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Category Archives: Congress

You Are Now Remotely Controlled – Privacy is not private

The New York Times Opinion By author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.

…Privacy is not private, because the effectiveness of these and other private or public surveillance and control systems depends upon the pieces of ourselves that we give up — or that are secretly stolen from us. Our digital century was to have been democracy’s Golden Age. Instead, we enter its third decade marked by a stark new form of social inequality best understood as “epistemic inequality.” It recalls a pre-Gutenberg era of extreme asymmetries of knowledge and the power that accrues to such knowledge, as the tech giants seize control of information and learning itself. The delusion of “privacy as private” was crafted to breed and feed this unanticipated social divide. Surveillance capitalists exploit the widening inequity of knowledge for the sake of profits. They manipulate the economy, our society and even our lives with impunity, endangering not just individual privacy but democracy itself. Distracted by our delusions, we failed to notice this bloodless coup from above…The belief that privacy is private has left us careening toward a future that we did not choose, because it failed to reckon with the profound distinction between a society that insists upon sovereign individual rights and one that lives by the social relations of the one-way mirror. The lesson is that privacy is public — it is a collective good that is logically and morally inseparable from the values of human autonomy and self-determination upon which privacy depends and without which a democratic society is unimaginable…”

Commentary – Google and Amazon make us worse people

CNET – “Let me show you a magic trick. Make a choice — any choice. You’re already online, so maybe you want to read the news, check your email, surf your newsfeed, buy some food or any other number of things. Now for the trick, I’m going to tell you the companies that facilitated whatever… Continue Reading

A no-BS guide to how a House impeachment process really works

Vox: “Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is the only member of Congress who was part of the Nixon impeachment, the Clinton impeachment, and is still serving today. Lofgren is also the second-most-senior Democrat on the crucial Judiciary Committee. In the latest episode of Impeachment, Explained, she walks us through how a House impeachment process actually works,… Continue Reading

Reporters Cmte and 57 news orgs urge Senate to reconsider impeachment trial press restrictions

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “In a letter sent Thursday night, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 57 news organizations, asked the Senate to reconsider press restrictions during the impeachment trial that have been the subject of growing criticism over the past week. “Absent an articulable security rationale,” the… Continue Reading

Oversight Committee Finds Widespread Ethics Issues at EPA

On January 17, 2020 “Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Harley Rouda, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) releasing new information in the Committee’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s use of ethics waivers to allow political appointees… Continue Reading

Impeachment managers previewed arguments in legal brief filed Saturday

Vox: “…The first legal filings for the Senate impeachment trial gave a preview of what to expect in the upcoming weeks: The House impeachment managers called for Trump’s removal, arguing that his “conduct is the Framers’ worst nightmare,” while the president’s defense team called the entire impeachment process “brazen and unlawful.” House impeachment managers filed… Continue Reading

Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues

EveryCRSReport: Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues,, January 14, 2020: “Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the President “to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” The power has its roots in the king’s prerogative to grant mercy under early English law, which… Continue Reading

FBI Changes Policy for Notifying States of Election Systems Cyber Breaches

WSJ.com [paywall] – “The Federal Bureau of Investigation will notify state officials when local election systems are believed to have been breached by hackers, a pivot in policy that comes after criticism that the FBI wasn’t doing enough to inform states of election threats. The FBI’s previous policy stated that it notified the direct victims… Continue Reading

GAO – Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid

GAO – Office of Management and Budget—Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance. B-331564: Jan 16, 2020. In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine… Continue Reading

Trump impeachment trial: legacy of judicial independence at stake

The Christian Science Monitor – As Roberts enters fray, legacy of judicial independence at stake – Why We Wrote This: “Presiding over an impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts will seek to embody the judicial independence he often promotes. But the remainder of the Supreme Court term may be a tougher test…For an institutionalist like… Continue Reading

EFF Asks Supreme Court To Reverse Dangerous Rulings About API Copyrightability and Fair Use

EFF: “Washington D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that functional aspects of Oracle’s Java programming language are not copyrightable, and even if they were, employing them to create new computer code falls under fair use protections. The court is reviewing a long-running lawsuit Oracle filed against Google, which… Continue Reading