Notes on Civil Liberties for July 21
Here’s today’s blog for the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. If you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- LulzSec hackers hold back on dumping News Corp emails and decide to be a bit more like WikiLeaks. They now claim they are working with media outlets on releasing some of what they got when they hacked into The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World newspaper.
- The military-security-telecom complex on stage at this panel on internet security in “the age of WikiLeaks.” PC magazine has a write up on the panel event that happened today and featured individuals from AT&T, an Air Force Network Operations commander and a moderator from Fortune magazine.
- Medical marijuana advocacy group is taking DEA to court for claim that marijuana has no medicinal value.
- A profile of the prosecutor that the Obama Administration has going after leaks. William Welch, in this profile from Shane Harris in The Washingtonian, details how Welch pursued NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake.
- Pam’s House Blend has two posts that worth noting on the DOMA repeal: one is a guest column by Tobias Barrington Wolff, former chair of LGBT policy for the 2008 Obama campaign, and the second features this video from 1996 showing arguments that were used to during the debate on DOMA.
- The Pentagon has a top research team that has rushed a classified and controversial intelligence program into Afghanistan. Noah Shachtman at Wired’s Danger Room blog has a report on “Nexus 7,” a “previously undisclosed surveillance effort” in Afghanistan.
- A trove of documents allegedly downloaded off of JSTOR appears on the torrent site Pirate Bay days after Aaron Swartz is charged with hacking for downloading too many academic articles. The person who posts them names himself saying he is Greg Maxwell. The torrent contains 18,,952 scientific articles from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. More here.
- Ghana’s crackdown on gays: The Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo MP orders the immediate arrest of all homosexuals in the western part of the country.
- Gov. Rick Scott of Florida is privatizing Florida’s prison system. Adam Serwer of The American Prospect has this blog on Scott’s move and the Police Benevolent Association’s move to stop 30 prisons from being privatized.
- ACLU and ACLU of Michigan sues for records on how the FBI is collecting racial and ethnic data in Michigan. They are seeking records from the FBI and Justice Department on the FBI’s claimed authority to map “behaviors” of racial and ethnic groups along with “lifestyle characteristics” of these groups.
- The Pelican Bay prisoner hunger strike is not over. But, CDCR says it’s over. The prisoners have not accepted whatever CDCR thinks it has offered to the prisoners. The organizing and resistance to solitary confinement in the prison continues.
- Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report on what he calls fake criminal justice reform in Georgia. Dixon asks, “How do you reform the “criminal justice system” without acknowledging systematic torture, endemic corruption, pervasive racial and class bias, the failure of the war on drugs, and the massive economic and social devastation it wreaks upon entire communities?” What’s the answer? He says, “You don’t.” Full op-ed here.
- Will New York be the next state to consider legalizing medical marijuana? Gov. Andrew Cuomo is now being pushed to take action and evolve on this issue.
- Lawyers and legislators want more done against firms that do not uphold principles of digital freedom. The Economist on passing legislation or taking action in court to force companies to not help regimes crack down on dissenters.
- PolitiFact thinks it’s figured out where Obama stands on a key campaign promise related to the PATRIOT Act. The conclude he “compromised” and didn’t break his promise to revise the PATRIOT Act to increase oversight on government surveillance. PolitiFact explains.
And, today’s video—
Posted a couple days ago: Jeremy Scahill appears on Thom Hartmann’s show to talk more about uncovering secret CIA sites in Somalia and more.