Every crappy thing in the world is beta-tested on people who have little or no power, perfected, and brought to the rest of us -- CCTV starts with prisoners, moves to mental institutions, then to schools, then to blue-collar workplaces, then airports, then white-collar workplaces, then everywhere.
Read the rest
It's not uncommon for legal opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to be classified; whenever the President wants to do something nefarious -- like authorizing the CIA's program of torture -- he'll get a memo out of the OLC, and then classify the whole thing: the action and its justification.
Read the rest
In a thoughtful New York Times editorial, science fiction giant William Gibson mediates on the difference between the privacy that individuals have and deserve, the privacy that governments assert ("What does it mean, in an ostensible democracy, for the state to keep secrets from its citizens?"), and what this will mean for the historians of the future. Read the rest
In this Chinese government comic book, women are warned that mysterious foreign strangers who pitch woo at them are secretly Western spies trying to get at their government secrets. Read the rest
“We appreciate that there are times when secrecy around a government warrant is needed,” Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post Thursday. “But based on the many secrecy orders we have received, we question whether these orders are grounded in specific facts that truly demand secrecy. To the contrary, it appears that the issuance of secrecy orders has become too routine.”
Read the rest
Looks like the geniuses who run UC Davis never Googled the words “Streisand Effect.”
Read the rest
“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” President Barack Obama recently told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in response to a question about the now-classified material on Hillary Clinton’s private email server from when she was Secretary of State.
Read the rest
Google's lawyers fought strenuously against the DoJ's demands for access to the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum, a journalist, activist and volunteer with the Wikileaks project; they fought even harder against the accompanying gag order, arguing that Appelbaum had the right to know what was going on and have a lawyer argue his case. Read the rest
Despite zero indication the people responsible for recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino used encryption, the FBI is launching an all-out PR war on crypto.
Now, FBI director James Comey is making tech firms that offer end-to-end encryption tools an offer they can't refuse: they should reconsider “their business model,” he said today, and instead adopt encryption techniques that let them intercept communications, and hand them over to law enforcement when asked. Read the rest
Today Freedom of the Press Foundation is proud to announce a new crowd-funding campaign that will fund local journalists around the United States to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other transparency lawsuits aimed at uncovering video evidence of police misconduct and brutality against unarmed men and women. You can donate to the fund here. Read the rest
Confidential research files on human rights abuses in El Salvador were stolen from a human rights organization in Washington state, just weeks after that same organization sued the CIA for refusing to release documents related to those very same abuses. Read the rest
A wrenching and beautifully argued essay by Virginia Eubanks describes the inevitable consequences of letting secret, unaccountable algorithms decide who is eligible for welfare. Read the rest
U.S. President Barack Obama looks toward Attorney General Eric Holder. Justice Department investigators have engaged in aggressive tactics against journalists in recent months. [Reuters]
We’ve long known the Justice Department’s stance on transparency has been hypocritical and disingenuous. But they’ve really outdone themselves this time. Read the rest
A still from a 2011 video posted online that showed Marines urinating on dead bodies. [Reuters]
"In an apparent expansion of the government’s secrecy powers, the top official in charge of the classification system has decided that it was legitimate for the Marines to classify photographs that showed American forces posing with corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan," reports the NYT's Charlie Savage. Read the rest
The House of Representatives today voted 225-183 to approve an appropriations bill amendment that bars the Justice Department from forcing reporters to testify about their confidential sources. Read the rest
It’s now been over a month since the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to force the Obama administration to declassify parts of the Committee’s landmark report on CIA torture, and the public still has not seen a word of the 6,000 page investigation. Read the rest
U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The US Director of National Intelligence has issued a Directive [PDF] that forbids most intelligence community employees from talking to journalists about “intelligence-related information” unless they have explicit authorization to do so.
Intelligence community employees “must obtain authorization for contacts with the media” on any intel-related matters, and “must also report… unplanned or unintentional contact with the media on covered matters,” according to the Directive signed by James Clapper. Read the rest