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Electronic Frontier Foundation

Inside the Electronic Frontier Foundation 98

First time accepted submitter qwerdf writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation's goal is 'defending your rights in the digital world', and its activities span the full gamut of freedom fighting: providing help with court cases; issuing white papers that explain current threats; running campaigns to spread awareness of various issues; and developing technologies that make our online activities safer from prying eyes. Here's a short history of how the EFF came together, what it has done so far, and how it's preparing for upcoming battles."
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Inside the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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  • Small factual error? (Score:5, Informative)

    by angry tapir ( 1463043 ) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:12PM (#44213435) Homepage

    Taking on the United States Secret Service is a pretty risky venture... But that’s exactly what the EFF did, shortly after it was founded in July 1990. The Secret Service had raided a small videogames book publisher, looking for a stolen technical document that might fall into the wrong hands.

    If it's referring to the raid on Steve Jackson Games, SJG wasn't a 'videogames book publisher'.

    • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @02:21AM (#44214003)
      They actually tried to claim that SJG was making a handbook for hacking computers. They were referring to the (at that time) upcoming Cyberpunk setting book for G.U.R.P.S. . Yeah, last time I checked, the proper way to steal data was to take your cyberdeck, jack it into your brain, load some ICEbreakers, and cruise cyberspace battling ICE and cracking data nodes. Uh huh. Right up there with the AC unit cooling the room by using demons of perversity to kick the cold atoms into the room and the hot ones out.

      I remember logging in the day after the raid. Strange message came up instead of their normal B.B.S. .
      Then the stories from SJG about the raid. How the 'agents' ate the teams donuts, and broke open locks with the team standing there with the keys.
      It was later found out that the warrant authorizing the raid really shouldn't have been granted in the first place, to put it mildly.

      I know SJG has the story on their site. If you're interested, go check it out. I'm sure it's a lot better than my so called memory.
      • by angry tapir ( 1463043 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @02:31AM (#44214027) Homepage
        I remember the story from Bruce Sterling's book [] on Operation Sundevil. It's a great read and had a huge impact on me when I was young.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        We can reasonably assert the equivalent of the Nuremberg Precedent as being one of those rights "retained by the people" (9th Amendment) and "reserved to the people" (10th Amendment). As such, all government officials have an individual, personal, and immediate responsibility to refuse to obey any orders or carry out any actions resulting from illegal laws, precedents, warrants, court orders, or executive orders. As a fundamental right, no act of Congress is required for this right to exist, and no law ne

    • Sort of a what....very minor error.
    • by Dabido ( 802599 )
      Was the raid on SJG because the Illuminati game gave away state secrets of what was really happening in the world?
  • Money well spent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:21PM (#44213467) Journal

    Send some dough to the EFF. Right this second. If there ever was a time we need those guys, it's now.

    I'm a tightwad, and if I can buy some cheaper beer for a few weeks so I can send them a few bucks, so can you, goddamit.

    This week, we found out that we've got a secret court that's acting as a "shadow Supreme Court" that's deciding the constitutionality of electronic snooping laws and then keeping their fucking rulings secret. []

    So before you curse the darkness, go light a fucking candle. Give to the EFF. I've got a paypal window open right now and am giving another twenty, which means I'll be drinking cheap beer for the rest of the month. But at least I'll know there's someone out there who's not completely focused on the reality tv show that is Edward Snowden instead of the fact that we've got a privatized police state that's grown up around us in only about a decade.

    And make no mistake: it's too late to start loading your shootin' iron unless you've decided your solution is to eat it.

    • Re:Money well spent (Score:5, Informative)

      by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:28PM (#44213497)
      Donate Here! []
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Donate Here! []

        Thanks. Done. They have some nice shirts you can get, and the credit card payment process was about as streamlined as I've seen (not even a confirmation page, or even button. Almost too almost to help them out!). Email updates opted out by default, very prompt payment processing, and their TLS settings selection is great.

        • I found it a little annoying that I had to scroll all the way down the page (offscreen) to deselect off the checkbox that enables download/install of the EFF/Stallman Browser toolbar, though.


      • by Anonymous Coward

        Thanks for the link, I just completed my donation. After reading the EFF page with their accomplishments, this donation was a no brainer. Best $100 I have spent to protect all of our rights.

    • Multiple + to this... I automatically contribute to EFF every month.

    • Aye. Heartily seconded. See my sig.

      A state wherein only the government is entitled to privacy is not a nation of free men.

  • EFFail (Score:1, Informative)

    by russotto ( 537200 )

    Unfortunately, as with all freedom-seeking organizations, the EFFs scorecard consists of losses which have already occurred, partial losses, and losses which will occur in the future. DMCA? Total loss. Copyright extensions? Total loss. CISPA? Stopped for now, we'll see it in the future. Broadcast flag? Delay, then loss -- the FCC now allows cable companies to encrypt everything, and the government is attempting to end TV broadcasting entirely to give the spectrum to cell phone companies. Surveillanc

    • Re:EFFail (Score:4, Interesting)

      by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:32PM (#44213517)
      Their failure is also the failure of the pro-freedom community. As a pro-2nd amendment guy, I'm glad that I've groups like the GOA [] and NRA in my corner. I hope the EFF will receive similar support [] from those whose rights it defends.
    • Re:EFFail (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Sunday July 07, 2013 @11:40PM (#44213557) Homepage

      Steve Jackson Games v. Secret Service Case Archive

      "EFF set one of the first precedents protecting computer communications from unwarranted government invasion."

      I guess you're too young to remember that, or to have had all your friends whining they aren't getting their game updates because the Secret Service thought role playing games were real.

      Plus grokster, broadcast flag, etc

    • EFF you (Score:5, Informative)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @12:07AM (#44213641)
      Jesus, don't call it in the fucking air. At the very least, don't call it FOR THE OTHER SIDE. Cynicism here does nothing but rationalize not doing anything to stop it. "losses which will occur in the future" if everyone who should be standing up to it says "Ah, it's going to happen eventually, fuck it."

      CISPA was a big win. No, they didn't stop it forever, but if you expected that to happen you're an idiot. What was the EFF supposed to do? Murder every CEO who wanted something similar to it, murder every lobbyist who would take their money, and murder every legislator who would take their meetings? Maintaining freedom is an active process, not a one time thing.

      You list about four other losses. Summarize their full list of litigation [] if you're going to say they do nothing but lose.

      This is not me shooting the messenger either. What you're doing is more akin to a football player in a close game screaming "We're going to lose! Repent! Defeat is inevitable! We can't win, they're going to hurt us, we may as well forfeit because our QB sucks!!!"

      (Note that I never played football, but I'm pretty sure that's a good way to help the other team win)
      • Mod parent up.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not really their fault; it's just that the age of freedom is over. Few care, and those who do are mostly against it.

      No, it's our fault -- the fault of the people who know why freedom is worth something.

      We haven't made the case for freedom. We've been content to sit back and wring our hands as it dribbles away while complaining to each other that "the age of freedom is over", as though that were something that had just happened by itself. On the rare occasions where we actually try to convince people that fr

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't be too dramatic. People do not care because they have a good life. Wait till that ends, unless they have killbots handy, and a lot of them, what was known as the French Revolution will seem like a Sunday afternoon picnic. The information out there is on everyone, including those who will get the blame. I know this first hand, I used such information, available from commercial sources, to do background investigations on the 1% for a huge bank. And this was a decade ago. The amount of info that th

    • Unfortunately, as with all freedom-seeking organizations, the EFFs scorecard consists of losses which have already occurred, partial losses, and losses which will occur in the future.

      The EFF is also given to inane publicity stunts that divert resources and make it look faintly ridiculous. Windows 7 Sins []

  • by Anonymous Coward

    NSA already knows their plans, they're already flagged as domestic extremists. Already has the power and technical ability to watch every URL they research, every article of law they read online.

    Having that power means they can practice arguments against those laws, and fashion evidence to back their case prior to the hearing.

    I bet the NSA goes further, I bet they even has the secrets of the judges that will hear the cases, and dirt on the lawyers involved. Because lying to Congress is nothing to them, so a

  • But Scary.

  • Let's review.

    The government is monitoring my every digital footprint whilst advertising companies are gathering more data about me than I knew existed. Google is constantly pushing me to drop my anonymity, sites like Facebook are rampantly collecting my private information and claiming ownership over it (without recourse) then on-selling that information with blatant disregard for personal privacy. Minors are being cajoled into legal agreements which are illegal without any parental oversight. Software p
    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least they do something..

      What have YOU done to stop this?

  • by andrew3 ( 2250992 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @04:16AM (#44214225)

    If Slashdot wants to promote and help EFF, they should stop censoring users from reading news on their own website.

    At the moment, many attempts to access Slashdot via Tor give a blocked IP address message. So many Tor users can't read Slashdot at all.

    I might be a little bit sympathetic if Slashdot temporarily banned IPs from posting when abuse is detected, but it's a real shame that IPs blocked by Slashdot can't read the news at all.

    • Https too (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They should be https SSL encrypted traffic too. How can we be free to comment if the NSA records everything we say for later use against us?
      The whole anonymous coward system is under threat if you can't post anonymously.

      To be safe https with a non-USA and non-UK certification authority, as grimoire points out there's some serious issues with SSL if the malicious actor is a rogue faction of any government:

      How about CACert?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It would help a little if the use of TOR wasn't so obvious. TOR needs to do something to disguise itself a bit better. Slashdot (or anybody else) shouldn't know when you're using it.

    • How much you wanna bet the NSA and FBI have their fingers all over this site and its logs? This place is a hotbed of independent thinkers (relatively speaking, if 1 in 100 was the norm, it'd be 1 in 10 here), and we all know that independent thoughts are dangerous and must be monitored closely.

  • The EFF want to ban your spam filters - they consider them to be "censorship", and unacceptable (unless there's never, ever a legitimate email accidentally blocked for any user - which isn't possibly, even theoretically). []

    (Old document, but still their current position).

    • by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Monday July 08, 2013 @09:02AM (#44214981)

      The EFF want to ban your spam filters - they consider them to be "censorship", and unacceptable (unless there's never, ever a legitimate email accidentally blocked for any user - which isn't possibly, even theoretically). []

      (Old document, but still their current position).

      Now that is a very creative (i.e. totally fucked up) interpretation of the EFF's clearly stated stance on spam. In point of fact, the EFF explicitly supports "your spam filters". To wit, "On a larger scale, EFF supports combatting spam by providing end-users with adequate tools to filter unwanted messages on the receiving end."

      • by SSpade ( 549608 )

        "Executive Summary: Any measure for stopping spam must ensure that all non-spam messages reach their intended recipients."

        That's impossible to do, other than by delivering all messages to their intended recipients - whether that be spam, malware, or legitimate email.

Don't get suckered in by the comments -- they can be terribly misleading. Debug only code. -- Dave Storer