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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

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, according to a new OECD report.  In It Together: Why Less Inequality Benefits All also shows that wealth is even more concentrated at the top than income, exacerbating the overall disadvantage of low-income households. In 2012, the bottom 40% owned only 3% of total household wealth in the 18 OECD countries with comparable data. By contrast, the top 10% controlled half of all total household wealth and the wealthiest 1% owned 18%.  “We have reached a tipping point. Inequality in OECD countries is at its highest since records began,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in Paris with Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility. “The evidence shows that high inequality is bad for growth. The case for policy action is as much economic as social. By not addressing inequality, governments are cutting into the social fabric of their countries and hurting their long-term economic growth.” The report highlights the need to address working conditions. The increasing share of people working part-time, on temporary contracts or self-employed is one important driver of growing inequality. Between 1995 and 2013, more than 50 per cent of all jobs created in OECD countries fell into these categories. Low-skilled temporary workers, in particular, have much lower and instable earnings than permanent workers. Youth are most affected: 40% are in non-standard work and about half of all temporary workers are under 30. They are also less likely to move from a temporary job into a stable permanent one.”

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

UK government rewrites law to permit GCHQ hacking

Privacy International – May 15, 2015: The Government has quietly ushered through legislation amending the anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ from prosecution. Privacy International and other parties were notified of this just hours prior to a hearing of their claim against GCHQ’s illegal hacking operations in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. In its legal filings, sentContinue Reading

Guardian – How we sold our souls – and more – to the internet giants

Bruce Schneier – Adapted from Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier, published by Norton Book  – Last year, when my refrigerator broke, the repair man replaced the computer that controls it. I realised that I had been thinking about the refrigerator backwards: it’s not a refrigerator with a computer, it’s a computer that keeps foodContinue Reading

UN – Universal Periodic Review – United States

“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the humanContinue Reading

Immigration Court Backlog Reaches Another New High

“The number of new cases awaiting resolution before the Immigration Courts climbed to a new all-time high of 445,607 as of the end of April 2015, according to very timely government court data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). The backlog has risen 9.2 percent since the start of FY 2015 and isContinue Reading

Introduction: Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945

Batlan, Felice, Introduction: Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945 (2015). F. Batlan, Women and Justice for the Poor: A History of Legal Aid, 1863-1945, Cambridge University Press, 2015; Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2605584 “Challenging our assumptions about the history of the legalContinue Reading

Unabated global mean sea-level rise over the satellite altimeter era

“The rate of global mean sea-level (GMSL) rise has been suggested to be lower for the past decade compared with the preceding decade as a result of natural variability, with an average rate of rise since 1993 of +3.2 ± 0.4 mm yr−1. However, satellite-based GMSL estimates do not include an allowance for potential instrumentalContinue Reading

EFF Case Analysis: Appeals Court Rules NSA Phone Records Dragnet is Illegal

Andrew Crocker – “We now have the first decision from a court of appeals on the NSA’s mass surveillance program involving bulk collection of telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and it’s a doozy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in ACLU v. Clapper holding thatContinue Reading

Book Review – Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges

New York Review of Books – Mass Incarceration: The Silence of the Judges, Jed S. Rakoff, May 21, 2015 Issue. What Caused the Crime Decline? a report by Oliver Roeder, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, and Julia Bowling, with a foreword by Joseph E. Stiglitz and an executive summary by Inimai Chettiar Brennan Center for Justice, NYU Law School,Continue Reading

When Is a Justice Department Rule Not a Rule? Report From Twitter’s Transparency Fight

EFF – Karen Gullo – “When is a government rule not a rule? Making that question difficult, when it should be simple, seems to be the government’s leading strategy in a hearing this week in Twitter Inc.’s lawsuit challenging the government’s squelching of its transparency report. Twitter wants to provide a closer look at howContinue Reading