Justice Department: Release of WikiLeaks Records Could Harm ‘Pending Future Prosecution’

By: Tuesday May 20, 2014 7:56 am

The United States Justice Department has indicated in a lawsuit involving a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that records related to WikiLeaks must remain secret because the release may “cause articulable harm” to an ongoing Justice Department and FBI criminal investigation and “pending future prosecution.”


Homeland Security’s Failed Attempt to Pervert the Freedom of Information Act Process

By: Saturday January 19, 2013 11:30 am

Over a week ago, a federal judge ruled documents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was ordered to produce in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit could not be subjected to a protective order.

The development has received minimal attention, but the case seems important, as the government sought to use an innovative tactic to provide documents it owed an organization while at the same time preventing the public from reading the documents. Had the judge allowed the protective order or “clawback,” it would have been a complete perversion of FOIA.

A Future World Where Drones Engage in Wholesale Surveillance & Dominate US Airspace

By: Tuesday January 15, 2013 10:10 am

Drones are becoming much cheaper and easier to use, a reality that increases the possibility that the technology will become much more ubiquitous. With this kind of proliferation in mind, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) held a panel discussion at the National Press Club on drones being a critical privacy issue in 2013.

All Your Instagrams Are Belong to Us

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 9:54 am

Three months after they acquired Instagram, Facebook launches a completely audacious intellectual property rights grab. Unless you delete your Instagram account by the January 16 deadline, they claim the right to license any public Instagrams uploaded after that date “without any compensation to you,” in perpetuity…and you can’t opt out. As Declan McCullagh notes, this [...]

The Risks Homeland Security Fusion Centers Pose to Americans’ Civil Liberties

By: Friday October 5, 2012 3:30 pm

A scathing report released days ago by a Senate subcommittee concluded Department of Homeland Security fusion centers at the state and local level had not “produced useful intelligence to support federal counterterrorism efforts.” It also found “DHS-assigned detailees” have “forwarded ‘intelligence’ of uneven quality—oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections.”

The findings have garnered some necessary attention by showing, as Julian Sanchez wrote, that the United States’ “broken panopticon” is “expensive and useless.” The fusion centers were foisted upon Americans as a necessity to keep the country secure. The violations of privacy, however, have not benefited the safety of Americans.

Warrantless Wiretapping Law Hearing Highlights Surveillance State Secrecy

By: Thursday May 31, 2012 1:12 pm

A House Judiciary subcommittee held an oversight hearing today on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA). The hearing was convened to examine the law before it is reauthorized this year. There was little dispute that it should be reauthorized. The debate that occurred among congresspeople was instead focused on what reforms would be reasonable if Congress were to even consider adjusting the law before reauthorizing it.

The Brewing Debate Over Domestic Drones

By: Saturday February 25, 2012 8:55 am

Privacy rights and civil liberties advocates know that businesses and politicians have put America on a path toward the acceptance and normalization of drone use in domestic airspace. And, the concern about increased drone use being inevitable, especially after President Obama signed a law that requires the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “integrate drones into American airspace by 2015,” has spurred necessary discussion because there currently exists no good set of established protections to prevent authorities from abusing their power when using drones for surveillance.

Live Blog: Homeland Security Committee Hearing on DHS Monitoring of Social Media

By: Thursday February 16, 2012 7:00 am

A congressional committee hearing is being held today on the Homeland Security Department’s (DHS) monitoring of social media. The meeting, being convened by the House Subcommittee of Counterterrorism and Intelligence, chaired by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), is being held as a result of documents on DHS monitoring that were exposed through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public research center that focuses attention on emerging issues of privacy and other civil liberties issues.

TSA’s Legal Justification for Gate Grope

By: Monday December 27, 2010 7:00 am

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been suing the Department of Homeland Security because it refused to engage in the public rule-making process before it adopted RapeAScan machines as part of the primary screening at airports. DHS responded to EPIC’s suit the other day. While I think their response will be largely successful as written, [...]

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