In our 723rd issue:
When you pay for federally funded research, you should be allowed to read it. That’s the idea behind the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.1701, H.R.3427), which was recently reintroduced in both houses of Congress.
Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy. The bill gives each agency flexibility to implement an open access policy suited to the work it funds, so long as research is available to the public after an „embargo period“ of a year or less.
Part of what’s important about open access is that it democratizes knowledge: when research is available to the public, you don’t need expensive journal subscriptions or paid access to academic databases in order to read it.
FASTR is a huge step in the right direction and can be used as a foundation for stronger open access in the future.
On the Internet, any tactic used now to silence neo-Nazis will soon be used against others, including people whose opinions we agree with.
For any content hosts that do reject content as part of the enforcement of their terms of service, or are pressured by states to secretly censor, we have long recommended that they implement procedural protections to mitigate mistakes—specifically, the Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability.
In GoDaddy and Google’s eagerness to distance themselves from American neo-Nazis, no process was followed. Policies give guidance as to what we might expect, and an opportunity to see justice is done. We should think carefully before throwing them away.
The government has backed down significantly in its fight with DreamHost about information related to the J20 protests. Late on Tuesday, DOJ filed a reply in its much publicized attempt to get the hosting provider to turn over a large amount of data about a website it was hosting, disruptj20.org—a site that was dedicated to organizing and planning protests in Washington, D.C. on the day of President Trump’s inauguration.
In the brief, DOJ substantially reduces the amount of information it is seeking, including some of the most obvious examples of overreach.
EFF announced recently that whistleblower and activist Chelsea Manning, Techdirt editor and open internet advocate Mike Masnick, and IFEX executive director and global freedom of expression defender Annie Game are the distinguished winners of the 2017 Pioneer Awards, which recognize leaders who are extending freedom and innovation on the electronic frontier.
The award ceremony will be held on September 14 in San Francisco. The keynote speaker is Emmy-nominated comedy writer Ashley Nicole Black, a correspondent on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee who uses her unique comedic style to take on government surveillance, encryption, and freedom of information.
Thai activist Jatuphat „Pai“ Boonpattaraksa was sentenced recently to two and a half years in prison—for the crime of sharing a BBC article on Facebook. The Thai-language article profiled Thailand’s new king and, while thousands of users shared it, only Jutaphat was found to violate Thailand’s strict lese majeste laws against insulting, defaming, or threatening the monarchy.
Jatupat’s case is only the latest in the Thai government’s increasingly repressive and arbitrary attempts to chill expression online and censor content critical of the state.
Members of Congress go back to their home districts in August. Constituents can request meetings with them during this time by contacting their local congressional offices. If you do so with a few local allies, you’ll likely be able to meet with staffers and perhaps even your member of Congress directly.
With so many issues vital to digital rights looming in the congressional calendar, this August is a critical time for Internet users to pressure Congress to do the right thing on mass surveillance, net neutrality, and rules that insulate platforms for liability based on content written by users.
If you have ever wanted to use the wireless Internet at a coffee shop or library, you have probably had to click through a Terms of Service screen with an „I agree“ button to do it. These kinds of screens are called captive portals, and they interfere with wireless security without providing many user benefits.
HTTPS sites trigger false-positive „untrusted connection“ warnings that train users to ignore them completely, and the presence of a log-in window may lead users to inaccurately believe that wireless networks with captive portals are safer than those without.
For most networks, captive portals don’t provide access benefits, they only make users less safe.
At EFF, we keep very busy. Our past is invariably tangled with the present—long-running court cases that stretch on for years, and hard-won battles that it turns out we have to re-visit. Our 2016 Annual Report includes reflections from several EFF staff members on the work we do, and why we do it. In looking back, we look forward with fresh resolve. We hope you will, too.
EFF won a court ruling this month affirming that an infamous podcasting patent used by a patent troll to threaten podcasters big and small was properly held invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
A unanimous decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will, for now, keep podcasting safe from this patent.
Content censorship on YouTube interferes with the work of professionals trying to document abuses. (Business Insider)
A bill calling for increased use of surveillance technology at U.S. borders elicits concern from privacy advocates. (ArsTechnica)
The Palestinian president imperils free speech in a cryptic mandate. (AP News)
Our members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.
If you aren’t already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Editor: Camille Ochoa, Activist
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EFF returns to Dragon Con in Atlanta September 1-4 to participate in a series of panels about technology, civil liberties, activism, and pop culture.
EFF is proud to sponsor Black Girl Nerds’ Third Annual Tweet-up at Dragon Con. Join us at Joystick Gamebar in Atlanta on September 1 for food, games, and a costume contest with prizes. The event is free, and no Dragon Con pass is required for attendance.
On September 14, we will celebrate the work of the 2017 Pioneer Award winners Annie Game, Mike Masnick, and Chelsea Manning, featuring a keynote presentation from Emmy-nominated comedy writer Ashley Nicole Black. The event will take place from 6 pm to 10 pm in Delancey Street’s Town Hall Room in San Francisco.
EFF seeks an energetic event coordinator to plan and execute events in support of the Development Team’s fundraising and outreach goals. The ideal candidate has coordinated successful public-facing programs, is adept at learning unfamiliar software, is an excellent communicator, and is passionate about strengthening the movement to protect civil liberties.
EFF is seeking a senior software engineer to join our Engineering & Design team in our San Francisco office. A successful candidate will have broad knowledge of web technologies and frameworks, ability to assess new technologies, experience implementing solutions quickly, leadership in building consensus around technical decisions and getting team buy-in, and the ability to collaborate with and deliver for a diverse group of colleagues.
EFF is seeking a software engineer to join our Engineering & Design team in our San Francisco office. The Engineering & Design team is responsible for EFF’s web presence and the architecture that underlies it. You’ll work with EFF’s activists, attorneys, and technologists to build web applications that help protect civil liberties online.
EFF is seeking a full-time writer for the activism team. This position will focus on free speech, net neutrality, and digital copyright and will have adaptability to cover a wide range of other issues as well.