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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

The biggest hurdle for lawyers with disabilities are preconceptions

Thank you to Terry Carter for another spot on article, this one focused on the many faceted, significant, and valuable expertise of the differently abled in the legal profession: “Many lawyers with disabilities still end up where they always were: channeled toward government work, advocacy organizations or solo and small-firm employment, often with disability-related practices. Over the past couple of decades, technological and medical advances have made it much easier (or in some instances, possible) for lawyers with disabilities to perform ordinary tasks in legal work. There are devices and software that read digital documents to the blind, refreshable Braille machines that can provide real-time communication, and instant transcripts on computer screens for the deaf—even in court hearings with direct feeds from stenographers. But at the same time, old attitudes and perceptions have been slow to lose their grasp…The number of lawyers with disabilities is hard to determine. Unlike race, gender, ethnicity and, more recently, sexual orientation, there is little reporting on them. Only two state bars—those in Oregon and Washington—have done tallies, and still that is self-reporting. Some lawyers won’t do so; some others don’t see themselves as disabled. And the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act is fast expanding, largely via the hottest area: mental health impairments. In an ABA membership survey in 2013, 8 percent of the lawyers answered in the affirmative when asked whether they have disabilities. A 2012 survey by the Washington State Bar Association found that 21 percent of its members said so. The National Association for Law Placement found that just one-third of 1 percent of law firm partners reported having disabilities in its 2014 survey, which was slightly higher than a few years earlier. Associates with disabilities composed just 0.28 percent, also slightly higher than before. The figures were based on data from 740 law offices and firms (including some reporting zero disabilities) encompassing 73,081 lawyers…”

Federal Judge Blocks Release of CIA Torture Report to ACLU

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AMERICAN  CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, et al. , Defendants. Civil Action No. 13 – 1870 (JEB) – May 20, 2015 MEMORANDUM OPINION [snipped]: “A lightning rod for controversy, the Central Intelligence Agency’s former detention and interrogation program has spawned aContinue Reading

Sunlight Foundation – Opening Criminal Justice Data

“As part of a new initiative, the Sunlight Foundation has begun amassing an inventory of public and privately-produced criminal justice data. The spreadsheet on this page is a work in progress but we’re publishing it now with hopes that people can use it for research or reporting and even contribute to it. Please go throughContinue Reading

Justice Department Releases Drone Privacy Guidance

EPIC – “The Justice Department has released extensive “Policy Guidance” for the use of drones by federal agencies. The Guidance bans the use of drones to monitor activities protected by the First Amendment, requires routine logs of drone use, and requires the protection of civil liberties and privacy in all cases. However, the Guidance “doesContinue Reading

Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google

Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google – A review of James Palfrey’s new book ‘BiblioTech,’ and the culturally critical role libraries play. By Amien Essif / AlterNet – May 11, 2015 “James Palfrey, in his new book BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, gives someContinue Reading

US DOJ IG Report – Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders

FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 through 2009, Oversight and Review Division Report 15-05. May 2015. Redacted. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a public version of its most recent report examining theContinue Reading

Du-Vote: Remote Electronic Voting with Untrusted Computers

Du-Vote: Remote Electronic Voting with Untrusted Computers. Gurchetan S. Grewal, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK;  Mark D. Ryan, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK; Liqun Chen, HP Laboratories, Bristol, UK; Michael R. Clarkson, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University, US. [via ReadWrite] “Abstract —Du-Vote is a new remote electronic votingContinue Reading

Children’s Rights Under Regional Human Rights Law – A Tale of Harmonisation?

Nolan, Aoife and Kilkelly, Ursula, Children’s Rights Under Regional Human Rights Law – A Tale of Harmonisation? (May 19, 2015). Due to appear in Buckley, Donald and Leach (eds), Harmonisation of International Human Rights Law (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff, Forthcoming). Available for download at SSRN: “This chapter focuses on an area where a high level ofContinue Reading

Inspector General Warns: Significant Oversight of Section 215 Required

EPIC – “The DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General released a report this month detailing the FBI’s use of Section 215 and warning that “significant oversight” is required. The Inspector General describes the FBI’s expanding use of 215 to collect electronic information in bulk and criticized the agency for taking seven years to develop minimizationContinue Reading

Improving job quality and reducing gender gaps are essential to tackling growing inequality

“Income inequality has reached record highs in most OECD countries and remains at even higher levels in many emerging economies. The richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent, up from 7:1 in the 1980s and 9:1 in the 2000s, accordingContinue Reading

Tech giants communicate opposition to decrypted data for law enforcement

Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima: “Tech behemoths including Apple and Google and leading cryptologists are urging President Obama to reject any government proposal that alters the security of smartphones and other communications devices so that law enforcement can view decrypted data. In a letter to be sent Tuesday and obtained by The Washington Post, a coalitionContinue Reading

Reddit Now Sharing Notices with Chilling Effects

Chilling Effects Team on May 13, 2015 [Chilling Effects is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.] “We at Chilling Effects are thrilled to share Reddit’s announcement that the site has begun sharing takedown notices with us! Following on the heels of the release of its first transparency report earlier this year,Continue Reading