Everyone -- not just Europeans -- needs to save the internet from the EU's terrible copyright proposal

We have just a week until the European Parliament debates and votes on the new Copyright Directive, including the dreaded censorship machines (every website has to censor anything that appears to be a copyrighted work and link tax (no linking to news articles unless the platform you're using has negotiated a license with the site you're linking to). Read the rest

Join me and the Electronic Frontier Foundation today for a Reddit AMA about how copyright law can censor security research

Have you ever wanted to talk with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the risks of talking in public about security issues, especially in connected Internet of Things devices? Today, you'll get your chance. Read the rest

Big Bang: the "stupid patent" on teledildonics has expired

Twenty years ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 6,368,268: "Method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks," a minor classic of a majorly fucked-up genre, the bullshit tech patent that simply adds "with a computer" to some absolutely obvious and existing technology or technique. Read the rest

The platforms control our public discourse, and who they disconnect is arbitrary and capricious

Look, I'm as delighted as you are to see Alex Jones' ability to spread hatred curtailed -- because in a world where all the important speech takes place online, and where online speech is owned by four or five companies, being kicked off of Big Tech's services is likely to be an extinction-level event. Read the rest

EFF has published a detailed guide to regulating Facebook without destroying the internet

If you're a dominant near-monopolist like Facebook, your first preference is to have no regulation at all -- but your close second choice is to have lots of regulation that you can afford, but that potential competitors can't, sparing you the tedious exercise of buying and killing any company that might grow up to compete with you some day. Read the rest

Gmail rolls out DRM for email and office documents, calls it "Confidential Mode"

Google has rolled out a "Confidential Mode" for Gmail and Google Docs attachments, promising users that they'll be able to send emails to their contacts that can't be shared, printed or copied. Read the rest

More than a million Europeans spoke out to stop internet-destroying censorship rules, but the fight's not over

Ten days ago, the European Parliament dealt a major blow to a radical proposal that would force online services to deploy copyright bots to examine everything posted by users and block anything that might be a copyright infringement; the proposal would also ban linking to news articles without paid permission from the news sites. Read the rest

What's next in the fight to save the internet from the EU's catastrophic copyright plan?

When the EU's legislative committee voted last month to advance a bizarre copyright proposal that would mandate mass commercial surveillance and censorship of the internet, it was the beginning of the fight, not the end. Read the rest

Meet the people who went to the US Copyright Office to demand your right to repair, remix and preserve!

Every three years, the US Copyright Office undertakes an odd ritual: they allow members of the public to come before their officials and ask for the right to use their own property in ways that have nothing to do with copyright law.

It's a strange-but-true feature of American life. Blame Congress. When they enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, they included Section 1201, a rule that bans people from tampering with copyright controls on their devices. That means that manufacturers can use copyright controls to stop you from doing legitimate things, like taking your phone to an independent service depot; or modifying your computer so that you can save videos to use in remixes or to preserve old games. If doing these legal things requires that you first disable or remove a copyright control system, they can become illegal, even when you're using your own property in the privacy of your own home.

But every three years, the American people may go before the Copyright Office and ask for the right to do otherwise legal things with their own property, while lawyers from multinational corporations argue that this should not happen.

The latest round of these hearings took place in April, and of course, EFF was there, with some really cool petitions (as dramatized by the science fiction writers Mur Lafferty, John Scalzi, and Cory Doctorow [ahem]), along with many of our friends and allies, all making their own pleas for sanity in copyright law.

We commemorated the occasion with a collection of short video conversations between me and our pals. Read the rest

Mother American Night: John Perry Barlow's posthumous memoir

John Perry Barlow lived many lives: small-time Wyoming Republican operative (and regional campaign director for Dick Cheney!), junior lyricist for the Grateful Dead, father-figure to John Kennedy Jr, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, inspirational culture hero for the likes of Aaron Swartz and Ed Snowden (and, not incidentally, me), semi-successful biofuels entrepreneur... He died this year, shortly after completing his memoir Mother American Night, and many commenters have noted that Barlow comes across as a kind of counterculture cyberculture Zelig, present at so many pivotal moments in our culture, and that's true, but that's not what I got from my read of the book -- instead, I came to know someone I counted as a friend much better, and realized that every flaw and very virtue he exhibited in his interpersonal dealings stemmed from the flaws and virtues of his relationship with himself.

The EU's terrible copyright proposal will "carpet bomb" the whole world's internet with censorship and surveillance

There's one week to go until an EU committee votes on a plan to "transform the internet into a tool for surveillance and control," that will permanently cement the place of American internet giants like Google and Facebook, freezing out smaller internet companies (and even large nonprofits like Wikipedia) who lack the tens of millions of dollars that complying with the rule will require. Read the rest

70+ internet pioneers to the EU: you are transforming the internet into a "tool for automated surveillance and control" SHARE THIS!

In one week, an EU committee will vote on a pair of extreme copyright proposals that will ban linking to news articles without permission, and force internet platforms to spy on all the pictures, text, video, audio and code their users post, sending it to AIs designed to catch copyright infringement and automatically censor anything that might violate copyright. Read the rest

John Perry Barlow's memoir, finished weeks before his death, is out

EFF co-founder, Grateful Dead lyricist and mayor of the internet John Perry Barlow died in February and left an unfillable hole. Read the rest

My science fiction story about EFF's proposed jailbreaking exemption

Every three years, the US Copyright Office lets the public beg for limited exemptions to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans bypassing DRM, even in your own property, even for strictly legal reasons. Read the rest

Efail: instructions for using PGP again as safely as is possible for now

It's been nearly three weeks since the publication of Efail, a critical set of attacks against PGP/GPG-encrypted emails that was so hard to mitigate that EFF's recommendation was to stop using it for mail altogether until a solution could be worked out. Read the rest

The FBI's mountain of uncrackable crimephones was nearly entirely imaginary

The FBI has been trying to ban working cryptography since the Clinton years, a losing battle whose stakes go up with each passing day as the number of devices that depend on working crypto to secure them and their users goes up and up and up. Read the rest

Mur Lafferty wrote a science fiction story about the DMCA to help EFF's fair use for vidders campaign

Every three years, the US Copyright Office asks America about the problems with Section 1201 of the DMCA, which bans breaking DRM even for legal reasons, and America gets to answer with requests for exemptions to this rule. Read the rest

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