Thursday, October 20, 2016

EFF's new report takes on surveillance in Latin America | EFFector 29.21

EFF's new report takes on surveillance in Latin America | EFFector 29.21

Unblinking Eyes: The State of Communications Surveillance in Latin America

In our 708th issue:

We're proud to announce the release of "Unblinking Eyes: The State of Communications Surveillance in Latin America," a project in collaboration with partner organizations across the region to document and analyze surveillance laws and practices in twelve countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Our reports, in both English and Spanish, show the need for comprehensive legal reform across Latin America to protect users from unlawful government surveillance. While every Latin American constitution we investigated recognizes a right to privacy and data protection, most countries do not implement those rights in a way that fully complies with international human rights standards. Overall, secrecy surrounding tactics and prevalence of surveillance is widespread in Latin America, and many countries have yet to develop a culture of transparency reporting by communications providers.

In addition to individual country reports from our international partners, EFF has produced a broader comparative report comparing laws and practices across countries, a legal analysis of the 13 Necessary and Proportionate Principles, and an interactive map summarizing our findings.

EFF Updates

Where WhatsApp Went Wrong: EFF's Four Biggest Security Concerns

After careful consideration, we have decided to add additional warnings and caveats about using WhatsApp to our Surveillance Self Defense guide. It is getting harder and harder to explain WhatsApp's security pitfalls in a way that is clear, understandable, and actionable for users. This is especially true since WhatsApp's announcement that it would be changing its user agreement regarding data sharing with the rest of Facebook's services.

Patent Forum Shopping Must End

Forum shopping is rampant in patent litigation. Last year, almost 45 percent of all patent cases were heard in the Eastern District of Texas, a sparsely populated region. EFF, along with Public Knowledge, has filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to hear a case that could end forum shopping in patent cases.

EFF Goes to Washington to Fight Against the Changes to Rule 41

If Congress does nothing, a new policy will take effect in less than two months that will make it easier than ever for the FBI to infiltrate, monitor, and damage computers remotely. With the threat of "Rule 41" changes looming, EFF went to DC to speak to policymakers about the future of computer security and the ramifications of government hacking.

Upload Filtering Mandate Would Shred European Copyright Safe Harbor

European regulators have finally released the full and final proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and unfortunately it's full of ideas that will hurt users and the platforms on which they rely, in Europe and around the world.

Tell the Copyright Office: Copyright Law Shouldn't Punish Research and Repair

After 18 years, we may finally see real reform to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's unconstitutional pro-DRM provisions. As locked-down copyrighted software shows up in more devices, people are realizing how important it is to be able to break those locks. If you can't tinker with or repair it, then you don't really own it—someone else does, and their interests will take precedence over yours.

Is Let's Encrypt the Largest Certificate Authority on the Web?

Let's Encrypt has issued its 12 millionth certificate, of which six million are active and unexpired. With these milestones, Let's Encrypt now appears to us to be the the Internet's largest certificate authority—but a recent analysis by W3Techs said we were only the third largest. So in this post we investigate: how big is Let's Encrypt, really?

USA FREEDOM Act Requires Government to Declassify Any Order to Yahoo

In the wake of reports that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered Yahoo to scan all of its users' email in 2015, there are many unanswered legal and technical questions. But before we can even begin to answer them, there is a more fundamental question: what does the court order say?

FCC Helped Create the Stingray Problem, Now it Needs to Fix It

The Baltimore Police Department is illegally using "Stingray" technology, which spies on cell phones by simulating a cellular tower. EFF recently supported a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to address Stingrays' impact on speech, interference with 911 calls, and invasion of privacy.

Google Changes Its Tune When it Comes to Tracking Students

Since we submitted our FTC complaint about Google's student privacy practices a little under a year ago, Google has made some encouraging changes. However, the core of our FTC complaint—that Google collects data on students using certain services despite promising not to do so—remains.

No One Owns Invisible Disabilities

The purpose of registered trademarks is to protect people. But when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues overly broad or generic trademarks, those trademarks do just the opposite: they can expose us to the risk of legal bullying.


Facebook-backed school software shows promise — and raises privacy concerns

A new school software tool backed by Facebook raises student privacy concerns. The Washington Post reports.

Universities have turned over hundreds of patents to patent trolls

Which universities have sold the most patents to notorious mega-troll Intellectual Ventures? Yarden Katz digs into this question on Medium.

Ethiopian authorities shut down mobile Internet and major social media sites

Ethiopian authorities have shut down mobile Internet and major social media sites amid increasingly violent protests. Global Voices provides the story.

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Editor: Gennie Gebhart, Researcher

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