Legal Issues

NH library at center of internet privacy debate in shutting off its Tor server

A public library in Lebanon finds itself at the center of a complicated debate over internet privacy and safety, after questions from the Department of Homeland Security led the library to think twice about participating in the global anonymous web-surfing network known as Tor.

“I was surprised at the reaction,” said Sean Fleming, director of the Lebanon Public Libraries, who turned off a Tor server last month until the library’s board of trustees can decided whether to proceed with the project.

From Lebanon library at center of internet privacy debate in shutting off its Tor server | Concord Monitor

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First Library to Support Tor Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email

A library in a small New Hampshire town started to help Internet users around the world surf anonymously using Tor. Until the Department of Homeland Security raised a red flag.

From First Library to Support Tor Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email - ProPublica

EFF Asks Court on Behalf of Libraries and Booksellers to Recognize Readers’ Right to Be Free of NSA’s Online Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation

It should be no surprise that libraries and bookstores—the places where you can go pick up a copy of 1984 or Darkness at Noon—are privacy hipsters. They’ve been fighting overbroad government surveillance since before it was cool. That’s why we’re proud to have filed an amicus brief on behalf of a coalition of associations of libraries and booksellers in Wikimedia v. NSA, a case challenging the government’s warrantless surveillance of the Internet backbone.

From EFF Asks Court on Behalf of Libraries and Booksellers to Recognize Readers’ Right to Be Free of NSA’s Online Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story

The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.

From Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story | Ars Technica

ALA Questions Bid for Independent Copyright Office

Via Publishers Weekly:

The American Library Association is joining a chorus of Internet and tech businesses in questioning a proposal to remove the U.S. Copyright Office from the purview of the Library of Congress, and to establish it as its own independent agency.

EU Launches Antitrust Probe Of Amazon's E-Book Business

European regulators have launched a formal investigation into Amazon's practices in the e-book market.

In a statement released Thursday, the European Commission announced that its antitrust investigation will focus on Amazon's contracts with publishers — and whether the Internet retailer is abusing its dominant position as the largest e-book distributor in Europe.

The commission, the 28-member executive arm of the European Union, is especially concerned with a few key parts of those contracts.

In particular, NPR's Lynn Neary reports, "The commission is concerned about specific clauses that require publishers to inform Amazon about more favorable or alternative terms offered by its competitors."

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/11/413676630/eu-launches-antitrust-probe-of-a...

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NSA phone surveillance not authorized: U.S. appeals court

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Thursday revived a challenge to a controversial National Security Agency program that collected the records of millions of Americans' phone calls, saying the program was not authorized by Congress.

From NSA phone surveillance not authorized: U.S. appeals court | Reuters

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Congress must end mass NSA surveillance with next Patriot Act vote |Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian

In less than 60 days, Congress - whether they like it or not - will be forced to decide if the NSA’s most notorious mass surveillance program lives or dies. And today, over 30 civil liberties organizations launched a nationwide call-in campaign urging them to kill it.

From Congress must end mass NSA surveillance with next Patriot Act vote |Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian

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Fair Use Is Not An Exception to Copyright, It's Essential to Copyright

Unfortunately, there is tremendous pressure in DC right now to rewrite the law and undermine that balance. Fair use has been under assault for decades, thanks to laws like Section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it illegal to bypass a technical protection measure under most circumstances even if your conduct is an otherwise lawful fair use. Now, more than ever, we must insist that fair use is indispensable to copyright. That’s how we take copyright back.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/01/fair-use-not-exception-copyright-its-essential-copyright

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Infighting in Libraryland

From The Annoyed Librarian in LJ:

A librarian named Joe Murphy is suing two female librarians for $1.25 million for claiming he sexually harasses women at library conferences. As sex scandals go, that’s pretty mild, but the standards for scandal are lower in libraryland.

You can go give them a donation or sign a petition asking Murphy to drop the lawsuit if those are your kinds of thing.

I haven’t seen a corresponding Support Joe Murphy’s Lawsuit website or petition, but if there is one someone can post it in the comments.

He’s also suing them in Canadian court, even though as far as I can tell both he and one of the defendants are Americans. Canadian libel laws are more friendly to plaintiffs, it seems, whereas American libel laws tend to favor something librarians are supposed to favor, free speech. So he’s a cunning little fella, you have to give him that.

I’m seeing the story pop up in more and more places, so it looks like Murphy has a growing reputation among librarians.

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