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Dear Mark Zuckerberg

November 30, 2018 In Design News,Digital Freedom
EFF, Human Rights Watch, and Over 70 Civil Society Groups Ask Mark Zuckerberg to Provide All Users with Mechanism to Appeal Content Censorship on Facebook
EFF and more than 70 human and digital rights groups are calling on Mark Zuckerberg to add real transparency and accountability to Facebook’s content removal process. Specifically, the groups demand that Facebook clearly explain how much content it removes, both rightly and wrongly, and provide all users with a fair and timely method to appeal removals and get their content back up.

While Facebook is under enormous—and still mounting—pressure to remove material that is truly threatening, without transparency, fairness, and processes to identify and correct mistakes, Facebook’s content takedown policies too often backfire and silence the very people that should have their voices heard on the platform. 
“Facebook is way behind other platforms when it comes to transparency and accountability in content censorship decisions,” said EFF Senior Information Security Counsel Nate Cardozo. “We’re asking Mr. Zuckerberg to implement the Santa Clara Principles, and release actual numbers detailing how often Facebook removes content—and how often it does so incorrectly.”

“We know that content moderation policies are being unevenly applied, and an enormous amount of content is being removed improperly each week. But we don’t have numbers or data that can tell us how big the problem is, what content is affected the most, and how appeals were dealt with,” said Cardozo. “Mr. Zuckerberg should make transparency about these decisions, which affect millions of people around the world, a priority at Facebook.”
EFF Unveils Virtual Reality Tool To Help People Spot Surveillance Devices in Their Communities
We’ve launched a virtual reality (VR) experience
 on our website that teaches people how to spot and understand the surveillance technologies police are increasingly using to spy on communities.

“We are living in an age of surveillance, where hard-to-spot cameras capture our faces and our license plates, drones in the sky videotape our streets, and police carry mobile biometric devices to scan people’s fingerprints,” said EFF Senior Investigative Researcher Dave Maass. “We made our ‘Spot the Surveillance’ VR tool to help people recognize these spying technologies around them and understand what their capabilities are.” 
Spot the Surveillance, which works best with a VR headset but will also work on standard browsers, places users in a 360-degree street scene in San Francisco. In the scene, a young resident is in an encounter with police. Users are challenged to identify surveillance tools by looking around the scene. The experience takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
EFF Updates
EFF and MuckRock Release Records and Data from 200 Law Enforcement Agencies’ Automated License Plate Reader Programs
EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of public records requests with law enforcement agencies around the country to reveal how data collected from automated license plate readers (ALPR) is used to track the travel patterns of drivers. We focused exclusively on departments that contract with surveillance vendor Vigilant Solutions to share data between their ALPR systems.
We’ve released records obtained from 200 agencies, accounting for more than 2.5-billion license plate scans in 2016 and 2017. This data is collected regardless of whether the vehicle or its owner or driver are suspected of being involved in a crime. In fact, the information shows that 99.5% of the license plates scanned were not under suspicion at the time the vehicles’ plates were collected.
Leaks Show Europe’s Attempts to Fix the Copyright Directive Are Failing
The EU’s “Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive” is closer than ever to becoming law in 28 European countries, and the deep structural flaws in its most controversial clauses have never been more evident. The directive is in the final leg of its journey into law: the “trilogues,” where the national governments of Europe negotiate with the EU’s officials to produce a final draft that will be presented to the Parliament for a vote.
We’re disappointed to see how little progress the trilogues have made in the months since they disappeared behind their closed doors.  The lack of progress suggests that the forces pushing for Articles 11 and 13 have no idea how to fix the unfixable, and are prepared to simply foist them on the EU, warts and all.
Federal Researchers Complete Second Round of Problematic Tattoo Recognition Experiments
Despite igniting controversy over ethical lapses and the threat to civil liberties posed by its tattoo recognition experiments the first time around, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently completed its second major project evaluating software designed to reveal who we are and potentially what we believe based on our body art.
Unsurprisingly, these experiments continue to be problematic. The latest experiment was supposed to be limited to images collected by law enforcement, but NIST went a step further and used the Nanyang Technological University Tattoo Database, which was compiled from images taken from Flickr users, for further research. 
The Supreme Court Should Confirm, Again, that Abstract Software Patents Don’t Need a Trial to be Proved Invalid
We celebrated the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank this year. Alice made clear that generic computers do not make abstract ideas eligible for patent protection. Following the decision, district courts across the country started rejecting ineligible abstract patents at early stages of litigation. Unfortunately, Alice’s pro-innovation effects are already in danger. 
Google Chrome’s Users Take a Back Seat to Its Bottom Line
Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Chrome routinely leads the pack in features for security and usability, most recently helping to drive the adoption of HTTPS. But when it comes to privacy, specifically protecting users from tracking, most of its rivals leave it in the dust.
EFF’s Newest Annual Report
For nearly 30 years, member support has allowed EFF to grapple with technology and its impact on the future of our civil liberties. When our eyes are so keenly focused on the horizon, sometimes we forget how far we’ve come. Our just-published Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report includes a snapshot of that progress, with an update from EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn and highlights from the year, including: EFF’s groundbreaking border search case and our battle against the dangerous rise of surveillance technology; our continuing fight to preserve the open web and protect creators and fight poor patent claims; and our efforts to meet the security needs of growing communities and speak up for bloggers and technologists silenced by the state. You’ll also find information about our finances for fiscal year 2017
Portland TA3M Meetup
Join Portland’s Techno-Activism for a happy hour in November for some great conversations around the normal TA3M topics or whatever else you’d like to discuss. A local organization in the Electronic Frontier Alliance (not EFF) will host this event.
The End of Trust: McSweeney’s 54 Issue Release with EFF
Join us on December 11 to celebrate the release of The End of Trust (McSweeney’s Issue 54), which features more than 30 writers and artists investigating surveillance in the digital age, including many EFF staff members. There will be a reading and panel discussion with EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn and Special Advisor contributor Cory Doctorow.
Job Openings
We’re seeking a designer with a strong background in web and graphic design. A successful candidate will have a good understanding of the principles of web design, a portfolio demonstrating their skills, and experience collaborating with web developers.
Executive Team Coordinator
We’re looking for a smart and motivated person with excellent organization and communication skills to provide administrative support for EFF’s Executive Team.
Frank Stanton Legal Fellowship
We’re now accepting applications for our 2019-2021 Frank Stanton Fellowship. Applicants should be recent law school graduates or law students who will be graduating no later than Spring 2019, and have an interest in developing an expertise in First Amendment issues implicated by new technologies. 
Follow the Trail of a License Plate
Use this incredible interactive tool to explore how automated license plate readers allow Atlanta police to track a single vehicle across the city. (knightlab)
The Newest Jim Crow
Data scientist Cathy O’Neil on risk assessments in The New York Times Opinion Section: “It’s tempting to believe that computers will be neutral and objective, but algorithms are nothing more than opinions embedded in mathematics.” (New York Times)
Manhattan DA Cy Vance Says The Only Solution To Device Encryption Is Federally-Mandated Backdoors
Despite experts’ consensus that doing so would endanger all our security, Cy Vance still insists that encryption backdoors are a good idea. TechDirt’s Tim Cushing takes apart Manhattan DA’s anti-encryption report. (TechDirt)
The Cybersecurity 202: Amazon is Now at the Center of a Debate Over Public Safety Versus Privacy
“Now that everything has a microphone or a sensor, the amount of data [available] is just so many orders of magnitude greater,” says EFF Senior Information Security Counsel Nate Cardozo about the growing use of Internet of Things devices. (Washington Post)
Supported by Donors
Our members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.
If you aren’t already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.
Supported by DonorsOur members make it possible for EFF to bring legal and technological expertise into crucial battles about online rights. Whether defending free speech online or challenging unconstitutional surveillance, your participation makes a difference. Every donation gives technology users who value freedom online a stronger voice and more formidable advocate.If you aren’t already, please consider becoming an EFF member today.