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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

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

Appeals Court Limits Military Surveillance of Civilian Internet Use

“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in United States v. Dreyer that an agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service violated Defense Department regulations and the Posse Comitatus Act when he conducted a surveillance operation in Washington state to identify civilians who might be sharing illegal files. The 1878 Act prevents the U.S.Continue Reading

Information Sharing Environment: Annual Report to Congress – 2014

“This report is submitted by the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) on behalf of the President, as required by Section 1016 (h) (2) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004, as amended. Accompanying, but distinct from this report, are substantial performance data and links to best practices, lessons learned,Continue Reading