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

Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Freedom in the World 2021 Democracy under Siege

 Freedom in the World 2021: “As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world in 2020, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny. Incumbent leaders increasingly used force to crush opponents and settle scores, sometimes in the name of public health, while beleaguered activists—lacking effective international support—faced heavy jail sentences, torture, or murder in many settings. These withering blows marked the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The countries experiencing deterioration outnumbered those with improvements by the largest margin recorded since the negative trend began in 2006. The long democratic recession is deepening. The impact of the long-term democratic decline has become increasingly global in nature, broad enough to be felt by those living under the cruelest dictatorships, as well as by citizens of long-standing democracies. Nearly 75 percent of the world’s population lived in a country that faced deterioration last year. The ongoing decline has given rise to claims of democracy’s inherent inferiority. Proponents of this idea include official Chinese and Russian commentators seeking to strengthen their international influence while escaping accountability for abuses, as well as antidemocratic actors within democratic states who see an opportunity to consolidate power. They are both cheering the breakdown of democracy and exacerbating it, pitting themselves against the brave groups and individuals who have set out to reverse the damage…

For most of the past 75 years, despite many mistakes, the United States has aspired to a foreign policy based on democratic principles and support for human rights. When adhered to, these guiding lights have enabled the United States to act as a leader on the global stage, pressuring offenders to reform, encouraging activists to continue their fight, and rallying partners to act in concert. After four years of neglect, contradiction, or outright abandonment under Trump, President Biden has indicated that his administration will return to that tradition. But to rebuild credibility in such an endeavor and garner the domestic support necessary to sustain it, the United States needs to improve its own democracy. It must strengthen institutions enough to survive another assault, protect the electoral system from foreign and domestic interference, address the structural roots of extremism and polarization, and uphold the rights and freedoms of all people, not just a privileged few…

Republicans seek Pennsylvania voters’ personal information as they try to review the 2020 results

The New York Times: “Pennsylvania Republicans moved on Wednesday to seek personal information on every voter in the state as part of a brewing partisan review of the 2020 election results, rubber-stamping more than a dozen subpoenas for driver’s license numbers and partial Social Security numbers. The expansive request for personal information, directed at Pennsylvania’s… Continue Reading

Report – How Social Media Intensifies U.S. Political Polarization

NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights: September 2021 Report Release, Fueling the Fire: How Social Media Intensifies U.S. Political Polarization — And What Can Be Done About It, Paul M. Barrett, Justin Hendrix, J. Grant Sims. “This report analyzes the evidence bearing on social media’s role in polar-ization, assesses the effects of severe… Continue Reading

LAPD officers told to collect social media data on every civilian they stop

The Guardian: “The Los Angeles police department (LAPD) has directed its officers to collect the social media information of every civilian they interview, including individuals who are not arrested or accused of a crime, according to records shared with the Guardian. Copies of the “field interview cards” that police complete when they question civilians reveal… Continue Reading

Why you should be more concerned about internet shutdowns

MIT Technology Review: “Deliberate internet shutdowns enacted by governments around the world are increasing in frequency and sophistication, according to a recent report. The study, published by Google’s Jigsaw project with the digital rights nonprofit Access Now and the censorship measurement company Censored Planet, says internet shutdowns are growing “exponentially”: out of nearly 850 shutdowns… Continue Reading

Access to Justice

Beinlich, Leander, Access to Justice (July 29, 2021). Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2021-20, in: Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights, edited by Christina Binder, Manfred Nowak, Jane A Hofbauer and Philipp Janig – 2022 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3895602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3895602 “This encyclopedia entry offers an… Continue Reading

Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

“Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) is an impressive piece of art crystallizing the ecological and social tragedies of humanity’s ballooning numbers and consumption. Filled with powerful and evocative images, OVER addresses the many challenges caused by human population size (7.3 billion) and growth (1.5 million people every week). OVER was created as the centerpiece of the… Continue Reading

Data Brokers Know Where You Are and Want to Sell That Intel

Wired: “These firms could track whether you’ve visited your therapist’s office or your ex’s house. And without regulation, they’re a threat to democracy…In a new report for the Cyber Policy Program at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, I surveyed 10 major data brokers and the sensitive data they advertise. They openly and explicitly… Continue Reading

Access to Justice

Beinlich, Leander, Access to Justice (July 29, 2021). Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law & International Law (MPIL) Research Paper No. 2021-20, in: Elgar Encyclopedia of Human Rights, edited by Christina Binder, Manfred Nowak, Jane A Hofbauer and Philipp Janig – 2022 Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3895602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3895602 “This encyclopedia entry offers an… Continue Reading