Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

50 links

www.eff.org > Jason Kelley
​​What to Do When Schools Use Canvas or Blackboard Logs to Allege Cheating
9 aug. 2021 - Over the past few months, students from all over the country have reached out to EFF and other advocacy organizations because their schools—including teachers and administrators—have made flimsy claims about cheating based on digital logs from online learning platforms that don’t hold up to scrutiny. Such claims were made against over a dozen students at the Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, which EFF and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) criticized for being a misuse, and misunderstanding, of the online learning platform technology. Dartmouth ended that investigation and dismissed all allegations after a media firestorm. If your school is making similar accusations against students, here’s what we recommend.
 · blackboard · canvas · education · educational-surveillance · not-read

www.eff.org > Cory Doctorow
The Tower of Babel: How Public Interest Internet is Trying to Save Messaging and Banish Big Social Media
15 jul. 2021 - How many messaging services do you use? Slack, Discord, WhatsApp, Apple iMessage, Signal, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Instagram, TikTok, Google Hangouts, Twitter Direct Messages, Skype? Our families, friends and co-workers are scattered across dozens of services, none of which talk to each other. Without even trying, you can easily amass 40 apps on your phone that let you send and receive messages. The numbers aren't dropping.
 · interoperability · mastodon · matterbridge · messaging · pidgin · twitter

www.eff.org > Haley Amster and Jason Kelley
A Long Overdue Reckoning For Online Proctoring Companies May Finally Be Here
22 jun. 2021 - Over the past year, the use of online proctoring apps has skyrocketed. But while companies have seen upwards of a 500% increase in their usage, legitimate concerns about their invasiveness, potential bias, and efficacy are also on the rise. These concerns even led to a U.S. Senate inquiry letter requesting detailed information from three of the top proctoring companies—Proctorio, ProctorU, and ExamSoft—which combined have proctored at least 30 million tests over the course of the pandemic.1 Unfortunately, the companies mostly dismissed the senators’ concerns, in some cases stretching the truth about how the proctoring apps work, and in other cases downplaying the damage this software inflicts on vulnerable students.
 · not-read · proctoring

www.eff.org > Cindy Cohn, Karen Gullo and Katitza Rodriguez
European Court on Human Rights Bought Spy Agencies’ Spin on Mass Surveillance
26 may. 2021 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Grand Chamber this week affirmed what we’ve long known, that the United Kingdom’s mass surveillance regime, which involved the indiscriminate and suspicionless interception of people’s communications, violated basic human rights to privacy and free expression. We applaud the Strasbourg-based Grand Chamber, the highest judicial body of the Council of Europe, for the ruling and for its strong stance demanding new safeguards to prevent privacy abuses, beyond those required by a lower court in 2018.
 · echr · gchq · mass-surveillance · oversight · united-kingdom

www.eff.org > Shirin Mori
Help Bring Dark Patterns To Light
19 may. 2021 - On social media, shopping sites, and even childrens’ apps, companies are using deceptive user experience design techniques to trick us into giving away our data, sharing our phone numbers and contact lists, and submitting to fees and subscriptions. Everyday, we’re exploited for profit through “dark patterns”: design tactics used in websites and apps to manipulate you into doing things you probably would not do otherwise.
 · dark-patterns · not-read

www.eff.org > Bennett Cyphers, Hinako Sugiyama and Katitza Rodriguez
Japan’s Rikunabi Scandal Shows The Dangers of Privacy Law Loopholes
12 may. 2021 - Technology users around the world are increasingly concerned, and rightly so, about protecting their data. But many are unaware of exactly how their data is being collected and would be shocked to learn of the scope and implications of mass consumer data collection by technology companies. For example, many vendors use tracking technologies including cookies—a small piece of text that is stored in your browser that lets websites recognize your browser, see your browsing activity or IP address but not your name or address—to build expansive profiles about user behavior over time and across apps and sites. Such data can be used to infer, predict, or evaluate information about a user or group. User profiles may or may not be accurate, fair, or discriminatory, but can still be used to inform life-altering decisions about them.
 · consent · cookies · data-protection · eu · gdpr · japan · machine-learning · recruitment · tracking

www.eff.org > Danny O'Brien
The Enclosure of the Public Interest Internet
6 may. 2021 - It’s hard to believe now, but in the early days of the public internet, the greatest worry of some of its most high-powered advocates was that it would be empty. As the Clinton administration prepared to transition the internet from its academic and military origins to the heart of the promised “national information infrastructure” (NII), the government’s advisors fretted that the United States entertainment and information industries would have no commercial reason to switch from TV, radio, and recorded music. And without Hollywood and the record labels on board, the new digital environment would end up as a ghost mall, devoid of businesses or users.
 · appropriating-the-commons · commons · imdb · internet-history · open-street-map · public-interest-internet · wikipedia

www.eff.org > Danny O'Brien
Outliving Outrage on the Public Interest Internet: the CDDB Story
6 may. 2021 - In our previous blog post, we discussed how in the early days of the internet, regulators feared that without strict copyright enforcement and pre-packaged entertainment, the new digital frontier would be empty of content. But the public interest internet barn-raised to fill the gap—before the fledgling digital giants commercialised and enclosed those innovations. These enclosures did not go unnoticed, however—and some worked to keep the public interest internet alive.
 · appropriating-the-commons · cddb · commons · freedb · gnudb · public-interest-internet

www.eff.org
EFF Sues Proctorio on Behalf of Student It Falsely Accused of Copyright Infringement to Get Critical Tweets Taken Down
21 apr. 2021 - Phoenix, Arizona—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit today against Proctorio Inc. on behalf of college student Erik Johnson, seeking a judgment that he didn’t infringe the company’s copyrights when he linked to excerpts of its software code in tweets criticizing the software maker.
 · copyright · dmca · online-education · proctoring · proctorio

www.eff.org > Bill Budington, Jason Kelley and Sophia Cope
Proctoring Tools and Dragnet Investigations Rob Students of Due Process
15 apr. 2021 - Like many schools, Dartmouth College has increasingly turned to technology to monitor students taking exams at home. And while many universities have used proctoring tools that purport to help educators prevent cheating, Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine has gone dangerously further. Apparently working under an assumption of guilt, the university is in the midst of a dragnet investigation of complicated system logs, searching for data that might reveal student misconduct, without a clear understanding of how those logs can be littered with false positives. Worse still, those attempting to assert their rights have been met with a university administration more willing to trust opaque investigations of inconclusive data sets rather than their own students.
 · due-process · not-read · proctoring

www.eff.org > Bennett Cyphers
After Cookies, Ad Tech Wants to Use Your Email to Track You Everywhere
12 apr. 2021 - Cookies are dying, and the tracking industry is scrambling to replace them. Google has proposed Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), TURTLEDOVE, and other bird-themed tech that would have browsers do some of the behavioral profiling that third-party trackers do today. But a coalition of independent surveillance advertisers has a different plan. Instead of stuffing more tracking tech into the browser (which they don’t control), they’d like to use more stable identifiers, like email addresses, to identify and track users across their devices.
 · cookies · email · not-read · tracking

www.eff.org > Jason Kelley and Shirin Mori
Deceptive Checkboxes Should Not Open Our Checkbooks
9 apr. 2021 - Last week, the New York Times highlighted the Trump 2020 campaign’s use of deceptive web designs to deceive supporters into donating far more money than they had intended. The campaign’s digital donation portal hid an unassuming but unfair method for siphoning funds: a pre-checked box to “make a monthly recurring donation.” This caused weekly withdrawals from supporters’ bank accounts, with some being depleted.
 · consent · dark-patterns

www.eff.org > Michael Barclay
Victory for Fair Use: The Supreme Court Reverses the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google
5 apr. 2021 - In a win for innovation, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Google’s use of certain Java Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) is a lawful fair use. In doing so, the Court reversed the previous rulings by the Federal Circuit and recognized that copyright only promotes innovation and creativity when it provides breathing room for those who are building on what has come before.
 · cbs · copyright · fair-use · google · oracle · us-supreme-court

www.eff.org > Joe Mullin
Student Surveillance Vendor Proctorio Files SLAPP Lawsuit to Silence A Critic
23 feb. 2021 - During the pandemic, a dangerous business has prospered: invading students’ privacy with proctoring software and apps. In the last year, we’ve seen universities compel students to download apps that collect their face images, driver’s license data, and network information. Students who want to move forward with their education are sometimes forced to accept being recorded in their own homes and having the footage reviewed for “suspicious” behavior.
 · educational-surveillance · not-read · proctoring · proctorio

www.eff.org > Bill Budington, Erica Portnoy and Matthew Guariglia
Amazon Ring’s End-to-End Encryption: What it Means
2 feb. 2021 - Almost one year after EFF called on Amazon’s surveillance doorbell company Ring to encrypt footage end-to-end, it appears they are starting to make this necessary change. This call was a response to a number of problematic and potentially harmful incidents, including larger concerns about Ring’s security and reports that employees were fired for watching customers’ videos. Now, Ring is finally taking a necessary step—making sure that the transmission of footage from your Ring camera to your phone cannot be viewed by others, including while that footage is stored on Amazon’s cloud.
 · amazon · encryption · not-read · ring-doorbell

www.eff.org > Cory Doctorow
Twitter and Interoperability: Some Thoughts From the Peanut Gallery
25 jan. 2021 - Late in 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey floated "Project Blue Sky," a plan for an interoperable, federated, standardized Twitter that would let users (or toolsmiths who work on behalf of users) gain more control over their participation in the Twitter system. This was an exciting moment for us, a significant lurch towards an interoperable, decentralized social media world. We were especially excited to see Dorsey cite Mike Masnick's excellent Protocols, Not Products paper.
 · interoperability · not-read · twitter

www.eff.org > Jason Kelley
Face Surveillance and the Capitol Attack
12 jan. 2021 - After last week’s violent attack on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the attempted insurrection. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But we object to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically and legally, to justify its use.
 · facial-recognition · not-read

www.eff.org > Jacob Hoffman-Andrews and Lindsay Oliver
Student Privacy and the Fight to Keep Spying Out of Schools: Year in Review 2020
29 dec. 2020 - As students were sent home from school in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools followed them home with invasive surveillance technology. This trend, spurred by the surge in remote learning, was an opportunistic move by tech companies and schools already in a race to control students through technology.
 · educational-surveillance · educational-technology · not-read

www.eff.org > Jason Kelley
ExamSoft Flags One-Third of California Bar Exam Test Takers for Cheating
22 dec. 2020 - One of EFF’s chief concerns about exam proctoring software—in addition to the fact that it subjects students to excessive surveillance—is the risk that it will incorrectly flag students for cheating, called “false positives.” This can be due either to the software’s technical failures or to its requirements that students have relatively new computers and access to near-broadband speeds. Last week, the California Bar released data confirming our fear of false positives: during its use of ExamSoft for the October Bar exam, over one-third of the nearly nine-thousand online examinees were flagged by the software (13:00 into the video of the California Committee of Bar Examiners meeting).
 · educational-surveillance · false-positives · proctoring

www.eff.org > Alexis Hancock and Hayley Tsukayama
Vaccine Passports: A Stamp of Inequity
16 dec. 2020 - A COVID vaccine has been approved and vaccinations have begun. With them have come proposals of ways to prove you have been vaccinated, based on the presumption that vaccination renders a person immune and unable to spread the virus. The latter is unclear. It also raises digital rights concerns, particularly if you look at the history of healthcare access, and consider how it maps onto current proposals to digitize and streamline “vaccination passports” for travel.
 · covid-19 · inequality · vaccination

www.eff.org > Danny O'Brien and Rainey Reitman
Visa and Mastercard are Trying to Dictate What You Can Watch on Pornhub
14 dec. 2020 - Pornhub is removing millions of user-uploaded videos. This action comes after a New York Times column accused the website of hosting sexual videos of underage and nonconsenting women. In response to the Times’ article, Visa and Mastercard cut ties with Pornhub, making it impossible for Pornhub to process payments other than through cryptocurrencies.
 · censorship · freedom-of-speech · mastercard · payment-processors · porn · pornhub · visa

www.eff.org > Rory Mir
End University Mandates for COVID Tech
16 nov. 2020 - Since the COVID-19 crisis began, many universities have looked to novel technologies to assist their efforts to retain in-person operations. Most prominent are untested contact tracing and notification applications or devices. While universities must commit to public health, too often these programs invade privacy and lack transparency. To make matters worse, some universities mandate these technologies for students, faculty, staff, and even visitors. As we’ve stated before, forcing people to install COVID-related technology on their personal devices is the wrong call.
 · covid-19 · educational-surveillance · not-read

www.eff.org > Adam Schwartz
No Police Body Cams Without Strict Safeguards
2 nov. 2020 - EFF opposes police Body Worn Cameras (BWCs), unless they come with strict safeguards to ensure they actually promote officer accountability without surveilling the public. Police already have too many surveillance technologies, and deploy them all too frequently against people of color and protesters. We have taken this approach since 2015, when we opposed a federal grant to the LAPD for purchase of BWCs, because the LAPD failed to adopt necessary safeguards about camera activation, public access to footage, officer misuse of footage, and face recognition. Also, communities must be empowered to decide for themselves whether police may deploy BWCs on their streets.
 · biometrics · not-read · police-body-cams · privacy

www.eff.org > Mitch Stoltz
Antitrust Suit Against Google is a Watershed Moment
29 oct. 2020 - The antitrust lawsuit against Google filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and eleven state attorneys general has the potential to be the most important competition case against a technology company since the DOJ’s 1998 suit against Microsoft. The complaint is broad, covering Google’s power over search generally, along with search advertising. Instead of asking for money damages, the complaint asks for Google to be restructured and its illegal behavior restricted.
 · antitrust · google · not-read

www.eff.org > Danny O'Brien
Orders from the Top: The EU’s Timetable for Dismantling End-to-End Encryption
6 oct. 2020 - The last few months have seen a steady stream of proposals, encouraged by the advocacy of the FBI and Department of Justice, to provide “lawful access” to end-to-end encrypted services in the United States. Now lobbying has moved from the U.S., where Congress has been largely paralyzed by the nation’s polarization problems, to the European Union—where advocates for anti-encryption laws hope to have a smoother ride. A series of leaked documents from the EU’s highest institutions show a blueprint for how they intend to make that happen, with the apparent intention of presenting anti-encryption law to the European Parliament within the next year.
 · client-side-scanning · crypto-wars · eu

www.eff.org > Kurt Opsahl
What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible.
16 sep. 2020 - While many are staying at home and escaping into virtual worlds, it's natural to discuss what's going on in the physical world. But Nintendo is shutting down those conversations with its latest Switch system update (Sep. 14, 2020) by adding new terms like COVID, coronavirus and ACAB to its censorship list for usernames, in-game messages, and search terms for in-game custom designs (but not the designs themselves).
 · censorship · covid-19 · freedom-of-speech · gaming · nintendo

www.eff.org > Nathaniel Sobel
Trump’s Ban on TikTok Violates First Amendment by Eliminating Unique Platform for Political Speech, Activism of Millions of Users, EFF Tells Court
14 sep. 2020 - We filed a friend-of-the-court brief—primarily written by the First Amendment Clinic at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law—in support of a TikTok employee who is challenging President Donald Trump’s ban on TikTok and was seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO). The employee contends that Trump's executive order infringes the Fifth Amendment rights of TikTok's U.S.-based employees. Our brief, which is joined by two prominent TikTok users, urges the court to consider the First Amendment rights of millions of TikTok users when it evaluates the plaintiff’s claims.
 · freedom-of-speech · tiktok

www.eff.org > Katitza Rodriguez and Svea Windwehr
Workplace Surveillance in Times of Corona
10 sep. 2020 - With numbers of COVID-19 infections soaring again in the United States and around the world, we have to learn how to manage its long-term ramifications for our economies. As people adjust to minimizing the risk of infections in everyday settings, one critical context is work. Even though millions have shifted to working from home during the past months, remote work is not possible for every industry. While the pandemic has had a critical disruptive effect on work and employment virtually everywhere in the world, it has not affected everyone in the same ways. The International Labor Organization notes that the current crisis significantly affects women, workers in precarious situations who lack access to health care or limited social security benefits, and informal workers, who work jobs that are not taxed or registered by the government. In Latin America, 60% of workers are considered informal, with 58% of informal workers living in economic vulnerability on 13 U.S. dollars or less per day or in poverty on less than 5.5 U.S. dollars per day. Many have no choice but to work outside the home. This can involve putting their health and livelihoods on the line, especially in countries with insufficient public health care or unemployment programs.
 · covid-19 · gdpr · location · privacy · unions · workplace-surveillance

www.eff.org > Christoph Schmon
EFF Responds to EU Commission on the Digital Services Act: Put Users Back in Control
4 sep. 2020 - The European Union is currently preparing for a significant overhaul of its core platform regulation, the e-Commerce Directive. Earlier this year the European Commission, the EU’s executive, pledged to reshape Europe’s digital future and to propose an entire package of new rules, the Digital Services Act (DSA). The package is supposed to address the legal responsibilities of platforms regarding user content and include measures to keep users safe online. The Commission also announced a new standard for large platforms that act as gatekeepers in an attempt to create a fairer, and more competitive, market for online platforms in the EU.
 · eu · interoperability · liability · platforms

www.eff.org > Gennie Gebhart
COVID-19 Tracking Technology Will Not Save Us
3 sep. 2020 - Technology may be part of the solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19, but apps alone will not save us. As more states develop COVID exposure notification apps, institutions and the people they serve should remain skeptical and remember the bigger picture. This is still experimental, unproven technology, both in terms of how it works under the hood and how humans will interact with it. And even the best-designed app will be no substitute for public health basics like widespread testing and interview-based contact tracing.
 · covid-19 · covid-19-apps

www.eff.org > Matthew Guariglia
Technology Can’t Predict Crime, It Can Only Weaponize Proximity to Policing
3 sep. 2020 - In June 2020, Santa Cruz, California became the first city in the United States to ban municipal use of predictive policing, a method of deploying law enforcement resources according to data-driven analytics that supposedly are able to predict perpetrators, victims, or locations of future crimes. Especially interesting is that Santa Cruz was one of the first cities in the country to experiment with the technology when it piloted, and then adopted, a predictive policing program in 2011. That program used historic and current crime data to break down some areas of the city into 500 foot by 500 foot blocks in order to pinpoint locations that were likely to be the scene of future crimes. However, after nine years, the city council voted unanimously to ban it over fears of how it perpetuated racial inequality.
 · black-struggle · predictive-policing · racist-technology · united-states

www.eff.org > Jillian C. York and Svea Windwehr
One Database to Rule Them All: The Invisible Content Cartel that Undermines the Freedom of Expression Online
27 aug. 2020 - Every year, millions of images, videos and posts that allegedly contain terrorist or violent extremist content are removed from social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter. A key force behind these takedowns is the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), an industry-led initiative that seeks to “prevent terrorists and violent extremists from exploiting digital platforms.” And unfortunately, GIFCT has the potential to have a massive (and disproportionate) negative impact on the freedom of expression of certain communities.
 · anti-terrorism · censorship · content-moderation · false-positives · freedom-of-expression · gifct · islamophobia · machine-learning · youtube

www.eff.org > Jason Kelley and Lindsay Oliver
Proctoring Apps Subject Students to Unnecessary Surveillance
20 aug. 2020 - With COVID-19 forcing millions of teachers and students to rethink in-person schooling, this moment is ripe for an innovation in learning. Unfortunately, many schools have simply substituted surveillance technology for real transformation. The use of proctoring apps—privacy-invasive software products that “watch” students as they take tests or complete schoolwork, has skyrocketed. These apps make a seductive promise: that schools can still rely on high-stakes tests, where they have complete control of a student's environment, even during remote learning. But that promise comes with a huge catch—these apps violate student privacy, negatively impact some populations, and will likely never fully stop creative students from outsmarting the system.
 · educational-surveillance · proctoring · project-iis · workplace-surveillance

www.eff.org > David Greene, Eva Galperin and Kurt Opsahl
TikTok Ban: A Seed of Genuine Security Concern Wrapped in a Thick Layer of Censorship
4 aug. 2020 - It is ironic that, while purporting to protect America from China’s authoritarian government, President Trump is threatening to ban the TikTok app. Censorship of both speech and social media applications, after all, is one of the hallmarks of the Chinese Internet strategy. While there is significant cause for concern with TikTok’s security, privacy, and its relationship with the Chinese government, we should resist a governmental power to ban a popular means of communication and expression.
 · censorship · china · freedom-of-speech · security · tiktok · united-states

www.eff.org > Dave Maass and Matthew Guariglia
San Francisco Police Accessed Business District Camera Network to Spy on Protestors
27 jul. 2020 - The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) conducted mass surveillance of protesters at the end of May and in early June using a downtown business district's camera network, according to new records obtained by EFF. The records show that SFPD received real-time live access to hundreds of cameras as well as a "data dump" of camera footage amid the ongoing demonstrations against police violence.
 · police-overreach · surveillance-cameras · united-states