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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

8 challenges for open government posed by emerging technology

Sunlight Foundation: 8 challenges for open government posed by emerging technology – “As 2018 begins, the big tent of open government holds both promise and peril, as nationalism, populism, low trust in institutions, and voter anger and apathy put years of gains at risk. We continue to see meaningful ways for better laws and policies to enable more open, accountable, ethical and effective governance at every level of government though the civic uses of technology, but it would be disingenuous to see the present through rosy glasses. (We watch Black Mirror, too.) 2017 was a bad year for Internet freedom, from the repeal of net neutrality in the USA to censorship, shutdowns, surveillance, and the poisoning of civic discourse online…We expect to confront fresh challenges posed by emerging technologies as well, making sense of how sunshine laws should adjust to novel context. In no particular order, here are eight areas that the press, public and governments have asked us about in recent months, with some thoughts about how lawmakers and regulators should adjust…”

Wired – The Golden Age of Free Speech?

It’s the [Democracy-Poisoning] Golden Age of Free Speech: “..In today’s networked environment, when anyone can broadcast live or post their thoughts to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible. This should be the golden age of free speech. And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can… Continue Reading

Americans See More News Bias; Most Can’t Name Neutral Source

Gallup News: “Americans’ perceptions of news media bias have increased significantly over the past generation. Thirty-two percent believe the news media are careful to separate fact from opinion, well below the 58% who held this view in 1984. Meanwhile, 66% currently agree that most news media do not do a good job of letting people… Continue Reading

Freedom in the World 2018 Democracy in Crisis

Freedom House – Freedom in the World 2018, Democracy in Crisis: “Democracy is in retreat globally and, some say, in the United States. Exacerbating the democratic backslide are authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, which have increased both repression at home and efforts to export instability abroad. On the home front, indifference toward democratic… Continue Reading

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing of Federal Drug Offenses

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing of Federal Drug Offenses – CRS report via FAS – Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law, January 11, 2018: “As a general rule, federal judges must impose a minimum term of imprisonment upon defendants convicted of various controlled substance (drug) offenses and drug-related offenses. The severity of those sentences depends… Continue Reading

Martin Luther King’s entire FBI file as posted by the original Memory Hole

Russ Kick – “The existence of MLK’s full file had been known in certain circles; many university libraries have it on microform/microfiche, and it’s been used as source material for numerous books through the years. So in 2008, I filed a FOIA request specifically asking for the entire thing on PDF. And I got it.… Continue Reading

LIS News – Ten Stories That Shaped 2017

LIS NEWS – Can you believe it’s almost 2018? That means it’s time to look back at some of the notable library-related stories from the past year. 10. Librarians Fight Fake News The problems with fake news caused many of us to revamp our web evaluation handouts into guides for spotting bogus information sources. 9.… Continue Reading

Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census, Alarming Experts

ProPublica: “Two members of Congress are pushing back against a proposal by the Justice Department to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census. In a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has the authority to decide on census questions, Reps. Jose Serrano and Grace Meng, both New York Democrats, call on… Continue Reading

Women and Men in STEM Often at Odds Over Workplace Equity

“For women working in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) jobs, the workplace is a different, sometimes more hostile environment than the one their male coworkers experience. Discrimination and sexual harassment are seen as more frequent, and gender is perceived as more of an impediment than an advantage to career success. Three groups of women… Continue Reading

California Senate to Hear EFF’s License Plate Cover Bill

EFF – “Across the country, private companies are deploying vehicles mounted with automated license plate readers (ALPRs) to drive up and down streets to document the travel patterns of everyday drivers. These systems take photos of every license plate they see, tag them with time and location, and upload them to a central database. These… Continue Reading

Crossing the Line: What Counts as Online Harassment?

Americans agree that certain behaviors constitute online harassment, but they are more divided on others – “Pew Research Center surveys have found that online harassment is a common phenomenon in the digital lives of many Americans, and that a majority of Americans feel harassment online is a major problem. Even so, there is considerable debate… Continue Reading

Immigration Court Backlog Tops 650,000

“During the first two months of FY 2018, the Immigration Court number of pending cases climbed by an additional 30,000. According to the latest case-by-case court records, the backlog at the end of November 2017 had reached 658,728, up from 629,051 at the end of September 2017. Despite the hiring of many additional immigration judges,… Continue Reading