- Electronic Frontier Foundation
name = Electronic Frontier Foundation
foundation = 1990, U.S.
location = San Francisco,
industry = Law
homepage = [http://www.eff.org/ www.eff.org] The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit advocacy and legal organization based in the United States with the stated purpose of being dedicated to preserving free speech rights such as those protected by the
First Amendment to the United States Constitutionin the context of today's digital age. Its stated main goal is to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil libertiesissues related to technology; and to act as a defender of those liberties. The EFF is supported by donations and is based in San Francisco, California, with staff members in Toronto, Washington, D.C., and Brussels, [ [http://www.eff.org/global/europe/ EFF Europe | Electronic Frontier Foundation ] ] the seat of the European Union. They are also accredited observers at the World Intellectual Property Organization. [ [http://www.eff.org/IP/WIPO/ WIPO | Electronic Frontier Foundation ] ]
EFF has taken action in several ways; it provides or funds legal defense in court, defends individuals and new technologies from the chilling effects of what it considers baseless or misdirected legal threats, provides guidance to the government and courts, organizes political action and mass mailings, supports some new technologies which it believes preserve personal freedoms, maintains a database and web sites of related news and information, monitors and challenges potential legislation that it believes would infringe on personal liberties and
fair use, and solicits a list of what it considers patent abuses with intentions to defeat those that it considers without merit.
and Jerry Berman join EFF Board. By 1992 Cliff Figallo became the new director of EFF-Cambridge and in December 1992 Jerry Berman became Acting Executive Director.
The creation of the organization was motivated by the massive search and seizure on
Steve Jackson Gamesexecuted by the United States Secret Serviceearly in 1990. Similar but officially unconnected law-enforcement raids were being conducted across the United States at about that time as part of a state-federal task force called Operation Sundevil. However, the Steve Jackson Games case, which became EFF's first high-profile case, was the major rallying point where EFF began promoting computer- and Internet-related civil liberties. In 1993: Offices moved to 1001 G Street office in Washington, D.C.. That same year Big Dummy's guide to the Internet, an Electronic Frontier Foundation publication, was made available for free download.
EFF's second big case was "
Bernstein v. United States" led by Cindy Cohn, where programmer and professor Daniel J. Bernsteinsued the government for permission to publish his encryptionsoftware, Snuffle, and a paper describing it. More recently the organization has been involved in defending Edward Felten, Jon Lech Johansenand Dmitry Sklyarov.
The organization was originally located at
Mitch Kapor's K.E.I. [http://www.kei.com/] in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By the fall of 1993, the main EFF offices were housed in Washington, D.C., headed up by Jerry Berman. During this time, some of EFF's attention focused on the business of influencing national policy, a business that was not entirely palatable to parts of the organization. In 1994, Mr. Berman parted ways with EFF and formed the Center for Democracy and Technology. EFF moved offices across town, where Drew Taubman briefly took the reins as director. In 1995, under the auspices of director Lori Fena, after some downsizing and in an effort to regroup and refocus on their base support, the organization moved offices to San Francisco, California. There, it took up temporary residence at John Gilmore's Toad Hall, and soon afterward moved into the Hamm's building at 1550 Bryant St. After Fena moved onto the EFF board of directors for a while, the organization was led by Tara Lemmey. Just prior to the EFF's move into its new and present offices at 454 Shotwell St. in SF's Mission District, long-time EFF Legal Director Shari Steele became, and remains as of mid-2006, the Executive Director. In the spring of 2006, EFF announced the opening of an office in Washington, D.C.with two new staff attorneys. [cite news | first=Declan | last=McCullagh | pages= | title=EFF reaches out to D.C. with new office | date=2006-04-27 | publisher=CNET News.com | url=http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-6065860.html ]
The EFF publishes a weekly newsletter known as the EFFector since its founding. Other works that cover EFF's history in-depth from a policy and legal cases perspective include:
*Robert B. Gelman & Stanton McCandlish's "Protecting Yourself Online: The Definitive Resource on Safety, Freedom & Privacy in Cyberspace".
Mike Godwin's "Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age" (The MIT Press, 2003 ISBN 0262571684 )
*Bruce Sterling's "
The Hacker Crackdown" covers Operation Sundeviland the formation of the EFF in great detail, including profiles of Mitch Kaporand John Perry Barlow. The book is available as a [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/101 freeware eBook] .
*Several other books of the 1990s also go into EFF's activities in some depth. Their more recent work in the sphere of fair use and intellectual property law is better documented at their web site and in periodicals.
* An article which recaps EFF's history, details the 2000 transition to Shari Steele's leadership, and discusses the concomitant strategy changes. [" [http://www.law.com/jsp/statearchive.jsp?type=Article&oldid=ZZZKE6G4FDC Electronic Frontier Foundation bulks up, renews focus on litigation] ". ]
February 18, 2004, the EFF announced [ [http://www.eff.org/about/20040218_eff_pr.php EFF: Internet Pioneer Gives Over $1.2 Million to EFF to Defend Online Freedom ] ] that it had received $1.2 million from the estate of Leonard Zubkoff. It will use $1 million of this money to establish the "EFF Endowment Fund for Digital Civil Liberties".
*EFF often receives additional pro bono legal assistance from Prof.
Lawrence Lessig: EFF boardmember and Stanford professor
Brad Templeton(Chairman), John Perry Barlow, John Buckman, Lorrie Cranor, David J. Farber, Edward Felten, John Gilmore, Brewster Kahle, Joe Kraus, Lawrence Lessigand Pamela Samuelson.
Notable cases and activism
*1990: EFF is founded and the groundwork is laid for the successful representation of
Steve Jackson Gamesin a Federal court case to prosecute the United States Secret Servicefor unlawfully raiding their offices and seizing computers.
Steve Jackson Gamesv. United States Secret Service. EFF files in federal court.
*1992: EFF gives first annual Pioneer Awards at 2nd
Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conferencein Washington, D.C.
Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service". Steve Jackson Gameswins its case against the United States Secret Service.
Center for Democracy and Technologyis formed by Jerry Berman.
*1994: Scientology v. the Internet.
Bernstein v. United States". Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Daniel J. Bernstein, holding that software source codeis speech protected by the First Amendment and that the government's regulations preventing its publication were unconstitutional.
*1995: EFF moves to San Francisco.
*1995–1996: EFF opens its "Blue Ribbon Campaign" in direct response to the
Communications Decency Act.
*1996: EFF co-founds TRUSTe, the first Privacy Seal company, with CommerceNet, a non-profit industry consortium.
*1998: EFF builds Deep Crack, a machine that decrypts a DES-encrypted message after only 56 hours of work, winning
RSA Security's DES Challenge II-2.
*1999: EFF and Anonymizer launch the Kosovo Privacy Project, an anonymous and secure email and Web surfing service conceived by Alex Fowler and Patrick Ball to ensure the protection of Kosovars, Serbs, and others reporting on the
Kosovo Warwithin the region from reprisal from Serbian officials.
Felten v. RIAA". EFF supports Edward Feltenin suing RIAA after Secure Digital Music Initiative(SDMI), RIAA, and Verance Corporationthreaten Felten with legal action under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA) over Felten's plan to present a paper about methods for defeating the SDMI watermarks. The case is dismissed.
*April 2002: EFF supports the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse effort to organize a database of IP law abuse and educate potential victims.
* November 2002: "
Universal v. Reimerdes" ("" magazine case"). EFF loses its appeal before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, establishing a legal precedent to permit prior restraint. "2600" magazine is restrained from publishing links to the Second Circuit code under provisions of the DMCA and declines to appeal to the Supreme Court.
*December 2003: "
RIAA v. Verizon", D.C. Cir. EFF supports Verizon Communicationsin a successful challenge to a lower court ruling holding that the company must reveal the identity of a Verizon customer accused of copyright infringement using the peer-to-peerfile-sharing software Kazaa. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with Verizon and EFF that the special subpoena provisions in the DMCA apply to potentially infringing material stored on an ISP server, not material stored on an individual's own computer.
DirecTV v. Treworgy", 11th Circuit. EFF helps defend "smart card" technology owner Mike Treworgy after DirecTVsued him based on the fact that he purchased hardware that could be used to intercept the company's satellite TV signals. Treworgy prevails in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which finds that DirecTV cannot sue individuals for "mere possession" of smart-card technology. In separate negotiations with DirecTV, EFF succeeds in getting the company to drop its "guilt-by-purchase" litigation strategy altogether.
2004-02-18: EFF files amicus curiaebrief in "1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. WhenU.Com and Vision Direct, Inc." appeal (see 1-800 Contacts)
April 19, 2004: EFF initiates the Patent Busting Projectto challenge "illegitimate patents that suppress non-commercial and small business innovation or limit free expression online"
*May 2004: Doe v. Ashcroft. EFF files amicus supporting ACLU's challenge to the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 2709, which authorizes the FBI to compel the production of subscriber and communications records in the possession of a broad range of ISPs, potentially covering billions of records from tens of thousands of entities. These demands, known as National Security Letters, were issued without judicial oversight of any kind, yet allowed the FBI to obtain a vast amount of constitutionally protected information. In September 2004, Judge Victor Marrero of the Southern District of New York issues a landmark decision striking down the NSL statute and the associated gag provision.
*August 2004: "
Chamberlain v. Skylink". EFF helps defend Skylink in the Federal Circuit that puts limits on the controversial "anti-circumvention" provision of the DMCA. Chamberlain, the manufacturer of garage doors, invoked the provision to stop Skylink from selling a "universal" remote control that works with Chamberlain garage doors. The court rejected Chamberlain's claims, noting that if it adopted the company's interpretation of the DMCA, it would threaten many legitimate uses of software within electronic and computer products — something the law aims to protect.
August 19, 2004: [http://www.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/ MGM v. Grokster] . EFF prevails before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals with a decision affirming the "Betamax doctrine" — the rule following the Supreme Court's 1984 holding that a company that creates a technology cannot be held liable for copyright violations by users if the technology has substantial legal uses. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that neither were liable for infringements by people using their software to distribute copyrighted works. However, on June 27, 2005U.S. Supreme Court reverses, finding the defendants liable for copyright infringement, though the Court preserved the Betamax doctrine. Co-defendant Grokster eventually settles with MGM and disbands the company.
October 6, 2004: EFF submits a [http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2004_10.php#001968 brief] in cooperation with eight other public interest organizations, challenging the FCC's authority to impose the broadcast flagmandate, which was to go into effect during July 2005.
October 15, 2004: EFF successfully represents the non-profit ISP Online Policy Group (OPG) and two Swarthmore College students who published major security flaws in Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) voting machines. From the press release: "Diebold is the first company to be held liable for violating section 512(f) of the DMCA, which makes it unlawful to use DMCA takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that infringement has not actually occurred."
JibJab Media v. Ludlow Music", N.D. Cal. EFF successfully defends JibJab, the creators of a parody flash animation piece using Woody Guthrie's " This Land Is Your Land", and uncovered evidence that the classic folk song is in fact already part of the public domain.
*November 2004: EFF files brief opposing the FCC's proposal to expand CALEA to broadband Internet access providers and VoIP systems.
*December 2004: EFF starts promoting and supporting Tor, a second generation Onion Routing network that allows people to communicate anonymously.
*June 2005: EFF issues a Legal Guide for Bloggers, designed to be a basic roadmap to the legal issues one may confront as a blogger, to let bloggers know their rights.
*October 2005: EFF investigates and documents how the Xerox
DocuColorprinter's serial number, as well as the date and time of the printout, are encoded in a repeating 15 by 8 dot pattern in the yellow channel on printed pages. EFFis working to reverse engineer additional printers. (see Printer steganography)
* November 2005: EFF files suit against
Sony BMG— along with two leading national class action law firms — demanding that the company repair the damage done by Fortium Technologies(then "First 4 Internet")'s XCP and SunnComm MediaMax CD-3software it included on over 24 million music CDs (see 2005 Sony BMG CD copy prevention scandal).
* January 2006: "
Hepting v. AT&T". EFF files a class action lawsuit against AT&Talleging that AT&T allowed the NSA to potentially tap the entirety of its clients' Internet and Voice over IP communications.
* August 2006: EFF files a complaint with the
Federal Trade Commission, accusing AOLof violating the Federal Trade Commission Actand asking for the FTC to take action. EFF alleges that AOL has engaged in deceptive and unfair trade practices with the disclosure of 20 million search queries of 650,000 anonymized users, intended for research purposes (see AOL for details). AOL is failing to "implement reasonable and appropriate measures to protect personal consumer information from public disclosure." Beyond that, AOL's failure to "employ proper security measures … to protect personal consumer information from public disclosure" constitutes an unfair trade practice.
* November 2006: EFF files a lawsuit, on behalf of blogger Jeffrey Diehl, against
Michael Crook, a webmaster Diehl claimed filed false DMCA claims against his and other websites. The case is settled in early 2007.
* October 2007: The United States Patent and Trademark Office accepted the EFF’s request for the reexamination of NeoMedia's patent #6,199,048 that is alleged to threaten mobile information access. [http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2007/10/23]
*May 2007 files "
Sapient v. Geller" [cite news | url=http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/sapient_v_geller/ | title=Sapient v. Geller Documents | publisher=Electronic Frontier Foundation |date=2007-05-08 | first= | last= | accessdate = 2007-06-01]
*August 2008: "
United States v. Arnold"
*September 2008: "
Jewel v. NSA" [ [http://www.eff.org/cases/jewel] ]
Charity Navigatorhas given EFF four out of four stars for its financial efficiency and capacity. [cite web |url= http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/7576.htm|title= Electronic Frontier Foundation|accessdate= 2007-06-05|publisher= Charity Navigator]
Apple v. Does
Electronic Frontiers Australia
Electronic Frontier Canada
Free Software Foundation
Hepting v. AT&T
League for Programming Freedom
Open Rights GroupUK group
* [http://www.eff.org Electronic Frontier Foundation official site]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20061110200326/http://www.weblogsky.com/technopolitics.htm "Technopolitics"] , originally published in the Australian magazine 21C, tells the early history of EFF.
* [http://www.eff.org/effector/ EFFector]
* [http://www.eff.org/bloggers/lg/ Legal Guide for Bloggers]
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