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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Report claims NSA has operatives in foreign communications companies

“The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access toContinue Reading

Twitter – Taking the fight for #transparency to court

Twitter news release: ” As part of our latest transparency report released in July, wedescribed how we were being prohibited from reporting on the actual scope of surveillance of Twitter users by the U.S. government. Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosingContinue Reading

EFF Launches IFightSurveillance.org and Counter-Surveillance Success Stories

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched IFightSurveillance.org, a new site showcasing digital privacy advocates from around the world who are leading the fight against mass surveillance. The site includes figures from the organization’s growing list of Counter-Surveillance Success Stories, a set of guides showing how individuals and organizations have taken on state and corporateContinue Reading

NSA Releases “12333” Report, Fails to Address Bulk Collection

EPIC: “The NSA released a privacy report on its surveillance activities under 12333, an Executive Order that provides broad authority for data collection. But the report only addresses a narrow aspect of the EO 12333 collection – protections for U.S. persons in the context of targeted signal intelligence activities. The report fails to address bulk collection orContinue Reading

Commentary – How Social Media Leads to a Less Stable World

While social media provides myriad benefits, the advances in connectivity and wealth may come at the expense of the state and the world’s stability, writes Curtis Hougland, CEO of Attentionusa.com, a global social marketing agency.  “James Foley. David Haines. Steven Sotloff. The list of people beheaded by followers of the Islamic State of Iraq andContinue Reading

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

CRS – Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses. Kenneth Katzman,  Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. October 1, 2014 “Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, a priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. However, a common enemy has emerged in the form of theContinue Reading

Identifying the Culprit: Assessing Eyewitness Identification (2014)

“Eyewitnesses play an important role in criminal cases when they can identify culprits. Estimates suggest that tens of thousands of eyewitnesses make identifications in criminal investigations each year. Research on factors that affect the accuracy of eyewitness identification procedures has given us an increasingly clear picture of how identifications are made, and more importantly, anContinue Reading

Pew – Prison and Crime: A Complex Link

Crime drop since 1994 has been bigger in states that cut imprisonment rates. “Two decades after Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — with lawmakers focused on locking up more offenders for longer periods — the nation’s imprisonment rate has climbed 24 percent and crime has declined 40 percent.Continue Reading

Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office 2014 Annual Report to Congress

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS or Department) Privacy Office is the first statutorily created privacy office in any federal agency, as set forth in Section 222 of the  Homeland Security Act of 2002, as amended. The mission of the Privacy Office is to protect all individuals by embedding and enforcing privacy protections and transparency inContinue Reading

Retired NSA Technical Director Explains Snowden Docs

Confronting Cognitive ‘Anchoring Effect’ and ‘Blind Spot’ Biases in Federal Sentencing

Bennett, Mark W., Confronting Cognitive ‘Anchoring Effect’ and ‘Blind Spot’ Biases in Federal Sentencing: A Modest Solution for Reforming a Fundamental Flaw (July 5, 2014). Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 104, No. 3, p. 489, 2014. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2503423 “Cognitive “anchoring effect” bias, especially related to numbers, like sentencing guidelines ranges,Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Afghanistan Equipment Drawdown, Bureau of Prisons, Elections, Unmanned Aerial Systems

AFGHANISTAN EQUIPMENT DRAWDOWN: Progress Made, but Improved Controls in Decision Making Could Reduce Risk of Unnecessary Expenditures, GAO-14-768: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2014. BUREAU OF PRISONS: Information on Efforts and Potential Options to Save Costs, GAO-14-821: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2014. ELECTIONS: Observations on Wait Times for Voters on Election Day 2012, GAO-14-850: Published: SepContinue Reading