Posts Tagged electronic frontier foundation

Sign Petition To Stop Warrantless Spying

From EFF:

The law behind the NSA’s sweeping Internet surveillance programs—Section 702, as enacted by the FISA Amendments Act—is set to expire at the end of 2017. Built-in expiration dates like this force lawmakers to review, debate, and update wide-reaching surveillance laws that impact their constituents’ privacy.

The looming Section 702 sunset gives Congress a chance to rein in the warrantless surveillance of millions of innocent people’s online communications. But some have another, much more dangerous idea.

Sen. Tom Cotton and a group of other Senate Republicans recently introduced a bill (S. 1297) that would not only reauthorize Section 702 without making much-needed changes, but it would also make the law permanent, effectively forfeiting lawmakers’ responsibility to periodically reexamine Section 702 and the impact it has on their constituents.

It would be unacceptable for Congress to ignore our privacy concerns and hand off their obligation to review surveillance law.

Sign our petition and tell Congress to oppose S. 1297.

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Choosing A Strong Password Is Easier Than You Think

From EFF:

Randomly-generated passphrases offer a major security upgrade over user-chosen passwords. Estimating the difficulty of guessing or cracking a human-chosen password is very difficult. It was the primary topic of my own PhD thesis and remains an active area of research. (One of many difficulties when people choose passwords themselves is that people aren’t very good at making random, unpredictable choices.)

Measuring the security of a randomly-generated passphrase is easy. The most common approach to randomly-generated passphrases (immortalized by XKCD) is to simply choose several words from a list of words, at random. The more words you choose, or the longer the list, the harder it is to crack. Looking at it mathematically, for k words chosen from a list of length n, there are kn possible passphrases of this type. It will take an adversary about kn/2 guesses on average to crack this passphrase. This leaves a big question, though: where do we get a list of words suitable for passphrases, and how do we choose the length of that list?

In general choosing four five-letter words is better than one long word with number substitutions and some weird characters thrown in. It’s easier to remember and vastly harder for a computer to guess.

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How Did The FBI Break Into iPhone?

From the EFF:

In addition, this new method of accessing the phone raises questions about the government’s apparent use of security vulnerabilities in iOS and whether it will inform Apple about these vulnerabilities. As a panel of experts hand-picked by the White House recognized, any decision to withhold a security vulnerability for intelligence or law enforcement purposes leaves ordinary users at risk from malicious third parties who also may use the vulnerability. Thanks to a lawsuit by EFF, the government has released its official policy for determining when to disclose security vulnerabilities, the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP).

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EFF Files Brief In Support Of Defense Distributed’s 3-D Files

From EFF:

The underlying legal ideas stretch back to one of EFF’s earliest major legal victories. Twenty years ago, in Bernstein v. U.S. Department of Justice, a judge articulated that code is speech inrejecting so-called export restrictions on code that implements cryptographic protocols. Daniel Bernstein, a mathematics Ph.D. student, wanted to publish source code for a program to run an algorithm he developed. He objected to the State Department classification of his code as a “munition” and, with EFF’s help, sued to establish his First Amendment right to publish the code without arbitrary restrictions outlined in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and other laws—restrictions that included registering as an arms dealer and submitting the code for governmental review.

Read EFF’s full amicus brief here.

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Tell Congress Not To Authorize Section 215 of PATRIOT Act

From the EFF:

Tell Congress: Stop S. 1357. No reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act—no matter how short.

Congress has a chance to vote no on the NSA’s mass phone record surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. But NSA apologists are trying to broker a deal to extend Section 215 for another two months. That’s two more months of the NSA sweeping up millions of people’s phone records unconstitutionally. With your help, we can stop Congress from simply rubber-stamping this reauthorization. Tell Congress: no reauthorization of Section 215, no matter how short.

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USA Freedom Act

The EFF gives a rundown of the bill and why it is important:

The USA Freedom Act is a bill that was first proposedlast year by Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. The original version of the bill limited the NSA’s call records collection program, introduced aspecial advocate into the secretive court overseeing the spying, mandated much needed transparency requirements, and included significant reform of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act (FISAA), the law used to collect Americans’ communications in bulk.

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EFF Launches Surveillance Self Defense Site

Surveillance Self Defense will teach you how to use technology and software to protect yourself and your data online.

This is a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Regulations Proposed to Control Bitcoin

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The State of New York has proposed BitLicense, a sprawling regulatory framework that would mandate licenses for a wide range of companies that interact with digital currencies. The proposal creates expensive and vague new obligations for startups and infringes on the privacy rights of both Bitcoin businesses and casual users. And we have only four days before public comments on the proposal close. Speak out now.

This isn’t just about Bitcoin. Any future digital currency protocol would be affected, even if it’s not being used for financial services. As the proposal is currently drafted, innovators who want to use these protocols for smart contracts, to track digital assets, or for any other purpose would still be affected.

 

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You Can Have Privacy on the Net

Two members of the Electronic Frontier Foundation talk about how it is possible over at Slate:

Despite all of the awareness-raising around surveillance that has taken place over the last year, many individuals feel disempowered, helpless to fight back. Efforts such as the February 11 initiative the Day We Fight Back aim to empower individuals to lobby their representatives for better regulation of mass surveillance. But legislation and policy are only part of the solution. In order to successfully protect our privacy, we must take an approach that looks at the whole picture: our behavior, the potential risks we face in disclosing data, and the person or entity posing those risks, whether a government or company. And in order to successfully fight off the feeling of futility, we must understand the threats we face.

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6th Circuit: No Warrant Needed to Track Cell Phones

From the EFF:

In what can only be described as a results-oriented opinion, the court found Skinner had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the cell phone location data because “if a tool used to transport contraband gives off a signal that can be tracked for location, certainly the police can track the signal.” Otherwise, “technology would help criminals but not the police.” In other words, because cell phones can be used to commit crimes, there can’t be any Fourth Amendment privacy rights in them. If this sounds like an over-simplistic description of the legal reasoning in an opinion we disagree with, the sad reality is that the court’s conclusion really did boil down to this shallow understanding of the law.

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