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Notes on Civil Liberties for July 28

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

Student in an Indiana high school slapped with felony charge for a school prank. This is just part of the “school-to-prison” pipeline in America, where schools have zero tolerance policies and kids end up in juvenile/criminal justice system.

The gay blood donation ban about to be lifted? HHS takes a look at the policy to see “if there is a way to let at least some gays donate blood.” (Why some gays? What about all gays? If you let some gays, you can surely let all gays. The homophobes aren’t going to go halfsies and allow just some gays as a compromise.)

Two US senators continue to have their effort to learn about the government’s interpretation of a domestic surveillance law stonewalled by the Obama administration. But, Sen. Mark Udall and Sen. Ron Wyden remain committed to finding out the legal basis for certain intelligence gathering activities.

Lawsuit against Gov. Rick Perry’s Christian prayer summit is dismissed. Judge found since the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that brought the lawsuit was not “coerced into attending the rally” they had no standing for their lawsuit.

David House’s laptop was seized for forty-nine days because he did not provide the government with the password to violate his Fourth Amendment rights. Thus, it took them longer to do forensics on the computer. That’s the conclusion of Justice Department, basically.

South Korean woman takes on major shipbuilding company. She declares war against massive layoffs by the company and has been protesting 115 feet above ground in a jib crane since January 6th of this year. Her story here.

Palestinian human rights group releases a report on Israeli torture of Palestinians. The human rights group, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, documents the “deeply-entrenched reality of impunity” in Israel along with the ways Israel refuses to afford Palestinian detainees basic legal protections.

Human Rights Watch report accuses Pakistan forces of torture and killings. The report calls attention to the number of people in the Balochistan province being detained, tortured and “disappeared.”

Are senators using the debt ceiling talks to re-up the FISA Amendments Act? Sen. Udall & Sen. Wyden, who seem to be the only US senators that will lift a finger to defend civil liberties, have an amendment ready just in case the Senate Intelligence Committee tries to renew FAA.

Study shows the Internet download performance of four million users in the country. The data clearly shows that not everyone has equal Internet access in the United States.

And, today’s video:

From yesterday, Stieg Larsson lifetime partner Eva Gabrielsson on Larsson’s research into the far right in Europe.


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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."