September 10th Meetup – Scott McCollough: The Right to Privacy

Our speaker this month is Scott McCollough. Scott McCollough is a communications and internet attorney and former EFF-Austin board member with unparalleled knowledge and experience relating to those places where technology and regulation intersect – and often collide – all the way up the protocol stack. His clients have included competitive communications companies and Internet service and application providers, with a focus on public law and regulation relating to telecommunications, computers, Internet, privacy, procurement, electric and gas utilities, economic regulation, consulting, governmental relations, and instruction and training to individuals, groups, companies and governmental agencies. He is a past Contract Consumer Advocate (representing residential and small business consumers) with the City of Austin Electric Utility (1994-1999) and a former Regulatory Counsel for Texas ISDN Users Group and Texas Internet Service Providers Association. He is a graduate with honors of The University of Texas School of Law and currently manages his own firm here in Austin.

For our monthly meetup, McCollough will address the philosophical, ethical and legal underpinnings of the right to privacy, with specific attention to “information privacy.” As a group we will discuss what “privacy” “is” and why it is important to society. McCollough will advance the natural law, positive law and utilitarian arguments in favor of privacy. He will trace “natural law” concepts of privacy through the ages and discuss how US courts have justified finding a right to privacy based on natural law. He will show that Roman law recognized the right to privacy and British law in large part adopted and expanded the Roman law concepts. There will be a discussion of historical efforts to protect information privacy using cryptology. McCollough will then address the current means to protect information privacy and security through the Fifth Amendment and discuss compelled encryption key disclosure. He will address information privacy as a discrete privacy right under the Fourth Amendment. The talk will conclude with thoughts on the impact of recent Supreme Court appointments on privacy in general and information privacy in particular, at which point there will be time for extended Q&A and post-presentation group discussion.


Join us for the discussion from 7:00PM-9:00PM, followed by drinks and camaraderie from 9:00PM-10:00PM at Firehouse Lounge (605 Brazos St).

Capital Factory is located at 701 Brazos Street, on the 16th floor of the Omni Hotel. Once on the 16th floor, there should be a sign at the front desk directing you to our meetup. If there is no sign, and no one is on duty at the desk, we are usually in the room to the left of the front desk.

Talk will be livestreamed at

Parking for the Omni Garage can be purchased in advance using Spot Hero. This will allow you to obtain a QR code that allows for entry to the garage at a greatly discounted rate vs what you’d have to pay on-site. Details:


The Future of Internet Freedom: Why It Will Fail, and How We Will Save It

Monday, Aug 13, 2018, 7:00 PM

Capital Factory
701 Brazos Street Suite 150 Austin, TX

39 Activists Went

Our speaker this month is Dr. Brandon Wiley. Dr. Brandon Wiley is the President of Operator Foundation (, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit organization founded to promote internet freedom, open communication and global internet security through technology development, deployment, and education. Operator develops hardw…

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Private Sector Exchange and Election Interference Reports

The Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 may be the first step in establishing a “voluntary exchange program” between the intelligence community and tech entities in the private sector.

Section 1506 of House Resolution 6237, titled “Report on cyber exchange program,” proposes that the Director of National Intelligence discuss the establishment of an exchange program that would “detail” an intelligence community employee with cybersecurity experience to volunteer at technology companies. The report also details the benefits and challenges that would follow the establishment of this exchange.

Implications and suggestions of this section could coincide with and supplement propositions in H.R 5094, which discusses strengthening national defense against terrorist threats by sharing related information with and training the private sector to respond to suspicions of terrorist activity.

Section 1502 of the Intelligence Authorization Act proposed that the director of National Security provide an “assessment of significant Russian influence campaigns directed at foreign elections and referenda.” The assessment would address the following,

(1) a summary of such significant Russian influence campaigns, including, at a minimum, the specific means by which such campaigns were conducted, are being conducted, or likely will be conducted, as appropriate, and the specific goal of each such campaign;

(2) a summary of any defenses against or responses to such Russian influence campaigns by the foreign state holding the elections or referenda;

(3) a summary of any relevant activities by elements of the intelligence community undertaken for the purpose of assisting the government of such foreign state in defending against or responding to such Russian influence campaigns; and

(4) an assessment of the effectiveness of such defenses and responses described in paragraphs (2) and (3)

The House Resolution passed in the House of Representatives on July 12, 2018 and is awaiting review by the Senate.

EFF-Austin Presents The Cypherpunks Strike Back – Tomorrow’s Tech Activism Today

The Cypherpunks Strike Back – Tomorrow’s Tech Activism Today – Sunday, March 11th, 7:00pm-11:00pm, The High Road on Dawson

The annual EFF-Austin Cyberpunk Party is upon us! Check back at this space for additional details as they are confirmed.

In the ongoing crises of our present moment, it is easy to succumb to apathy. Our personal information stolen and compromised, our rights eroded and our privacy erased, our own technological tools weaponized by state and private actors to sow disinformation and distrust. In the midst of all this paranoid confusion, it is tempting to hunker down and hope this futureshock storm will pass us by. We wonder, what can we do to make a difference, to make sure that our rights are protected in a world in desperate need of great cognitive security.

At EFF-Austin’s beloved annual party, we will meet and engage with a variety of modern activists who are showing us how we can fight for a better world where our technology works for and empowers us. Our keynote speakers are Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf, Native American VR/AR activists who are using technology to preserve their cultures and heritage. Additional speakers include EFF Investigative Researcher David Maass discussing police surveillance, government transparency, and legislation in California, former EFF-Austin president Jon Lebkowsky, Carly Rose Jackson with Texans For Voter Choice, and Vikki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for Texas House District 47.

In addition to this inspiring group of activists, musical acts will include Michael Garfield, Pilgrimess, and UBA. There will also be custom video game consoles, lockpicking, and cosplay. Finally, leading up to the party will be the world’s first cyborg pride parade.  As the electronic frontier moves into our bodies, it is important that we cyber-libertarians march as allies alongside the cyborgs among us and the cyborgs we will all someday become. What do we want? cyborg rights! When do we want them? Now!  We hope to see you all there!

7:00pm-7:30pm – Michael Garfield

Michael Garfield writes music for which new words must be invented. Simultaneously tender and apocalyptic, chill and energetic, intensely technical yet vulnerable tunes that re-imagine folk and psychedelic rock alike, updating “solo artist with guitar” to suit our age of planetary renaissance.
7:30pm-7:40pm – Opening remarks from Kevin Welch, Jon Lebkowsky, Owen McNally

Remarks on the passage of John Perry Barlow (1947-2018)
7:40pm-8:10pm – Caroline Old Coyote and Michael Running Wolf

Presentation: “Standing Rock is Everywhere – Protect the Sacred”

Connecting the water protector camps on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation with a movement sweeping the nation and addressing the needs of the world – to protest the exploitation of non-renewable energy sources, to protect our water and environment, and to resist the attacks on our humanity and sovereignty.
8:20pm-8:50pm – Dave Maass

Across the country, battles over free expression and privacy are playing out in statehouses and city council chambers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation–along with local Electronic Frontier Alliance members like EFF Austin–is fighting against police surveillance, overbroad hacking laws, and mandatory porn filters. At the same time, we’re also advancing our rights through transparency ordinances and legislation that would ensure greater access to the Internet. EFF Senior Investigative Researcher will provide an overview of EFF’s activism work, including his quest to file 1,000 public records requests regarding one of the most pernicious forms of police technology, automated license plate readers.
9:00pm-9:30pm – Pilgrimess

Pilgrimess presides over the religious rituals of the future, playing darkwave jams that are equally soothing and menacing while accompanied by her coterie of masked, dancing spirit animals.
9:40pm-10:00pm – Vikki Goodwin and Rob Matney

We will hear from two political campaigns, Vicki Goodwin, Democratic candidate for State House District 47, and Rob Matney speaking on behalf of Steve Kling, Democratic candidate for State Senate District 25.
10:00pm-10:20pm – Carly Rose Jackson

Carly Rose Jackson will be speaking to us on behalf of Texans For Voter Choice, an advocacy group attempting to use technology to allow for more third party participation in the Democratic process.

10:30pm-11:00pm – UBA

UBA (pronounced Ooo Bah) is the electro mind-meld of Mickey Delp (Delptronics) and Ricardo Acevedo (Lost Cat Magnet). This union creates music that throbs of the raw early electronica of Chris and Cosy, Suicide, while blurring the art edge with the cinematic vision of the likes of Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, and Coil.



EFF-Austin Presents The Cypherpunks Strike Back – Tomorrow’s Tech Activism Today

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018, 7:00 PM

The High Road
700 Dawson Road Austin, TX

48 Activists Went

The annual EFF-Austin Cyberpunk Party is upon us! Check back at this space for additional details as they are confirmed. In the ongoing crises of our present moment, it is easy to succumb to apathy. Our personal information stolen and compromised, our rights eroded and our privacy erased, our own technological tools weaponized by state and private …

Check out this Meetup →