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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Records Reveal Extensive Monitoring of E-ZPass Tags Throughout NY

ACLU – “New documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union reveal that wireless E-ZPass tollbooth transponders are being read routinely throughout New York City to systematically collect location data about drivers. At the NYCLU, we were surprised when we first heard this might be happening. In late 2013, NYCLU staff went on a car ride with a privacy activist who designed a cow-shaped device that mooed every time it detected signals on the same frequency that E-ZPass readers use. We listened as the cow mooed its way through Midtown and Lower Manhattan — though we weren’t at any toll plazas, something was reading the E-ZPass tag in our car. This prompted us to file New York Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to find out why E-ZPass readers had been installed far from any toll booths for some purpose unrelated to their intended use, and what privacy protections, if any, were in place. Earlier this week, the NYCLU released the result of that investigation (part of a new webpage that hosts records obtained through FOIL requests on how government agencies are collect information on New Yorkers). The systematic placement of the E-Zpass readers can be clearly seen in these maps.”

Key Federal Agencies Lack Timely Response to Basic FOIA Request

“The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse sent 21 federal agencies identical FOIA requests on Jan. 22nd and 23rd. Sixty-five business days later, only seven agencies have provided usable data in response to the request. One agency, the CIA, denied the request, which is for basic records that track the processing of the FOIA requests the agencyContinue Reading

CRS – Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress

Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress. Mark P. Sullivan Specialist in Latin American Affairs, April 17, 2015. “Cuba remains a one-party communist state with a poor record on human rights. The country’s political succession in 2006 from the long-ruling Fidel Castro to his brother Raúl was characterized by a remarkable degree of stability. In 2013,Continue Reading

DHS Data Framework – Interim Process to Address Emergent Threat

Privacy Impact Assessment for the DHS Data Framework – Interim Process to Address an Emergent Threat. DHS/ALL/PIA-051 April 15 , 2015. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is publishing this Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) to explain its plan to expedite DHS’s ability to meet a critical mission need through the use of an interim manualContinue Reading

NIST Seeks Comments on De-identification Report

EPIC – “The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a draft report on “De-Identification of Personally Identifiable Information.” The agency is requesting comments by May 15. The NIST report reviews de-identification techniques and research, including work by EPIC Advisory Board members Cynthia Dwork and Latanya Sweeney. Last year, in response to a similarContinue Reading

Toward a Social Compact for Digital Privacy and Security

Global Commission on Internet Governance -“The Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) was established in January 2014 to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of Internet governance. In recent deliberations, the Commission discussed the potential for a damaging erosion of trust in the absence of a broad social agreement on norms forContinue Reading

Terrorist Databases and the No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation

Terrorist Databases and the No Fly List: Procedural Due Process and Hurdles to Litigation. Jared P. Cole, Legislative Attorney. April 2, 2015. “In order to protect national security, the government maintains various terrorist watchlists, including the “No Fly” list, which contains the names of individuals to be denied boarding on commercial airline flights. Travelers onContinue Reading

El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala Account for 38% of Immigration Court Filings

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse: “Three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — account for over a third (38 percent) of removal orders sought by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) so far this fiscal year, according to the latest Immigration Court data covering the period through the end of March 2015. DuringContinue Reading

Report – Metadata collection of Americans’ international calls began in 1992

Brad Health – USAToday: “The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed. For more than two decades, the Justice Department andContinue Reading

S. 766, Driver Privacy Act of 2015

CBO – “S. 766 would establish that any data collected by event data recorders (EDRs) in motor vehicles are the property of the owner or lessee of the vehicle and would set broad conditions under which such data could be retrieved by others for purposes such as judicial proceedings, investigations, and traffic safety research. TheContinue Reading

Massive AT&T Consumer Privacy Violation Results in $25 Million FCC Penalty

EPIC – “The Federal Communications Commission has settled an enforcement action against AT&T for the company’s massive consumer privacy violations. According to the Commission, employees at AT&T call centers around the world accessed the “CPNI” (call record information) of nearly 280,000 U.S. customers without their permission. Then AT&T distributed that information to traffickers of stolenContinue Reading

Amnesty International Report on Afghan Women At Risk

“Women human rights defenders in Afghanistan who face mounting violence – including threats, sexual assault and assassinations- are being abandoned by their own government despite the significant gains they have fought to achieve, Amnesty International said in a new report today. Their Lives On The Line documents how champions for the rights of women andContinue Reading