Coalition Urges Supreme Court to Block Government Abuse of Surveillance Technology
Washington, D.C. – The principal inventor of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other leading technologists have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in urging the U.S Supreme Court to block the government from using GPS tracking without first getting a warrant, arguing that the massive collection of sensitive location data should require court oversight.
Roger L. Easton is considered the father of GPS as the principal inventor and developer of the Timation Satellite Navigation System at the Naval Research Laboratory. The current GPS is based on Timation, and its principles of operation are fundamentally identical. In an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court Monday in United States v. Jones, EFF, Mr. Easton, along with other technology experts, pointed out the many ways in which GPS tracking is fundamentally different from and more invasive than other surveillance technologies the court has allowed before, and how law enforcement use of GPS without a warrant violates Americans’ reasonable expectations of privacy.
“This is the first case where the Supreme Court will consider automatic, persistent, passive location tracking by law enforcement,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “The government can use location information over time to learn where you go to church, what sort of doctors you go to, what meetings and activities you participate in, and much more. Police should not have blanket permission to install GPS devices and collect detailed information about people’s movements over time without court review.”
In Jones, FBI agents planted a GPS device on a car while it was on private property. Agents then used the GPS to track the position of the vehicle every ten seconds for a full month without obtaining a search warrant. An appeals court ruled that the surveillance was unconstitutional without a warrant, but the government appealed the decision.
“If police are allowed to plant GPS devices wherever they please, that’s essentially blanket permission for widespread, ongoing police surveillance without any court supervision,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “It’s not hard to see how that kind of leeway would be abused. We hope the Supreme Court takes a close look at how this technology works and act to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.”
The brief was authored by Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown LLP and The Yale Law School Supreme Court Clinic. It was also signed by the Center for Democracy and Technology, Professor Matt Blaze of the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Andrew J. Blumberg of the University of Texas at Austin, and Professor Norman M. Sadeh of Carnegie Mellon University.
For the full amicus brief in U.S. v. Jones:
For more on this case:
Today, U.S. President signed the America Invents Act into law, formally bringing an end to more than two centuries of American patent law. Once the law takes effect, the “first to invent” standard previously used to determine patent ownership – roughly put, the person who can demonstrate by combination of conception and attempt to put their concept into practice is likely to be declared patent holder in the event of a filing conflict – will be replaced by a version of the “first to file” system. In a “first to file” system, priority of deciding who owns an invention’s patent goes to the first person or entity to file for the patent, regardless of the date or creator of invention.
The chief advantage advanced in favor of a first to file system is that it would reduce the number of patent disputes and enable businesses in the U.S. and abroad to interact on similar legal ground. Detractors of the system contend that it essentially skews the business environment in favor of large corporations, at the expense of individual entrepreneurs and small startup companies. Indeed, when Canada switched to a first to file system in 1989, a later study found a small but measurable adverse effect on smaller inventors.
In addition to the change in the standard of determining patent ownership, the bill also makes some significant changes to the process of filing a patent claim itself. For instance, an entity, such as a corporation, may now file a patent application on behalf of the actual inventor, if said inventor has assigned, or is contractually obliged to assign, the invention rights over to that entity, without requiring that the inventor’s execution of the application. This essentially removes the burden of proof from a company for whom the inventor works, and places it on the inventor him or herself. However, the new law also expands some opposition procedures, including a post-grant review and expanded discovery.
It has been widely suggested that the new law could be contested on constitutional grounds. Article One, Section 8, clause 8 (AKA the ‘copyright clause’) of the U.S. Constitution empowers congress to pass laws in order “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” A “first to file” system seems to run afoul of the constitutional concept of invention, and the new law is almost certain to be challenged in the courts.
How the current Supreme Court would rule is a matter of speculation, though the 2003 upholding of the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act is probably a clue. Though many of the law’s provisions go into effect immediately, the switch from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system doesn’t happen until March 16, 2012. The official White House statement on the new law is available online. A discussion of the portions of the law that go into effect immediately can be found at IP Watch.
Souce: Tom’s Hardware
Personal Comment: I recommend a canadian documentary named “RIP – A Remix Manifesto” on this subject. The doc is a little childish sometimes but touches the subject as central and raises some interesting points on this changing world.
The new law seems to Abhor patent trolls, besides bringing new defense possibilities, removes from the real physical person inventor some few important arguments in their defense, and brings to small inventors corporative responsabilities to which most can’t afford.
Directly and indirectly, it looks like a step in a step-by-step agenda.
Hi, I just watched this on TV, a still light tv-show about internet, but is very concomitant with the blog’s subject of internet privacy.
I recommend watching in full screen (The video is in 2 “about 6min” blocks, the second will load automatically in fullscreen )
Wanted to share with you, nice watch, feel free to comment.
Hello; Earlier this month I posted about Parallels Desktop 7 use of Chameleon, after that, the Blog has been contacted by a Parallels’ representative.
I became happy to notice a company showing care like they did; Parallels said that they use Chameleon RC2 which – according to the statement – was released under APSL, and that “As per the license rules,..” They are “preparing their sources for publication and will provide them around the time of the official product availability”.
Here is the Official Statement made by Parallels Inc. about the subject:
The Chameleon 2.0-RC2 code which we use is licensed under the terms of an Apple Public Source License. On the Parallels third-party code use page (http://www.parallels.com/support/desktop/licensing/) we explain the use of the Chameleon project code. As per the license rules, we’re preparing our sources for publication and will provide them around the time of our official product availability.
If you have any additional questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statement was made thru the blog’s reply system, confirmed by the parallels domain e-mail.
Contacted by both the reply system and by mail, the company sent no response about the reply.
What has long been an EFF issue is once again making headlines. In recent days, the world is seeing damning reports of authoritarian regimes spying on their citizens using American- and European-made surveillance technologies, with new evidence emerging from Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and Thailand.
Last week, Bloomberg reported on Bahrain’s use of Nokia-Siemens surveillance software to intercept messages and gather information on human rights activists, resulting in their arrest and torture. AWall Street Journal article published this week alleges the use of products in Libya created by the French company Amesys and the South African firm VASTech SA Pty Ltd.
New evidence uncovered by hacktivists suggests that American-made Bluecoat technologies have been used for deep packet inspection by Syrian authorities, and a report from Reporters Without Borders alleges that Canadian web hosting company Netfirms, Inc., which also has offices in the United States, turned over sensitive information about a US citizen of Thai origin that resulted in his arrest upon entering Thailand.
In the past, EFF has documented the sale of surveillance equipment by several companies, including Cisco and Nortel, to China. Two ongoing cases allege that surveillance technology sold to China by Cisco enabled human rights violations.
What’s chillingly clear is that significant portions of the worldwide Internet are under surveillance using invasive technologies produced by American and European companies, who are in large part free to export technology that could be used for censorship or surveillance. The general lack of meaningful controls means that the privacy and safety of individuals has been left to corporations, through the promotion of the “corporate social responsibility” concept, and also through the rule of law. But clearly, important questions remain about the kind of pressure that it takes for corporate social responsibility to be meaningful, as well as the validity in relying on the rule of law in countries where it is weak or non-existent.
In 2010, EFF applauded the stance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in calling on American companies to take a principled stand and urging U.S. companies to take “a proactive role in challenging foreign governments’ demands for censorship and surveillance”. We also noted her endorsement of the Global Network Initiative, which brings together companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and organizations like EFF, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Human Rights Watch to address issues of privacy and free expression.
But despite progress on these issues from social networking sites, we have seen few changes in respect to the sale of surveillance and filtering tools to authoritarian regimes by companies based in the United States and other democratic countries. Leading companies like Cisco are in the process of developing policies to help guide their business choices, but even those policies feel flat when the end result is still censorship and surveillance. And that’s just Cisco – there’s little public evidence of smaller technology companies incorporating human rights into the decision-making process.
Or as researcher Evgeny Morozov asks in a New York Times op-ed published today, “Left uncontrolled, Western surveillance tools could undermine the “Internet freedom” agenda in the same way arms exports undermine Western-led peace initiatives. How many activists, finding themselves confronted with information collected using Western technology, would trust the pronouncements of Western governments again?”
Personal Comment: Where this is going to leave us?
Today, September 1th, Netkas – The hacker behind the SMC Emulator that allows normal people to run Mac OS X encrypted parts in non-Apple systems – denounced the unaware use of Chameleon (Which is under General Public License) in the new version of Parallels Desktop.
According to Netkas, the software is opensource and should not be included in the famous PAID virtualization software without permission, having the License of the bootloader been disrespected, since Parallels has a closed license.
In a fast blog-post, Netkas asks for the sourcecode of Parallels as determined by GNU/GPL, the future of a possible lawsuit or use negotiation now falls in the hand of the Voodoo Team, project mantainer.
PS: Why is Parallels following me (@cartrinet) and other boot-related hackintoshers on twitter?!
UPDATE: Please Check Parallels’Public Statement on this post’s replies, new post about the releasing sources with Parallels’ answers soon (2AM here )
For those still having problems with ATI5000Controller to load Vervet DsiplayPort, these are patched kexts for it.
With these you should just enable graphics enabler back and vervet should still work.
The hack was done based on various sources, mainly insanelymac, and bcc9′s biosdump and ATI Connector Info.
As I had to put the tables into text, I am publishing the table of Connector Info for 10.7.2 ATI5000Controlller.kext binary and what was changed into it’s hexes, and why.
This is intended for ATI Cards with bios Juniper 1225 / Vervet which stoped working thru MiniDisplayPort after ATI Graphics update.
There goes the table, in Orange the original hexes, in violet the changed ones.
As you can see I mixed the info from Radeon dump with the old working Vervet. There goes the table (it is a scrap but can be usefull for other modders as a study, just a easy way to read the hexes of 5xxx ATI gpu ConnectorInfo), and the kexts:
ONLY INSTALL THESE KEXTS IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, REMEMBER TO BACKUP OLD KEXTS, TO SET PERMISSIONS, TO USE DISK UTILITY TO FULLY REPAIR PERMISSIONS AFTER DOING SO, AND FINALLY CLEAR YOUR CACHES BEFORE REBOOT.
I Hope this helps
Good technical news:
since 10.6.8 and 10.7 betas ATI drivers have been great for 6xxx cards, but made the MDPs of some 5770 (like mine) stop working with mdp displays (like mine, lucky me…).
Now the good news: latest Apple Developer Beta Mac OS (11C37) brings new drivers capable of finally detecting and making work the mini display ports of Radeon 5xxx cards.
If you are also one of the “lucky” guys who bought a GPU just like the one in the picture (silence comes first?) or some Eyefinity series and had to apply one of the known hacks for these cards (one was to edit the plist for the 5000 controller and other was to use 3 kexts from 10.6.7 together with the vanilla x3000 to achieve OpenGL 3.2) you need no longer:
From now on, we just have to DISABLE GRAPHICS ENABLER (Vervet, Langur, and Hoolock will still not work on these reviving MDPs, as so GE=No ) to boot with full vanilla graphics support, just like in the old times.
The framebuffer used will be the “generic” RadeonFramebuffer, but you can expect full acceleration and finally a graphics family concomitant with the 3D driver (x3000).
The future smiles again to us.
My Led Cinema Display now work as it should. Hope yours get back to work too
Foxconn aims to use one million robots in three years time as part of an effort to tackle rising labor costs.
Foxconn’s employment practices often make the news and the company last week hit the headlines once again. This time, it’s the company’s intention to use robots to replace some of its staff that has chins wagging. Xinhua News Agency cites Foxconn founder and chairman Terry Gou as saying the company plans to replace a portion of its staff with one million robots to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency. According to Xinhua, Foxconn currently uses 10,000 robots. the electronics giant aims to up this number to 300,000 next year and one million in three years time.
Foxconn currently employs over 900,000 people in its factories. Gou says the robots will be performing simple tasks such as spraying, welding and assembling. These are all tasks currently carried out by human employees.
Reuters cites Gartner analyst C.K. Lu who says thanks to sharply rising employment costs, Foxconn essentially has no choice but to replace workers with robots.
“Rising salary costs should be the key reason why Foxconn is doing this. This year’s wage increase has been quite significant and I don’t expect the pace to slow down next year,” Lu said, adding, “If they don’t do this, they will have to move their factories elsewhere.”
Foxconn & Brazil:
Foxconn is willing to invest 12Billion U$ in new factories in Brazil, besides the controversious speechs of Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou earlier this year. According to WSJ:
Mr. Gou—a blunt-spoken 60-year-old—was less than enamored of Brazil’s qualifications as a major manufacturing hub. In September, during a nearly three-hour interview with The Wall Street Journal at Hon Hai’s enormous factory complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, Mr. Gou ridiculed the notion that Brazil could in any way rival China’s strength in manufacturing:
Then there’s Brazil. Brazilian workers’ wages are very high. But Brazilians, as soon as they hear “soccer,” they stop working. And there’s all the dancing. It’s crazy… So Brazil is okay [as a place to manufacture] for the local market. Brazil has great minerals. And it’s got the great Amazon river, so it has good hydropower. But if you want to ship things to the U.S., it takes more time and more money to ship from Brazil (than from China).
It looks like Mr. Gou, besides not liking soccer, dancing, and workers’ basic rights, as shown in the 14 suicide cases in 2010 inside his chinese factories has also no talent for basic diplomacy, having made in trhe same day similar declarations about India and Russia.
As a Brazilian who does not care about soccer (as many others), I have to say that is sad to see another “innovation” gaffe comming from foxconn’s ruthless leader.
Tips for Talking to the Police
With the trials of criminalization of technological knowledge by 3rd party and it’s undiscriminated use by individuals, things are getting harder above the Equator Line… as so, many activist sites are in campaign to inform you, me, normal people, about our rights.
As so, i will here let some small 3 tips by me, and many by Eletronic Frontier Foundation.
- PERSONALLY TALK TO THE EXECUTIVE POWER WHEN THIS IS POSSIBLE. DO NEVER DO ANYTHING “ONLINE” – ALWAYS PRESENT YOURSELF FACE TO FACE, IN THE REAL WORLD.
- RECORD WHAT IS HAPPENING INSIDE YOUR HOUSE.
- IN SOME STATES YOU HAVE TO INFORM ABOUT THE RECORDING SO IT WILL HAVE LEGAL VALUE.
The police want to search my server, my personal computer, or my phone.
What do I do now?
Don’t consent to a search.
- Say “No,” and tell the police to come back with a warrant.
- If you voluntarily agree to a search, they don’t need a warrant to enter your house or search your computer.
Ask to see a search warrant.
- If the police say they have a warrant, you have a right to see it.
- Make sure they are only searching the areas the warrant authorizes them to search.
You can stay silent.
- You don’t have to say a word to the police or help their search.
- You don’t have to give your encryption keys or passwords to the police.
- If you decide to talk to the police, tell them the truth — lying to the police is a crime.
- Once the police are searching your home or computer, don’t interfere or obstruct their search.
Talk to a lawyer.
- If the police want to search your home, your business, or your electronic devices — or even just talk to you — you should talk to a lawyer before any search or discussion with the police, if possible.
- A lawyer can help you deal with the police, and may be able to help you get back any electronic devices the police took from you while searching.
A Campaign by Eletronic Frontier Foundation.