What is up with EFF and how can you help?

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Facilitated by Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Session Description

From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. Cindy will talk about what EFF is currently working on and discuss how participants can support and participate in these efforts.

Session Notes

Some of the tech projects going on at EFF

chris@eff.org - Tech manager at EFF - contact him with help offers.

1) https everywhere - FF plugin that makes sure that the browser will talk over HTTPS to websites where people log in, to help in dealing with unsecure logins on sites.

Help with writing rules for it to make sure it works with all sites. Teach organizations how to set up HTTPS for their organization.

2) SSL Observatory - there are too many certificate authoriries - can we trust the authorities? This project is about mapping the certificates on the internet and get copies of all certificates, and mapped back to the certificate authorities, in order ot identify untrustworthy authorities. People who issue certificates can also allow others to issue them. This will be developed into a map, and they need help w/ getting the data into the system and visualized. DB management and analysis code is needed, as well as with data gathering.

3) Open Source Security Auditing Project - starting soon, to audit the security of open source products. We need to demonstrate that open source is more secure, but only after gathering data and proof that it is.

4) Develper Pledge: People who develop application should make a pledge to make their applications work outside the walled gardens of Apple, Facebook, etc. We should make our apps and data available to non-proprietary systems. Data portability should also be included.

"The Master Switch" - a book that discusses the issue of locked platforms.


What about Diaspora? It hasn't really emerged as a viable platform.

Anti-trust vs. Facebook or Google... Is Facebook a monopoly? Lawyers are talking about it - but only money is currently measured in a monopoly, not the value of privacy. So there aren't really legal grouds to say a "free" service is a monopoly.

Chicago School of Economics - the Anti-trust law has been gutted.

What are some alternatives for people when Facebook sucks?

What is the EFF doing to help educate the public about the dangers of these closed systems and even of FireSheep? They produce content, but this has be spread out by people. They are working w/ the FTC as well, and participating in hearnings about the topic.

Ed Felton - former Princeton Prof Named as the CTO for the FTC - he is a strong advocate for Privacy trust.

Laptops when crossing borders: Are you required to hand over your encryption key? There isn't a clear precedence. EFF is looking for a case to litigate, but one that doesn't involve child porn.

What to do in case your data is being radied by the police?

1) You can always call a lawyer - there is no law that prevents you from getting a lawyer.

2) there are only 9 lawyers at the EFF, but they can help you find someone if they can't help.

3) Make them show you a warrant.

4) Talk to a lawyer. Don't talk to the cops.

We only have the rights that we claim - the constitution doesn't exist in a vacuum.

Become members of the EFF - it helps to be able to say "we represent 14k people".

Sunlight foundation - Readthebill.org - encourages Congress to post the contents of a bill online 72 hours before it's voted on, so the people can review it.

Jessica Litman - "Digital Copyright" - a detailed history of the DMCA and how each of the elements in there came from.