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December 02 2017

3we

EFF Demands Information About Secretive Government Tattoo Recognition Technology

Government Program Is Aimed at Using Body Art to Identify Religions, Nationalities, and Political Beliefs

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit against the Department of Justice, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Homeland Security today, demanding records about the agencies’ work on the federal Tattoo Recognition Technology program.

November 30 2017

3we

New European Copyright Enforcement Plans Loom Large Even as Users Revolt Against Filter Proposal

Today EFF joined over 80 groups in writing once again [PDF] to European politicians about disastrous new EU copyright proposals. Along with human and digital rights organizations, media freedom organizations, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers, we wrote

to share our respectful but serious concerns that discussions in the Council and European Commission on the Copyright Directive are on the verge of causing irreparable damage to our fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy and competitiveness, our education and research, our innovation and competition, our creativity and our culture.

November 29 2017

3we

How to Debug Your Content Blocker for Privacy Protection

Millions of users are trying to protect their privacy from commercial tracking online, be it through their choice of browser, installation of ad and tracker blocking extensions, or use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This guide focuses on how to correctly configure the blocking extension in your browser to ensure that it's giving you the privacy you expect. We believe that tools work best when you don't have to go under the hood. While there is software which meets that criteria (and several are listed in the final section of the guide), the most popular ad blockers do not protect privacy by default and must be reconfigured. We'll show you how.

3we

Panopticlick 3.0

Today we’re launching a new version of Panopticlick, an EFF site which audits your browser privacy protection. Conceived to raise awareness about the threat of device fingerprinting, Panopticlick was extended in December 2015 to check for protection against tracking by ads and invisible beacons. This new update adds a test for trackers whitelisted by the so-called "Acceptable Ads" initiative.

November 16 2017

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EFF Urges DHS to Abandon Social Media Surveillance and Automated “Extreme Vetting” of Immigrants

EFF is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end its programs of social media surveillance and automated “extreme vetting” of immigrants. Together, these programs have created a privacy-invading integrated system to harvest, preserve, and data-mine immigrants' social media information, including use of algorithms that sift through posts using vague criteria to help determine who to admit or deport.

3we

EFF’s Street-Level Surveillance Project Dissects Police Technology

Step onto any city street and you may find yourself subject to numerous forms of police surveillance—many imperceptible to the human eye.

A cruiser equipped with automated license plate readers (also known as ALPRs) may have just logged where you parked your car. A cell-site simulator may be capturing your cell-phone data incidentally while detectives track a suspect nearby. That speck in the sky may be a drone capturing video of your commute. Police might use face recognition technology to identify you in security camera footage.

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Reposted byin-god-we-trustdarksideofthemoon

November 11 2017

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TSA Plans to Use Face Recognition to Track Americans Through Airports

The “PreCheck” program is billed as a convenient service to allow U.S. travelers to “speed through security” at airports. However, the latest proposal released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reveals the Department of Homeland Security’s greater underlying plan to collect face images and iris scans on a nationwide scale. DHS’s programs will become a massive violation of privacy that could serve as a gateway to the collection of biometric data to identify and track every traveler at every airport and border crossing in the country.

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November 06 2017

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Who Speaks for The Billions of Victims of Mass Surveillance? Tech Companies Could

Two clocks are ticking for US tech companies in the power centers of the modern world. In Washington, lawmakers are working to reform FISA Section 702 before it expires on December 31st, 2017. Section 702 is the main legal basis for US mass surveillance, including the programs and techniques that scoop up the data transferred by non-US individuals to US servers. Upstream surveillance collects communications as they travel over the Internet backbone, and downstream surveillance (better known as PRISM) collects communications from companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo.

Both programs have used Section 702’s vague definitions to justify the wholesale seizure of Internet and telephony traffic: any foreign person located outside the United States could be subjected to surveillance if the government thinks that surveillance would acquire “foreign intelligence information”—which here means information about a foreign power or territory that “relates to [] the national defense or the security [or] the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.”

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October 11 2017

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Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s “Responsible Encryption” Demand is Bad and He Should Feel Bad

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered a speech on Tuesday about what he calls “responsible encryption” today. It misses the mark, by far.

Rosenstein starts with a fallacy, attempting to convince you that encryption is unprecedented:

Our society has never had a system where evidence of criminal wrongdoing was totally impervious to detection, especially when officers obtain a court-authorized warrant. But that is the world that technology companies are creating.

In fact, we’ve always had (and will always have) a perfectly reliable system whereby criminals can hide their communications with strong security: in-person conversations. Moreover, Rosenstein’s history lesson forgets that, for about 70 years, there was an unpickable lock. In the 1770s, engineer Joseph Bramah created a lock that remained unpickable until 1851. Installed in a safe, the owner could ensure that no one could get inside, or at least not without destroying the contents in the process. 

Billions of instant messages are sent and received each day using mainstream apps employing default end-to-end encryption. The app creators do something that the law does not allow telephone carriers to do: they exempt themselves from complying with court orders.

Here, Rosenstein ignores the fact that Congress exempted those app creators-“electronic messaging services”- from the Computer Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

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October 09 2017

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iOS 11’s Misleading “Off-ish” Setting for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is Bad for User Security

Turning off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios when you’re not using them is good security practice (not to mention good for your battery usage). When you consider Bluetooth’s known vulnerabilities, it’s especially important to make sure your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings are doing what you want them to. The iPhone’s newest operating system, however, makes it harder for users to control these settings.

On an iPhone, users might instinctively swipe up to open Control Center and toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off from the quick settings. Each icon switches from blue to gray, leading a user to reasonably believe they have been turned off—in other words, fully disabled. In iOS 10, that was true. However, in iOS 11, the same setting change no longer actually turns Wi-Fi or Bluetooth  “off.”

Instead, what actually happens in iOS 11 when you toggle your quick settings to “off” is that the phone will disconnect from Wi-Fi networks and some devices, but remain on for Apple services. Location Services is still enabled, Apple devices (like Apple Watch and Pencil) stay connected, and services such as Handoff and Instant Hotspot stay on. Apple’s UI fails to even attempt to communicate these exceptions to its users.

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October 04 2017

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Europe's Courts Decide: Does U.S. Spying Violate Europe's Privacy?

In a long-awaited decision on whether and how Europeans' private data can be protected from the roving eyes of the NSA, the Irish Commercial High Court this morning declared that "standard contractual clauses" —the procedure that tech companies like Facebook use to try to satisfy European privacy laws—should be reviewed by the European Union's top court, the Court of Justice (CJEU).

The decision hands the court a key question that could affect millions of users and the business practices of Facebook and other tech giants: should tech companies be allowed to send the personal data of European customers across the Atlantic if they can’t guarantee that, once in U.S. data centers, the information won’t be vacuumed up by NSA surveillance?

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September 25 2017

3we

A Guide to Common Types of Two-Factor Authentication on the Web

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) is one of the biggest-bang-for-your-buck ways to improve the security of your online accounts. Luckily, it's becoming much more common across the web. With often just a few clicks in a given account's settings, 2FA adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts on top of your password.

In addition to requesting something you know to log in (in this case, your password), an account protected with 2FA will also request information from something you have (usually your phone or a special USB security key). Once you put in your password, you'll grab a code from a text or app on your phone or plug in your security key before you are allowed to log in. Some platforms call 2FA different things—Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Two Step Verification (2SV), or Login Approvals—but no matter the name, the idea is the same: Even if someone gets your password, they won't be able to access your accounts unless they also have your phone or security key.

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September 22 2017

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Appeals Court Rules Against Warrantless Cell-site Simulator Surveillance

Law enforcement officers in Washington, D.C. violated the Fourth Amendment when they used a cell site simulator to locate a suspect without a warrant, a D.C. appeals court ruled on Thursday. The court thus found that the resulting evidence should have been excluded from trial and overturned the defendant’s convictions.

September 19 2017

3we

Security Education: What's New on Surveillance Self-Defense

Since 2014, our digital security guide, Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD), has taught thousands of Internet users how to protect themselves from surveillance, with practical tutorials and advice on the best tools and expert-approved best practices. After hearing growing concerns among activists following the 2016 US presidential election, we pledged to build, update, and expand SSD and our other security education materials to better advise people, both within and outside the United States, on how to protect their online digital privacy and security.

While there’s still work to be done, here’s what we’ve been up to over the past several months.

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September 06 2017

3we

Twitter (and Others) Double Down on Advertising and Tracking

In June, Twitter discontinued its support for Do Not Track (DNT), the privacy-protective browser signal it has honored since 2012. EFF argued that Twitter should reconsider this decision, but that call has gone unheeded. In response, EFF’s Privacy Badger has new features to mitigate user tracking both on twitter.com and when you encounter Twitter content and widgets elsewhere on the web. (More technical details are covered in the accompanying technical post.) How did we get here and what can we do about it?

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August 30 2017

3we

Taking the Fight to the Appeals Court: Don’t Lock Laws Behind Paywalls

It’s almost too strange to believe, but a federal court ruled earlier this year that copyright can be used to control access to parts of our state and federal laws—forcing people to pay a fee or sign a contract to read and share them. On behalf of Public.Resource.Org, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public access to law, yesterday EFF challenged that ruling in the United States Court of Appeals...

Tags: 20170829 eff

August 17 2017

3we

EFF Urges Supreme Court to Protect Your Cell Phone Location Data from Over-Curious Cops

Washington, D.C - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the U.S. Supreme Court today to curb law enforcement’s expansive tracking of suspects’ cell phones, arguing that police must get a warrant before collecting the detailed location data that all phones generate as part of their routine functioning.

The defendants in U.S. v. Carpenter were convicted after hundreds of days of location data collected from their wireless carriers associated them with a string of armed robberies. But investigators obtained those location records through a lower legal standard than needed for a warrant, relying on the “third-party doctrine”—an outdated legal standard that says if you voluntarily give certain information to entities like banks or the phone company, you have no expectation of privacy in the data.

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EFF Urges Supreme Court to Take On Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance, Reverse Dangerous Ruling That Allows Massive Government Spying Program

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the Supreme Court to review and overturn an unprecedented ruling allowing the government to intercept, collect, and store—without a warrant—millions of Americans’ electronic  communications, including emails, texts, phone calls, and online chats.

This warrantless surveillance is conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The law is exceedingly broad—Section 702 allows the government to conduct surveillance of any foreigner abroad­—and the law fails to protect the constitutional rights of Americans whose texts or emails are “incidentally” collected when communicating with those people.

This warrantless surveillance of Americans is unconstitutional and should be struck down.

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August 16 2017

3we

End Biometric Border Screening

This summer, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding its program of subjecting U.S. and foreign citizens to facial recognition screening at international airports. This indiscriminate biometric surveillance program threatens the personal privacy of millions of travelers. DHS should end it.

The history of this program is a case study in mission creep. In 1996, Congress authorized automated tracking of foreign citizens as they enter and exit the U.S. In 2004, DHS began biometric screening of foreign citizens upon arrival.

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July 17 2017

3we

Payment Processors Are Profiling Heavy Metal Fans as Terrorists

If you happen to be a fan of the heavy metal band Isis (an unfortunate name, to be sure), you may have trouble ordering its merchandise online. Last year, Paypal suspended a fan who ordered an Isis t-shirt, presumably on the false assumption that there was some association between the heavy metal band and the terrorist group ISIS.

Then last month Internet scholar and activist Sascha Meinrath discovered that entering words such as "ISIS" (or "Isis"), or "Iran", or (probably) other words from this U.S. government blacklist in the description field for a Venmo payment will result in an automatic block on that payment, requiring you to complete a pile of paperwork if you want to see your money again. This is even if the full description field is something like "Isis heavy metal album" or "Iran kofta kebabs, yum."

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