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Category: Commentary

The most important work for freedom that this culture has seen in generations

“The Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman’s work represents the most important work for freedom that this culture, the American culture, has seen in many many generations because it takes the ideas of freedom and it removes it from the ivory tower, and it removes it from lawyers, and places it in a community—a technology community—that is one of the […]

The top 10 best Android games of 2010

The history books will doubtless look back on 2010 as the year the whole Google mobile platform idea really took off. As the year closes out, the quality of handsets from the likes of HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and even LG is uniformly strong. The Android OS itself, too, has benefited from the (occasionally maddening) iterative approach Google has adopted. The […]

Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider

Wikileaks isn’t the only site struggling to stay up these days because service providers are pulling their support. It appears that at least one person who wants to provide mirror access to Wikileaks documents is having the same trouble. Recently we heard from a user who mirrored the Cablegate documents on his website. His hosting provider SiteGround suspended his account, […]

Why I will not buy Google’s Cr-48 Chrome Notebook

The Cr-48 is Google’s cloud-based notebook computer. It was announced just this week, and is being made available to a select few. In computer-speak, it is still in beta status, with the stable version expected sometime next year. Other than through screenshots from other bloggers and from the official website, I have not actually seen the Cr-48. However, handling the […]

Join EFF in Standing up Against Internet Censorship

Over the past few weeks, we here at EFF have watched as whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has fueled an emotionally charged debate about the secrecy of government information and the people’s right to know. We have welcomed this debate, and the fact that there have been myriad views is the embodiment of the freedom of expression upon which this country was […]

The Internet Society on the Wikileaks issue

Recently, we have witnessed the effective disappearance from the Internet of a website made infamous through international press coverage and political intrigue. The Internet Society is founded upon key principles of free expression and non discrimination that are essential to preserve the openness and utility of the Internet. We believe that this incident dramatically illustrates that those principles are currently […]

E-Book Buyer’s Guide to E-Book Privacy

With the 2010 holidays upon us, it’s time to update EFF’s E-Book Buyer’s Guide to E-Book Privacy, which summarizes and comments on the privacy-related policies of several e-readers. What’s new. We’ve added in the iPad and also added in the software used by many libraries and devices for e-book access, made by Adobe called Adobe Content Server. Adobe doesn’t keep […]

Bringing the ‘social’ out of the operator walled gardens

A ‘walled garden’ is the term aptly applied to the last decade of mobile operator services. And Facebook is the generic name aptly applied to the social network revolution of our times. Wikipedia defines ‘walled gardens’ as referring “to a carrier’s or service provider’s control over applications, content, and media on platforms … and restriction of convenient access to non-approved […]

Amazon and WikiLeaks – Online Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Intermediary

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment – but that doesn’t help if the censorship doesn’t come from the government. The controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has begun to publish a trove of over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables, found itself kicked off of Amazon’s servers earlier this week. WikiLeaks had apparently moved from a […]

Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software

The Relevance of IT for Humanitarian Response The humanitarian response domain aims to help save lives and alleviate human suffering in responding to: i) rapid-onset natural disasters, such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and pandemics; ii) slow-onset natural disasters, such as global warming, droughts, and famine; and iii) human-instigated disasters, such as civil wars. The humanitarian response domain consists of an ecosystem […]

FTC’s New Privacy Report Endorses “Do Not Track” Mechanism to Empower Online Consumers

This morning, the Federal Trade Commission released its long-anticipated privacy report. The report is the final result of a series of FTC privacy roundtables held earlier this year that solicited comments from leading scholars, industry figures and nonprofits including EFF about the consumer privacy challenges posed by new technologies. One of the main focuses of the FTC’s report is online […]

Location, Location, Location: Three Recent Court Controversies on Cell Phone & GPS Tracking

Welcome to the 21st century, where we all carry tracking devices in our pockets and where one morning you might find an FBI-installed GPS tracking device on your car. In this age of location-based-everything, the legal question of whether or not the government has to get a search warrant based on probable cause before secretly tracking you becomes all the […]

Wikileaks: Lessons For Consumer Privacy

The website Wikileaks recently published hundreds of thousands of confidential State Department cables. These communications apparently reveal the details of conversations with, and personal impressions and assessments of, foreign leaders and diplomats. Many fear that the leak will undermine international relations in profound and unknowable ways. One of the unintended consequence of the leak, however, may be to strengthen the […]

U.S. Government Seizes 82 Websites: A Glimpse at the Draconian Future of Copyright Enforcement?

Over the past few days, the U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and nine U.S. Attorneys’ Offices seized 82 domain names of websites they claim were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works. Setting aside the due process concerns inherent in seizing any website without notice or appropriate recourse for the owner, […]

Supreme Court to Decide Standard for Proving Invalidity of a Patent

Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Microsoft’s appeal in a case that could make it easier to invalidate a patent. If successful, Microsoft’s challenge should help in the fight against bad patents by leveling the playing field for showing that a patent is invalid. A Microsoft win in the case would benefit not only Microsoft, but also the […]

Common Sense and Security: Body Scanners, Accountability, and $2.4 Billion Worth of Security Theater

The Transportation Security Administration is feeling public heat these days over its combination of whole-body-image scanners and heavy-handed pat-down searches, and deservedly so. There’s no question that reform is needed to curtail TSA’s excesses. We especially applaud the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s efforts to increase public awareness about the body scanners. But will the heat now being generated produce the […]

EFF’s Guide to Protecting Electronic Devices and Data at the U.S. Border

Amid recent reports that security researchers have experienced difficulties at the United States border after traveling abroad, we realized that it’s been awhile since we last discussed how to safeguard electronic devices and digital information during border searches. So just in time for holiday travel and the 27th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, here’s EFF’s guide for protecting your devices […]

A general public license for seeds?

“The same multinational corporations that are putting their proprietary, genetically modified plants into the environment and onto our tables are also well on the way to establishing a monopoly …on seeds. They have purchased the majority of commercial seed companies and the choices for farmers to use non-GM seeds are getting fewer and fewer. So here is a counter-proposal. Following […]

Apps is the new Web: sowing the seeds for Web 3.0

Billions of downloads. That’s how the success of software platforms is measured today. And while downloads is not a currency (it does not necessarily translate into revenues), it does create plenty of free buzz for software platforms. This is the world of apps. But what is an app really? It’s not just a bunch of code and a fancy UI. […]

EFF Brief: “Privacy” Protections for Corporations Undermines Government Transparency

EFF and a coalition of public interest groups urged the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief Tuesday to reject so-called “privacy” protections for corporate entities under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The case, Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, started when the company tried to block disclosure of records about its participation in the federal government’s E-Rate program. AT&T, […]