that
allows the government to use secret foreign
intelligence warrants and wiretap orders against
people unconnected to any international terrorist
group or foreign nation. This represents yet another
step in the ongoing destruction of even the most basic
legal protections for those whom the government
suspects are terrorists.
~ Sections 7208-7220 - a.k.a. "Papers, Please" ~
Just as EFF, the ACLU, and a number of other civil
liberties groups feared, IRTPA creates the basis for
a de facto national ID system using biometrics. Driven
by misguided political consensus, the law
calls for a "global standard of identification" and
minimum national standards for birth certificates,
driver's licenses and state ID cards, and Social
Security cards and numbers. It also directs the
Secretary of Homeland Security to establish new
standards for ID for domestic air travelers.
Identification is not security. Indeed, the 9/11
Commission report revealed that a critical stumbling
block in identifying foreign terrorists is the
inability to evaluate *foreign* information and records.
Yet we are placing disproportionate emphasis on
domestic surveillance, opening the door to a
standardized "internal passport" - the hallmark
of a totalitarian regime.
For this piece online:
For the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act
of 2004 (IRTPA):
If you care about preserving your privacy and basic
constitutional freedoms, help us fight the good fight
by joining EFF today:
It's a Small World After All
Ed Felten and Alex Halderman have written a P2P application
in only 15 lines of code to illustrate the futility of
regulating the software. It's called TinyP2P, and it
allows users to create "small world" networks for
Putting the World's Greatest Libraries Online
Google is working with four university libraries - Stanford,
Michigan, Harvard, and Oxford - and the New York Public
Library in an ambitious plan to scan their holdings
and put them on the Internet:
(San Francisco Chronicle)
Apple Makes iPods Incompatible with Harmony
RealNetworks' Harmony music service doesn't work with the
newest iPod software, leaving customers who upgrade with
unplayable files. Aren't the DRM wars great?
Sony Picks on Blogger Over Jeopardy Spoiler
When blogger Jason Kottke posted an audio clip of Ken
Jennings' final appearance on Jeopardy, he wasn't
expecting the show's parent company to call in the
lawyers. Sony didn't send nastygrams to the
Washington Post or an ABC affiliate that
disseminated the same info:
Edited by tg1911, 22 December 2004 - 11:33 AM.