Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Free Speech

DOJ Seeks to Expand Ability to Hack Computers of Suspects

arstechnica – Feds want an expanded ability to hack criminal suspects’ computers – Proposed rules to let one judge authorize “remote access” essentially anywhere.

“The United States Department of Justice wants to broaden its ability to hack criminal suspects’ computers, according to a new legal proposal that was first published by The Wall Street Journal on [March 27, 2015]. If passed as currently drafted, federal authorities would gain an expanded ability to conduct “remote access” under a warrant against a target computer whose location is unknown or outside of a given judicial district. It would also apply in cases where that computer is part of a larger network of computers spread across multiple judicial districts. In the United States, federal warrants are issued by judges who serve one of the 94 federal judicial districts and are typically only valid for that particular jurisdiction. The 402-page document entitled “Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules” is scheduled to be discussed at an upcoming Department of Justice (DOJ) meeting [April 2015] in New Orleans. Federal agents have been known to use such tactics in past and ongoing cases: a Colorado federal magistrate judge approved sending malware to a suspect’s known e-mail address in 2012. But similar techniques have been rejected by other judges on Fourth Amendment grounds. If this rule revision were to be approved, it would standardize and expand federal agents’ ability to surveil a suspect and to exfiltrate data from a target computer regardless of where it is. Peter Carr, a DOJ spokesperson, told Ars that he was “not aware of any figures” as to how many times such “remote access” by law enforcement has taken place.”

NSA surveillance: how librarians have been on the front line to protect privacy

Dan Roberts – The Guardian UK – “In the hours before US senators voted to take on the might of the National Security Agency this week, their inboxes were deluged with more than 2,200 supportive emails from a most unlikely group of revolutionaries: America’s librarians. Their contribution to the passage of the USA Freedom ActContinue Reading

Canarywatch.org Reaches 50 Canaries

EFF – “We’re excited to announce that Canarywatch has added its 50th canary: First Look Media, the parent company for The Intercept—the news site created by journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill.EFF-  “Warrant canary” is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that an internet service provider (ISP) has not received legalContinue Reading

US DOJ IG Report – Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders

FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 through 2009, Oversight and Review Division Report 15-05. May 2015. Redacted. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a public version of its most recent report examining theContinue Reading

Du-Vote: Remote Electronic Voting with Untrusted Computers

Du-Vote: Remote Electronic Voting with Untrusted Computers. Gurchetan S. Grewal, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK;  Mark D. Ryan, School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK; Liqun Chen, HP Laboratories, Bristol, UK; Michael R. Clarkson, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University, US. [via ReadWrite] “Abstract —Du-Vote is a new remote electronic votingContinue Reading

Reddit Now Sharing Notices with Chilling Effects

Chilling Effects Team on May 13, 2015 [Chilling Effects is a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.] “We at Chilling Effects are thrilled to share Reddit’s announcement that the site has begun sharing takedown notices with us! Following on the heels of the release of its first transparency report earlier this year,Continue Reading

UN – Universal Periodic Review – United States

“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the humanContinue Reading

DHS Defends Government Secrecy in “Internet Kill Switch” Case

EPIC – “The Department of Homeland Security has filed a brief in response to EPIC’s petition for rehearing in the “Internet Kill Switch” case. EPIC is seeking the release of the public policy that allows the government to suspend cell phone service. The D.C. Circuit previously ruled that DHS may withhold the policy. EPIC pursuedContinue Reading

New State of America’s Libraries Report finds shift in role of U.S. libraries

ALA News: “According to The State of America’s Libraries Report released today by the American Library Association (ALA), academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as anchors, centers for academic lifeContinue Reading

A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation

Pew Report – “Democrats hold advantages in party identification among blacks, Asians, Hispanics, well-educated adults and Millennials. Republicans have leads among whites – particularly white men, those with less education and evangelical Protestants – as well as members of the Silent Generation. A new analysis of long-term trends in party affiliation among the public providesContinue Reading

Brookings Essay – Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Terrorists

The Big Snoop – The divergent views of four respected experts help frame the debate over the future of the NSA in the Snowden Era – Stuart Taylor, Jr.:  “With the approach of the first anniversary of the most copious and sensational leakage of intelligence secrets in history, the consequences of his actions continue toContinue Reading

Open Government Guide

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “The Open Government Guide is a complete compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states. If you’re a new user of this guide, be sureContinue Reading