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  • Students and Professors: Help Stop Patent Trolls

    We were so close to stopping patent trolls. The House passed a strong bill, and the President was ready to sign it… then the Senate stepped in and decided not to act.

    The fight isn't over. We'll continue to urge our elected officials to fix our broken patent system. Many universities have sided with trial lawyers and the pharmaceutical lobby in fighting against patent reform, so it's up to students and researchers to show Congress that the future of innovation relies on a world without patent trolls. And to get there, we need strong changes.

    Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:

    We undersigned write to urge you to support common-sense patent reform. It has come to our attention that over 100 universities, including many of our own, have joined up alongside PhRMA and companies like Monsanto in speaking out against much needed reform of our broken patent system.

    Their position is severely flawed. We—as university researchers, students, and innovators—are entering into an environment ridden with the threat of abusive entitles like patent trolls and costly, unnecessary litigation. This ecosystem discourages the realization of new ideas and inventions.

    Universities are supposed to be places where scholars and students have access to the resources to imagine and design technologies that keep America on the cutting edge. The current patent system, overrun with abusive patent trolls, is antithetical to what universities and the patent system aim to foster: inventiveness and the proliferation of new ideas. Under today’s conditions, students' and researchers' pursuits will be chilled by the knowledge that their efforts will be consistently under threat, too costly to pursue. 

    The listed universities claim that many of the bill’s provisions “assume that every patent holder is a patent troll.” This simply is not true. Proposed reform language carefully ensures that valid patent holders are not affected, and the proposals' transparency requirements help to serve both the public and the future of American innovation.

    Patent trolls cost the country more than $29 billion per year. Though universities directly participate in only a fraction of cases, they have regularly licensed their technologies to patent trolls. For example, at least sixty American universities have sold patents to Intellectual Ventures, one of the most notorious patent assertion entities. Inventions that originate in our schools, largely funded by public tax dollars, are being abused by companies that do not comport with the missions of our universities nor the progress of innovation.

    We call on our Senators to support sound policy and pick up where the House of Representative left off—with strong legislation that tackles the patent troll problem. We were dismayed to see the letter from academic institutions calling for further delay in fixing our broken patent system.

    Now is the time to support the future of American innovation and pass meaningful reform.

     

    Wall of Shame: The academic institutions that fought against patent reform in the Senate:

    American Council on Education
    Arizona State University
    Association of American Medical Colleges
    Association of American Universities
    Association of Public and Land-grant Universities
    Association of University Technology Managers
    Auburn University
    Ball State University
    Boston University
    Brandeis University
    Brown University
    California Healthcare Institute (CHI)
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Case Western Reserve University
    City College of New York
    Clemson University
    Cleveland State University
    College of William & Mary
    Colorado School of Mines
    Colorado State University
    Colorado State University System
    Cornell University
    Duke University
    Emory University
    Florida A&M University
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Idaho State University
    Indiana University
    Iowa State University
    Johns Hopkins University
    Kansas State University
    Louisiana Tech University
    Miami University
    Michigan State University
    Michigan Technological University
    Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Montana State University
    New Mexico State University
    New York University
    North Carolina State University
    Northern Illinois University
    Northwestern University
    Ohio State University
    Ohio University
    Oklahoma State University
    Oregon State University
    Pennsylvania State University
    Portland State University
    Purdue University
    Rice University
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    San Francisco State University
    South Dakota State University
    Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
    Stony Brook University – State University of New York
    Texas State University
    Texas Tech University
    Tulane University
    University at Buffalo – State University of New York
    University of Akron
    University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Arizona
    University of Arkansas
    University of Cincinnati
    University of Colorado at Boulder
    University of Colorado System
    University of Connecticut
    University of Delaware
    University of Florida
    University of Georgia
    University of Hawaii
    University of Houston
    University of Idaho
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    University of Illinois System
    University of Kansas
    University of Kentucky
    University of Louisville
    University of Maryland, College Park
    University of Massachusetts
    University of Michigan
    University of Minnesota
    University of Missouri – Kansas City
    University of Missouri – St. Louis
    University of Missouri System
    University of Montana
    University of Nebraska
    University of New Hampshire
    University of New Mexico
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    University of North Carolina at Wilmington
    University of North Carolina System
    University of North Texas
    University of Oklahoma
    University of Oregon
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Pittsburgh
    University of Rhode Island
    University of Rochester
    University of South Carolina
    University of South Florida
    University of Southern California
    University of Tennessee System
    University of Tennessee, Knoxville
    University of Texas at Austin
    University of Texas at Dallas
    University of Toledo
    University of Vermont
    University of Virginia
    University of Washington
    University of Wisconsin Colleges
    University of Wisconsin System
    University of Wisconsin-Extension
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    University of Wyoming
    University System of Maryland
    Washington State University
    Washington University in St. Louis
    Wayne State University
    West Virginia State University
    West Virginia University
    Western Michigan University
    Yale University

  • End the NSA’s Mass Spying

    Tell Congress: Support the Senate's Stronger NSA Reform, S.1599 The USA FREEDOM Act. Stop the FISA Improvements Act & Other Fake Reforms.

    Since Edward Snowden’s first leaked document, we’ve learned disturbing details about the full extent of NSA spying. We now have confirmation that: 

    • The NSA is sweeping up the call records of millions of innocent people ;
    • The NSA is collecting the Internet communications of law abiding people around the globe;
    • The NSA is undermining encryption, making the Internet less safe for everyone; 

    There’s a powerful reform proposal moving in the Senate, S.1599 The USA FREEDOM Act. The bill would limit bulk collection of phone records and add transparency to the egregious NSA spying. 

    If S.1599 passes, it will be the most meaningful reform of government surveillance in decades. While S.1599, The USA FREEDOM Act, doesn’t address every issue with NSA surveillance, it’s a powerful first step.

    But certain members of Congress don’t want reform. Senator Dianne Feinstein is promoting the FISA Improvements Act, a bill posing as reform that attempts to legalize the worst aspects of NSA surveillance. And the House's recently passed version of the USA FREEDOM Act, H.R. 3361 is a fake fix: it may have the same name, but it's been entirely rewritten and gutted.

    We can’t let NSA apologists preserve the status quo. Demand real reform. Stop mass spying. Support S.1599 The USA FREEDOM Act.

  • Stop patent trolls. Support patent reform in the Senate!

    We're so close to passing patent reform.

    The House recently passed the Innovation Act, a bill to stop patent trolls—whose abusive litigation has exploded in recent years, putting a drain on our innovation economy and harming innocent end users. The bill passed with a huge, bipartisan 325-91 vote.

    Now it's time for the Senate to step up. The most prominent legislation is S. 1720, the Patent Transparency and Improvements Act. Let's make it a stronger bill.

    Patent trolls buy up patents and use them offensively against unsuspecting businesses—without creating or selling anything themselves. Making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll's favorite move. Most defendants choose to settle because patent litigation is risky and expensive—and trolls offer settlement amounts that, although still incredibly burdensome, are far cheaper than a lawsuit. Businesses who are targeted—including cafés running Wi-Fi, app developers, offices using scanners, and podcasters—lose both time and money, and innovation suffers.

    Here's what we want:

    • Patent Quality: Broad and vague patents are the underlying problem. We need reforms, like expanding patent review methods and limiting functional claiming, to prevent these patents from existing in the first place.
    • Heightened Pleading: The bill should require patent holders to provide basic details (such as which patents and claims are at issue, as well as what products allegedly infringe and how) when it files a lawsuit.
    • Fee shifting: The bill should allow for a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winning side's fees and costs. This makes it harder for trolls to use the extraordinary expense of patent litigation to force a settlement.
    • Transparency: The bill should include strong language requiring patent trolls to reveal the parties that would actually benefit from the litigation. Also, if the plaintiff is a shell-company patent troll, the defendant could require the real party in interest to join the litigation, forcing them to pay up if the patent troll can’t or won't pay.
    • Staying customer suits: The bill should require courts to stay patent litigation against customers (such as a café using an off-the-shelf router to provide Wi-Fi) when there is parallel litigation against the manufacturer.
    • Discovery reform: The bill shuts down expensive and often harassing discovery until the court has interpreted the patent, making it easier for defendants to dispose of frivolous cases early before the legal fees and court costs really add up.
    • Demand letter crackdown: The bill should curb the widespread, deceptive sending of demand letters by patent trolls. 

    Help us stop patent trolls from gaming the system. Send a message to your senator asking them to support strong patent reform.

  • Demand Reform for Outdated Privacy Laws

    If the government wants to track our cell phones, or see what web sites we’ve visited, or rummage through our Gmail, or read our private messages on Facebook, the Constitution requires it to go to a judge and get a search warrant based on probable cause. Right now, there’s a law on the books that doesn’t make that requirement clear—and it's time we demand a privacy upgrade.

    The government should be explicitly required to go to a judge and get a warrant before it can read our email, access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones. Please support HR 1852 The Email Privacy Act, which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to make crystal clear that warrants are required before the government can access this sensitive information.

    ECPA was forward-looking when it was signed into law in October of 1986, considering that the World Wide Web hadn't even been invented yet. But now ECPA has become outdated. The privacy standards that it applies to new technologies are unclear and weak. For example, the law doesn't specifically address cell phone location tracking at all, and it purports to allow the government to seize some categories of emails without ever having to go to a judge. Meanwhile, no one is perfectly sure how it applies to newer online services like social networks and search engines.

    This gap between the law and the technology ultimately leaves us all at risk.

    Take this action to send a message to your Representatives demanding they sponsor HR 1852, The Email Privacy Act, which ensures the government obtains a warrant before it starts snooping on your emails and conversations.

    If the government wants to track our cell phones, or see what web sites we’ve visited, or rummage through our Gmail, or read our private messages on Facebook, it should be required to go to a judge and get a search warrant based on probable cause. Right now, that's not the case—and it's time we demand a privacy upgrade.

    The government should be required to go to a judge and get a warrant before it can read our email, access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones. Please support HR 1852 The Email Privacy Act, which would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to require warrants for this sensitive information.

    ECPA was forward-looking when it was signed into law in October of 1986, considering that the World Wide Web hadn't even been invented yet. But now ECPA has become outdated. The privacy standards that it applies to new technologies are unclear and weak. For example, the law doesn't specifically address cell phone location tracking at all, and it allows the government to seize most emails without ever having to go to a judge. Meanwhile, no one is perfectly sure how it applies to newer online services like social networks and search engines.

    This gap between the law and the technology ultimately leaves us all at risk.

    Take this action to send a message to your Representatives demanding they sponsor HR 1852, The Email Privacy Act, which ensures the government obtains a warrant before it starts snooping on your emails and conversations.

  • (No Title)
  • Stop the NSA "Fake Fix" Bill

    The FISA Improvements Act of 2013 seeks to extend NSA surveillance.

    Not in the United States? Click here.

    The FISA Improvements Act of 2013 is a new bill promoted by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, designed to bolster some of the worst NSA surveillance programs and grant new authority to the NSA to engage in surveillance.  

    Senator Feinstein is touting this proposal as a way to address the problems with uncontrolled NSA spying, but don’t be fooled: it’s a fake fix. 

    The Fake Fix is designed to:

    1. Authorize the NSA’s practice of collecting phone records of hundreds of millions of innocent Americans.
    2. Authorize the NSA to engage in bulk collection of Internet communication records—an extremely invasive program the government tried in the past, but shut down because it was useless.

    This bill isn’t designed to rein in the NSA spying programs.

    It won’t end bulk data collection by the NSA, and it won’t stop unconstitutional surveillance on our communications. It offers fig-leaf transparency and oversight provisions while embracing NSA surveillance.

    The Fake Fix is already out of committee and the Senate could begin voting on it soon. Please act quickly to help us defeat this terrible bill. Send a letter to your members of Congress and tell them to oppose Senator Feinstein’s Fake Fix and support real reform to end mass surveillance.

  • Stop patent trolls. Support the Innovation Act of 2013.

    The best patent troll-killing bill yet.

    The Innovation Act of 2013, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan coalition, offers a host of fixes to the problem of patent trolls—whose abusive litigation has exploded in recent years, putting a drain on our innovation economy and harming innocent end users.

    The bill passed through the house with a bipartisan 325-91 vote. Now it's on to the Senate. Tell your senator to support the Innovation Act.

    Patent trolls buy up patents and use them offensively against unsuspecting businesses—without creating or selling anything themselves. Making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll's favorite move. Most defendants choose to settle because patent litigation is risky and expensive—and trolls offer settlement amounts that, although still incredibly burdensome, are far cheaper than a lawsuit. Businesses who are targeted—including cafés running Wi-Fi, app developers, offices using scanners, and podcasters—lose both time and money, and innovation suffers.

    Here's what the bill does:

    • Heightened Pleading: The bill requires patent holders to provide basic details (such as which patents and claims are at issue, as well as what products allegedly infringe and how) when it files a lawsuit.
    • Fee shifting: The bill allows for a court to require the loser in a patent case to pay the winning side's fees and costs. This makes it harder for trolls to use the extraordinary expense of patent litigation to force a settlement.
    • Transparency: The bill includes strong language requiring patent trolls to reveal the parties that would actually benefit from the litigation (called the real party in interest). Also, if the plaintiff is a shell-company patent troll, the defendant could require the real party in interest to join the litigation, forcing them to pay up if the patent troll can’t or won't pay.
    • Staying customer suits: The bill requires courts to stay patent litigation against customers (such as a café using an off-the-shelf router to provide Wi-Fi) when there is parallel litigation against the manufacturer.
    • Discovery reform: The bill shuts down expensive and often harassing discovery until the court has interpreted the patent, making it easier for defendants to dispose of frivolous cases early before the legal fees and court costs really add up.

    Help us stop patent trolls from gaming the system. Send a message to your senator asking them to support the Innovation Act of 2013.

  • Don't Let Congress Fast-Track TPP

    Leaked Document Reveals a Hollywood Wish List of Harmful Digital Policies

    The leaked “Intellectual Property” chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement confirmed our worst fears: Big Content companies are pushing extreme copyright provisions in a secret trade deal that would put restrictive controls on the Internet. While Hollywood has had easy access to view and comment on draft texts—so it can get the provisions it wants—our own lawmakers have been mostly left out.

    But a new bill threatens to make this undemocratic process even worse.

    Stop Secret Copyright Treaties

    Lawmakers in Congress are trying to pass a bill to hand over their own constitutional authority to debate and modify trade law. The process is called Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority. It creates special rules that empower the White House to negotiate and sign trade agreements without Congressional oversight. Lawmakers won’t be able to analyze and change their provisions, and have only 90 days for an up or down, Yes or No vote to ratify the entire treaty. That means Internet and copyright provisions, buried in omnibus treaties, will get almost no oversight.

    Tell your Rep to stand up for your digital rights and preserve our constitutional checks and balances in government.

    The United States Trade Rep is in the midst of negotiating two major trade agreements: the TPP and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the EU-U.S. trade agreement. Both TPP and TTIP are multinational trade deals that will carry copyright and digital privacy provisions that threaten millions of users’ rights. Trade agreements carry these harmful provisions because the US Trade Rep has negotiated them with no credible public consultation. Instead, these agreements uphold the one-sided concerns of corporate interests who have little concern for how these policies will impact the Internet and our digital rights.

  • Stop the Massachusetts Wiretapping Bill

    After recent revelations about NSA spying, the last thing we need is expanded wiretapping powers in Massachusetts.

    A new bill in Massachusetts (S.654/H.3261) will expand the state's wiretapping laws, allowing law enforcement to eavesdrop on individuals suspected of committing even minor offenses. The bill also lets the government engage in these wiretaps for 30-day periods of time, twice as long as the current standard—preventing courts from providing adequate oversight.

    Sign this petition and urge your lawmakers to oppose this unnecessary expansion of eavesdropping powers.

    This petition is a joint initiative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and our partners at the ACLU of MassachusettsBill of Rights Defense Committee, Demand Progress, Digital Fourth, and Fight for the Future. For privacy reasons, however, no data entered into this form will be shared with our partner organizations.

  • Call now. Tell Congress to end the spying.

    It's time for a full accounting of America's secret spying programs—and an end to unconstitutional surveillance.

    Phone calls can make a huge difference in Washington: we saw scores of lawmakers change positions in response to the call in campaigns we organized during the SOPA fight. Let’s repeat that victory by driving tons of phone calls to Congress today to stop NSA spying.

    Once you've looked up your Senators and Representative, you can follow this script to demand transparency and accountability from the government:

    Hi, my name is ((NAME)). I'm a constituent and I'm calling about NSA spying. I'm calling to urge you to form an independent, fully empowered Congressional committee to investigate NSA spying, and enact strong new laws to protect my private communications. We need to stop the NSA spying on Americans.
  • Support Public Access to Research in New York

    New York has a chance to cultivate research and innovation like never before. With the Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act, all state-funded knowledge will be made freely available online.

    The Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (A180/S4050) gives the public access to tens of millions of dollars worth of research funded in whole or in part by New York residents. Too often, research you are currently paying for gets locked down inside expensive journals—scientists, researchers, and individuals are prevented from accessing crucial, state-of-the-art information.

    Universities and research institutions are forced to pay exorbitant amounts for knowledge they helped create—and that you helped underwrite.

    Top research universities in our state—some of the best in the world—have been forced to cut down their number of journal subscriptions, hindering scholarly progress and hurting innovation. This bill would help fix that.

    Join EFF in supporting this important open access bill. Use this form to contact your New York lawmakers.

    Note: This action is only available to residents of New York. If you are not a New York resident, you can ask Congress to support FASTR, the federal public access bill.

  • Massive Spying Program Exposed

    Demand Answers Now

    National Security AgencyNot in the U.S.? Take our international action instead.

    Reports by the Guardian and the Washington Post confirm secret spying on phone records and Internet activity.

    A new report in the Guardian shows that the National Security Agency (NSA) has collected the call records of every Verizon customer in America—millions upon millions of call records. This includes every call made, the location of the phone, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other "identifying information"—for every single call made by a Verizon customer, regardless of whether they've ever been suspected of a crime.

    And that's not all. Reports have now been published by the Washington Post and the Guardian based on information provided by an intelligence contractor showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. The government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time.

    It's likely been happening for years. Speaking about the secret order to Verizon, Senator Diane Feinstein says she believes that "This is an exact three-month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years."

    And the Obama administration is defending this surveillance. A senior official in the Administration stated that these programs "comply with the Constitution" and "appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties."

    They're wrong.

    It's time for a full accounting of America's secret spying programs—and an end to unconstitutional surveillance.

    When the government was caught spying on American citizens in the 1960s and 70s, Congress created the Church Committee to right the government's wrongs. Recommendations from that commission resulted in legal reforms that ensured judicial oversight of surveillance programs. Congress must act in a similar fashion and create a 21st Century Church Committee and enact strong legislation to rein in the Executive Branch and protect our communications.

    Join EFF in calling for a full investigation by emailing Congress today.

    For far too long, secret law and a secret surveillance state have been a dark shadow on Americans' freedom. It's time to shine a light on NSA's spying.

  • Tell The White House You Oppose The FBI’s Secret New Internet Surveillance Law

    The new version of CALEA would force companies to provide a secret backdoor to your digital communications.

    According to the New York Times, the Obama administration is “on the verge of backing” a sweeping new Internet surveillance bill — an expansion of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This bill would effectively force companies like Google and Facebook to install government-friendly backdoors so they can have direct access to a user's communications.

    This bill is disastrous for both user privacy and Internet security. The government doesn’t need it, it places a vice on anonymous free speech, and it restricts innovation. Let’s tell the White House to oppose this plan before it gets to Congress.

    The US government has claimed that cyberattacks are the number one threat to this country, yet the proposal unequivocally makes the Internet less secure by creating a centralized vulnerability in every popular messaging system. These vulnerabilities could be exploited to steal sensitive information, like passwords and banking data. Academics have called it a “ticking time bomb” for security.

    The government already has unprecedented access to communications.  They don’t need this. Electronic surveillance is at an all time high by every possible measure. The government is far from "going dark," or losing its ability to spy on users. According to its own statistics and its most recent reports, from 2006-2010, the government’s wiretaps were ultimately thwarted by encryption zero times. In fact, former White House Chief Counselor for Privacy Peter Swire said, "today [is] a golden age for surveillance."

    This bill sends the wrong message to other countries. The US State Department has engaged in an Internet freedom initiative for years trying to get companies to help protect users against spying by repressive governments. We’ve criticized countries like Saudi Arabia for wanting to install similar backdoors on the Blackberry network. This FBI-promoted surveillance bill would contradict our message of Internet freedom and innovation. 

    Email the White House to tell them NO to this dangerous Internet surveillance bill. 

  • Unchain Your Phone With the Unlocking Technology Act

    The Unlocking Technology Act provides an effective fix to a real problem in copyright: companies can exploit one-sided laws to prohibit users from modifying or repairing their devices by locking the technology with software.

    One casualty of that massive copyright overreach is phone unlocking. Common sense may tell us that copyright law shouldn't prevent people from unlocking their legally purchased devices to work with other carriers, but the legal situation is murky. Earlier this year, over 100,000 Americans petitioned the White House for a fix.

    And the problem isn't limited to phones—it can affect almost every device you own. Already these restrictions have ensnared security researchers, film makers, software developers, and more—people that are engaged in legitimate and non-infringing activities.

    Please tell Congress now that you support this essential fix to a bad copyright law.

  • Californians, Support Taxpayer Access to Research

    The Assembly has passed this bill. Now it's up to the Senate. Help California pave the way for public access to important, taxpayer-funded research.

    The California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act (AB 609) gives the public access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research funded in whole or in part by California residents. Too often, research you are currently paying for gets locked down inside expensive journals—scientists, researchers, and individuals are prevented from accessing crucial, state-of-the-art information.

    Universities and research institutions are forced to pay exorbitant amounts for knowledge they helped create—and that you helped underwrite.

    There's already a budget crisis in California. Top research universities in our state—some of the best in the world—have been forced to cut down their number of journal subscriptions, hindering scholarly progress and hurting innovation. This bill would help fix that.

    Join EFF in supporting this important open access bill. Use this form to contact your California lawmakers.

    Note: This action is only available to residents of California. If you are not a California resident, you can ask Congress to support FASTR, the federal public access bill.

  • Tell Congress to Reject CISPA

    UPDATE: The House of Representatives has passed the "cybersecurity" bill known as CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Despite recent amendments, CISPA still features dangerously vague language that could put your personal information in the hands of military organizations like the National Security Agency.

    Now that the House has passed the bill, the battle is moving to the Senate.

    Click here to go to our action page for targeting the Senate.

    Click here if you’re not in the United States.

  • Californians, Support the Right to Know Act

    There’s an amazing opportunity to pass strong transparency and access legislation in California—but we need your help to overcome corporate interest groups that are lobbying against it.

    The Right to Know Act (AB1291) would ensure you know how companies collect, share, and disclose your personal data.
    It would require a company to give users access to the personal data the company has stored on them—as well as a list of all the other companies with whom that original company has shared the users’ personal data—when a user requests it.

    Most importantly, it applies to the digital world too, giving Californians a better understanding of how their data is used when they search the web, shop online, and use apps.
     
    Please join with the EFF and the ACLU in supporting this important transparency law. Use the form to contact your California lawmakers.

    Note: This action is only available to residents of California. If you are not a California resident, you can help by telling your friends in California about this important measure.

  • CISPA is Back.

    Tell Obama: Veto this bill!

    In the United States? Take action here instead.

    The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a bill that recently passed the United States House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate. It would create a gaping new exemption to existing privacy law. It would let any company, from AT&T to Zynga, including internet giants like Google or Facebook obtain "cyber threat" information (including personal and private information from your accounts) and disclose that data to the U.S. government. That includes non-U.S. users of these American services.

    Worse yet, these companies are authorized to give this information to any U.S. government agency, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

    The Internet has called on President Barack Obama to veto this terrible bill. And he's already starting to listen -- advisors of Obama issued a statement that said they would urge the President to veto CISPA if it came to his desk.

    We need to bolster this opposition by adding our voices. Please sign this petition to President Barack Obama asking him to stand up for Internet privacy and veto CISPA if it comes to his desk. Show him that the world is watching.

    EFF and our partners will deliver these names either together or separately to maximize impact. We won't share your email address without your consent.

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  • Stop patent trolls. Support the SHIELD Act.

    Finally, a bill to deal with the problem of patent trolls.

    The SHIELD Act (H.R. 845), introduced into the House by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), is the first bill of its kind to target nasty patent trolls.

    Patent trolls are entities that don't create anything themselves, but instead buy up patents and use them offensively. Making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll's favorite move. Most defendants choose to settle because patent litigation is risky and expensive—and trolls offer settlement amounts that, although still incredibly burdensome, are far cheaper than a lawsuit. Businesses who are targeted—including cafés running Wi-Fi and podcasters—lose both time and money, and innovation suffers.

    The SHIELD Act spears patent trolls' incentives right through the heart: if a patent troll sues someone, they better believe that the defendant actually infringes a valid patent. If not, the troll could be on the hook for the winning party's full litigation costs, which often stretch into the millions of dollars.

    This "fee shifting" system would empower innovators to fight back, while discouraging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.

    Help us stop patent trolls from gaming the system. Send a message to your representatives asking them to support this bill.

  • Support FASTR for open access to research.

    You deserve open access to taxpayer-funded research. Tell your members of Congress to support FASTR.

    Government agencies like the National Science Foundation invest millions of taxpayer dollars into scientific research every year, and yet you — the taxpayer — don't have access to the results unless you pay thousands of dollars to buy academic journals.

    The Fair Access to Science & Technology Research (FASTR) Act would fix this. The bill makes government agencies design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to — and robust reuse of — the results of their investments. Any researcher who receives federal funding must submit a copy of resulting journal articles to the funding agency, which then makes that research freely available to the world within six months. Read more.

    The FASTR Act has been introduced with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, but your lawmakers need to know that open access has the Internet community's support. FASTR's robust support for open access will change a flawed system that rewards private publishers at the expense of scientific progress. You can help. Tell your members of Congress to support the future of scientific progress.

  • The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is broken.

    Aaron Swartz

    1. No more criminal penalties for violating a website's fine print
    2. No criminal penalties for circumvention techniques that protect privacy and promote security
    3. Make penalties proportionate to offenses

    The tragic death of Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old coder and social activist, has shone a light on the sad truth about America's misguided computer crime law. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) has vague language that broadly criminalizes accessing a computer without "authorization," but doesn't explain what that actually means. It also contains heavy-handed penalties and shows no regard for whether an act was done to further the public good. Read More

    Proposed legislative fixes -- like Representative Zoe Lofgren's "Aaron's Law" -- are encouraging but don't go far enough. To fix the CFAA, we need to clarify the meaning of "unauthorized" to reflect that commonplace and privacy-protective "circumvention" techniques should not be crimes, and we also need to make penalties proportionate to offenses.

    Brilliant, talented, visionary people should be spending their time building our future, not worrying about wasting away in prison. Congress must start by updating the CFAA to ensure the penalties make sense in light of the behavior they're meant to punish. Once you've taken action, read more about how EFF is tackling this issue.

  • Help EFF End Warrantless Surveillance

    Wiretapping millions of Americans? It’s unconstitutional and illegal.

    And part of it is up for a vote in Congress.

    EFF is going to court this month to try to stop the United States government from warrantlessly scooping up the Internet communications of millions of Americans. But even as we’re gearing up for the next court battle, Congress is poised to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act, the 2008 law that allows the government to surveil the communications of Americans speaking with people overseas without warrants.

    The FISA Amendments Act, a bill the EFF community fought against in 2008, is set to expire in just 2 weeks. This is the legislation that, for the first time, allowed warrantless surveillance of Americans, albeit only when they are communicating with foreign "targets." Some claim that this law is the basis for the government’s warrantless dragnet of all Americans, as a first step to “targeted" surveillance.

    But to date, the government refuses to provide any details about how it is engaging in this American surveillance or how many Americans are actually impacted.

    The nation was shocked when revelations about widespread surveillance were first unearthed more than 5 years ago, including President Bush’s admission he was violating a critical surveillance law to spy on selected Americans without warrants.

    EFF has gathered and presented evidence that the actual spying was much broader, including millions of innocent Americans. EFF’s evidence includes schematics and photographs from inside AT&T’s San Francisco facilities where millions of Americans’ communications are being copied to the government. But rather than dismantle this illegal program, Congress gave at least part of it a sheen of legality by passing the FISA Amendments Act in 2008.

    Portions of the FISA Amendments Act are set to expire on December 31, 2012. That means Congress has only a handful of working days to reauthorize this bill. They’re going to attempt to ram through a five-year extension with no debate and no reform— saddling us with five more years of unconstitutional surveillance and no public accountability or reporting about the Americans affected.

    We need your help to stop this bill. Please join EFF in fighting for privacy by sending this note to Congress.

    And please also tweet at Senate leadership to ensure this issue isn’t swept under the rug in the final days of the Congressional session:

    Hey @McConnellPress and @SenatorReid: Don't ram through a 5-year extension on FISA Amendments Act. https://eff.org/r.2asn

  • Help protect mobile location privacy in California with SB 1434

    Right now, a bill that would help protect the privacy of every Californian carrying a cell phone is sitting on Governor Brown's desk, just waiting for his signature. That bill, SB 1434, would require law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant before they get sensitive location data, like your cell phone location information. We need your support to pass it.

    As Internet-connected cell phones have become increasingly ubiquitous, so has their ability to track their owners with frightening precision. But the law is still not clear on the legal standard for law enforcement agencies who request that data. SB 1434 clears up the confusion and strikes the right balance, granting law enforcement access to that sensitive data only when they obtain a search warrant.

    Help ensure that this bill becomes a law by writing Governor Brown to let him know how important your personal privacy is. California is a leader in technology. It should be a leader in the laws surrounding that technology.

    Please select "SB01434: Location information: warrants" on the next page.

  • Support Federal Protection for Blogger's Rights

    Urge Congress to Support Anti-SLAPP Legislation to Protect Free Speech, Both Online and Off

    Late one evening in June 2012, Matthew Inman, the comic genius behind The Oatmeal, received a knock on his door: it was a hand-delivered letter demanding he pay $20,000 for articles he had written and published on his website.

    Matthew hadn't violated the law. Instead, he exercised his Constitutionally protected right to free speech and criticized rival humor website FunnyJunk, which had been republishing comics from The Oatmeal website. FunnyJunk brought in notorious lawyer Charles Carreon in an attempt to bully Inman into a paying huge settlement fees -- or face a lengthy court battle. EFF helped defend Matthew's right to publish critical content online and successfully fended off the bogus legal threat.

    Now EFF and the Public Participation Project want to help others who are in the same boat. Join us in asking Congress to pass legislation to protect bloggers like Matthew.

    Matthew was the victim of a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). An independent blogger targeted by such a suit may find it impossible to afford the legal counsel necessary to defend her online free speech, and may be forced to pay huge settlement fees, remove articles, or even shut down a blog entirely.

    Join EFF and the Public Participation Project in calling on Congress to support the PETITION Act, strong federal anti-SLAPP legislation. The concept is simple: when a blogger faces a legal threat for legitimate online content, she can file a motion to get the case dismissed quickly. If the case is found to be frivolous in court, she won't have to pay the legal fees.

    Laws like this already exist in twenty-eight states. Let's pass a federal law to ensure bloggers everywhere have the legal resources necessary to defend their online speech.

    Help us stop anti-speech bullies. Tell Congress to protect free expression both online and off through the PETITION Act.

  • Sign the Petition for Internet Freedom

    Join EFF and Internet users worldwide in calling on elected officials to uphold rights in the digital world.

    Based in the United States? Click here to send an email to Congress.

    The EFF community and millions of others fought together to stop SOPA and the powerful interests that sought to limit our innovation and free speech.

    That fight left us both humbled and energized. It was a wake-up call reminding us of the fragility of a free and open Internet. But it was also an awesome display of how the diverse and independent Internet communities, working together, can keep the Internet free.

    Now it’s time to take the next step. EFF has worked with a broad coalition of public interest groups to create the Declaration of Internet Freedom. The Declaration is simple: it offers five core principles that should guide any policy relating to the Internet.

    We believe that these principles are worth fighting for.

    Join us.

  • Sign the Declaration of Internet Freedom

    Join EFF and Internet users worldwide in calling on elected officials to uphold rights in the digital world. 

    Not in the US? Click here.

    The EFF community and millions of others fought together to stop SOPA and the powerful interests that sought to limit our innovation and free speech.  

    That fight left us both humbled and energized. It was a wake-up call reminding us of the fragility of a free and open Internet. But it was also an awesome display of how the diverse and independent Internet communities, working together, can keep the Internet free.

    Now it’s time to take the next step. EFF has worked with a broad coalition of public interest groups to create the Declaration of Internet Freedom. The Declaration is simple: it offers five core principles that should guide any policy relating to the Internet.

    We believe that these principles are worth fighting for.

    Join us. Sign now to join a growing movement fighting for rights in the digital world and send a letter to your Congressional Representatives asking them to join you in supporting a free and open Internet. 

  • Sign the Petition for Ownership Rights

    When Americans purchase legitimate goods, they should be assured that the goods can be resold, given away, and used in any legal manner they see fit.

    The federal government should support and promote the ability of Americans to own and use these products, not just rent and license them.  The government, and this administration, should support ownership rights for the following reasons:

    1. Americans must have the right to buy a good, confident in the knowledge that they own it and may use it for any legal purpose.
    2. Americans need to be free to buy and sell their legitimate goods in a robust and successful marketplace.
    3. Goods manufactured overseas should not have more legal protection than American-made goods.

    These ownership rights are at issue in an upcoming case before the Supreme Court, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. But that case is just one in a long line of events that have eroded Americans' rights in their personal property. We ask that the President express his support of ownership rights.

  • Tell Congress: Keep My Inbox Away From the Government

    Update: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act), so the fight is moving to the Senate. Congress is now going to attempt to pass legislation on the Senate side and then conference it with the House bill. We can't let that happen.

    Tell Congress not to compromise the civil liberties of Internet users. Call your Senators today.

    The Senate is moving quickly on cybersecurity legislation that could undermine our core privacy rights. Please call your Senators and tell them not to sacrifice the civil liberties of Internet users with this dangerously vague legislation.

    These “cybersecurity” bills would give companies a free pass to monitor and collect communications, including huge amounts of personal data like your text messages and emails. Tell Congress that they can’t use vaguely defined "cybersecurity threats" as a shortcut to shredding the Constitution.

    Here’s a script you can use during you call – feel free to elaborate and make it your own. We also really appreciate it if you ask the Senator's stance on the bill – does he or she plan to oppose this bill?

    Hi my name is [insert name] and I’m a constituent.

    I’m calling about the cybersecurity legislation currently under consideration (S. 2151 and S. 2105). These bills would allow companies to spy on sensitive user communications and pass this data to the government without a warrant. Please tell my Senator to stand up for civil liberties. Support privacy-protective amendments and oppose S. 2151 and S. 2105.

    Thank you for your time.

    Once you've made the call, click the button that says "I made the call!" and then tell the world. Then send an email follow-up to Congress so they know you’re serious.

  • Stop the Misinformation Campaign about Video Game Violence

    Rep. Joe Baca and Rep. Frank Wolf are promoting a bill that would force video game companies to put extreme warning labels on their products. H.R. 4204, the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act, would compel game companies to label their products with "WARNING: Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.”  As it turns out, their "scientific studies" supporting this claim have been rejected by every court to consider them. These warning labels would perpetuate fear-based misinformation and run afoul of the free speech provisions enshrined in our Constitution.

    These warnings are not just dangerous, but unnecessary. The voluntary ESRB rating system, which is already widely used by game publishers, is well-understood in the marketplace, and can provide consumers with the information they need.

    The Congressmen promoting this bill are disregarding the 2010 Supreme Court case that emphatically rejected a similar attempt to unconstitutionally restrict the sale of video games. That's because the Supreme Court recognized that the emerging art form of video games is entitled to as much First Amendment protection as any of the mediums that have come before, and can't be singled out for stigma based on flawed science and a mob mentality:

    Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium.

    Send a letter to Congress and tell them to oppose publicity-stunt initiatives to force game companies to apply deceptive labels to their packaging.

  • Tell ISPs: Don't Cut Off Your Users

    Five of the top American ISPs have been working with the major media industry groups on a new set of "graduated response" policies. But the millions of subscribers who will be affected by it—the same subscribers who elect the politicians, buy the content owners' goods and pay subscription fees to the internet access—weren't invited to the table. Under the new agreement, unproven accusations of infringement could lead to escalating consequences from users, from "re-education" programs up to bandwidth throttling and account suspensions.

    The "graduated response" technique echoes "three strikes" laws being pushed around the world, but until now such laws have been a media company pipe dream in the U.S.: legislators have balked at the obvious collateral damage it would cause to innocent Internet users. So the content industry went directly to the big ISPs and, with the help of pressure from government officials, persuaded them to adopt a “voluntary” version.

    Right now, it appears those measures will not include permanently terminating a user's account. But there is no doubt that the media companies will treat this backroom deal as a first step, and come back with more extreme demands later. That's why we need to make sure the ISPs draw a firm line in the sand now. Tell AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon to respect their users' rights, and publicly commit today that they will never terminate a user account as part of a “graduated response” program.

  • Tell PayPal: Don't Censor Books

    UPDATE (3/13/12): After public pressure, PayPal has revised their policy censoring publishers of erotic ebooks. We are pleased with the new, speech-friendly policy. See our press release, PayPal's statement, and a statement from the National Coalition Against Censorship.

    PayPal, which plays a dominant role in processing online sales, has taken full advantage of the vast and open nature of the Internet for commercial purposes, but is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica. As organizations and individuals concerned with intellectual and artistic freedom and a free Internet, we strongly object to PayPal functioning as an enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material.   

    Recently, PayPal gave online publishers and booksellers, including BookStrand.com, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. The result would severely restrict the public's access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out of business, and deprive some authors of their livelihood.

    Financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech. PayPal’s policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how important it is to stand up and protect it.

    The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles’ Oedipus and Ovid’s Metamorphoses. And while the books currently affected may not appear to be in the same league, many works ultimately recognized for their literary, historical, and artistic worth were reviled when first published.  Books like Ulysses and Lady Chatterley’s Lover were banned as “obscene” in the United States because of their sexual content. The works of Marquis de Sade, which include descriptions of incest, torture, and rape, were considered scandalous when written, although his importance in the history of literature and political and social philosophy is now widely acknowledged.

    The Internet has become an international public commons, like an enormous town square, where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticized. That will change if private companies, which are under no legal obligation to respect free speech rights, are able to use their economic clout to dictate what people should read, write, and think.

    PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police.
     
    Signed by:
     
    Access
    ACLU of California
    American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
    American Society of Journalists and Authors
    Article 19
    Association of American Publishers
    Association of American University Presses
    Authors Guild
    BannedWriters.com
    Bill of Rights Defense Committee
    Bytes for All, Pakistan
    Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
    Coming Together, charity publisher
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Feminists for Free Expression
    Fight for the Future
    Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association
    Independent Book Publishers Assn.
    Index on Censorship
    Internet Archive
    National Coalition Against Censorship
    New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association
    New England Independent Booksellers Association
    Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
    Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association
    Peacefire
    PEN American Center
    Reporters Without Borders
    Southern California Independent Booksellers Association
    Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
    Tunisian Association for Digital Freedom
    Unlimited Publishing, LLC
    Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

  • Don’t Let Congress Use "Cybersecurity" Fears to Trample on Civil Liberties

    If this page does not redirect click here.

    We love it when people use the EFF action center to email their Senators - but when it comes to cybersecurity legislation pending in the Senate, it's too late for emails. Instead, we're asking concerned citizens to visit the American Library Association's website to call their Senators. ALA's simple tool will call your phone and give you a script. Senators will find out about these calls daily.  We are also asking individuals to tweet at the Senate.

    Again, it will take several days for emails to be delivered, but calls and tweets will be noticed immediately. Please act now.

    Visit ALA to use their calling tool.

    Use EFF's Senatorial Twitter Handle Detection Tool to tweet at your Senator.

    UPDATE: Responding to the concerns of the Internet community, the Senate has introduced a new cybersecurity bill (S 3414) that addresses some of the most significant privacy concerns. While not perfect, S 3414 includes strong new privacy protections.  Thanks for speaking out!

    Unfortunately, these new protections are under threat.  They could be watered down or removed entirely during Floor amendments. We need users to contact their Senators immediately and ask them to safeguard privacy by supporting privacy-protective amendments and opposing any amendment that would weaken these protections.

    We’re also deeply concerned about the provisions of the proposed legislation around monitoring and countermeasures. Currently, the bill specifically authorizes companies to use cybsersecurity as an excuse for engaging in nearly unlimited monitoring of user data or countermeasures (like blocking or dropping packets). This language is overly broad and could be interpreted by an overzealous ISP as letting them block privacy-protective technologies like Tor. Please ask your Senator to support amendments to address these serious flaws.
    This bill is moving quickly, and this may be our last chance to speak out.

  • OkCupid, defend my privacy


    OkCupid doesn’t offer users secure access to the website through HTTPS, which means users of the site risk their personal privacy every time they log in. It also means that an eavesdropper can actually take over your account and impersonate you, even without knowing your password.

    "HTTPS” is standard web encryption that ensures the information sent and received is encrypted instead of as plaintext. OkCupid’s failure to offer HTTPS support potentially exposes:

        •    Email content from within OkCupid
        •    Content of online chats on OkCupid
        •    Searches conducted on the site
        •    Every unique page viewed, and thus all the profiles looked at
        •    Content of “hidden” questions–questions a user responds to in order to improve match results but then marks as “private” so others cannot see his or her response

    Tell OkCupid not to cut corners when it comes to security. Send them an email today!

  • You Make The Call Against PROTECT IP

    Last week's blackout campaign was a major success, but the dangerous blacklist bills aren't dead yet. Sen. Harry Reid has promised to bring the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) up for a vote tomorrow, and your Senators need to hear from you first!

    Enter your zip code to see the phone numbers for your Senators, and give each a call. Use the script below to tell them, politely but firmly: put a stop to this dangerous bill once and for all!


    Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of the Senator's.

    I'm calling to urge the Senator to stand against S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act. The bill is dangerous for American jobs and innovation, and would hamper freedom of speech online. "Piracy" can be addressed through innovation in the business world and responding to market demands, but not through lopsided laws written to benefit the content companies.

    PROTECT IP, like SOPA in the House of Representatives, is toxic, and last minute fixes aren't a solution. The Senator should stand with freedom of speech and the American economy, and reject PROTECT IP entirely.


    Once you've made the call, let us know by hitting the button on the left. Please also consider joining our mailing list to keep up-to-date on the latest news and actions on digital rights issues.

    Help us spread the word!

    Share this action on Facebook, Twitter, Identi.ca, and Google+. And remember to also send a letter to Congress to tell them to stand against these blacklist bills.

  • DHS, come clean! What are you doing with my laptop?

    Call on the Department of Homeland Security to Publish Clear Guidelines for What They Do with Sensitive Traveler Information Collected in Digital Searches

    Our lives are on our laptops - family photos, medical documents, banking info, details about what websites we visit, and so much more. But when it comes to searching travelers entering the U.S., border agents can take a laptop or smart phone, search through all the files, and keep it for further scrutiny - without any suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever.

    That’s dangerous for travelers who value their privacy. It’s especially bad for those who carry sensitive, confidential information on their laptops - like doctors, journalists, attourneys, and business travelers. But to date, the Department of Homeland Security has refused to explain to the public what their border agents will do if they find sensitive information like medical records or journalists' sources in their searches of digital devices. There are no public guidelines explaining how sensitive information is stored, who can access it, and with whom it will be shared.

    As technology advances, it is getting easier and faster for minimally trained border agents to conduct penetrating forensic analysis on our laptops in moments. DHS needs to be accountable for how their agents handle sensitive information on travelers’ digital devices. So join EFF in calling on DHS to hold border agents accountable when they access sensitive traveler data like medical records or confidential work documents.

    We need to have clear rules in place for border agents so that they don’t trample over individual privacy rights, and we have a right to know what those rules are.  For doctors, journalists, lawyers, and many business folk, invasive border searches compromise the privacy of sensitive business information. And for the rest of us, invasive searches are an affront to our privacy and dignity. Tell DHS: hold border agents who access sensitive data accountable for treating that information with respect so that we can all travel with peace of mind.

  • Call Now to Stop SOPA, the Internet Blacklist Bill

    The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a dangerous bill that would give the Department of Justice and big content unprecedented power to censor the Internet. There's a critical hearing this week about the bill, part of big content's effort to steamroll the bill through Congress, which means we have no time to lose. SOPA's supporters are desperate to get this bill through quickly by convincing Congress there's no real opposition to it.  We know better, but we need to make our voices heard loud and clear

    Enter your zip code on the right to get your Representative's phone number, then use the script below to urge them to put a stop to this dangerous legislation.

    Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of [Congressperson's name].

    I think H.R.3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bad idea, and I hope my Representative will stand against it.

    This bill is overbroad, and could be used as a tool for online censorship. It would be bad for online innovation, and could be misused to take down legitimate online speech.  Even worse, it creates a bad precedent internationally for fragmenting the Internet.

    Thank you for your consideration, and for acting against this dangerous bill.

    Help us spread the word!

    Once you’ve called your Representative, urge others to take a stand by sharing on Facebook and Twitter.  Check out our Toolkit for Anti-SOPA Activism to find other creative ways of speaking out.  And remember to send a letter to Congress against this legislation.

  • Don’t Let Them Trade Away Our Internet Freedoms: Speak Out Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement!

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement currently being negotiated in secret by the United States and ten other countries.

    Leaked language from the agreement’s intellectual property chapter has been worrisome enough—and the public has no idea what is in the latest official draft, or even what the U.S. Trade Representative is pushing for in this agreement. There has been zero transparency in a process that is being pushed to the finish.

    What’s worse is that the people who do have access to TPP’s official language are the same content industry executives that tried pushing through harmful laws like SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. The rest of us will continue to be kept in the dark unless we speak up now.

    Join us in demanding an end to these backroom negotiations.

    Check out our infographic explaining how the TPP would trade away our Internet freedom:

  • Don't Let Privacy Law Get Stuck in 1986: Demand a Digital Upgrade to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

    If the government wants to track our cell phones, or see what web sites we’ve visited, or rummage through our Gmail, or read our private messages on Facebook, it should be required to go to a judge and get a search warrant based on probable cause. Demand a privacy upgrade!

    Sign now and we will add your name to this petition and also send a letter to your Representatives and Senators in time for the 25th anniversary of ECPA being signed into law:

    Petiton language:
    The government should be required to go to a judge and get a warrant before it can read our email, access private photographs and documents we store online, or track our location using our mobile phones. Please support legislation that would update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) to require warrants for this sensitive information and to require the government to report publicly on the use of its surveillance powers.

    ECPA was forward-looking when it was signed into law in October of 1986, considering that the World Wide Web hadn't even been invented yet. But now, ECPA has become outdated. The privacy standards that it applies to new technologies are unclear and weak. For example, the law doesn't specifically address cell phone location tracking at all, and it allows the government to seize most emails without ever having to go to a judge. Meanwhile, no one is perfectly sure how it applies to newer online services like social networks and search engines.

    This gap between the law and the technology ultimately leaves us all at risk. Add your name now to sign the petition supporting ECPA reform.

  • Don't Let Congress Order Internet Companies to Spy on You: Oppose the Data Retention Bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering H.R. 1981, a bill that would order our online service providers to keep new logs about our online activities, logs to help the government identify the web sites we visit and the content we post online. This sweeping new "mandatory data retention" proposal treats every Internet user like a potential criminal and represents a clear and present danger to the online free speech and privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.

    Tell your Representative to oppose this dangerous bill, before it's too late.

    H.R. 1981 would impose sweeping requirements on a broad swath of online service providers to keep new records on all of their customers, just in case the police ever want to investigate any of them. In particular, the bill would require any commercial providers of Internet access to keep for at least 12 months a record of which users were assigned to particular network addresses at particular times.

    Such addresses, like the Internet Protocol (IP) address assigned to your cable modem by your cable company, or to your laptop by a wireless router, can be used to identify who visited particular websites or posted particular content online -- threatening your right to privately browse the web and to speak and read anonymously when you're online.

    Mandatory data retention would force your Internet Service Provider to create vast and expensive new databases of sensitive information about you. That information would then be available to the government, in secret and without any court oversight, based on weak and outdated electronic privacy laws.

    That same data could become available to civil litigants in private lawsuits--whether it's the RIAA trying to identify downloaders, a company trying to uncover and retaliate against an anonymous critic, or a divorce lawyer looking for dirty laundry. These databases would also be a new and valuable target for black hat hackers, be they criminals trying to steal identities or foreign governments trying to unmask anonymous dissidents.

    The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to approve the bill despite bipartisan privacy concerns, and the bill could be on the House floor for a final vote very soon. Now is the time: demand that your Representative protect your online privacy and free speech rights by opposing H.R. 1981.

  • Oppose Congress' Criminal Streaming Bill

    S. 978 is a reckless attempt to attack online streaming by focusing on the "unlawful public performance" area of copyright law. By increasing the criminal penalties for certain online public performances, the bill will impose a chilling effect around the posting and creation of online video. Moreover, it will hamper the pace of innovation as users, websites, and investors cope with the uncertainty of running afoul of one of the more vague sections of copyright law. Act now and tell your Senators to oppose this shortsighted bill!

    Under certain conditions, an "unlawful public performance" of a copyrighted work is already a crime. But this bill targets online streaming in an effort to give the government more enforcement power to bear—particularly against websites that the entertainment industry believes to be threatening.

    There have been few court decisions regarding public performance online. That means that if this bill passes, it’s hard to predict whom the government will target. Government agents may choose to go after individual users, or entire websites and video platforms. Given the history of the government's approach to copyright enforcement, the government may well wind up taking cues from trigger-happy copyright holders. The attempt to expand criminal penalties for online streaming also reeks of a means to stock the arsenal of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in performing more wild seizures of domain names.

    Bills like S. 978 are the "inch" from which the government and rightsholder industry will take a "mile" out of freedom and innovation on the Internet. S. 978 was recently approved by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary to be considered by the entire Senate, so your action is urgently needed. Contact your Senators now to let them know to OPPOSE this bill!

  • Stop the Internet Blacklist Legislation

    The Internet blacklist legislation—known as PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!

    Big media and its allies in Congress are billing the Internet blacklist legislation as a new way to battle online infringement. But innovation and free speech advocates know that this initiative will do little to stop infringement online. What it will do is compromise Internet security, inhibit online expression, and slow growth in the technology sector. Read More

    As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's underlying infrastructure. The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to block users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the Internet grows increasingly balkanized.

    It gets worse: the blacklist bills' provisions would give corporations and other private parties new powers to censor foreign websites with court orders that would cut off payment processors and advertisers. Broad immunity provisions (combined with a threat of litigation) would encourage service providers to overblock innocent users or even block websites voluntarily. This gives content companies every incentive to create unofficial blacklists of websites, which service providers would be under pressure to block without regard to the First Amendment.

    Service providers would be forced to monitor and police their users' activities as well, threatening the DMCA safe harbors that have been vital to online innovation over the last decade. SOPA gives the government new powers to go after sites that provide information about tools that might be used to bypass the blacklists – even though these are often the same tools used by democratic activists around the world to bypass Internet censorship mechanisms implemented by authoritarian governments like Iran and China.

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) have led the charge in explaining how the blacklist bills threaten the very infrastructure of the open Internet, joined by a growing, bipartisan, group of Congress members. The White House also recently stated it will not support a bill that threatens free speech, innovation, and Internet security. But every Senator and Representative should be opposing the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA and we need to hold the White House to its word. Contact your members of Congress today to speak out!