Technology and the End of Privacy

By: Thursday June 5, 2014 6:46 am

The self-created end of privacy in the United States was brought about as much by technology as desire. Those who claim there is little new here — the government read the mail of and wiretapped the calls and conversations of Americans under COINTELPRO from 1956 to at least 1971 – do not understand the impact of technology.

Technology now being employed by the NSA and others inside the U.S. has never before existed, in scale, scope or sheer efficiency. Size matters. We are the first people in history to deal with this threat to privacy. Avoiding even the majority of encroaching digitalization essentially means withdrawing from society.

 

FTC Recommends Congress Regulate Data Broker Industry

By: Friday May 30, 2014 6:59 am

The Federal Trade Commission made a formal recommendation to Congress that the data broker industry face tougher regulations to stop current practices that abuse and violate Americans’ privacy. The FTC claimed data brokers “operate with a fundamental lack of transparency” and that Congress should enact legislation that makes the data broker industry’s practices more open and allows consumers to have more control over their data.

Former Top NSA Lawyer Says He Didn’t Want to Be Bothered by Tom Drake’s Concerns About Warrantless Wiretapping

By: Wednesday May 14, 2014 8:58 am

Former National Security Agency deputy general counsel Vito Potenza asserted if an employee had come to him with concerns about the constitutionality of dragnet warrantless surveillance, which was intercepting the communications of Americans after 9/11, he would not have listened. In October 2001, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake spoke with one of the top lawyers in [...]

Obama Administration, Despite Pledges, Still Resists Release of Secret Legal Opinions on Surveillance

By: Friday May 2, 2014 8:31 am

Over the past months, President Barack Obama’s administration, especially Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have postured themselves as being committed to some newfound level of government transparency in the aftermath of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosures. The administration has significantly sought to downplay the fact that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the government and a court ordered the release of key Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions and other documents.

‘People Carry Their Entire Lives on Cell Phones’—Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Police Searches

By: Tuesday April 29, 2014 3:58 pm

The Supreme Court heard argument in two cases related to whether law enforcement must obtain a warrant to search a cell phone. In both cases, the justices seemed reluctant to impose a one-size-fits-all approach—either a prohibition on searches without a warrant or a categorical rule that would allow a search if it fit within a limited scope.

One case, Riley v. California, involves an officer who seized a “smartphone” from a person who was under arrest and began to scroll through its contents at the scene of the arrest. He was looking through text messages and the phone’s contact list. The second case, United States v. Wurie, an officer believed the person arrested had used a cell phone to arrange a drug deal. At the police station, an officer noticed that a “flip” phone was repeatedly receiving calls from a number labeled “my house.” The officer searched through the call log on the phone in order to obtain the home phone number.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Julia Angwin, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

By: Sunday April 13, 2014 1:59 pm

Back in July 2012, long before Edward Snowden’s leaks heightened the general public’s concern about online privacy, then Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin set off on a picaresque quest to find some kind of online privacy. The chronicle of that quest, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Surveillance, serves as a kind of user’s guide for our new dragnet world.

Appeal Filed in Lawsuit Against NYPD Spying on Muslims

By: Friday March 21, 2014 9:41 am

A group of Muslims in New Jersey, who are represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Muslim Advocates, have appealed a decision in a lawsuit against spying by the New York Police Department.

In February, federal Judge William J. Martini of the United States District Court of Newark accepted most if not all of the government’s arguments and dismissed a lawsuit alleging surveillance targeting Muslims explicitly was unconstitutional.

Police Impunity and Law Enforcement’s Increasing Acceptance of Body-Mounted Cameras

By: Monday March 17, 2014 12:31 pm

Having more and more police wear body cameras could potentially increase accountability for police. However, whether law enforcement agencies adopt policies that allow officers to turn the cameras on and off whenever they want is a key issue.

Barney Fife Alert: Don’t Look Suspicious in Kilgore’s County

By: Friday March 14, 2014 5:45 am

A Sheriff in rural Nevada is defending his office’s new use of an old tactic in his own private battlefield as the world-wide-war-on-cannabis continues to sputter and stumble. Sheriff Ed Kilgore of Humboldt County Nevada, a rural county in Northwestern Nevada, says that the two speeding stops that his deputies carried out where more than $60,000 was seized even though no criminal charges or allegations were made against the two drivers were legal and not speed-trap shakedowns.

Justice Department Can Keep GPS Location Tracking Memos Secret, Court Rules

By: Wednesday March 12, 2014 6:59 pm

A federal court has ruled that the Justice Department may keep secret two key memos, which the American Civil Liberties Union argues show how the government views when it can and cannot legally track Americans with GPS tracking devices.

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