How EFF Evaluates Government Demands for New Surveillance Powers

The COVID-19 public health crisis has no precedent in living memory. But government demands for new high-tech surveillance powers are all too familiar. This includes well-meaning proposals to use various forms of data about disease transmission among people. Even in the midst of … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

Harden Your Zoom Settings to Protect Your Privacy and Avoid Trolls

Whether you are on Zoom because your employer or school requires it or you just downloaded it to stay in touch with friends and family, people have rushed to the video chat platform in the wake of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders—and journalists, researchers, and regulators have noti … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Automated Moderation Must be Temporary, Transparent and Easily Appealable

For most of us, social media has never been more crucial than it is right now: it’s keeping us informed and connected during an unprecedented moment in time. People have been using major platforms for all kinds of things, from following and posting news, to organizing aid—such as … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Victory! Federal Circuit Enables Public to Hear Arguments In Important Patent Case

Just like us, federal judges are continuing to grapple with the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on their ability to do their jobs. Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. announced that April’s oral arguments in our cas … | Continue reading | 4 days ago

The EARN IT Act Violates the Constitution

Since senators introduced the EARN IT Act (S. 3398) in early March, EFF has called attention to the many ways in which the bill would be a disaster for Internet users’ free speech and security. We’ve explained how the EARN IT Act could be used to drastically undermine encryption. … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

EFF to Supreme Court: Losing Your Phone Shouldn’t Mean You Lose Your Fourth Amendment Rights

You probably know the feeling: you reach for your phone only to realize it’s not where you thought it was. Total panic quickly sets in. If you’re like me (us), you don’t stop in the moment to think about why losing a phone is so scary. But the answer is clear: In addition to bein … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Speaking Freely: Sandra Ordoñez

Sandra (Sandy) Ordoñez is dedicated to protecting women being harassed online. Sandra is an experienced community engagement specialist, a proud NYC Latina resident of Sunset Park Brooklyn, and a recipient of Fundación Carolina’s Hispanic Leadership Award. She is also a long-time … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Vallejo Must Suspend Cell-Site Simulator Purchase

As Bay Area residents sheltered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vallejo City Council assembled via teleconference last week to vote on the purchase of one of the most controversial pieces of surveillance equipment—a cell-site simulator. What’s worse is that the city cou … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Keeping Each Other Safe When Virtually Organizing Mutual Aid

Communities across the country are stepping up to self-organize mutual aid groups, uniting virtually to offer and coordinate support to those who are in need. In solidarity with the need for physical distancing, many people are organizing online using Google spreadsheets, Google … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

Government Needs Critics—Now More Than Ever

In late December, only a few hundred people knew of COVID-19. Now it’s March—just 90 days later—and much of the world has had to learn about and adapt and respond to the deadly disease. Though the highly contagious virus seems impossible to ignore today, it’s in part thanks to wh … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

EFF Joins Locast Defense Team to Fight for TV Viewers’ Right to Use Free, Legal Streaming Service

San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today joined the legal team defending Sports Fans Coalition NY, Inc. (SFCNY), the nonprofit organization that runs Locast, a free, local TV streaming service facing bogus copyright infringement claims by broadcast giants ABC, … | Continue reading | 6 days ago

EFF Asks California AG to Close Loopholes, Respect "Do Not Track" With Regulations

Today, EFF once again joined a coalition of privacy advocates filing comments with the California Attorney General (AG) on the latest proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in June 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later th … | Continue reading | 9 days ago

Members of Congress Once Again Urge ICANN to Save Dot Org

As the proposed sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital plays out, we see more and more why this sale was rushed through: the longer we have to look at it, the more questions we all have, and the fewer answers we get. For the second time, some of the … | Continue reading | 9 days ago

Now More Than Ever, Prisoners Should Have Some Access to Social Media

COVID-19 has trapped many of us in our homes, isolating us from family and friends and limiting our movements. But there are few people who feel the isolating impacts of COVID-19 more acutely than those who are actually incarcerated­ in jails and prisons across the country. As Je … | Continue reading | 9 days ago

EFF, ACLU & CDT Argue Five Months of Warrantless Covert 24/7 Video Surveillance Violates Fourth Amendment

Should the fact that your neighbors can see the outside of your house mean the police can use a camera to record everything that happens there for more than five months? We don’t think so either. That’s why we joined ACLU, ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Center for Democracy... | Continue reading | 9 days ago

EFF Joins Coalition Urging Judicial Transparency During the COVID-19 Emergency

EFF and a number of other organizations that advocate for government transparency have signed onto a letter written by the First Amendment Coalition asking the California state judiciary to ensure public access to court proceedings and records.Many clerk’s offices are restricting … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

The Feds Can Stop Patent Trolls from Endangering COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

It’s unthinkable that bad actors could take advantage of patent law and keep the public from getting access to COVID-19 tests and treatment, but they can and will—it already happened this month. Fortunately, an often-overlooked section of U.S. patent law allows the government to … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Verily's COVID-19 Screening Website Leaves Privacy Questions Unanswered

One week after Alphabet’s Verily launched its COVID-19 screening website, several unanswered questions remain about how exactly the project will collect, use, and retain people’s medical information.Verily, a healthcare data subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, has unt … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Speaking Freely: An Interview with Cristian León

Cristian León, based in Buenos Aires, works for Asuntos del Sur, a “think/do tank” that works to strengthen democracy and participation. Originally from Bolivia, Cristian works on open government and democracy across several countries in Latin America. Our interview touched on fr … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

The Right to Anonymity is Vital to Free Expression: Now and Always

“There are myriad reasons why individuals may wish to use a name other than the one they were born with. They may be concerned about threats to their lives or livelihoods, or they may risk political or economic retribution. They may wish to prevent discrimination or they may use … | Continue reading | 11 days ago

Social Distancing, The Digital Divide, and Fixing This Going Forward

Social distancing, work from home, shelter in place—these are all strategies employed in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Americans who have jobs allowing them to engage in social distancing are very dependent on their Internet connection. That dependence is only going to grow … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

User Privacy Champion Ashkan Soltani Joins EFF Advisory Board

EFF is proud to announce that independent researcher and technologist Ashkan Soltani has joined our advisory board, where he will share his expertise in privacy and security. Ashkan is a long-time EFF friend and collaborator whose research has informed our efforts to protect user … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

The California Public Records Act Is an Essential Right, Even During a State of Emergency

As Californians shelter-at-home up and down the state, the journalists and citizen watchdogs who file California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests know that trade-offs must be made. We know that local agencies may be understaffed at this time and that they may be slow to respond … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

EFF and COVID-19: Protecting Openness, Security, and Civil Liberties

EFF and its members work to ensure that technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all the people of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has made obvious how important the Internet and digital tools are to our lives and how vital it is that we maintain an open and secu … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

The Time Is Now: The Supreme Court Must Allow Live Cameras

At a time when government officials are justifiably limiting in-person gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, the public should have access to essential government activities. The Supreme Court is no exception, which is why it must finally allow cameras in its courtroom.Respo … | Continue reading | 13 days ago

Governments Haven’t Shown Location Surveillance Would Help Contain COVID-19

Governments around the world are demanding new dragnet location surveillance powers to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. But before the public allows their governments to implement such systems, governments must explain to the public how these systems would be effective in stopping … | Continue reading | 15 days ago

Embracing Open Science in a Medical Crisis

Responding to the threat of COVID-19, science advisers from twelve countries have signed on to an open letter urging scientific publishers to make all COVID-19 research freely available to the public through PubMed Central or the World Health Organization's COVID Database.This is … | Continue reading | 16 days ago

Governments Must Commit to Transparency During COVID-19 Crisis

As government officials at all levels move quickly to respond to COVID-19 and protect the public’s health, it is vital that they also safeguard the public’s ability to participate in and access information about those decisions, EFF and a coalition of more than 100 organizations … | Continue reading | 16 days ago

Face Surveillance Is Not the Solution to the COVID-19 Crisis

In the current moment, governments may be tempted to funnel scarce public health resources into the use of face recognition to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Public health crises, especially a global pandemic, may require extraordinary measures in favor of the public good—but in … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Right to Repair in Times of Pandemic

Entropy isn't just a word, it’s the (second) law (of thermodynamics): the idea that things tend towards chaos and brokenness. That’s why the Right to Repair is so close to our heart: fixing things is nothing less than the embodiment of the ancient struggle to wring order from cha … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

What You Should Know About Online Tools During the COVID-19 Crisis

A greater portion of the world’s work, organizing, and care-giving is moving onto digital platforms and tools that facilitate connection and productivity: video conferencing, messaging apps, healthcare and educational platforms, and more. It’s important to be aware of the ways th … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Google Says It Doesn’t 'Sell' Your Data. Here’s How the Company Shares, Monetizes, and Exploits It.

"Google will never sell any personal information to third parties; and you get to decide how your information is used." - Sundar Pichai Sound familiar? Although big tech companies like Google keep the lights on by harvesting and monetizing your personal data, they can be quick to … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

DOJ Moves Forward with Dangerous Plan to Collect DNA from Immigrant Detainees

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recently-issued final rule requiring the collection of DNA from hundreds of thousands of individuals in immigration detention is a dangerous and unprecedented expansion of biometric screening based not on alleged conduct, but instead on immigrati … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Phishing in the Time of COVID-19: How to Recognize Malicious Coronavirus Phishing Scams

For malicious people, preying on collective fear and misinformation is nothing new. Mentioning national headlines can lend a veneer of credibility to scams. We've seen this tactic time and again, so it's no surprise that COVID-19 themed social media and email campaigns have been … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Heads Up Internet: A Dangerous Zombie CFAA Expansion Bill is Back

A group of senators in Washington is trying—for the fourth time—to sneak through dangerous and misguided language that would amend and expand the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), our nation’s notoriously vague anti-hacking law. The language was first floated in 2015, then aga … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Are Your Identification Photos in a Face Recognition Database?

San Francisco – A majority of Americans are in face recognition databases in use by the U.S. government. Are you one of them? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has launched a new quiz called “Who Has Your Face” to help you find out.“Your driver’s license picture and other … | Continue reading | 17 days ago

Announcing Who Has Your Face

The government and law enforcement should not be scanning your photos with face recognition technology. But at least half of Americans are likely in government face recognition databases. Who Has Your Face includes a short quiz that you can use to learn which U.S. government agen … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

Unchecked Smart Cities are Surveillance Cities. What We Need Are Smart Enough Cities.

We can have beautiful cities without turning our cities into surveillance cities.Cities across the U.S. are forcing operators of shared bikes and scooters to use dangerous and privacy invasive APIs developed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. These APIs—collectively … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

Enough is Enough—Let it Expire

On March 15, 2020, Section 215—a provision of FISA with a rich history of government overreach and abuse—expired. That provision, along with two other provisions of FISA, lapsed after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a broader set of FISA reforms.Late last week, before t … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

Show Support for Digital Rights During Video Calls with EFF Virtual Backgrounds

Want to show your support for EFF while you spend more and more time in video conferences and chats? Here's one fun way: virtual backgrounds! We've collected some of our favorite EFF designs that promote issues like transparency, creativity, innovation, and privacy, for users to … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

African WhatsApp Modders are the Masters of Worldwide Adversarial Interoperability

Since the earliest days of consumer computing, computer users have asserted their right to have a say in how their tools worked: whether it was Gopher delivering easy new ways to access services that had originally been designed for power users who could memorize obscure addresse … | Continue reading | 18 days ago

Tattoo Recognition Score Card: How Institutions Handled Unethical Biometric Surveillance Dataset

In response to an EFF campaign started last year, roughly a third of institutions that we believe requested problematic and exploitive data as part of a government automated tattoo recognition challenge deleted the data or reported that they had never received or used it.EFF has … | Continue reading | 19 days ago

Why Is South Korea a Global Broadband Leader?

A universal fiber network that was completed years ago. Millions of 5G users. Some of the world’s fastest and cheapest broadband connections. South Korea has all of these, while other nations that have the same resources lag behind. How did South Korea become a global leader in t … | Continue reading | 20 days ago

The Foilies 2020

Recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency“The Ringer,” the first track on Eminem’s 2018 album, Kamikaze, includes a line that piqued Buzzfeed reporter Jason Leopold’s curiosity: the rapper claimed the Secret Service visited him due to some controversial lyrics about … | Continue reading | 21 days ago

Speaking Freely: Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer is a Renaissance historian whose work lies at the intersection of ideas and historical change. She is currently on research leave from the University of Chicago, where she teaches early modern European history. In this interview, we talk about censorship during the Inq … | Continue reading | 23 days ago

Court Orders Hearing in Uniloc’s Patent Case Against Apple to be Conducted by Phone, Citing COVID-19 Risks

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, citing public health efforts to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission, ordered that an April hearing in the Uniloc v. Apple patent case be conducted by phone rather than in person and denied EFF’s request to allow the publi … | Continue reading | 23 days ago

New ¿Where Is My Data? Report: Five Years of Holding ISPs Accountable in Colombia

Five years have passed since Colombian digital rights NGO Fundación Karisma launched its first annual ¿Dónde Están Mis Datos? assessing telecommunication companies’ commitment to transparency and user privacy. Since then, we’ve seen major telecom companies providing more transpar … | Continue reading | 23 days ago

Speaking Freely: An Interview With Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer is a Renaissance historian whose work lies at the intersection of ideas and historical change. She is currently on research leave from the University of Chicago, where she teaches early modern European history. In this interview, we talk about censorship during the Inq … | Continue reading | 24 days ago