Civil Freedoms Under Threat

  • You Can’t Trust Airport Security

    Source: Wall Street Journal. Is terrorism, then, as Mr. Hawley’s title would have it, a permanent emergency? No. When something is permanent, it is by definition not an emergency. It’s more like the New York subway guarded by the Iron Maiden turnstiles: The siren is always going off, day and night, and it sounds like an emergency, but eventually you just stop noticing it. All that remains is the turnstile, getting in your way for reasons you’ve forgotten or never knew. That’s the kind of security we can all be against.

  • Police admit to infiltrating Occupy Austin, may have acted as provocateurs

    Source: The Raw Story. According to the Austin Statesman, court documents and interviews show that the infiltrators “camped with other participants in the movement, marched in rallies and attended strategy meetings.” They may also have gone further, acting as provocateurs to encourage the use of lockboxes or “sleeping dragons” — lengths of PVC pipe into which protestors insert their arms to make it harder for police to remove them during a demonstration.

  • Software Meant to Fight Crime Is Used to Spy on Dissidents

    Source: NYT. The software has been identified as FinSpy, one of the more elusive spyware tools sold in the growing market of off-the-shelf computer surveillance technologies that give governments a sophisticated plug-in monitoring operation. Research now links it to servers in more than a dozen countries, including Turkmenistan, Brunei and Bahrain, although no government acknowledges using the software for surveillance purposes.

  • Why S.F. arrest numbers matter to citizens

    Source: SF Gate. City residents discovered recently that the San Francisco Police Department failed to accurately report arrest statistics on race. Unnoticed and over many years, these statistics painted a false picture of whom the police have used their enforcement powers to arrest. These practices are unconstitutional, counterproductive and dehumanizing. But without accurate statistics, we can’t spot them – much less hold the police accountable.

  • PANDA’s fight to end NDAA once and for all

    Source: The Examiner. Judge Katherine Forrest ruled May 16th, 2012 in her southern district in Manhattan to favor a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the Defense Department with clams that provisions inside of the National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law Dec. 31, 2011 was blatantly unconstitutional. This preliminary injunction is considered a watershed moment in reversing decades of bipartisan assaults on civil liberties and the American Constitution.

  • UN Investigator to US: End ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ on Drone Strikes

    Source: Common Dreams. The secrecy surrounding the U.S. use of drone attacks must end, and each drone strike carried out by the U.S. should be independently investigated, London barrister and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said Sunday. Emmerson is preparing a report for the next session of the Human Rights Council in March covering the use of drone attacks, which have spiked since Obama’s presidency. He questioned the legality of the drone strikes and noted the growing global outrage over their use.

  • The Government Can Track You by Your Cell Phone Without a Warrant

    Source: Truth-Out. Should police and the government be able to track you by your cell phone GPS without obtaining a search warrant? A federal appeals court appears to believe so, and recently ruled that tracking suspected criminals by their cell phones is similar to tailing their car or tracking their scent with police dogs.

  • The Watchmen’s Misdirected Gaze

    Source: NY Times. A series in which entrepreneurialism is crime prevention’s best ally is a series ideologically synchronized to the Bloomberg age. How close we’ve come to this particular pop-cultural imagining was evident two weeks ago when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly introduced the eerily titled Domain Awareness System at a news conference. Developed in conjunction with Microsoft, the all-seeing computer system marries video feed from thousands of closed-circuit television cameras to various law-enforcement databases to track criminals and possible terrorist activity. Should the technology be sold to Boston or San Francisco the city will reap substantial profit.

  • Tampa, FL – August 25, 2012

    Though imprisonment has silenced him, his mother speaks out for him. Hear Laila Yaghi talk about her son’s trial, the flimsy prosecutor evidence, government allegations that going to the “beach,” was code for terrorist plans, the price her son paid for refusing to “co- operate” and lie about others in exchange for a reduced sentence, and more. . .

  • These Drones Are Made For Watchin’

    Source: EFF. EFF recently received a trove of documents from the FAA in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, offering new insights into the public and private use of drones in the United States—including where they’re flying, why they’re being used, and what their capabilities are. These new documents include the never-before-released Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs) from all private companies authorized to fly drones.