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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

EFF’s Street-Level Surveillance Project Dissects Police Technology

“Step onto any city street and you may find yourself subject to numerous forms of police surveillance—many imperceptible to the human eye. A cruiser equipped with automated license plate readers (also known as ALPRs) may have just logged where you parked your car. A cell-site simulator may be capturing your cell-phone data incidentally while detectives track a suspect nearby. That speck in the sky may be a drone capturing video of your commute. Police might use face recognition technology to identify you in security camera footage. EFF first launched its Street-Level Surveillance project in 2015 to help inform the public about the advanced technologies that law enforcement are deploying in our communities, often without any transparency or public process.  We’ve scored key victories in state legislatures and city councils, limiting the adoption of these technologies and how they can be used, but the surveillance continues to spread, agency by agency. To combat the threat, EFF is proud to release the latest update to our work: a new mini-site that shines light on a wide range of surveillance technologies, including ALPRs, cell-site simulators, drones, face recognition, and body-worn cameras….”

Unaffordable cash bail is one of the largest drivers of the mass incarceration epidemic in the U.S.

“The Bail Project is an unprecedented national effort to combat mass incarceration by keeping tens of thousands of Americans out of pretrial detention. – With your help, within five years, we will establish 40 sites across the country with the goal of paying bail for 160,000 people over that period. There is a long tradition… Continue Reading

Dr. Carla D. Hayden, Librarian of Congress: Featured Keynote at OCLC ARC17

“Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the United States Librarian of Congress, was our first keynote speaker at the inaugural OCLC Americas Regional Council (ARC) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 30 October 2017. Dr. Hayden discussed the history of library innovation and the role that libraries can play as trusted, smart sources in the information ecosystem.” Continue Reading

Report – Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy

Freedom House – Freedom of the Net 2017: “Governments around the world have dramatically increased their efforts to manipulate information on social media over the past year. The Chinese and Russian regimes pioneered the use of surreptitious methods to distort online discussions and suppress dissent more than a decade ago, but the practice has since… Continue Reading

The State of Free Speech and Tolerance in America

Americans Say Political Correctness Has Silenced Discussions Society Needs to Have; Most Have Views They’re Afraid to Share “Nearly three-fourths (71%) of Americans believe that political correctness has done more to silence important discussions our society needs to have. A little more than a quarter (28%) instead believe that political correctness has done more to… Continue Reading

FBI Releases 2016 Hate Crime Statistics

“Today the FBI released Hate Crime Statistics, 2016, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation. Submitted by 15,254 law enforcement agencies, the 2016 data provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes. Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 6,121 criminal incidents and 7,321… Continue Reading

AP reports 91% of Trump court nominees are white – 81% are white males

AP:  “President Donald Trump is nominating white men to America’s federal courts at a rate not seen in nearly 30 years, threatening to reverse a slow transformation toward a judiciary that reflects the nation’s diversity. So far, 91 percent of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found.… Continue Reading

NYT Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary

Trump Reshaping Courts at Fastest Pace in Five Decades – “Republican lawyers and lawmakers are working together to install conservative judges on the influential federal appeals courts at a clip not seen in decades…In the weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, lawyers joining his administration gathered at a law firm near the Capitol, where… Continue Reading

NYT – After Weinstein: A List of Men Accused of Sexual Misconduct and the Fallout for Each

“After multiple women came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer, of sexual misconduct, at least 20 high-profile men in a variety of industries have also been accused. Since then, a number have resigned, been fired or experienced other fallout after claims ranging from inappropriate text messages to rape. Here is a list of… Continue Reading

Equifax says it owns all its data about you – really!

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing – Protecting Consumers in the Era of Major Data Breaches – November 8, 2017: “…“Massive data breaches have touched the vast majority of American consumers,” said [Senator John] Thune [R- S.D.]. “When such breaches occur, urgent action is necessary to protect sensitive personal information. This hearing will give the public the… Continue Reading

Once considered a boon to democracy, social media have started to look like its nemesis

The Economist – “…Looking at the role that social media have played in politics in the past couple of years, it is the fake-news squalor of Gamergate, not the activist idealism of the Euromaidan, which seems to have set the tone. In Germany the far-right Alternative for Germany party won 12.6% of parliamentary seats in… Continue Reading

A data journalist’s microguide to environmental data

Data Driven Journalism: “With the recent onslaught of hurricanes, such as Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and wildfires in Spain, Portugal and California, data journalists have been working hard to interpret scientific data, as well as getting creative to make it reader friendly. The COP23 (do I hear climate change?) also serves as a great opportunity… Continue Reading