Fight for the Future


Fight for the Future condemns Internet Association’s support for TPP

Posted 21:40 EDT on March 30, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2016
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Trade group representing Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix endorses non-transparent, anti-user agreement that promotes censorship

Today the Internet Association, a trade group representing major web companies including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, endorsed the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Leading digital rights group Fight for the Future launched an online campaign in response, calling for the companies to drop their misguided support, and issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:

“This is when we find out which tech companies really support their users’ basic rights and which ones are only pretending to.

The TPP is an anti-user, anti-Internet agreement. It was negotiated in almost complete secrecy by corporate lobbyists and government bureaucrats––including the ones who pushed Internet censorship bills like SOPA.

The TPP exports the worst parts of the United States’ broken copyright system without ensuring protections for freedom of expression, innovation, and human rights. It’s great for incumbent monopolies, but terrible for individual Internet users, startups, and the tech community as a whole.

We call on all member companies of the Internet Association to disavow this misguided position and stand with their users. Secretive trade agreements are unacceptable venues for making policy that affects billions of Internet users. The customers of these companies expect and deserve better.”

UPDATE: Moments before Fight for the Future launched its campaign, reddit, one of the most popular sites on the Internet and a member of the Internet Association, issued a tweet distancing themselves from the association’s position, saying they do not support the TPP. reddit has supported Fight for the Future’s campaigns against the TPP in the past. Cloud-computing firm Salesforce also confirmed in an email to Fight for the Future that they have not taken an official position on the TPP, casting doubt that there is consensus in support of Internet Association’s statement even among its member companies.

Fight for the Future is a digital rights non-profit best known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history including the massive Internet blackout against SOPA, the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality, and the Reset the Net campaign against government surveillance.

Last year, Fight for the Future organized a fierce online backlash to tech companies who signed on to a letter endorsing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA,) which lead to many of those companies dropping support for the bill, including Salesforce, Apple, Dropbox, and Google. Later, the group released a scorecard grading companies based on their positions on privacy and security.

Fight for the Future has been active in campaigning against the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, helping organize the StopFastTrack.com coalition that successfully delayed the passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation, bringing together a unique group of tech companies, unions, environmental groups, and others opposing the secretive trade deal. The group even captured headlines when it flew a 30’ blimp over several of Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings calling for the Senator to drop his support for Fast Tracking the TPP.

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If the FBI doesn’t tell Apple how they hacked the San Bernardino iPhone, they’re putting lives at risk

Posted 18:32 EDT on March 29, 2016

March 30, 2016

Press contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Following public outcry about the dangers of government-mandated backdoors, the FBI backed down and opened the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help. If they really care about public safety, they must disclose the vulnerability they used to Apple to prevent criminals, hackers, and terrorists from exploiting the same security flaw and using it to do harm.

Encryption protects our hospitals, airports, power plants, and water treatment facilities. Sensitive information about critical infrastructure is stored on phones, computers, and in the cloud. The only thing preventing it from falling into the wrong hands is strong security technology.

Security experts agree that when a government agency discovers a security flaw that it can exploit for surveillance purposes, the best thing to do is to disclose that flaw to the company so that it can fix it for future products. That’s because vulnerabilities are never just used by law enforcement. Time and time again, security flaws that were created or hoarded by agencies like the FBI and NSA have been used by criminal hackers and foreign governments to carry out attacks.

Even the White House agrees, and has created a program specifically for the government to share vulnerabilities in cases exactly like this. But so far, the FBI is dodging the question, and won’t say whether they’ll do the right thing here.

The FBI claimed to the court at least 19 times that there was no way they could unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter without forcing Apple to build a government backdoor into their operating system. They maintained this repeatedly. Under oath. But the consensus among security experts is that this was never true; the FBI misled the court and the public in pursuit of a dangerous precedent.

Now that they’ve opened the iPhone in question, the mainstream media is already speculating as to how they did it. And it goes without saying that hackers, other governments, and those wishing to exploit this security flaw to do harm to the public are already hard at work trying to figure it out. Worse, the FBI has a terrible track record of protecting it’s own data. Just recently they leaked personal information about more than 20,000 FBI agents. They’re clearly not capable of keeping this exploit from falling into the wrong hands.

The only responsible thing for the FBI to do to protect all of our safety and security is to disclose the method they used to Apple so they can fix it and make sure it can’t be used to carry out future attacks.

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Fight for the Future is a grassroots advocacy group with more than 1.4 million members that fights to protect the Internet as a powerful platform for freedom of expression and social change. They’re best known for organizing the massive online protests against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against government surveillance. Learn more athttps://www.fightforthefuture.org and https://www.twitter.com/fightfortheftr.

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FBI backs down after public outcry, opens San Bernardino iPhone without Apple’s help after repeatedly claiming that was impossible

Posted 19:29 EDT on March 28, 2016

“The FBI’s credibility just hit a new low,” says Fight for the Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2016
|Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

The FBI says it has unlocked the iPhone in the San Bernardino case without Apple’s help. This breaking news should not come as a surprise; the consensus among credible technical experts has always been that there were multiple ways the FBI could attempt to bypass the phone’s security, and that the government’s goal in its legal fight with Apple was not to access the data on the phone but rather to set a precedent to compel private companies to build backdoors into their products.

“The FBI’s credibility just hit a new low,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “They repeatedly lied to the court and the public in pursuit of a dangerous precedent that would have made all of us less safe. Fortunately, Internet users mobilized quickly and powerfully to educate the public about the dangers of backdoors, and together we forced the government to back down.”

“This will go down in history as one of the FBI’s biggest public relations failures,” added Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future, “It couldn’t be clearer that they read the tea leaves, saw they were going to lose both in the court of law and the court of public opinion, and gave up, for now at least.”

Fight for the Future, a digital rights group known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history, was behind the #SaveSecurity campaign that set up a battery powered flat-screen TV outside last week’s cancelled Apple vs FBI hearing to display more than 20,000 comments collected at SaveSecurity.org, a campaign site that was supported on social media by major web firms including reddit, Wikimedia, and Google. The same group was behind nearly 50 rapid response protests outside Apple stores and FBI headquarters last month.

The DOJ publicly claimed at least 19 times that there was no other viable method to open Sayed Farook’s iPhone other than with Apple’s help. This was a core tenet of their case using the All Writs Act.

Long before this latest announcement, multiple expert security researchers have cast serious doubt on the DOJ’s claim that only Apple could help unlock the phone. See this, this, and this.

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The DOJ is probably lying about its latest claim in the Apple vs FBI case

Posted 14:42 EDT on March 23, 2016

The FBI probably lied this week when they said they just discovered a way to hack the San Bernardino iPhone without Apple’s help.

Several outlets are reporting that the “3rd party” who supposedly just approached the FBI offering to help hack the iPhone at the center of the Apple vs FBI case is Israeli security firm Cellebrite.

The DOJ publicly claimed at least 19 times that there was no other viable method to open Sayed Farook’s iPhone other than with Apple’s help. This was a core tenet of their case using the All Writs Act.

But surveillance blogger Marcy Wheeler points out that the DOJ was already in talks with Cellebrite about hacking an iPhone 6 in a drug case as long ago as February 16th. Cellebrite is a well-known firm used by many law enforcement agencies, and it publicly boasts on its website about its ability to hack Apple products.

The DOJ never mentioned Cellebrite as an alternative possibility in its filings with the court. In this case, that omission essentially amounts to lying. They consistently claimed that there was simply no other way to break into the phone without Apple’s help, even though they knew there was another very plausible possibility.

Even before this latest announcement, multiple expert security researchers have cast serious doubt on the DOJ’s claim that only Apple could help unlock the phone. See this, this, and this.

This seems really worth digging into. It really looks like the FBI is backing down from this fight because they realized they were losing public trust and weren’t going get the precedent they were after. It’s important that the public understand what really happened here.

The FBI’s last minute excuse is about as believable as an undergrad who comes down with the flu the night before their paper is due. They should come clean immediately, and admit that they mislead the court and the public, to avoid further damaging what’s left of their credibility.

For comment, contact press@fightforthefure.org 

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PHOTOS: FBI reverses course in fight with Apple as activists deliver more than 20,000 comments against backdoors outside courthouse

Posted 15:10 EDT on March 22, 2016

Digital rights group Fight for the Future set up a flatscreen TV to display comments from Internet users submitted at SaveSecurity.org, a campaign that attracted support from major tech firms including reddit, Wikimedia, DuckDuckGo,and Google

RIVERSIDE, CA––Volunteers from digital rights group Fight for the Future gathered outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Riverside, CA today, Tuesday with a large flat-screen TV digitally displaying comments from more than 20,000 Internet users opposed to government backdoors in encryption.

See PHOTOS from the event here: http://imgur.com/a/0NPOY

“This case was never about a phone. It was a grab for power,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “The FBI already had the capability to hack this phone using forensic tools, but they thought this case would be a slam dunk––a way for them to set a dangerous precedent that they’ve wanted for years. Instead, it appears they’re running away with their tail between their legs, trying to save face while they go. They knew they were going to lose, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion.”

“The FBI might be running away from their own hearing, but we’re not,” said Jeff Lyon, Chief Technology Officer at Fight for the Future, the group that collected the comments. “We’ll still be outside the courthouse to make sure those people’s voices are heard, because this fight is far from over. Encryption software protects our hospitals, airports, and water treatment facilities. The government’s continued effort to weaken encryption is not just an attack on our civil liberties–it’s a threat to our national security.”

The comments were collected through a major online campaign at SaveSecurity.org, which has already attracted support from several major tech companies and advocacy groups including reddit, Google, Wikimedia, DuckDuckGo, CREDO Mobile, Private Internet Access, Thunderclap, Goldenfrog, the ACLU, Campaign for Liberty, OpenMedia, Access, Freedom of the Press Foundation, as well as notable technology experts including Bruce Schneier and Cory Doctorow.

The FBI canceled their own hearing less than a day before lawyers from the DOJ and Apple were scheduled to square off in Riverside, claiming that they had found another way to break into the iPhone.

Fight for the Future is best known for organizing some of the largest online protests in history, including the SOPA blackout against online censorship, Reset the Net to promote encryption and fight government surveillance, and the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality.

Fight for the Future expert staff are available for interviews about the #SaveSecurity campaign and the broader implications of the Apple vs. FBI court case. Contact: press@fightforthefuture.org

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