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Privacy

Board Must Consider First Amendment In FBI Terrorism Investigations

Defending Rights & Dissent (DRAD) is a national civil liberties organization founded in 1960 and based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to strengthen our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression. The right to free speech faces enumerable threats, but we have long identified FBI counterterrorism authorities as a significant detriment to the First Amendment. In 2019, we published a report, Still Spying: The Enduring Problem of FBI First Amendment Abuse, documenting FBI abuses of First Amendment rights since 2010. The overwhelming majority of abuses documented were carried out pursuant to counterterrorism authorities. More often than not, these were related to domestic terrorism, not international terrorism.

US Collected 4.8 Million Biometric Records Of Afghans

In the wake of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and the ouster of the Afghan national government, alarming reports indicate that the insurgents could potentially access biometric data collected by the U.S. to track Afghans, including people who worked for U.S. and coalition forces. Afghans who once supported the U.S. have been attempting to hide or destroy physical and digital evidence of their identities.

Border Agents Can Search Phones Freely Under New Circuit Court Ruling

A US appeals court has ruled that Customs and Border Protection agents can conduct in-depth searches of phones and laptops, overturning an earlier legal victory for civil liberties groups. First Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch declared that both basic and “advanced” searches, which include reviewing and copying data without a warrant, fall within “permissible constitutional grounds” at the American border. Lynch ruled against a group of US citizens and residents objecting to invasive searches of their electronic devices. The group includes Sidd Bikkannavar, a NASA scientist who was detained and pressured to unlock a secure government-issued phone.

Scheer Intelligence: Wrestling Back Privacy From The Jaws Of Big Tech

Over the course of just a few decades, technology has come to play a role in nearly every single aspect of our lives. While there have been undeniable benefits to technological advances, one of the main concerns that has grown alongside its presence in daily life is how tech companies collect, use and profit from our data in ways we’re often unaware of. James Steyer, a professor at Stanford University and the founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a leading consumer advocacy group that promotes safe media and technology for families, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss how we can fight back against tech companies’ encroachments on our privacy.

New Effort To Give People More Control Over Online Privacy

We believe online privacy should be simple and accessible to everyone, period. With the introduction of privacy regulations worldwide, consumers are gaining more rights to limit the sale and sharing of their personal data. While this is a great idea in theory, it doesn't amount to much if it is hard for consumers to take advantage of their rights. At present, consumers must invoke most all online privacy rights manually, website by website. That's why we're proud to be a founding member of a new effort to create a simple browser-oriented setting for users to more easily express their preference for privacy, called Global Privacy Control (GPC).

Private Prison To Pay $3.7 Million After Recording Attorney-Client Conversations

Private prison company CoreCivic and communications company Securus Technologies agreed on Friday to pay $3.7 million to settle federal claims that they illegally recorded attorney-client conversations in a private pre-trial detention facility and shared those recordings with law enforcement and others. In 2016, a federal court in Missouri found that detention facilities including CoreCivic’s Leavenworth Detention Center in Kansas had installed devices that could record communications between attorneys and detained clients, Law360 reported.

The State’s Use Of Technology: An Issue For The Movement

Data are everywhere. In 2020, technology is a ubiquitous part of everyday life for many workers in this country and around the world. We use social media and email to keep in touch with family and friends.  We watch live streams of events and activities that take place across the globe.  We text and stream music on our commutes to work.  The list goes on.  Technology has increased capital’s ability to put workers into direct competition with one another for jobs — and drive their wages downward and worsen their working conditions, irrespective of the country in which they reside.  It has given rise to higher levels of automation and led to many other developments.  On the other hand, technology has given the working class the ability to communicate and organize itself on a global basis; that was not possible even a short time ago.  Driving down wages and working conditions lays the objective basis for the further politicization of the multinational working class.

While Pandemic Destroys So Many Lives, The Surveillance State Celebrates

If we don’t fight back against the secretive surveillance state growing steadily around us, your wife/husband may find out you love a Cinnabon more than you love her/him. And that might be just the beginning of it. While many of us remain quarantined — inexorably welded to our home/apartment/RV in an abandoned Walmart parking lot — the surveillance state is actually stretching its legs, brought out for a run by our friendly neighborhood oligarchs like a young golden retriever let off its leash on a nice day. Unfortunately, in this case what it’s retrieving is all of our information, movements, thoughts and desires. Right now violations of American’s privacy rights do not hold many people’s attention. We’re too busy adapting to a new, confusing, and anxiety-filled form of existence.

Assange’s Partner Speaks Out After Threat From Judge

he mother of Assange’s two boys speaks of meeting the WikiLeaks‘ publisher and of their relationship after Assange’s lawyers first tried to protect her and their sons from harm. In the 11-minute video, released by WikiLeaks late on Saturday night, his partner explains how attempts were made to steal the DNA of one their children. On the video she identifies herself as Stella Morris and their children are Gabriel and Max. At Assange’s case management hearing last week, Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that there was no reason not to reveal her identity, despite threats made to her and the children. In releasing the video on the first anniversary of Assange’s arrest in the Ecuador Embassy in London, WikiLeaks has one-upped Baraitser, neutralizing her questionable tactic.

Stop COVID-19 Without Violating Human Rights

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis. We need to take warnings from medical professionals seriously and do everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus and save lives. We must also ensure that governments and corporations do not endanger us further by increasing surveillance, censoring speech, and detaining people indefinitely without trial. There will be a world after this coronavirus outbreak. It’s up to us to make it a world worth living in.

Forty Organizations Call For Ban On Facial Recognition On College Campuses

On behalf of leading consumer, privacy, and civil liberties organizations, we are calling on administrations to commit to not using facial recognition technology (for non-personal reasons, e.g. when used to unlock personal phones) in schools. This invasive and biased technology inherently violates the liberty and the rights of students and faculty and has no place in our educational institutions. Facial recognition technology isn’t safe. It’s biased and is more likely to misidentify students of color, which can result in traumatic interactions with law enforcement, loss of class time, disciplinary action, and potentially a criminal record. The data collected is vulnerable to hackers, and we’ve seen that schools are ill-equipped to safeguard this data.

Alexa Everywhere – Homes, Cars, Phones, Body – Raises Privacy Alarms

During an event at its Seattle headquarters on Wednesday, Amazon unveiled 15 new gadgets — many of which are integrated with its artificially intelligent voice assistant Alexa — including a pretty ridiculous Alexa-enabled ring (yes, for your finger) called Echo Loop, a kind of intriguing set of Alexa earbuds dubbed Echo Buds, and a pair of Alexa eyeglasses called Echo Frames. But the day’s keynote presentation, delivered by top Amazon executive Dave Limp, began on a now-familiar note for Big Tech companies adjusting to a new era of media and regulatory scrutiny...

New Campaign Begins To Stop Facial Recognition

Groups representing 15 million+ people plan to flood local, state, and federal lawmakers with letters and calls as a bipartisan backlash to biometric surveillance reaches a boiling point Opposition to facial recognition is reaching a boiling point. Today, nearly 30 organizations from across the political spectrum announced they had endorsed the BanFacialRecognition.com campaign calling for a federal ban on law enforcement use of facial recognition technology. The groups, which represent more than 15 million combined members, plan to flood lawmakers with emails and calls from constituents.

FTC Reportedly Approves $5 Billion Settlement With Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO—The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The report cited an unnamed person familiar with the matter. Facebook and the FTC declined to comment. The Journal said the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the settlement. The FTC report has been moved to the Justice Department for review, per the report. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.

With Federal Facial Recognition Regulation Stalled, Local Legislators Step In

Unwilling to wait for federal regulations to develop, municipal leaders from California to Massachusetts to are pushing their own rules on the acquisition and use of facial recognition technology, balancing constituent concerns around privacy and bias with what police increasingly say is a standard part of law enforcement. The first of these local ordinances is expected to go into effect at the beginning of July in San Francisco, where councilors last month enacted a local ordinance to restrict access to surveillance equipment and prohibit the use of facial recognition technology by the city’s departments. Among other things, the measure calls for departments using surveillance technology to submit an annual surveillance technology report and includes provisions by which the Sheriffs Department and District Attorney can obtain surveillance technologies.
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