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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Continued Bipartisan Support for Expanded Background Checks on Gun Sales

“Two years after the failure of Senate legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases, the public continues to overwhelmingly support making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Currently, 85% of Americans – including large majorities of Democrats (88%) and Republicans (79%) – favor expanded background checks, little changed from May 2013 (81%). The latest Pew Research Center poll of 2,002 adults, conducted July 14-20, finds that opinions about other gun policy proposals also are largely unchanged from two years ago, shortly after the December 2012 school shootings in Newtown, Conn. Nearly eight-in-ten (79%) favor laws to prevent people with mental illness from purchasing guns, 70% back the creation of a federal database to track all gun sales, while a smaller majority (57%) supports a ban on assault-style weapons…”

Census Data Used For Comprehensive Visualization of Segregation in American Cities

Wired – “This is the most comprehensive map of race in America ever created [by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service]. White people are shown with blue dots; African-Americans with green; Asians with red; and Latinos with orange, with all other race categories from the Census represented by brown.Continue Reading

Thousands of Americans cannot make bail each year and end up in jail

The Bail Trap, Nick Pinto, New York Times Magazine, August 15, 2015 “Criminal justice,” President Obama said in a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. last month, “is not as fair as it should be. Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it.” Two days after the speech, Obama becameContinue Reading

Review Federal Agencies on Yelp

Yelp Official Blog: “We are excited to announce that Yelp has concluded an agreement with the federal government that will allow federal agencies and offices to claim their Yelp pages, read and respond to reviews, and incorporate that feedback into service improvements. We encourage Yelpers to review any of the thousands of agency field offices,Continue Reading

CRS – National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background, Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. July 31, 2015. “Five federal statutes authorize intelligence officials to request certain business record information in connection with national security investigations. The authority to issue these national security letters (NSLs) is comparable to theContinue Reading

Apple releases new diversity report

Apple’s Diversity Report still highlights a staff of employees that are 54% white and 69% male: “Our most recently filed Federal Employer Information Report EEO-1 is available for download here, representing employees as of July 2014. We will make the 2015 EEO-1 available when we file it with the federal government. We make these documentsContinue Reading

Another Snowden Reveal – Telecom Giant Provides Massive Data Pipeline to NSA

NYT and ProPublica investigative reports: “The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newlyContinue Reading

Central American Deportation Cases Dominate U.S. Immigration Courts

“Persons from Central America continue to outnumber those from Mexico when DHS seeks deportation orders in Immigration Court, according to the latest government data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). During the first ten months of fiscal year 2015, 42 percent of DHS filings involved individuals from Central America, primarily Guatemala, El SalvadorContinue Reading

Reducing Mass Incarceration Requires Far-Reaching Reforms

The Prison Population Forecaster – Ryan King, Bryce Peterson, Brian Elderbroom, and Elizabeth Pelletier – “Roughly 2.2 million people are locked up in prison or jail; 7 million are under correctional control, which includes parole and probation; and more than $80 billion is spent on corrections every year. Research has shown that policy changes overContinue Reading

Court moves mass internet surveillance case one step forward

EFF – Cindy Cohn:  “NSA Spying: Government’s Latest Delay Tactic Fails The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today rejected the government’s latest attempt to delay consideration of whether the NSA’s tapping into the Internet backbone is legal in Jewel v. NSA, clearing the path for the first appellate court decision onContinue Reading

GAO Report – Facial Recognition Technology

Facial Recognition Technology: Commercial Uses, Privacy Issues, and Applicable Federal Law, GAO-15-621: Published: Jul 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2015. “Facial recognition technology can be used in numerous consumer and business applications, but the extent of its current use in commercial settings is not fully known. The technology is commonly used in software thatContinue Reading

Across Racial Lines, More Say Nation Needs to Make Changes to Achieve Racial Equality

Pew Report – “Over the past year, there has been a substantial rise in the share of Americans — across racial and ethnic groups — who say the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites, and a growing number of Americans view racism as a big problem in society.Continue Reading