Dec 242009
 December 24, 2009  Govt, Misc Comments Off on Another wrong article: “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye”

John Wesley Hall Jr. of blogs:

Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye,” posted today by Kathleen Baker, Denver Conservative Examiner, concludes that the Obama Administration granting diplomatic immunity to INTERPOL operating in the United States means that we can “Kiss the Fourth Amendment goodbye.” Once again, a conservative watchdog gets it wrong, in their zeal to demonize the President.


So, where does it say that INTERPOL gets to act outside the Fourth Amendment? It doesn’t. Nothing in the article or the statute it quotes says a word about it, except the writer’s imagination and lack of reading comprehension. This is just wrong. Dead wrong. Even a commenter got on the bandwagon and agreed without critical analysis. Maybe even without reading. See also the with a slightly different view.

The old early law career saw “RTFS” applies: Read The Frigging Statute.


Oct 082009
 October 8, 2009  Featured News, Govt, Laws, Surveillance, U.S. Comments Off on Senate committee passes bill to reauthorize Patriot Act provisions

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-8 to approve legislation to reauthorize expiring provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act and improve oversight of several tools used to gather intelligence.

The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act reauthorizes three provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the year: roving wiretaps, the “lone wolf” measure, and Section 215 orders for tangible things, commonly referred to as the “library records” provision.

Read more on RTTNews. The ACLU criticized the passage of the bill, as did EFF. The bill now goes to the full Senate. EFF’s Kevin Bankston writes:

Instead of adding more protections to the bill, as EFF and the Times have been urging (along with many other Americans who have been organizing Facebook and Twitter activism around PATRIOT reform), the Committee this morning voted to accept seven Republican amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act to remove the few civil liberties protections left in the bill after it was already watered down at last Thursday’s Committee meeting. Surprisingly and disappointingly, most of those amendments were recommended to their Republican sponsors by the Obama Administration.

Image credit:  mrhox

Sep 162009
 September 16, 2009  Featured News, Govt, Surveillance, U.S. Comments Off on Obama: Renew PATRIOT Act provisions on domestic surveillance

David Kravets writes:

The Obama administration is informing Congress it supports renewing three Patriot Act provisions expiring at year’s end, measures making it easier for the government to spy in the United States.

In a letter to Patrick Leahy, the Vermont senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department on Monday suggested the administration might consider “modifications” to the act to protect civil liberties.

“The administration is willing to consider such ideas, provided that they do not undermine the effectiveness of these important authorities,” Ronald Weich, assistant attorney general, wrote to the Vermont senator, (.pdf) whose committee is expected next week to consider renewing the three expiring Patriot Act provisions. The government disclosed the letter Tuesday.

Read more about the expiring provisions that Obama wants to renew over the objections of privacy advocates and civil libertarians on Threat Level.

Note that Obama’s position on this is not a flip flop.  During his campaign, when asked about the PATRIOT Act,  he pointed out what he saw as its advantages and blamed the problems on executive orders.

Photo credit: Bachrach44.

Sep 052009
 September 5, 2009  Featured News, Govt, Misc, U.S. Comments Off on Grade the Obama administration’s work on privacy!

From EFF:

The Privacy Coalition is inviting the public to give the Obama Administration a grade on its privacy work thus far. Visit the Privacy Report Card page and vote to give the administration a grade anywhere from an “A” to an “F” — or, if you prefer, an “Incomplete.”

Direct link to consumer privacy report card:

You will also be able to grade the Obama administration on cybersecurity, medical privacy, and civil liberties.

The Privacy Coalition will be announcing the administration’s grades on September 9, so do take this opportunity to express your views — positive, neutral, or negative — as to how the Obama administration has done so far in these important areas.