Archive for the ‘Anonymity’ Category

Bill Would Require Storage of Internet Data

15 February 2007

Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) has introduced legislation to require Internet Service Providers to store records of their customers’ activities online, according to the ACLU. It would allow Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to decide what data the ISP’s would have to store and for how long.

From Marvin Johnson of the ACLU:

Legislation like this is like swatting a fly with a bazooka. Such sweeping measures do little to stop online crime; instead, they overwhelm law enforcement agents with mountains of raw data and have a chilling effect on ISP subscribers’ First Amendment rights.

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Baseless Copyright Claims

31 October 2006

“Landmark Education,” a self-help group based in San Francisco, has attempted to suppress an investigation of its techniques, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Landmark Education subpoenaed three websites (The Internet Archive, Google Video, and YouTube), where a documentary was uploaded to, in an attempt to determine the uploader, whose documentary was apparently critical of Landmark Education’s methods.

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Embroidery Comapny Challenges Right to Anonymity

17 September 2006

The Embroidery Software Protection Coalition (ESPC) has ceased its attempts to unmask a number of anonymous embroiderers who started a web discussion a campaign to threaten people who purchase embroidery designs with copyright infringement, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. No doubt these are some pretty rebellious embroiderers, and they had to be stopped immediately. The ESPC filed defamation claims against some of those members, then issued a subpoena for detailed personal information about every member of the discussion group, even those who had yet to post anything. They were probably only a minor threat, but the ESPC likes to cover all the bases.

The EFF, however, prevented the ESPC from gathering this information.

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Homeland Security Invading Right to Anonymity

16 August 2006

According to an article by ShadowMonkey, the Department of Homeland Security will be paying a group of universities to research how to identify “writers who may be hiding their identities.” Writers hiding their identities are probably doing so because they want their identities hidden, which they have a right to do according to an organization known as the US Supreme Court.

The ruling of the 1995 Supreme Court Case McIntrye vs. Ohio Elections Commission was that “Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.” Basically, being anonymous is sometimes what makes freedom of speech possible, so protecting the right to anonymity is essential to protecting the right to free speech.

Internet speech is just as protected. In 2005, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that a blogger had the right to stay anonymous as well. the Deaprtment of Homeland Security has no right to overrule either of these court rulings.

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Getting Around the First Amendment

5 August 2006

The first amendment is intended to protect our freedom of speech, among other things. That right is on of the most essential in America, and violating it, although many on the Supreme Court might disagree, is illegal. Now the Bush administration has found a way around this inconvenient part of our law system: using someone else’s law system.

In 2003, George Bush signed the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention, or Cybercrime Treaty, which requires that signatories aid each other in investigating and/or prosecuting for breaking the first country’s laws, regardless of the rights guaranteed in the assisting nation. According to an article by the ACLU, the senate has now ratified it. Thus, the FBI may investigate an American for a cyber-related occurrence that is protected under the Bill of Rights, because another country might not protect that right. Some signing nations are emerging democracies, and may not have the same protections as the US, such as Ukraine and Bulgaria.

In some ways, this should be a huge issue that the senate would now feel ashamed of ratifying, but in other ways our first amendment rights have been taken since they were created.

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