Chances Are the FBI Has Files on Your Favorite Human Rights Activist

By: Friday November 21, 2014 4:25 pm

Yale University American historian Beverly Gage was sifting through the US National Archives in the summer of 2014, doing research for a book on J. Edgar Hoover, when she came across a letter historians had been searching for for many a decade. Written from the perspective of an imaginary yet disappointed admirer of Martin Luther King, Jr., the missive encouraged the leading civil rights, anti-war, and socialist activist to kill himself.

“There is only one thing left for you to do,” the anonymous author warned, “before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” “You know what it is.”

 

Shamsi and Harwood: An Electronic Archipelago of Domestic Surveillance

By: Sunday November 9, 2014 7:00 am

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door.

When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, “Chico Police Department.”

“I had tunnel vision,” Gill said, “The only thing I could see was their guns.”

After telling him to step outside with his hands in the air, the officers lowered their guns and explained. They had received a report — later determined to be unfounded — that a suspect in a domestic disturbance had fled into Gill’s house. The police officers asked the then-26-year-old if one of them could do a sweep of the premises.

Will Tom Cotton Be the New Face of Surveillance Reform Opposition in the Senate?

By: Tuesday November 4, 2014 3:17 pm

House Republican Tom Cotton looks set to defeat Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor in Arkansas and take over his seat in the United States Senate. If this happens, it is a distinct possibility that Cotton will become one of the most vocal opponents of any efforts to reform surveillance and constrain the National Security Agency or any other government agency’s power.

Amazon-CIA Partnership Critics Launch Ad Campaign, Includes Billboard In Front Of Amazon HQ

By: Friday October 31, 2014 11:16 am

Amazon’s $600 million contract with the CIA related to cloud computing services has caused alarm throughout the civil liberties community. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed raising concern that the CIA could be using its access to Amazon’s massive data to conduct intelligence work rather than simply storing data. In light of the ongoing domestic spying scandal regarding the NSA, fewer and fewer people are willing to take government assurances on protecting the public’s privacy.

US Government Moves to Dismiss Lawsuit Against ‘Suspicious Activity’ Program Which Keeps Files on Innocent People

By: Monday October 20, 2014 11:16 am

The United States government has moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of five US citizens who say they were victims of a domestic surveillance program, which involves the collection of “suspicious activity reports” on individuals.

Federal Appeals Court Rules Evidence From Warrantless GPS Tracking Does Not Have to Be Suppressed

By: Thursday October 2, 2014 3:15 pm

A federal appeals court ruled that law enforcement does not need to get a warrant in order to legally use evidence obtained from surveillance in a criminal case. The court also effectively endorsed consultation among officials in the executive branch instead of going to a judge for a warrant as “good faith” conduct.

In 2010, FBI agents attached a GPS tracking device to the car of Harry Katzin in order to track his movements because they suspected he was involved in the robberies of multiple Rite-Aid pharmacies.

Judge Rejects DOJ’s Secrecy Argument That Public Doesn’t Know How to Evade Location Tracking

By: Wednesday October 1, 2014 9:33 am

In a case involving a Freedom of Information Act request for information related to government policies and procedures for law enforcement use of cell phone tracking, a federal judge has ordered the release of records, which the Justice Department sought to keep secret by claiming they would “alert law violators”—otherwise known as criminals—to how to evade detection.

The ACLU in Northern California and San Francisco Bay Guardian filed a lawsuit seeking documents on location tracking technology on July 31, 2012. The Justice Department has produced a few documents but has continued to insist that many of the documents requested are “work product” so they are protected from disclosure. The agency has also refused to search for documents that were requested.

Documents Reveal More Details on How US Intelligence Gets Around Regulations Against Spying on US Persons

By: Monday September 29, 2014 1:45 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union posted a trove of documents obtained in their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information about an executive order President Ronald Reagan signed, which gives the government broad authority to engage in surveillance of international communications, including the communications of numerous Americans. One key “exemption” gives intelligence agencies the ability to get around regulations intended to protect privacy.

Executive Order 12333 “governs” most of what the National Security Agency does, when it comes to collection of information on “Americans’ cellphone and Internet usage.”

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by FDA Whistleblowers Against Officials for Retaliating & Spying on Them

By: Wednesday September 24, 2014 4:29 pm

A federal district court judge has dismissed a civil lawsuit brought by former and current employees of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who spoke out against “serious managerial and medical misconduct” at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health and were subsequently placed under surveillance by FDA officials. The judge determined the employees had failed to exhaust all administrative remedies and the court lacked jurisdiction to rule on their claims against the government.

Email Suggests Manufacturer of Stingray Surveillance Equipment May Have Lied to FCC

By: Wednesday September 17, 2014 10:11 am

The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the manufacturer of StingRay surveillance products of providing inaccurate information and possibly even lying to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is the agency that is supposed to regulate communications over cable, radio, satellite, television and wire.

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