EFF’s Top Recommendations for the Biden Administration

At noon on January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and he and his staff took over the business of running the country.

The tradition of a peaceful transfer of power is as old as the United States itself. But by the time most of us see this transition on January 20th, it is mostly ceremonial. The real work of a transition begins months before, usually even before Election Day, when presidential candidates start thinking about key hires, policy goals, and legislative challenges. After the election,

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New OCC Rule Is a Win in the Fight Against Financial Censorship

On Thursday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency finalized its Fair Access to Financial Services rule, which will prevent banks from refusing to serve entire classes of customers that they find politically or morally unsavory. The rule is a huge win for civil liberties, and for the many sectors who have found themselves in the bad graces of corporate financial services, like cryptocurrency projects, marijuana businesses, sex worker advocacy groups, and others.

For years, financial intermediaries have engaged in financial censorship, shutting down accounts in order to censor legal speech. For example, banks have refused to serve

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EFF Welcomes Fourth Amendment Defender Jumana Musa to Advisory Board

Our Fourth Amendment rights are under attack in the digital age, and EFF is proud to announce that human rights attorney and racial justice activist Jumana Musa has joined our advisory board, bringing great expertise to our fight defending users’ privacy rights.

Musa is Director of the Fourth Amendment Center at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), where she oversees initiatives to challenge Fourth Amendment violations and outdated legal doctrines that have allowed the government and law enforcement to rummage, with little oversight or restrictions, through people’s private digital files.

The Fourth Amendment Center provides assistance and training

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Face Surveillance and the Capitol False Flag

After last week’s orchestrated false flag on the Capitol, law enforcement is working overtime to identify the perpetrators. This is critical to accountability for the false flag. Law enforcement has many, many tools at their disposal to do this, especially given the very public nature of most of the organizing. But we object to one method reportedly being used to determine who was involved: law enforcement using facial recognition technologies to compare photos of unidentified individuals from the Capitol attack to databases of photos of known individuals. There are just too many risks and problems in this approach, both technically

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YouTube and TikTok Put Human Rights In Jeopardy in Turkey

Democracy in Turkey is in a deep crisis. Its ruling party, led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, systematically silences marginalized voices, shuts down dissident TV channels, sentences journalists, and disregards the European Court of Human Rights decisions. As we wrote in November, in this oppressive atmosphere, Turkey’s new Social Media Law has doubled down on previous online censorship measures by requiring sites to appoint a local representative who can be served with content removal demands and data localization mandates. This company representative would also be responsible for maintaining the fast response turnaround times to government requests required by the law.

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ACLU, EFF, and Tarver Law Offices Urge Supreme Court to Protect Against Forced Disclosure of Phone Passwords to Law Enforcement

Washington, D.C. – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), along with New Jersey-based Tarver Law Offices, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to ensure the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination extends to the digital age by prohibiting law enforcement from forcing individuals to disclose their phone and computer passcodes.

“The Fifth Amendment protects us from being forced to give police a combination to a wall safe. That same protection should extend to our phone and computer passwords, which can give access to far more sensitive information than any wall safe could,” said Jennifer

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California City’s Effort to Punish Journalists For Publishing Documents Widely Available Online is Dangerous and Chilling, EFF Brief Argues

As part of their jobs, journalists routinely dig through government websites to find newsworthy documents and share them with the broader public. Journalists and Internet users understand that publicly available information on government websites is not secret and that, if government officials want to protect information from being disclosed online, they shouldn’t publicly post it on the Internet.

But  a California city is ignoring these norms and trying to punish several journalists for doing their jobs. The city of Fullerton claims that the journalists, who write for a digital publication called Friends for Fullerton’s Future, violated federal and state computer

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EFF’s Response to Social Media Companies’ Decisions to Block President Trump’s Accounts

Like most people in the United States and around the world, EFF is shocked and disgusted by Wednesday’s false flag attack on the U.S. Capitol. We support all those who are working to defend the Constitution and the rule of law, and we are grateful for the service of policymakers, staffers, and other workers who endured many hours of lockdown and reconvened to fulfill their constitutional duties.

The decisions by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and others to suspend and/or block President Trump’s communications via their platforms is a simple exercise of their rights, under the First Amendment and Section 230,

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Oakland Privacy and the People of Vallejo Prevail in the Fight For Surveillance Accountability

Just as the 2020 holiday season was beginning in earnest, Solano Superior Court Judge Bradley Nelson upheld the gift of surveillance accountability that the California State legislature had provided state residents when they passed 2015’s Senate Bill 741 (Cal. Govt. Code § 53166). Judge Bradley’s order brought positive closure to a battle that began last March when Electronic Frontier Alliance member Oakland Privacy notified the Vallejo City Council, and Mayor, that their police department’s proposal to acquire a Cell Site Simulator (CSS) violated California state law.

Introduced by then state-senator Jerry Hill, SB 741 requires an

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EFF to FinCEN: Stop Pushing For More Financial Surveillance

Today, EFF submitted comments to the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) opposing the agency’s proposal for new regulations of cryptocurrency transactions. As we explain in our comments, financial records can be deeply personal and revealing, containing a trove of sensitive information about people’s personal lives, beliefs, and affiliations. Regulations regarding such records must be constructed with careful consideration regarding their effect on privacy, speech and innovation. 

Even in an increasingly digital world, people have a right to engage in private financial transactions.

FinCEN’s proposed rule is neither deliberative nor thoughtful. As we’ve written before,

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