4th Amendment Summary by the EFF

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You can't use rights you don't know about or don't understand. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has posted a summary of your 4th amendment rights to deny the government permission to search you or your belongings (digital or otherwise).

It's good to know what you can and can't do since you should know that even when you've done nothing wrong, you may still get yourself into a lot of trouble if you are careless with your privacy.

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ACLU and EFF to Cripple RIAA Lawsuits

While I don't support downloading music and movies instead of buying them, I also don't support abusing the legal system to bully people and make money. The RIAA has been doing just that for a long time according to several consumer groups.

In this case, the The American Civil Liberties Union - ACLU and the The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are arguing that when the The RIAA - Who They Are In a Nutshell sues thousands of "infringers", they have to file thousands of separate lawsuits and not just one.

Filing one is cheaper and easier, but makes it harder and is unfair for the victims… er, I mean defendants.

If the court adopts the approach suggested here, the costs of the current anti-P2P litigation strategy could become untenable. If each anonymous defendant requires several hundred dollars in filing fees, individual paperwork, individual subpoenas, and detailed information on their alleged distribution, settling for a mere $1,500 doesn't sound so hot.

Let's hope for the best. Leave people alone and worry about pirating organizations and criminal groups instead.

Source: Ars Technica

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Protecting Yourself From Suspicion-less Border Searches

The EFF has an excellent article about how to avoid being searched at the border. Specifically, how to protect your laptop data that courts recently ruled could be searched without warrant.

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EFF Releases Free Software To Detect If Your ISP is Cheating You

Because Comcast has been denying the results of an Associated Press study showing they've been blocking certain types of traffic, the The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has done their own study proving that it's true.

Beyond that, they've created software that can be downloaded free that people can use to test it for themselves. Go EFF!

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation Takes on the DHS’s Secret Profiling Program

The EFF (who is also the organization spearheading the lawsuits against AT&T) is now taking on the secret profiling program that has hit the news recently. From their e-newsletter:
The Automated Targeting System (ATS) creates and assigns “risk assessments” to tens of millions of citizens as they enter and leave the country. In November, DHS announced that the program would launch on December 4, but Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff later admitted that the program had already been in operation for several years.
Under ATS, individuals have no way to access information about their “risk assessment” scores or to correct any false information about them. But while you cannot see your score, it will be made readily available to untold numbers of federal, state, local, and foreign agencies. The government will retain the data for 40 years.
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The American Civil Liberties Union - ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union - ACLU

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation - EFF

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The RIAA - Who They Are In a Nutshell

This is probably the best summary of who the RIAA is and what they stand for that I've ever heard:
The RIAA is like the Prohibitionists of old. In their view, the law cannot allow for something completely reasonable such as legal circumvention because it could be abused. Millions of people are thereby punished. Yet this is not how a civil society typically functions. Life is full of potentially dangerous products, services, and ideas. It's up to individuals to take responsibility for their actions, because we all know that catering to the lowest common denominator does not give birth to a free society, let alone an intelligent one. Yet the RIAA will stop at nothing to make sure that you and I never have the chance to make such decisions for ourselves.

By "legal circumvention", he refers to the the practice of circumventing Data Rights Management (DRM) for legal purposes such as making personal backup copies, educational uses, and other Fair Use practices. The RIAA is against it because they know that all it takes is one user with a DRM-free copy to post a song online for it to be shared everywhere in the world.

Here are some examples of the legal tricks they pull: RIAA Withdraws Case and Refiles It to Get Different Judge