Launching in 2015: Let’s Encrypt CA

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports some excellent news:


Today EFF is pleased to announce Let’s Encrypt, a new certificate authority (CA) initiative that we have put together with Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, IdenTrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan that aims to clear the remaining roadblocks to transition the Web from HTTP to HTTPS.

More specifically:

With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Let’s Encrypt CA will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them. Switching a webserver from HTTP to HTTPS with this CA will be as easy as issuing one command, or clicking one button.

EFF wins protection for time zone database

Every time I proudly wear my EFF member t-shirt, people ask me what is EFF.  And every time I explain and point them to for more information.  It’s a shame that many of those who even live and breath online don’t know what EFF is and what those guys do.  Have a look at their most recent victory:

In a statement, Astrolabe said, “Astrolabe’s lawsuit against Mr. Olson and Mr. Eggert was based on a flawed understanding of the law. We now recognize that historical facts are no one’s property and, accordingly, are withdrawing our Complaint. We deeply regret the disruption that our lawsuit caused for the volunteers who maintain the TZ database, and for Internet users.”

“It’s a fundamental principle of copyright law that facts are not copyrightable, and Astrolabe should have known that,” said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. “While the lawsuit should never have been filed, we’re pleased that the legal threat to an important resource has been eliminated.

You can help them do what they do, by joining and donating.

EFF big win over DMCA

Most of the times, when I donate money, I don’t really expect anything back.  I don’t see them as an investment to the future of the person or organization, but rather a gratitude and appreciation for the past.  It was also how I saw my support of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).  Today I received a press release from EFF, which made me proud to be a member and also a little extra happy about the money I donated over the last few years.  It’s a big win over Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is one law that I never liked too much.  Here is a quote to get you started:

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) won three critical exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) anticircumvention provisions today, carving out new legal protections for consumers who modify their cell phones and artists who remix videos — people who, until now, could have been sued for their non-infringing or fair use activities.

“By granting all of EFF’s applications, the Copyright Office and Librarian of Congress have taken three important steps today to mitigate some of the harms caused by the DMCA,” said Jennifer Granick, EFF’s Civil Liberties Director. “We are thrilled to have helped free jailbreakers, unlockers and vidders from this law’s overbroad reach.”

Continue reading the full press release and supporting documents.

As a side note, once again I am amazed at how much influence some American law has on my life, which happens to be far away from the United States territory.  Being a daily user of many services provided by Americans and from the United States soil, I am impacted by rules and limitations faced by those people who provide those services. needs more PR

I’ve recently made a donation to and also bought some stickers from them.  Since I put the sticker on my laptop, I am getting this question all the time: “What is“.  I even get this question from people who I thought were very familiar with EFF’s work. Well, here is an answer to that question from the web site:

EFF is the leading civil liberties group defending your rights in the digital world.

EFF stands for Electronic Frontier Foundation.  In a nutshell, they are the good guys.  They’ve done a lot of good over the last few years, and they are still at work.  Check their web site for what they have done, and see if you can help in any way.

And if you want a sticker, I have a few to pass around.

Privacy Subtleties of GMail

Here’s yet another take on GMail privacy – Privacy Subtleties of GMail. This time it comes from a guy who had to balance his opinion between two polar sides he is at:

I come to this problem from two sides. One, I’m a fan of Google, and have been friends with Google’s management since they started the company. I’ve also consulted for Google on other matters and make surprising revenue from their Adsense program on my web site.

I’m also a privacy advocate and Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, well regarded as one of the top civil rights advocates in cyberspace. The EFF has issued some statements of privacy concern over GMail, though we declined joining the coalition against it. (I’m writing this as my own essay, though with some advice from the EFF team.) I’ve also had a chance to talk at length with Google President Larry Page about some of the issues.