Sunday, April 1, 2012

April 1st edition of Electronic Frontier Foundation newsletter

Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 605th issue:

MPAA Announces Kickstarter Campaign for Film Decrying Internet's Impact on Creative Works

In a statement posted on its Wordpress blog this week, the MPAA announced that it will respond to the Internet's "destructive" effect on creative works with a new PSA, to be funded on the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. "Rampant content theft -- or as we call it, creativity murder -- makes it impossible to promote ideas online," according to a Tweet from MPAA chairman Chris Dodd. "For a pledge of $50, backers will receive an exclusive DVD copy of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked' in 3D."

Google's New "Nude View" Program Raises Privacy Concerns

Privacy advocates are calling foul on a new partnership between Google and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that would index the backscatter x-ray images taken at airline security checkpoints. "This will help singles get a first look even before the first date," said a Google spokesman. "Google Nude View," as the program is called, represents the first major initiative for the company since it changed its venerable slogan from "Don't Be Evil" to "Mwahahaha!"

RIAA, ISPs Introducing New "Hunger Games" Penalties for Infringers

RIAA chairman Cary Sherman has announced a new agreement between his organization and some of the largest American ISPs that would require subscribers accused of infringement to compete in a televised gladitorial battle to the death. Sherman responded this week to concerns about the severity of the program saying, "Obviously we don't think that all of the infringers selected as tributes should meet their death in the arena. Presumably one of them makes it out alive."

EFF Updates

The US Patent and Trademark Office has been forced to halt the issuing of new patents after being sued for violation of patent number #4608919, "System and Method For Granting Limited Monopolies On Inventions."
In a misguided attempt to stifle anonymous speech while "preserving the culture" of the service, the popular social site Reddit recently announced it would institute a "real names only" policy that only allows user to select the name Chuck Norris. While we applaud their ingenuity in avoiding the pitfalls other sites have encountered in determining what does or doesn't look like a "real" name, we remain concerned over the closure of another venue for pseudonymous speech.
The leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has not been confirmed by the negotiating parties, but a highly-placed source claims to have overheard the US Trade Representative saying, "Who wouldn't want to snuggle with a puppy while watching their pirated copy of Season 1 Game of Thrones?"
A new whitepaper on mobile privacy, co-authored by Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley and Activism Director Rainey Reitman, is one of the most concise yet published by EFF. Titled "Protecting Your Privacy in the Mobile Era," the report consists entirely of the five words "Don't use a mobile phone." This complements EFF's 1991 report: "Don't use electronic mail."
In an alarming trend, job seekers are increasingly reporting that prospective employers are requiring Farmville passwords or "neighbor" requests from prospective employees. One job seeker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed serious privacy concerns about the trend: "My virtual crops and livestock are sensitive information, and none of my boss' business. I think he's just looking for somebody to harvest his tomatoes."
EFF calls on karaoke machine vendors to "know their customer" when selling equipment to governments and the very drunk. While karaoke is "dual use" technology and may be used for legitimate purposes, EFF condemns its use by oppressive over-singers, divas, and Journey fans.


Security researchers at the McMurdo research station in Antarctica have published alarming results about insufficient randomness in the generation of new snowflakes. As many as 2 in every 1000 snowflakes is reported to be neither beautiful nor unique.
In a nod to his eponymous law, security expert Bruce Schneier has reportedly developed an encryption technique that is so clever that even Bruce Schneier can't figure out how to break it.
In drones today, drones drones droney droney drones. According to EFF Activist Trevor Timm, "Drones and drones drone droney drone drone. And nanodrones."


ISSN 1062-9424
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