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Sun, 27 Mar 2022 08:20 UTC
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Another Tracker Scanning App Highlights the Need for a Better Way to Protect Victims From Digital Stalking
March 25, 2022, 7:19 PM
First came tracking devices like Tiles and AirTags, marketed as clever, button-sized Bluetooth-enabled gizmos that can find your lost backpack. Then, after bad actors started using the devices to stalk or follow people, came scanning apps to help victims find out whether those same gizmos were tracking them.Such is the twisted, dangerous path of tracking devices in the wrong hands. That device makers are rolling out scanning apps that can potentially help stalking victims is a win for privacy—...
EFF Client Erik Johnson and Proctorio Settle Lawsuit Over Bogus DMCA Claims
March 25, 2022, 5:26 PM
EFF client Erik Johnson, a Miami University computer engineering undergraduate, reached a settlement in the lawsuit we brought on his behalf against exam surveillance software maker Proctorio, in a victory for fair use of copyrighted material and people’s right to fight back against bad faith Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns used to silence critics.
Johnson, who is also a security researcher, sued Proctorio a year ago after it misused the copyright takedown provisions of th...
The Kids Online Safety Act Is a Heavy-Handed Plan to Force Platforms to Spy on Young People
March 24, 2022, 6:59 PM
Putting children under surveillance and limiting their access to information doesn’t make them safer—in fact, research suggests just the opposite. Unfortunately those tactics are the ones endorsed by the Kids Online Safety Act of 2022 (KOSA), introduced by Sens. Blumenthal and Blackburn. The bill deserves credit for attempting to improve online data privacy for young people, and for attempting to update 1998’s Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). But its plan to require surve...
Stop Invasive Remote Proctoring: Pass California’s Student Test Taker Privacy Protection Act
March 24, 2022, 4:30 PM
Remote proctoring companies like Proctorio, ProctorU, and ExamSoft collect all manner of private data on students and test takers, from biometric information to citizenship status to video and audio of a user’s surroundings. During the pandemic there has been a 500% increase in the usage of these proctoring tools—in 2020, more than half of higher education institutions used remote proctoring services and another 23% were considering doing so. At this point, remote proctoring services are a g...
EFF Director of Investigations Dave Maass Honored With Sunshine Award For Driving Public Disclosure of Government Surveillance Records
March 23, 2022, 5:08 PM
When journalists want to know if and how local police or governments are using technology tools to surveil communities, one of the first people they call (or message on Signal) is Dave Maass, EFF Director of Investigations.
Maass’ expertise in the use of police tech like automated license plate readers, drones, and camera networks, and his work pushing governments to be more transparent, has earned him accolades by reporters, researchers, and citizens. Today, Maass will receive the Sunshine Aw...
Podcast Episode: Hack to the Future
March 22, 2022, 9:00 AM
Like many young people, Zach Latta went to a school that didn't teach any computer classes. But that didn’t stop him from learning everything he could about them and becoming a programmer at a young age. After moving to San Francisco, Zach founded Hack Club, a nonprofit network of high school coding clubs around the world, to help other students find the education and community that he wished he had as a teenager.
This week on our podcast, we talk to Zach about the importance of student acce...
Ban Online Behavioral Advertising
March 22, 2022, 1:24 AM
Tech companies earn staggering profits by targeting ads to us based on our online behavior. This incentivizes all online actors to collect as much of our behavioral information as possible, and then sell it to ad tech companies and the data brokers that service them. This pervasive online behavioral surveillance apparatus turns our lives into open books—every mouse click and screen swipe can be tracked and then disseminated throughout the vast ad tech ecosystem. Sometimes this system is called...
The New Filter Mandate Bill Is An Unmitigated Disaster
March 21, 2022, 9:59 PM
After the defeat of SOPA/PIPA, Big Content has mostly focused on quiet, backroom deals for copyright legislation, like the unconstitutional CASE Act, which was so unpopular it had to be slipped into a must-pass bill in the dead of winter. But now, almost exactly a decade later, they’ve come screaming out of the gate with a proposal almost as bad as SOPA/PIPA. Let’s hope it doesn’t take an Internet Blackout to kill it this time.
The new proposal, cynically titled the SMART Copyright Act, gi...
Anti-War Hacktivism is Leading to Digital Xenophobia and a More Hostile Internet
March 21, 2022, 9:47 PM
The horrific Russian military invasion of Ukraine has understandably led to a backlash against Russia. The temptation is to label anything Russian, from state media and students to cats, as bad and block it to signal outrage and ostracization. This type of thinking has infected the open source and internet security communities as well—a terrible idea with potentially harmful consequences.
Recently the maintainer of a popular open source Node JS package “node-ipc” released a new plugin call...
Brazil’s “Remuneration Right” Strengthens Big Tech and Big Media, At the Cost of Free Expression and a Free Press
March 21, 2022, 1:39 PM
Update: a new text of the Fake News Bill was released days after our post, which brings some clarity to a few of many critical ambiguities in this proposal. We welcome these attempts to provide greater clarity to the rule, but this proposal is still dangerously underspecified and the many dangerous gaps that we pointed out in our initial analysis remain.
Essential definitions are left for further regulation, including the definition of "news," what constitutes a "use" of news, how use would be m...
To Make Social Media Work Better, Make It Fail Better
March 21, 2022, 12:32 PM
Pity the poor content moderator. Big Tech platforms expect their mods to correctly apply a set of rules to users in more than a hundred countries, in over a thousand languages. These users are clustered into literally millions of online communities, each with its own norms and taboos.
What a task! Some groups will consider a word to be a slur, while others will use it as a term of affection. Actually, it’s even more confusing: some groups consider some words to be slurs when used by outsider...
EFF Tells E.U. Commission: Don't Break Encryption
March 17, 2022, 4:46 PM
Click here to read the complete article