Civil Freedoms Under Threat

  • Republicans Hold Up Vote on Extension of F.B.I. Term

    Source: New York Times. Republicans Hold Up Vote on Extension of F.B.I. Term by Charlie Savage.
    A group of lawmakers led by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, objected on constitutional grounds to passing legislation that would have simply extended Mr. Mueller’s term. They said Mr. Obama should nominate him to a special new term, subject to Senate confirmation. While the White House believed that was unnecessary, it quietly agreed last week to use that approach, officials said.

     
  • Appeals court: TSA must rethink airport body scans

    Source: Privacy Inc. Appeals court: TSA must rethink airport body scans by Declan McCullagh.
    The Transportation Security Agency violated federal law when installing controversial full-body scanners in U.S. airports without following proper procedures, a federal appeals court ruled t. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., rejected arguments from the Obama administration that the TSA was exempt from laws requiring federal agencies to first notify the public and seek comments.

     
  • iPhone News: Are You Being Tracked By the Governement?

    Source: International Business Times. iPhone News: Are You Being Tracked By the Governement?
    “GPS technology is unquestionably a great tool, not just for Americans on the go and cellular companies offering services, but for law enforcement professionals looking to track suspects and catch criminals,” Sen. Wyden stated in June. “But all tools and tactics require rules and right now, when it comes to geolocation information, the rules aren’t clear.”

     
  • To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face

    Source: New York Times. To Track Militants, U.S. Has System That Never Forgets a Face by Thom Shaker.

    With little notice and only occasional complaints, the American military and local authorities have been engaged in an ambitious effort to record biometric identifying information on a remarkable number of people in Afghanistan and Iraq, particularly men of fighting age.
    Information about more than 1.5 million Afghans has been put in databases operated by American, NATO and local forces. While that is one of every 20 Afghan residents, it is the equivalent of roughly one of every six males of fighting age, ages 15 to 64. In Iraq, an even larger number of people, and a larger percentage of the population, have been registered. Data have been gathered on roughly 2.2 million Iraqis, or one in every 14 citizens — and the equivalent of one in four males of fighting age.

     
  • George W Bush should be prosecuted over torture, says human rights group

    Source: The Guardian. George W Bush should be prosecuted over torture by Chris McGreal.
    A US human rights group has called on foreign governments to prosecute George W Bush and some of his senior officials for war crimes if the Obama administration fails to investigate a growing body of evidence against the former president over the use of torture. The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report that the US authorities were legally obliged to investigate the top echelons of the Bush administration over crimes such as torture, abduction and other mistreatment of prisoners.

     
  • Documents Reveal ICE’s ‘Secure Communities’ Program Was Mandated by FBI

    Source: LA Weekly. FBI Documents Reveal ICE’s ‘Secure Communities’ Program Was Mandated to Further FBI’s Own Creepy Biometric Database by Simone Wilson.
    ​In a terrifying new twist to the federally mandated “Secure Communities” program — which lets Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents run an alien check on anybody who passes through any sort of jail or prison — the FBI appears to have been a driving force behind the mandate.

     
  • US Supreme Court to decide GPS use in surveillance

    Source: Torque News. US Supreme Court to decide GPS use in surveillance by Richard Gray.
    The case began after FBI agents fitted a GPS devise on the Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by suspected Washington, D.C. drug trafficker Antoine Jones after obtaining a warrant from a federal judge. The judge, however, required the GPS tracking unit be installed within 10 days and when the Jeep was in Washington, D.C. But the agents took 11 days to install it and did so in a Maryland parking lot, not in the Capitol.

     
  • Microsoft Wins Patent For Internet Spying Technology

    Source: Information Week. Microsoft Wins Patent For Internet Spying Technology by Elizabeth Montalbano.
    Microsoft has been granted a patent for technology that acts as a wiretap of sorts for Internet communication, allowing governments or other law-enforcement authorities to record the data without detection. The technology intercepts Internet communications data so it can be recorded for the purposes of reviewing it later by, presumably, government or law-enforcement officials.

     
  • Supreme Court declines to take up Abu Ghraib detainee lawsuit

    Source: Christian Science Monitor. Supreme Court declines to take up Abu Ghraib detainee lawsuit by Warren Richey.
    The Supreme Court declined without comment the case of 250 former Abu Ghraib detainees whose lawsuit against private contractors, for allegedly abusing and torturing Abu Ghraib inmates, had been thrown out of federal court.

     
  • Is Warrantless GPS Tracking Constitutional?

    Source: Wall Street Journal. Is Warrantless GPS Tracking Constitutional? by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries.
    Can the government put a GPS tracking device on your car without a warrant? The Supreme Court is going to decide. The court agreed to hear the case of Antoine Jones, whose truck was tracked by police for a month before they got warrants to search for drugs in places he had visited.