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Category Archives: Free Speech

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics / Volume 12 / Issue 03 / September 2014, pp 564-581

“Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges. Michael V. Seitzinger, Legislative Attorney; Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. October 15, 2014. “Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and inContinue Reading

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

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

Russia, Ukraine, and the West: Social Media Sentiment in the Euromaidan Protests

“Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of  “Russia, Ukraine, and the West: Social Media Sentiment in the Euromaidan Protests,” the fourth in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet controls and online activity. The report, authored by Bruce Etling, analyzes content from a range of online Russian- and English-language sources,Continue Reading

A Public Accountability Defense for National Security Leakers and Whistleblowers

A Public Accountability Defense for National Security Leakers and Whistleblowers, Yochai Benkler. The Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol 8 No 2. July 2014. “In June 2013 Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Barton Gellman began to publish stories in  The Guardian and The Washington Post based on arguably the most significant national security leak in American history. By leakingContinue Reading

Mapping Digital Media: Global Findings

Open Society Foundations: “The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by new and digital media. Covering 56 countries, the project assesses how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide—news about political, economic, and social affairs—and how they can help advance open society values. Is aContinue Reading

Testimony of Nuala O’Connor on Open Internet Rules

“CDT President & CEO testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 17, 2014. The hearing, entitled “Why Net Neutrality Matters: Protecting Consumers and Competition Through Meaningful Open internet Rules,” comes as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) works to restore open Internet protections and has sought public comments on the best path forward.” “We believe thatContinue Reading

The Crypto-democracy and the Trustworthy

Sebastien Gambs, Samuel Ranellucci, and Alain Tapp (Submitted on 8 Sep 2014).  Cite as: arXiv:1409.2432 “In the current architecture of the Internet, there is a strong asymmetry in terms of power between the entities that gather and process personal data (e.g., major Internet companies, telecom operators, cloud providers, …) and the individuals from which this personal data is issued. InContinue Reading

International Law and Secret Surveillance: Binding Restrictions upon State Monitoring of Telephone and Internet Activity

CDT: “In the year that has followed Edward Snowden’s first disclosures concerning secret US and UK surveillance practices, many governments, human-rights groups, and UN bodies have debated—and at times disagreed sharply—about whether the Internet and telephone surveillance practices that governments employ today are consistent with international law. With a view to informing these discussions, thisContinue Reading

ABA Draft Report on Stand Your Ground Laws

American Bar Association National Task Force on Stand Your Ground Laws, Preliminary Report and Recommendations, August 8, 2014. “This report represents the culmination of the Task Force’s analysis of a substantial compilation of information: testimony from experts and stakeholders received at five regional hearings, extensive legal research on each jurisdiction’s self-defense regime, quantitative assessments ofContinue Reading

Federal and State Wiretaps Up 5% in 2013 According to Annual Report

EPIC: “The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has issued the 2013 Wiretap Report, detailing the use of surveillance authorities by law enforcement agencies. This annual report, one of the most comprehensive issued by any agency, provides an insight into the debate over surveillance authorities and the use of privacy-enhancing technologies. In 2013, wiretap applications increasedContinue Reading