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August 28, 2016
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Tag: Civil Liberties


Secret Cameras Are Recording Baltimore’s Every Move—From the Sky

Since the start of 2016, the Baltimore Police Department has been using a privately funded and operated surveillance company to investigate crimes via a camera-equipped airplane—without informing the public.

Posted on Aug 24, 2016 READ MORE


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The Illusion of Freedom

This deception will exist as long as we “stay in our place.” Once we call out power for what it is, once we resist, the chimera will vanish. The iron fist of history’s most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus will assert itself with a terrifying fury.

Posted on Aug 18, 2016 READ MORE



‘Smart Borders’ Would Be a Step Toward a ‘Pan-European System of Surveillance’

A digital system for tracking people as they traverse European borders threatens privacy, civil liberties and the safety and dignity of migrants fleeing their embattled homelands, critics say.

Posted on Aug 3, 2016 READ MORE



The U.S. Government Renews Its Assault on Privacy

And this time there’s “much less public scrutiny,” writes Trevor Timm at The Guardian.

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 READ MORE



Guantanamo Bay Should Be Closed Forever

The prison is the symbol of everything that is wrong with the United States’ so-called war on terror.

Posted on Jun 20, 2016 READ MORE



An Appeals Court Just Robbed Us of Our Cellphone Privacy

Judges ruled that police and federal authorities are free to seek the location data of cellphone users from telecommunications companies without obtaining a search warrant.

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 READ MORE



Reform or Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg warned the left about becoming seduced by liberals who speak the language of reform but serve the interests of capitalism. And she understood that holding fast to revolutionary ideals was, especially in a moment of crisis, a moral imperative.

Posted on May 22, 2016 READ MORE



The Federal Government Is Helping Police Nationwide Secretly Exploit Intrusive Technologies

Unfortunately, power loves the dark.

Posted on May 20, 2016 READ MORE



Michael Ratner’s Death Is a Loss for Freedom, Peace and Justice

The human rights lawyer “knew that when you sue the powerful, you will often lose,” The Nation wrote. “But he also understood that such suits could prompt political action, and that … was often more important in achieving justice than the litigation itself.”

Posted on May 16, 2016 READ MORE



Michael Ratner, Pioneering Civil Rights and Constitutional Lawyer, Dies at 72

Ratner, who led the charge against excesses in the war on terror, died of complications of cancer Wednesday.

Posted on May 12, 2016 READ MORE



FBI Won’t Tell Apple How It Hacked iPhone but Vows to Help Local Police

“Please know that we will continue to do everything we can to help you consistent with our legal and policy constraints.”

Posted on Apr 3, 2016 READ MORE



David Medine, Leading U.S. Privacy Watchdog, Resigns Unexpectedly

The head of the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is stepping down. Why he quit so suddenly is unknown, but his recent Twitter posts reflect a concern over expansion of government surveillance.

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 READ MORE



Apple Will Fight Order to Unlock San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook says his company will oppose a federal order to help the FBI hack into an encrypted iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters because compliance could undermine encryption for millions of other users.

Posted on Feb 17, 2016 READ MORE


VIDEO: ‘Truth and Power’ Series Shows Ordinary People Flipping the Script on the Powers That Be

Unwilling to sit idly by as their privacy, civil liberties and safety are increasingly encroached upon, the subjects of Pivot’s new “Truth and Power” series took action to expose those from the government and private sector who have far overstepped their bounds.

Posted on Dec 24, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Google Is Accused of Spying on Kindergartners

A digital rights advocacy group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission accusing the tech giant of spying on up to 40 million students and school officials who use the company’s Chromebook laptops.

Posted on Dec 12, 2015 READ MORE



Paris Terror Attacks: France Now Faces Fight Against Fear and Exclusion

Entertaining a climate of fear and paranoia could have serious consequences. Emergency measures are indeed necessary at present, but they must remain emergency measures. If they become permanent, they will send France down a deeply dangerous road.

Posted on Nov 14, 2015 READ MORE



Data-Grabbing ‘Stingrays’ Are Attacking Our Civil Liberties

The secrecy surrounding police use of these “anti-terrorism” devices in ordinary criminal investigations is a big and growing problem, ACLU experts say, one that puts some defendants at an unfair and illegal disadvantage.

Posted on Nov 11, 2015 READ MORE



Chelsea Manning Pens Document Condemning Secret Surveillance Court System

Her 129-page document proposes “concrete” solutions to the rampant and unchecked violations of privacy and civil liberties by the U.S. government.

Posted on Nov 3, 2015 READ MORE



Senate Cedes More Power to National Security Agency With New Spying Bill

Under the guise of “cybersecurity,” the Senate passed a spying bill that “carves a giant hole in all our privacy laws and allows tech and telecom companies to hand over all sorts of private information to intelligence agencies without any court process whatsoever,” writes Trevor Timm at The Guardian.

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 READ MORE



VIDEO: Chicago Police Have ‘Disappeared’ 7,000 People Into Homan Square

Since 2004, police have allowed lawyers to see just 0.94 percent of people “disappeared” into Chicago’s “off-the-books interrogation warehouse,” reports Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian.

Posted on Oct 19, 2015 READ MORE



Edward Snowden and Allies Issue Warnings as Australia Unleashes Mass Spying

“Go dark against data retention,” consumer advocates tell users in a new campaign against invasive surveillance laws.

Posted on Oct 13, 2015 READ MORE



ACLU Moves to Shut Down NSA’s Ongoing Bulk Phone Data Collection

Just after he signed the USA Freedom Act in early June, President Obama took steps to ensure that the government’s contentious practice of collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk, one of the main sticking points in the tussle over the bill, could continue through the end of 2015.

Posted on Jul 14, 2015 READ MORE



John Cusack: Barack Obama Is ‘as Bad or Worse’ Than George W. Bush

Actor John Cusack has said Barack Obama is “as bad or worse” than former President Bush when it comes to civil liberties, drone strikes, freedom of the press and the National Security Agency.

Posted on Jun 5, 2015 READ MORE


Patriot Act Extension









Posted on Jun 2, 2015 ENLARGE



Undercutting the Patriot Act Is a Major Win for Rand Paul and Edward Snowden

The senator was a legislative force against the invasive law, but most of the credit goes to the now-exiled whistleblower who revealed the government’s massive and secret abuse of our privacy rights.

Posted on Jun 1, 2015 READ MORE


AUDIO: Robert Scheer: On Civil Liberties, the NSA Is a Latter-Day King George

In an appearance on “The Campaign With Ernie Powell,” a radio show concerned with learning how progressives can win political campaigns, Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer says the NSA is engaged in the same invasive behavior “that sparked the American Revolution.”

Posted on May 17, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



A Nation of Snitches

All totalitarian systems, including our own, rely on informants to keep the people afraid and under control. We will not be free of corporate tyranny until the network of snitches—in the government and on the streets—is banished.

Posted on May 10, 2015 READ MORE



Veteran D.C. Attorney: ‘Without Edward Snowden, Our System Could Have Failed’

The efforts to reform the way the U.S. government gathers intelligence indicate that the whistleblower’s disclosures “have had the impact that motivated him,” writes Ronald Goldfarb, who served in the Justice Department of the Kennedy administration, at Time magazine.

Posted on May 10, 2015 READ MORE



FBI’s Proposals for Mandatory Tech Security ‘Back Doors’ Are Slammed by Bipartisan Committee

The U.S. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform considered Wednesday whether Congress should pass laws requiring companies to add “back doors” to their tech products. In other words, the FBI wants a way to get into consumer data that theoretically only law enforcement—and not hackers—can exploit.

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 READ MORE


TSA ‘Behavior Detection Program’ Aimed at Undocumented Immigrants, Not Terrorists

A Transportation Security Administration checklist that presents yawning, throat clearing and staring at one’s feet as “suspicious” behavior targets undocumented immigrants, Intercept reporter Jana Winter tells “Democracy Now!”

Posted on Apr 8, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN


Robert Scheer Speaks With Seattle About Privacy and Surveillance

The Truthdig editor-in-chief spoke about his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” at a town hall event in Seattle.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 WATCH & LISTEN



Robert Scheer: On Civil Liberties, Obama’s ‘Probably the Worst President We’ve Had’

Barack Obama “makes George W. Bush and Richard Nixon look good by comparison,” Truthdig’s editor-in-chief told Salon in an interview about his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”

Posted on Feb 28, 2015 READ MORE



Homan Square: A ‘Domestic Black Site’ Where U.S. Citizens Are ‘Disappeared’

Think you need to be apprehended overseas by American authorities in order to be held in a “black site”? Think again.

Posted on Feb 25, 2015 READ MORE



Inappropriate Government Watchlisting Threatens Innocent Lives

“A single, uncorroborated source of information—including a Facebook or Twitter post”—is enough to put innocent foreigners and Americans on a watchlist of “known” and “suspected” terrorists shared with foreign and domestic agencies as well as private contractors, ACLU legislative counsel Arjun Sethi writes at The Guardian on Saturday.

Posted on Aug 31, 2014 READ MORE



Edward Snowden: Surveillance, Spying Practices Have Brought U.S. to ‘Brink of the Abyss’

Edward Snowden has just been granted three more years of asylum in Russia, and the former NSA contractor-turned-whistle-blower is understandably choosy about whom he meets with in person. 

Posted on Aug 13, 2014 READ MORE



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U.S. Government at War With Itself Over Civil Liberties

Given the last year, it seems more than a bit hilarious that the U.S. government has just posted its latest annual announcement about “funding for programs that support Internet freedom.”

Posted on Jun 20, 2014 READ MORE


Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake and Jesslyn Radack Tell It Like It Is at Whistle-Blowers’ Summit

Unfortunately for our shaky democracy, the U.S. has needed serious and frequent help in exposing the misuse and abuse of government power in recent years. Fortunately for our democracy, people like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake and Jesslyn Radack have been paying attention.

Posted on Apr 23, 2014 WATCH & LISTEN



Truthdigger of the Week: The Pulitzer Prize Committee

When institutions lend their support to the powerless, as the Pulitzer committee did this week to whistle-blowers and their newspapers, the battle is no longer merely between the weak and its oppressors.

Posted on Apr 19, 2014 READ MORE



Pulitzer Committee Vindicates NSA Reporters With Highest Honor

“What splendid courage!” Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer said upon hearing the announcement. “By recognizing the astounding threat posed by the NSA to the basic freedoms our government is sworn to observe, the award effectively honors Edward Snowden and, through his example, other brave whistle-blowers.”

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 READ MORE



Will Civil Liberties Survive OWS Trial?

As an Occupy Wall Street activist goes to trial on charges of assaulting a police officer, author and lawyer Chase Madar asks what the rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom from warrantless search are worth in the United States today.

Posted on Feb 15, 2014 READ MORE



Legalizing Oppression

The disbarring and imprisonment of Lynne Stewart, one of the nation’s most courageous civil rights lawyers, is a window into the collapse of our judiciary.

Posted on Feb 9, 2014 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

EU Parliament Committee Slams NSA, Votes to Hear Snowden

The U.S. National Security Agency and its U.K. equivalent were the targets of sharp condemnation by a European Union parliamentary committee on civil liberties, which released a report Thursday slamming the two agencies for their invasive surveillance programs in Europe and calling for systemic changes.

Posted on Jan 9, 2014 READ MORE



Teacher Dude's BBQ (CC BY-SA 2.0)

We Know the NSA Spies on Us—but on Whom Specifically? And Why?

Author Seth Rosenfeld, whose book “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power” explored the federal government’s domestic spying programs of a generation ago, calls for a new incarnation of the Church Committee to mine the extent of present-day domestic spying. But can this Congress focus on truth ahead of political spin and gamesmanship?

Posted on Dec 29, 2013 READ MORE



DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

Obama Signs NDAA, Maintaining Indefinite Detention Provision

In an odd juxtaposition, Obama signed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday while criticizing Congress for abridging the constitutional separation of powers, yet is unconcerned about the violation of individual constitutional rights contained in the law.

Posted on Dec 27, 2013 READ MORE



Brian A Petersen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Eight Common Excuses for Mass Spying and Why They’re Wrong

The Electronic Frontier Foundation compiled a list of “common refrains of folks confused, nonplussed, or simply exhausted from the headlines” about NSA surveillance and informed responses that can be used to enlighten a conversation.

Posted on Dec 1, 2013 READ MORE


Greenwald Sacks BBC’s Stephen Sackur

Stephen Sackur of BBC’s “HARDtalk” appeared absurd this week when he challenged Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who led reporting on the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowen, on minutiae irrelevant to the historic revelations that British and American governments secretly spy on untold numbers of people around the world.

Posted on Nov 29, 2013 WATCH & LISTEN



bitzcelt (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hope in a Time of Permanent War

How might it be possible to imagine hope for a better world for humanity in a country that has sanctioned state torture, is about to bomb Syria and kill untold numbers of civilians, spies on its own citizens, extends the reach of the punishing state into all aspects of society, and inflicts violence on black and brown youths through racial profiling and the machinery of the mass incarceration state?

Posted on Sep 6, 2013 READ MORE



OregonDOT (CC BY 2.0)

Want Military Action? Look No Further Than Your Local Police

Increased militarization of domestic police departments has contributed to grotesque violations of Americans’ civil liberties, not to mention costing untold millions in tax dollars.

Posted on Aug 29, 2013 READ MORE



quapan (CC BY 2.0)

Germans ‘Duty Bound’ in Light of ‘Shameful Past’ to Give Snowden Asylum

European governments—Germany in particular, for its role in the human atrocities of the last century—should recognize the United States’ manifesting authoritarianism and respond humanely by offering safe haven to the fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, journalist Patrick Cockburn writes in The Independent.

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 READ MORE


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