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Notes on Civil Liberties for July 18

Here’s today’s blog for the latest news and updates on civil liberties and digital freedom issues. All times are in EST. And, if you have any news tips and would like to contact me, email

  • Atlanta City Council has okayed a measure that will bring Big Brother to Atlanta. A network of thousands of public and privately owned cameras are going to be setup throughout the city.
  • NYT publishes an op-ed calling attention to what the Pelican Bay prisoner hunger strikers are resisting from Colin Dayan, a professor of English at Vanderbilt University and author of “The Law Is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons.” The op-ed – “Barbarous Confinement” – and concludes, “Solitary confinement has been transmuted from an occasional tool of discipline into a widespread form of preventive detention.”
  • The high cost of the death penalty in California –  California taxpayers have spent over $4 billion on administering a death penalty in the state. The ACLU publishes a report on how the California death penalty is dead.
  • Seattle has passed a bill that regulates medical marijuana shops
  • Anonymous, the hacktivist group known for supporting WikiLeaks, has launched its own social network,, that it says will protect against the fear of Internet censorship. The push to establish an independent community comes after Google+ suspended the Anonymous group.
  • NFL runningback Rashard Mendenhall is suing Hanesbrand for firing him as an endorser after he made some remarks on 9/11 on Twitter after Osama bin Laden was killed. The suit argues, “This case involves the core question of whether an athlete employed as a celebrity endorser loses the right to express opinions simply because the company whose products he endorses might disagree with some (but not all) of those opinions.”
  • Why the US needs a data privacy law: At Ars Technica, Justin Brookman writes, “With tremendous attention to privacy issues and widespread consumer support for basic consumer protections, we have the best opportunity in memory to enact basic rules to give people control of their personal information and to give them confidence in an increasingly complex data ecosystem.”
  • National Lawyers Guild are victorious in a key Internet free speech case. Two NLG lawyers defended activists from Mt. Hope Baptist Church, who issued the subpoenas demanding they turn over their Internet account records. Google received subpoenas and turned over the records. Riseup, on the other hand, chose to challenge the subpoenas.
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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."