Tag Archives: EFF

If You Are Reading This, You Care About the EFF

If you blog, or read blogs; have a Facebook account, Twitter, read news online, have a web page . . . in short: if you do anything online — you care about the EFF.

Right now you can do two things to support them and it won’t cost you any money.

1. Sign the Open Letter to President Obama. When President Obama took office, he promised to usher in a new era of government transparency, and instructed federal government agencies to comply with Freedom Of Information Act requests “promptly and in a spirit of cooperation.
Today, however, some of those agencies are working overtime to prevent the release of important records which deserve the sunlight of public scrutiny.

2. Vote for EFF. After you sign the letter, vote for EFF at CREDO. The 50 nonprofits on CREDO’s 2009 list will divide $3,000,000 based on the percentage of votes received from CREDO customers and activists. CREDO will give you 100 points to vote — give all 100 to EFF! (Signing the petition allows you to vote at CREDO, even if you aren’t a member of their network.)

I’m a supporter of the EFF, you should be too — all they care about is protecting civil liberties online and in the digital world. If you want to know more about what they do, please see their website.

Let the Sunshine In!

It’s Sunshine Week — the  national initiative to open a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

Today I received this from the EFF:

Over the past two and a half years, EFF has filed hundreds of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and made thousands of pages of once-secret documents available to the public on our website. When the government dragged its feet or tried to deny our requests, we filed lawsuits to hold it accountable. As a result, we’ve shed light on many controversial government initiatives, including:

  • The Department of Homeland Security’s internal policies on searching travelers at the U.S. border;
  • Details about invasive government data-mining efforts like the Automated Targeting System and ADVISE; and
  • The FBI‘s misuse of National Security Letters to silence and investigate individuals.

These victories would not have been possible without the support of people like you. As we celebrate Sunshine Week, please support EFF in our efforts to make government more transparent:


Donate to EFF this week, and help us shine a light on government secrets. It’s time to make open government a reality!

Also today, the EFF launched a search tool to examine thousands of government documents. “The new search capability enables visitors to EFF’s website to conduct keyword searches across the universe of government documents obtained by EFF, maximizing the value of the documents.” (From the press release.)

If you can spare the cash, give some to them. In either case, pass the word.

Give the EFF some love!

If you know me, you know I’m very interested in the legal issues that arise from how new technologies and intellectual capital interesect. That means that I support the EFF.

Due to the tough economic times we are all experiencing (and maybe folks with spare cash to spend on activism feeling tapped out after the election), EFF is not getting the usual end-of-the-tax-year donation love.  So they are all reaching out to friends, family and countrypersons to ask them to consider becoming EFF members this year.

I hope you know the kind of work EFF does to protect civil liberties online–such as defending fair use so people can share their home videos and make fun of deserving corporations large and small, taking on the telecoms and the NSA for spying on American citizens without a warrant, fighting to protect civil liberties on the international front, and speaking out (via blog post, press interviews, and speeches around the U.S. and the world) about threats to online civil liberties. This is very important work is and there are very few people/organizations do it as effectively as the EFF.  They also have great T-shirts. 🙂

So I’m asking: if you aren’t already a member, and you do indeed support EFF’s work (or just want a new t-shirt), please consider joining this year. If you are a member, make an extra donation — anything helps.

Also, please use this link: http://secure.eff.org/friendsandfamily.  The membership will be a little discounted and you can specify that you are a friend/family member of my sister, Corynne McSherry — Staff Attorney. (Don’t worry, she won’t find out if/how much you donated unless you tell her).

DeBeers Says Parody is Illegal?

Sad but true. But you need to know the whole story. First of all, go here (before it’s taken down!) www.nytimes-se.com and enjoy one of the most brilliant spoofs I’ve ever seen or heard of.

deBeers — you know, the diamond people — is threatening the Swiss-based domain registrar, Joker.com, with expensive lawsuits unless they disable the spoof website. The threatened charge? Trademark infringement. *

Our favorite Net Freedom Fighters, the EFF, have taken on the case and are arguing (persuasively) that there is ample US protection for the registrar.

History shows that parody is one of the most basic levels of free speech — if you can’t make fun of something then you can’t speak freely at all. Dictators usually kill the comics first, after all.

* Please note that I am not, not, NOT taking any potshots at DeBeers. It almost hurts to not say anything snarky about their destructive business methods, their lack of morals, or their ability to look innocent while wringing bloody hands.