Face Recognition Technology: Commonly Used Terms

As face recognition technology evolves at a dizzying speed, new uses and terminologies seem to develop daily. On this page, we attempt to define and disambiguate some of the most commonly used terms. For more information on government use of face recognition and how to end it in your community, visit EFF’s About Face resource page. Face detection: Determines whether an image includes a human face. Some government agencies use face detection to aid in obscuring identifiable faces before releasing video footage in response to requests for public records. As a result, many bans on government use of face recognition…

Bring on the Publicity Trolls: Federal Appeal Court Ruling Drastically Undermines Online Speech

In a disastrous ruling for online expression, innovation and competition, a federal appeals court has held that internet intermediaries are on the hook for expensive litigation and potential damages for violating a person’s “right of publicity,” (i.e., the right to control the commercial use of your persona). All because some people think of this right as a form of “intellectual property.” State law claims are normally barred under Section 230, a law has enabled decades of innovation and online expression. But Section 230 doesn’t apply to intellectual property claims, so if publicity rights are intellectual property (“IP”), the theory goes,…

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Public School Students’ Off-Campus Speech Rights

In a win for freedom of speech, the U.S. Supreme Court held that public high school officials violated a student’s First Amendment rights when they suspended her from cheerleading for posting a vulgar Snapchat selfie over the weekend and off school grounds. EFF filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the student, and a brief that proved influential in the Third Circuit. The case, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., involved a public high school student who was placed on the junior varsity cheerleading squad after failing to make varsity. Out of frustration, Brandi Levy (later…

EFF Stands With #SaveAlaa, Calls for Release of Alaa Abdel Fattah, Activist and Friend

My conditions are but a drop in a dark sea of injustice. – Alaa Abdel Fattah,  November 7, 2019, at State Security Prosecution EFF is profoundly concerned about our friend, Egyptian blogger, coder, and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, who has been jailed for more than two years at a maximum-security prison in Tora, 12 miles south of Cairo. Media reports have cited his attorney saying Fattah was considering suicide because of the dire conditions under which he is being held. The lawyer, Khaled Ali, said at a Sept. 13 court hearing in his case—to determine whether Fattah would continue…

Cross Border Police Surveillance Treaty Must Have Clear, Enforceable Privacy Safeguards, Not a Patchwork of Weak Provisions

This is the fourth post in a series about recommendations EFF, European Digital Rights, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic, and other civil society organizations have submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which is currently reviewing the Second Additional Protocol to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, to amend the text before final approval in the fall. Read the full series here, here, here,  here, and here. Two very different assessments of a proposed treaty on cross border police access to user data were presented to the Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly…

EFF, Access Now, and Partners to European Parliament: Free Speech, Privacy and Other Fundamental Rights Should Not be Up for Negotiation in the Digital Services Act

European Union (EU) civil society organizations, led by EFF and Access Now, are keeping a sharp eye on the myriad proposals to amend the European Commission’s Digital Services Act (DSA) ahead of important committee votes in the European Parliament (EP). We want to see the DSA, which will overhaul regulations for online platforms, foster a new era of transparency and openness between tech platforms and Internet users. It should protect fundamental rights online and provide Europeans with greater control over their Internet experience. To ensure the DSA is moving in the right direction, we are calling on the European Parliament to…

EFF to Court: Stop SFPD from Spying on Protesters for Black Lives

EFF and the ACLU of Northern California recently filed a brief asking the San Francisco Superior Court to rule that the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) violated the law when it obtained and used a remote, live link to a business district’s surveillance camera network to monitor protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May and June 2020. In October 2020, on behalf of three activists of color, we sued the City and County of San Francisco for violating the city’s landmark Surveillance Technology Ordinance. A few months earlier, an EFF investigation uncovered that the SFPD had obtained…

SHOP SAFE Is Another Attempt to Fix Big Tech That Will Mostly Harm Small Players and Consumers

Congress is once again trying to fix a very specific problem with a broad solution. We support the SHOP SAFE Act’s underlying goal of protecting consumers from unsafe and defective counterfeit products.  The problem is that SHOP SAFE tackles the issue in a way that would make it incredibly difficult for small businesses and individuals to sell anything online. It will do little to stop sophisticated counterfeiters and will ultimately do consumers more harm than good, by obstructing competition and hindering consumers’ ability to resell their own used goods. Think about trying to sell something used online. Think about having a…

Digital Rights Updates with EFFector 33.6

Want the latest news on your digital rights? Then you’ve come to the right place! Version 33, issue 6 of EFFector, our monthly-ish newsletter, is out now! Catch up on the latest EFF news, from our protests at Apple stores to celebrating that HTTPS is actually everywhere, by reading our newsletter or listening to the new audio version below. LISTEN ON The Internet Archive EFFECTOR 33.06 – Why EFF Flew A Plane Over Apple’s Headquarters Make sure you never miss an issue by signing up by email to receive EFFector as soon as it’s posted! Since 1990 EFF has published EFFector…

HTTPS Is Actually Everywhere

For more than 10 years, EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere browser extension has provided a much-needed service to users: encrypting their browser communications with websites and making sure they benefit from the protection of HTTPS wherever possible. Since we started offering HTTPS Everywhere, the battle to encrypt the web has made leaps and bounds: what was once a challenging technical argument is now a mainstream standard offered on most web pages. Now HTTPS is truly just about everywhere, thanks to the work of organizations like Let’s Encrypt. We’re proud of EFF’s own Certbot tool, which is Let’s Encrypt’s software complement that helps…

Why EFF Flew a Plane Over Apple's Headquarters

For the last month, civil liberties and human rights organizations, researchers, and customers have demanded that Apple cancel its plan to install photo-scanning software onto devices. This software poses an enormous danger to privacy and security. Apple has heard the message, and announced that it would delay the system while consulting with various groups about its impact. But in order to trust Apple again, we need the company to commit to canceling this mass surveillance system. The delay may well be a diversionary tactic. Every September, Apple holds one of its big product announcement events, where Apple executives detail the…

How California’s Broadband Infrastructure Law Promotes Local Choice

The legislative session has ended and Governor Newsom is expected to sign into law S.B. 4 and A.B. 14. These bills stand as the final pieces of the state’s new broadband infrastructure program. With a now-estimated $7.5 billion assembled between federal and state funds, California has the resources it needs to largely close the digital divide in the coming years. This program allows local cities and counties to access infrastructure dollars to solve problems in their own communities along with empowering local private entities, rather than depend on large, private multi-nationals who aren’t willing to make the needed generational investment into…

Translate »