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Notes on Civil Liberties for August 18

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

Protests and civil disobedience against the Obama administration’s “Secure Communities” program have taken place all over the country. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) posts “a batch of unredacted documents” that provide more alarming details on the atrocious program. For example, “an acknowledgement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys that they would have to “rewrite” memos on whether the program is mandatory for states and localities” can be found in the documents.

Investigative journalist John Pilger weighs in on the UK riots. He doesn’t excuse the violence but does conclude the riots were “an authentic reflection of a system of greed and self-interest to which scores of parasitic money-movers, “entrepreneurs”, Murdochites, corrupt MPs and bent coppers have devoted themselves.” [Similar to what I suggested.]

Catch up on the latest with “WikiLeaks Notes” — over at WikiLeaks Central.

Think Progress has a report on infamous corporate hacker Aaron Barr. Known for his work with HBGary and his participation in hatching a plot to sabotage WikiLeaks, Think Progress looked at emails leaked by Anonymous and found “Holly Weber,” one of the members of Barr’s fake persona army inspired by Maxim magazine. This army could have been used to go after progressive organizations.

Free Press’ Timothy Karr on BART and “the new era of censorship.” Karr declares, “Governments have routinely sought to shut down technologies that disrupt their authority. But our basic freedoms should remain intact.”

And, Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” has a segment on censorship in the West. EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow discusses the use of social media for demonstrations, riots, etc and the government response.

Three reports on on the use of circumvention tools to promote information access on the Internet: The Berkman Center has posted each report, which looks at Internet control and evaluates various circumvention tools available for use.

A dispatch from the Tavis Smiley & Cornel West poverty tour: Read about Smiley’s attempt to humanize poverty.

The Dissenter‘s Jeff Kaye has another installment of his work on the use of water torture by the US military up at Truthout. The article provides more examples of the use of water torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo.

BitTorrent has helped large ISPs like Comcast make money. A new report from Northwestern University and Telefónica Research exploring BitTorrent’s impact on costs and traffic. And, they found large Tier 2 ISPs profit from BitTorrent use.

Glenn Greenwald looks at Obama’s power over Congress versus George W. Bush’s power over Congress. His post is a comprehensive look at the fallacy that Congress is weak and that is why Obama hasn’t been able to do much.

For those wondering, an “Anon” explains the nature of the group Anonymous. The “Anon” makes clear Anonymous is *not* an organization, has no hierarchy or leadership and is an idea.

And for today’s video, since I’m a member of a band now, a tune that is definitely a regular inclusion in our setlist:

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

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