Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "President Obama has said he's running the 'most transparent administration in history.' But new documents reveal that his administration secretly lobbied to kill transparency reform legislation that had broad bipartisan support and would have made it easier for journalists and citizens to file FOIA requests that help keep the government open and accountable." Read the rest
Ed from the UK Open Rights Group writes, "Right now, the Government is ramming a new snooping law through Parliament. The Investigatory Powers Bill would force companies such as Sky, BT, Google and Facebook to keep detailed records of what we do online for a year -- even if we are not suspected of committing any crime whatsoever." Read the rest
Tiffiny from Fight for the Future writes, "New information has surfaced about Facebook's position on S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Sources on the Hill tell us that Facebook lobbyists are welcoming CISA behind closed doors, even though Facebook has been lauded as opposing the bill after CCIA, an industry association they are a member of, came out against it.. CISA would give companies like Facebook legal immunity for violating privacy laws as long as they share information with the government. It's supposed to be for cybersecurity, but in reality companies would be encouraged to share information beyond cyber threat data and the information could be used for prosecuting all kinds of activities." Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Salesforce / Heroku, and a handful of other tech companies just betrayed billions of people's trust. They signed a letter endorsing CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act." Read the rest
Congress is about to introduce a bill that will let the US Trade Representative lock America into the provisions of the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership, without substantial debate or scrutiny -- including criminal sanctions -- jail! -- for downloading TV shows. Read the rest
Laws like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act put security researchers at risk of felony prosecution for telling you about bugs in the computers you put your trust in, turning the computers that know everything about us and watch everything we do into reservoirs of long-lived pathogens that governments, crooks, cops, voyeurs and creeps can attack us with. Read the rest
Victoria from Sense About Science writes, "International Clinical Trials Day is on Tuesday May 20th but half of all clinical trials have never been published and some have not even been registered. Help the AllTrials.net petition get to 100,000 signatures by International Clinical Trials Day and end the era of secrecy.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in these trials. If action is not taken urgently, information on what was done and what was found in trials could be lost forever, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine and trials being repeated unnecessarily.
Adi from EFF writes, "Engine Advocacy worked with artist Kirby Ferguson (of Everything is a Remix fame) to create this great primer on patent trolls. It beautifully and succinctly lays out the patent problem, which is one of the hottest topics on the Hill right now. EFF, Public Knowledge, and Engine are pushing for people to call their senators to demand strong patent reform, and we have a handy tool at fixpatents.org for all you to do so!" Read the rest
More than 25 tech companies -- including Happy Mutants, LLC, Boing Boing's parent company -- have signed onto a letter asking Senator Ron Wyden (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) to oppose "Fast Track" for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is a secretly negotiated trade agreement that allows for big corporations to trump national law, suing governments that pass regulations that limit their profits; it contains a notoriously harsh chapter on Internet regulation that will allow entertainment companies unprecedented power to surveil, censor, and control the Internet.
The US Trade Representative and the Obama administration have demanded that Congress give "Fast Track" status to the TPP, meaning that they would not be allowed to debate the individual clauses of the bill, and would only be able to vote it up or down. The treaty is likely to have lots of sweeteners that will make it hard for key lawmakers to reject it entirely, a manipulative maneuver that, combined with Fast Track, means that the treaty has a substantial chance of passing, even though it means Congress will be surrendering its power to make laws that impact on massive corporations.
Other signatories to the letter include Reddit, Techdirt, Imgur, Duckduckgo, Ifixit, Cheezburger, Automattic (WordPress), and many others. Read the rest
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Want to help save democracy? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a super-secretive trade agreement that threatens everything you care about. It's been negotiated behind closed doors with ample input from over 600 corporate lobbyists -- but no access for journalists or the public. Sound bad? It gets worse. The corporate interest groups pushing for the TPP are the same folks that brought us SOPA, ACTA, and NAFTA." Read the rest
Eddan sez, "The Oakland City Council is in the final stretch of approving the funding of the Domain Awareness Center to be built in Oakland. Though there has been a great deal of public outcry at the City Council itself, it just keeps going forward especially because they're now trying to pitch this as a crime-fighting law enforcement tool. Which is especially important to be on the right side of in Oakland during a City Council/Mayor election year. The Public Safety Committee to meet Jan. 28 is made up of most of the City Council members that are most skeptical and least supportive of the way this Department of Homeland Security new gadget funding is dangled before a resource-poor and embattled police department." Read the rest
Ever since RSA got caught sabotaging its own products to aid the NSA for a piddling $10M, it's been corporation-non-grata in the security world. Prominent experts are bailing on the RSA conference where they'd been scheduled to speak. Now, a Fight for the Future petition is asking Stephen Colbert to walk away from his guest speaker slot. I hope he does -- Colbert's reputation is worth more than the fee he commands from RSA. Read the rest
Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release." Read the rest
It's make or break time for the Innovation Act (H.R. 3309), with less than two days until a crucial vote. The Act injects some much-needed reform into the patent system (though it doesn't go far enough), and it's been moving strongly through Congress, coming out of committee with a 33-5 vote. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is asking its supporters to call their reps to tell them to support the bill. Read the rest
Marietje Schaake, the EU's most tech-savvy MEP, writes, "Recently I launched a global campaign against the trade in digital arms from the EU: stopdigitalarms.eu It is unacceptable that EU-made technologies are still exported, deployed and operated by European companies to third countries without oversight." Read the rest