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A Profile of the Electronic Frontier Foundation 140

Posted by Zonk
from the not-much-of-a-frontier-anymore dept.
Somnus writes "MSNBC discusses the evolution and current criticisms of the EFF." From the article: "The EFF continues to tackle issues like anonymity, electronic voting, patents and copyright, but the Sept. 11 attacks nearly five years ago have forced the EFF to spend more time on surveillance. It has sought to require more evidence before law enforcement can legally track people's locations by their cell phones, and in January the group sued AT&T, saying the San Antonio-based company violated U.S. law and the privacy of its customers. AT&T and NSA officials declined comment for this article."
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A Profile of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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  • well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:03PM (#15680141) Journal
    can I ask (and I'm not trolling; just not from the USA) is AT&T a government thing? they seem to be close to the NSA (is that a government thing...) but I don't get why a private company would be acting like this.

    about the EFF... I don't always agree with how they do things but I'm glad that at least some people are trying to raise awareness of these issues, people often just see them as something tha will never affect them, but these issues concern everyone (or should). Once freedoms have gone they are hard to get back, if people know maybe we can try some prevention rather than cure before the idea that you don't have a right to your own privacy becomes ingrained through-out the world.
    • No. AT&T is a private company.
    • AT&T is a private sector company, not a government agency. The NSA (National Security Agency) is a branch of the federal government.
    • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:19PM (#15680237)
      "but I don't get why a private company would be acting like this."

      For the same reason private companies have helped any oppressive government throughout history: AT&T will gain private benefit from it. It may come as tax breaks, as lack of anti-monopoly action, as favorable legislation, etc. Whichever is the case, AT&T "cooperated" with the expectation of some financial benefit.
    • Re:well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pthisis (27352) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:21PM (#15680253) Homepage Journal
      AT&T is private. Much of their infrastructure was originally government funded (they are one of several companies that replaced Bell when Bell was broken up in the early 1980s). Partially because of that, and partially because of historical monopoly concerns, and partially because telcom is considered basic infrastructure, they are more heavily regulated than many private companies. Consequently, they tend to have an interest in making nice with the feds.
      • AT&T is private. Much of their infrastructure was originally government funded (they are one of several companies that replaced Bell when Bell was broken up in the early 1980s

        AT&T's corporate history goes back to 1876.

        Its core, defined by Theodore Vail in 1907, was one system, provoding universal service, privately financed.

        AT&T was delievering long distance service New York-San Francisco by 1915 and to Europe by shortwave in 1927. AT&T's Telstar (1962) was the first privately owned sattel

        • Re:well... (Score:3, Informative)

          by pthisis (27352)
          AT&T was actually founded years earlier (in the mid-1870s) and was renamed to AT&T in the 1880s. When Vail took over he lobbied heavily for the "One Policy, One System" mantra and worked aggressively to get government rights of way and even for government usage of eminent domain power to sieze private rights of way to grant to his company. When the government began investigating the company under his watch for monopolistic practice, he compromised (around 1912 or so) on a "we can buy one phone com
          • Sorry about the "founded years earlier" portion of my rant, you had that covered correctly (must've been scrolled off the top of my screen or something).
    • Re:well... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Is this our freedoms that are at stake, or is this simply the loss of imagined freedoms that were never there? The Constitution guarentees privacy, but it does not guarentee the ability to hide the truth, and especially not to do so in a manner that will lead to the deaths of thousands of people. If these things are things that we never had, is it really something that we should have?

      No one ever answers these questions. They simply ignore them and press on like machines. I think that if people truly care ab
      • Re:well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:43PM (#15680342)
        "The Constitution guarentees privacy, but it does not guarentee the ability to hide the truth"

        You're playing with words here, and pretty poorly at that.

        The Constitution says: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

        Persons, houses, papers, and effects all may contain the truth in facts and statements. The Constitution explicitly gives you the right to hide these truths from the government. In order to learn these truths, the government must get a warrant based on probable cause.

        "and especially not to do so in a manner that will lead to the deaths of thousands of people."

        Oh, like the Bush administration hid the truth with blatantly false press releases, in order to kill tens or hundreds of thousands of people in two wars of vengeance -- vengeance upon parties who didn't commit the original offense?

        This is your dishonest double standard. You pretend you're for "truth" and "protecting us," but in actuality you're only supporting these causes when they help your rulers. You want the (inexplicably, irrationally) trusted rulers to know everything that's going on, but do you also support our right to spy on the government? It doesn't sound like it.

        Knowledge is power. Knowledge of intentions and actions gives you power to aid or prevent them. By advocating government knowledge of innocent people -- and make no mistake, you can't spy on "just the bad guys" because you don't know who they are -- you are advocating government power over those innocent people.

        Your feigned support of "privacy" is pure bullshit; privacy is the right to hide information that is nobody else's business. It is the truth, yet you are permitted to hide it -- because it is nobody else's business.


        • Persons, houses, papers, and effects all may contain the truth in facts and statements. The Constitution explicitly gives you the right to hide these truths from the government. In order to learn these truths, the government must get a warrant based on probable cause

          But...The SCOTUS [1] did rule on a case within the previous two sessions dealing with how long they have to give you to hide things even when they do have a warrant. Traditionally, it was thought to be a polite situation -- they knock, a
          • Re:well... (Score:1, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Indeed, the SC recently ruled that police may perform "no-knock" entries whenever they choose. If they want to they can blow your door off and charge in guns drawn without identifying themselves until after the fact. The interesting thing is that several states have laws explicitly giving people the right to use deadly force against intruders. I wonder what the SC will decided when someone in one of these states guns down a few cops when they come flying through his door. I know there is currently a guy on
            • by FatSean (18753) on Friday July 07, 2006 @10:21PM (#15681016) Homepage Journal
              Irrational fear of terrorism when you are far more likely to die in an automobile accident...yet people are afraid of these threats and willingly give up their protections, as witnessed by the jury in your example.

              It is a sad state of affairs, but I see no way out of it. As long as the government can claim "We're at war, some rights are abridged" and just say "Whale Biologist!" whenever they're caught breaking the laws they are sworn to uphold...these things will continue to happen.

              My only hope is that people will become immune from these fear-based control techniques over time, and decide that they want their old rights back.

              I can't think of too many times in history that a population has successfully reclaimed a right taken by their government. Prohibition comes to mind...

              • It is a sad state of affairs, but I see no way out of it. As long as the government can claim "We're at war, some rights are abridged" and just say "Whale Biologist!" whenever they're caught breaking the laws they are sworn to uphold...these things will continue to happen.

                Very nice, I didn't think it was possible to slip in a Futurama reference in this discussion, but you pulled it off :)

                Finkployd
    • Re:well... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by A. Bosch (858654)
      Just to add to the prior explanations, NSA is not just a goverment thing, it's a super-secretive government thing. The government for many years did not even officially acknowledge its existence. The joke was that NSA stood for "No Such Agency". Among other things, they are tasked with communications interception and decryption.
    • Re:well... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      AT&T was 'Ma Bell', essentially THE TELCO,
      They have always been a private company, but with close ties to the government do to the nature of it's infrastructure.
      They made a lot of deals including a very similiar one with the NSA where it would route the telephone calls and flag 'key words' for the NSA. Joke's developed where people would say don't use 'kill' and 'president' in the same call. This deal was actually made so the government would help protect AT&T. It did, for a while, but could not
    • is AT&T a government thing?

      Supposedly, not anymore. It stands for American Telephone and Telegraph. Oh, and they brought the world UNIX, C, and C++.

  • MSNBC (Score:5, Funny)

    by Adelbert (873575) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:04PM (#15680149) Journal
    MSNBC is criticising the Electronic Frontier Foundation? Now that's a turn up for the books!
    • Re:MSNBC (Score:3, Informative)

      by Capt'n Hector (650760)
      Trust me on this, Microsoft has no editorial control at MSNBC.
      • Re:MSNBC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by lawpoop (604919) on Friday July 07, 2006 @08:18PM (#15680512) Homepage Journal
        Why should we trust you on this? What do you know that we don't? How did you come to know this?
      • Trust me on this, Microsoft has no editorial control at MSNBC.

        Yeah. And NBC has no editorial control at MSNBC, either, right?

        Hope you were just being sarcastic, but the Mods aren't seeing the irony, it appears (Score: 3 Informative)...

        • I wasn't being sarcastic. If you knew about MSNBC and who they are you would dismiss any notion of Microsoft pushing editorial content as absurd.
  • Go EFF! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:06PM (#15680166) Homepage
    If you don't want to send the EFF money but would like to help the cause, consider just spreading the word a bit about what they're doing. I was shocked when I mentioned the AT&T case to a number of people whom I thought were pretty well informed on the tech industry (even if not privacy/post-911 issues) and was surprised how few have even heard of it. This is a $50 billion dollar suit! That billions with a "B"!

    AT&T needs to feel some serious pain if they're found liable. This is way worse than the usual price gouging, deceptive billing, and anti-competitive behavior that people expect from the telcos. If they illegally dumped records to the NSA then I sure hope we see the execs on both sides serving some PMITA time on top of the 50 bil.
    • I contributed a few bucks to the EFF and they sent me a shiny bumper sticker. which currently resides on my filing cabinet.
    • They have a lot of battles to fight. "We" (as in those of us who care about these issues that are mostly not visible to the general public) need to support them. There are many [eff.org] ways to do it. Even buying a t-shirt helps, but I'm sure they'd appreciate a monthly donation even more.
    • If they illegally dumped records to the NSA[...]

      I though I should clarify that the alleged record transfer is not illegal since Pres. Bush has the inherent Constitutional power under the Article 2 to take all needed steps to protect America, its People, and the Constitution itself. The President has on a number of occasions delegated said power to conduct intelligence operations (e.g. to Negroponte et al.), and hence the aforementioned operations, authrized either by the Pres. or under his authority, are Co

      • So if the President wanted to say, lock up all the evil libruls who hate America, all he he has to do is claim he is exercising his powers under Article 2? Where is the line here? Can the President destroy the Constitution in order to "save" it? It amazes me to see what the Republicans have become that they now justify this sort of behavior! Imagine if it were Clinton...
      • How could you possibly read Article 2 of the Constitution without first reading Article 1? Under Article 1, Section 8, Congress has the power: "To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations; [and] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water" And neither Congress nor the President gets to trump the First Amendment, which is what the EFF is defending.
  • It probably wouldn't amount to shit, but I'm tracked everywhere I go. ID'd at work, the bank, the post office. Not to mention all the thousands of times I'm photographed going about my business every year. All that stuff is superflous though, ISPs in the UK tend to follow whatever rules America is following. They state it as 'policy'.

    You can basically make your own laws, if you're an ISP, for this purpose. Just call them policies or put clauses in your terms of service.
  • > Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

    Considering that EFF's aims are entirely contradictory to the aims of the government, I wonder if donating to EFF places one at higher risk of appearing on watch lists. If I were the government, I'd certainly use EFF support as an indication of political unreliability.

    There's an "In Soviet Russia" joke in here somewhere, except that in Soviet Russia, "In Soviet Russia" jokes get (+1, Funny) and not (+1, Informative).

    • Considering that EFF's aims are entirely contradictory to the aims of the government, I wonder if donating to EFF places one at higher risk of appearing on watch lists. If I were the government, I'd certainly use EFF support as an indication of political unreliability.

      Not sure why you were modded a 'troll' as you certainly are correct. I sent the EFF a check when they first filed the lawsuit. I had respected what they did for some time and decided it was time to put up or shut up.

      Yes, I am concerned abou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:16PM (#15680224)
    The EFF is a vital orgnization in the ongoing fight to defend human liberty. Still, by concentrating on technological issues, the EFF calls attention away from the fact that the rights being fought over in court today concern not just internet wiretapping and music downloads, but are in fact a facet of the overall struggle for more basic rights like the right to free speech and the right to privacy.

    The EFF should do more to call people's attention to the international struggle for human freedom. As long as they do not do this, they remain open to criticism that they are merely defending bourgeous privelege. Only when the worldwide proletariat is engaged in efforts to secure human rights will true progress be achieved. The enemy is not just a few misguided Bush administration functionaries, but is in fact the whole of the global ruling class.

    When the day comes that people's revolution has overthrown the existing order and the means of production is in the hands of workers, then will humanity finally be free from the chains of the NSA, the RIAA, and their malignant ilk.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Only when the worldwide proletariat is engaged ...
      I don't know how this got modded "Insightful". The reasons to oppose over-reaching copyright/DRM grabs have nothing to do with Communism, and everything to do with American values like free speech, public domain, private property, due process, and free markets.
    • by Zorque (894011)
      EFF stands for Electronic Frontier Foundation. Maybe an offshoot of the group could deal with further civil liberties, but by refusing to focus on technological issues they would be overstepping their bounds a bit, in my opinion.
    • by xeithmazz (932003)
      if you read the article, it says that the EFF is somewhat an offshoot of the ACLU, which is the organization that is supposed to do what you're asking. the EFF was formed because the folks at the ACLU didn't have the expertise to handle high-tech civil liberties issues. furthermore, the EFF has offshoots that focus on lobbying rather than litigation, and now there is even the Pirate Party which tackles these issues from a legislation perspective. one organization can't do everything.
    • Only when the worldwide proletariat is engaged in efforts to secure human rights will true progress be achieved.

      That seems to me like saying that if everybody wanted peace instead of a color TV, there would be peace.

      It isn't untrue, but it's unrealistic to the known facts of human nature and history. I donate to the EFF not because I desire them to tackle global human rights, but because I hope that they will prove an effective check against governmental abuse of the technological expression of my righ

    • The EFF should do more to call people's attention to the international struggle for human freedom. As long as they do not do this, they remain open to criticism that they are merely defending bourgeous privelege.

      Sorry to burst your utopian Marxist bubble, but the EFF specializes in technology related cases and not having infinite resources it must focus them on those cases which most closely match it's mission and expertise. There are many other groups that lobby for the more general causes of human rig
    • Still, by concentrating on technological issues, the EFF calls attention away from the fact that the rights being fought over in court today concern not just internet wiretapping and music downloads, but are in fact a facet of the overall struggle for more basic rights like the right to free speech and the right to privacy.

      So, join both the ACLU [aclu.org] and the EFF [eff.org]. Problem solved. As far as your Internationlist Revolutionary approach, well, let's just say that I care more about shoring up and restoring the right

  • by Itninja (937614) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:22PM (#15680261) Homepage
    FTA (regarding the lawsuit with AT&T):
    "It's quite possibly the most important privacy and free speech issue in the 21st century"

    Since the 21st century is only about 6 years old, isn't a statement like that just a little premature? Maybe the most important of the year, or even the decade. But the century?? I doubt it.
    • On Slashdot? Or, really, the media in general? Naaaw... that'd never happen.
    • Have there been any more important privacy and free speech issues this century? No?

      larry
    • "It's quite possibly the most important privacy and free speech issue in the 21st century"

      Since the 21st century is only about 6 years old, isn't a statement like that just a little premature


      Free speech, maybe, privacy? Well, if it gets worse...

      I'm speechless.

      Yes, the privacy issues better be the most important of the 21st century. There are _many_ people in the US that have more resources, paranoia, and motivation to do something about the government than I do, and they simply should not want to test the
  • So why would we ever seriously consider an article by a new organization owned by Microsoft about the EFF anything less than horribly biased?
    • So why would we ever seriously consider an article by a new organization owned by Microsoft about the EFF anything less than horribly biased?

      Because:

      (1) *I* have more editorial control over what happens at MSNBC than Microsoft does, and I don't even work there, and

      (2) The EFF is vastly over-rated on slashdot, the result of their fete'ing the editors early on and keeping those wheels greased. Their periodic well-promoted 'crises,' timed to coincide with their fund-raising drives, make them the cyber version
      • Ownership has much to do with the slant and general trends in any media organization. I suggest you read any of the dominant literature on media from the last 20 years, beginning with Manufacturing Consent by Chosmsky and Hermand.

        On your point about the EFF being "over-rated" on slashdot i really don't see your point. The EFF has done nothing but persue civil liberties legislation and litigation since they were founded, slashdot tends to speak of them highly becuase they've protected and persued their right
  • And most of the damage was caused by our own over & inappropriate reations to the threat.
  • Smear Story. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by twitter (104583) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:49PM (#15680375) Homepage Journal
    The criticism:

    Despite its many legal victories, critics charge the EFF with idealism ... and sometimes extremist.

    The article starts by describing the offices as informal and some fights within the organization, then descends into name calling and empty propaganda by some of the companies who's practices have been challenged by the EFF. The article is essentially a feel bad piece and people who want to know about the EFF would be better off visiting the site themselves.

    Idealism, what a lame complaint. The nebulous ideals of "Intellectual Property" and "Competition" (nice M$ buzzword tie-in there M$NBC!) touted by the "critics" are much less concrete and practical than any the EFF stands for. The headline might as well have read, "The EFF, though it's success, has detractors."

    • by dedazo (737510)

      nice M$ buzzword tie-in there M$NBC!

      Oh, twitter!! LOLOLOL!! Hey, by any chance did you happen to notice this was an AP [ap.org] wire piece? That's right, twitter! So you can also find the same story in places as diverse as PilotOnline [ap.org] and the Winona Daily News [ap.org]! Wow, talk about your little "M$" thing falling flat on its face!

      But don't worry. Other than PilotOnline and the Winona Daily News I'm sure that if you use the search function in the AP site you can find a website with an 's' in the title so you can so wit

      • Um, Winona Daily New$... (But I liked the frothing-at-the-mouth bit anyway... ;-)
      • In less than 10 minutes one of the many pathetic people who like to heckle Twitter snears:

        by any chance did you happen to notice this was an AP wire piece?

        I would hardly call M$NBC anything close to original. Lack of originality won't excuse them from running such a nasty little smear piece. Nor does the story's origin refute any of the other things I said about it.

        Dedazo, M$ is paying you too much for such shoddy work. Could you at least post something remotely useful between such obvious trolls as:

  • I have donated to the EFF every year for many years now. However... ..the Sept. 11 attacks nearly five years ago have forced the EFF to spend more time on surveillance.

    I think the lawsuit is a waste of time and resources. I know they will lose and I don't even agree that the government collecting and correlating call records (not call data, just call records) which I consider to be public information about use of public utilities, to be in any way illegal or even questionable. The EFF was not FORCED to s
    • They still have a lot of feet on the ground as far as the DRM issues are concerned, I sincerely hope you will reconsider your decision to pull support for them.
      • I agree that I hate to rmeove all support for them because there is NO other group that does what they do.

        I'm just going to watch them all year and see how much effort they put forth on other causes. It could be I'm overblowing how much energy they are devoting to this fight, though given they are going against AT&T I cannot see how they can get away with a very large amount of legal energy put into that.
        • Our areas of work don't really distract resources from each other. We have separate expert lawyers to cover privacy [eff.org], free speech [eff.org], evoting [eff.org], international [eff.org] and IP [eff.org] issues [eff.org]. The AT&T case is also supported by several external teams working pro bono.

          (In fact, I'd say the AT&T class action incidentally helps highlight other issues because of the wider coverage we receive as a result. This AP story is a good example: journalists come to write about the AT&T case, and stay to hear about the wider concerns
          • I thank you for the long and detailed response, and I'll rethink my dropping support - as I've said elsewhere you guys do great work in other areas I support more. I was planning to send a response outlining my displeasure with direction, so I thank you for the email link.

            I would say is that you give the tone of CALEA spreaing into voip as a bad thing, but there needs to be legal mechanisms for tapping calls over what are essentially "public" communications channels, which include companies that offer VOIP
            • there needs to be legal mechanisms for tapping calls over what are essentially "public" communications channels

              What exactly makes those channels public? The communication, be it traditional phone or VoIP is one-to-one, so by its nature private. The lines belong to private companies. They are rented by the caller and paid for per minute. What more would it take to make a communication channel private according to you?

              As for "needs be", that need could be demonstrated by a statistical relation between wiretap
              • As for "needs be", that need could be demonstrated by a statistical relation between wiretapping and reduction in crime and/or increase in crime resolution. But it is not. Wiretapping keeps increasing uncontrollably, crime continues as usual.

                Your proof for "wiretapping increasing uncontrollably"?

                Remember that CDR scanning is not wiretapping.

                The purpose of massive tapping and analysis is not to keep tabs on known suspects, but to find new, hitherto unknown, suspects. They try to correlate telephone events wi
    • That's you. I would much rather see the EFF engage in fundemental issues about how the Internet is governed and managed (including government monitoring and including broadcast flags) rather than taking lame potshots at the RIAA all the time and wasted their resources with "Piracy is Kewl Doodz!" advertisments in Wired magazine.
      • I would much rather see the EFF engage in fundemental issues about how the Internet is governed and managed (including government monitoring and including broadcast flags)

        So would I - that's my beef! We're talking about call data records (CDR), not the internet at all! Like I said there are already other groups fighting this anyway, and NO ONE else going after DRM, at least not seriously.

        I'm not talking about lame potshots, I'm talking about the work the EFF has done to fight off the broadcast flag (whic
    • by linuxwrangler (582055) on Friday July 07, 2006 @09:17PM (#15680778)
      Wow! I feel like I'm feeding the trolls here but just in case...

      JUST collecting call records? Like the ones the government was using to locate reporters' sources to chill media access to information? Like government attempts to expand easier-to-obtain pen-register warrants to cover not only the traditional who dialed whom info but also any touch-tone data within the call (PIN numbers, etc.). Who calls me, whom I call, when we call and how long we talk is absolutely nobody's business but mine and the phone company and the phone company has no business using it for anything but billing.

      Full public disclosure of all call data, indeed. I can see it now. "Your resume looks perfect for the position, Joan. Unfortunately when we ran your call-records we saw numerous calls to a shrink and a drug-rehab center. And with your husband apparently having an affair, we can't risk the possibility of family stress interfering with your work..."

      Even if EFF completely fails in the AT&T lawsuit, it has brought the issue into the public's awareness and that alone is worthwhile.

      Add to that their work on DRM, Internet governance issues, etc. and I'm more happy than ever to send them several hundred dollars every year.
      • UST collecting call records? Like the ones the government was using to locate reporters' sources to chill media access to information?

        The reporters were using phones registered to them? Really? No, I mean - really? They were reporters? Using phones registered to them?

        Really?

        Unfortunately when we ran your call-records we saw numerous calls to a shrink and a drug-rehab center.

        Public utlity does not mean general public access, but it does mean government access. You forget that phone company employees hav
        • (d) To safeguard the privacy of innocent persons, the interception of wire or oral communications where none of the parties to the communication has consented to the interception should be allowed only when authorized by a court of competent jurisdiction and should remain under the control and supervision of the authorizing court. Interception of wire and oral communications should further be limited to certain major types of offenses and specific categories of crime with assurances that the interception is

          • The reporters probably should be more careful, but they should have no real reason to expect the telephone company to leak their dialed numbers.

            Well of course they shouldn't expect the numbers to be leaked and they should expect them to remain private.

            As a practical matter however if I were talking to someone sensitive no way would I use a form of communication that could be easily traced to me. Even just borrowing a fellow reporters cell phone for a half hour is an easy step to have at least one level of
  • To quote my favorite columnist,

    Governments around the world are -- or are on the verge of -- tracking essentially all electronic communications. Examples include recent revelations of National Security Agency data capture, legislation in the U.S. and Europe that would mandate multiyear retention of all Internet connection data, massive government-plus-commercial data integration projects, biometric passports, national ID cards and electronic health records, to name a few. The net effect is simple but pro

    • What do you mean not an immediate threat. I've closed 6 websites since the monitoring of electronics communications were reveiled. 4 of the websites were research groups, and confidentiality in research is #1.Some of the data that was public was moved into a data site which is listed as my homepage in my user stats here. But a lot of scientists are taking their work offline, the internet is becoming an anti scientist's venue . That is not what the internet was designed for. Scientists were supposed to us
      • What I mean by "not an immediate threat" is that, in fact, very few people have been harmed as a result of this monitoring (some terrorists aside), and for at least a few years to come, that's likely to continue to be true.

        The really scary scenarios about what it could lead to are more plausible 2 decades out than they are 2 months or 2 years from now.

        But to repeat -- we have to start doing something about those scenarios NOW, because the fixes will happen just as slowly as the unfolding of the threats

  • Criticisms? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stephen Tennant (936097) on Friday July 07, 2006 @07:56PM (#15680406) Journal
    Despite its many legal victories, critics charge the EFF with idealism

    and

    That focus has left the group open to criticisms that by refusing to play the Washington game of compromising, its views are idealistic and sometimes extremist.

    It seems that, when a "critic" thinks you're "idealistic," that means you're hitting close to home, and if you're an "extremist," you're probably kicking major ass. Quite simply, the EFF would rather pay their money for litigating lawyers instead of lobbying lawyers, and that's spooking the "critics," because it works.

  • Alito and Roberts have proven to be every bit the right wing extremeists that they were predicted to be, which means that the courts are no longer a form of recourse against incursions against personal liberties.

    Why can't you hippies get it through your heads that you've been conquered already?
  • The government is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act [usdoj.gov] by spending $1m of our (meaning "public") funds in order to figure out how to better keep us in the dark [kten.com]. The claim is that it is to keep terrorists from getting details on our infrastructure, but based on the government's recent record on matters of secrecy, should we trust them?

    It's things like this that make me thank the gods for institutions like the ACLU and the EFF.

    • The ACLU is not fighting for your rights. It is pursuing an agenda. First of all, it does not support second amendment rights. It has stated: "except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected.". That is ridiculous. It is like saying "except for lawful government approved media outlets, freedom of speech is not protected". It supports affirmative action. I can't find that in the constitution, and it's ridiculous to say it is an intri
      • I may not agree with everything they stand for and do, but I'm still grateful for their existence, because we need organizations to fight against government abuses, and there simply aren't many well-funded and organized organizations protecting our Constitutional rights.

        Affirmative action isn't in the Constitution because the slave-owning founders who didn't allow women to vote would never have even considered allowing minorities to work for money, much less get protection from unfair hiring practices. Ci

      • It sounds like you don't agree with the ACLU's strict interpretation of the second amendment. That doesn't mean that they're not defending your rights; it means that they're not defending your rights the way you'd like them to. Many people don't agree with your loose interpretation of the second amendment, and for them the ACLU is ideal.
  • by starseeker (141897) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @12:01AM (#15681347) Homepage
    Is anyone else disturbed that idealism is something that critics are now charging people with? I thought the holding of ideals and living up to them was a virtue. Things like liberty, individual responsibility, honor? Or trying to make the nation we live in be something worth standing up for?

    Governments cannot be trusted. Ever. If we must pay a price for that, so be it - the price we pay for being trusting will be larger in the long run. There is never a good reason to trust a government, unless it is unite or die as a nation. (Terrorism doesn't count - they do not fundamentally threaten the survival of a nation as a nation, at least not in the case of the US.) Ideals are NECESSARY - what else do we strive for as human beings?
  • funny I should see this story after spending the morning reading this

    http://www.chriswaltrip.com/sterling/hackcrck.html [chriswaltrip.com]

    I would recommend it as an interesting backgrounder it was written around 1990, and covers a lot of ground that older readers may remember and younger should find informative.

    funny how so much has changed and somethings haven't.

UNIX was not designed to stop you from doing stupid things, because that would also stop you from doing clever things. -- Doug Gwyn

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