Civil Freedoms Under Threat

  • Warrantless cell phone searches spread to more states

    Source: CNN. Warrantless cell phone searches spread to more states by Amy Gahran.
    Think about all the data — photos, videos, text messages, calendar items, apps, call log, voice mail, and e-mail — on your cell phone right now. If you’re arrested, could the police search your cell phone? And would they need a warrant? That depends on which state you’re in. If you’re concerned about police or anyone else getting into your cell phone, a basic precaution is to configure your phone’s security settings to always require a passcode or pattern to access any of the phone’s data or functions.

     
  • Why “security” keeps winning out over privacy

    Source: Salon.com. Why “security” keeps winning out over privacy by Daniel J. Solove.
    We shouldn’t be balancing the costs of completely forgoing surveillance against privacy. Instead, the security interest should only be the extent to which oversight and justification will make surveillance less effective. In many cases, privacy protection will not diminish the effectiveness of government security measures all that much. Privacy is losing out in the balance because it is being weighed against completely banning a security measure rather than being balanced against merely making it a little less convenient for the government. We can’t have a meaningful balance between privacy and security unless we improve the way we debate the issue. We must confront and weed out the flawed arguments that have been improperly skewing the conversation.

     
  • Obama’s Continuing Constitutional Threat

    Source: ScienceBlogs. Obama’s Continuing Constitutional Threat by Ed Brayton.
    Every day it seems the Obama administration is more and more clearly identifiable as a third Bush term when it comes to the most important constitutional issues of the day. Now the DOJ is refusing to release a legal memo that attempts to justify the FBI’s obtaining of telephone records without a warrant. The Justice Department should publicly release its legal opinion that allows the FBI to obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process, a watchdog group asserts.

     
  • Measure would widen president’s power to fight terrorists

    Source: LA Times. Measure would widen president’s power to fight terrorists by Kim Geiger.
    Tucked away in a $690-billion defense spending bill is a little-noticed provision that would expand the president’s power to pursue suspected terrorists around the world. The new provision would no longer require that targets have a connection to Sept. 11, instead granting the president authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflictwith Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces.”

     
  • Four Articles on the PATRIOT Act

    Source: CATO Institute, Campaign for Liberty, Huffington Post. Four Articles on the PATRIOT Act.
    We Must Reform the PATRIOT Act by Sen. Udall – Wither the Patriot Act’s Malcontents? – Manufactured Panic over Patriot Act – Patriot Act Extension signed by Obama

     
  • Patriot Act Extension Scheme Sells Out the Constitution

    Source: The Nation. Patriot Act Extension Scheme Sells Out the Constitution by John Nichols.

    As Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, says: “This agreement reeks of all the worst things about Washington: secrecy, back-room dealing, institutional co-optation, and bipartisan collusion to undermine constitutional rights.

     
  • Sssh — Uncle Sam is listening

    Source: UPI.com. Sssh — Uncle Sam is listening by Michael Kirkland.
    The ACLU said the FBI has been balking about releasing surveillance information, despite a suit under the Freedom of Information Act. The ACLU wants the identities of ISPs, phone companies and other telecommunications elements cooperating in the warrantless surveillance program.

     
  • Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: Why the FBI needs New Leadership

    Source: Truthout. Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: Why the FBI Needs New Leadership by Shahid Buttar.
    The last ten years have witnessed an assault on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, led largely by the FBI. “The FBI’s significant misuse of its authorities under the USA PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the infiltration of mosques, the abuse of the material witness statute, the FBI surveillance of peaceful groups with no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and the mishandling of the FBI watch list have raised significant civil liberties concerns” during Mueller’s tenure.

     
  • Senate panel approves Patriot Act extensions

    Source: Washington Post. Senate panel approves Patriot Act extensions by Jim Abrams. May 21, 2011.
    The legislation would end in December 2013 the investigative tool known as National Security Letters that compel businesses to turn over customer records without a judge’s order.

     
  • Congressional Leadership Seeks Four-Year PATRIOT Act Extension

    Source: Antiwar.com. Congressional Leadership Seeks Four-Year PATRIOT Act Extension. Congressional Leadership Seeks Four-Year PATRIOT Act Extension by Jason Ditz.
    With Deadline Looming, Will Leadership Secure Votes?