The Danger Within: Border Patrol Is Turning America Into a Constitution-Free Zone

The Danger Within: Border Patrol Is Turning America Into a Constitution-Free Zone By John W. Whitehead “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”— William Pitt How far would you really go to secure the nation’s borders against illegal aliens? Would you give the government limitless amounts of money to fight yet another endless war? Surround the entire country with concrete walls and barbed wire? Empower border police to do whatever it takes to crack down…

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U.S. Government Using Amazon’s Facial Recognition Technology

U.S. Government Using Amazon’s Facial Recognition Technology Activist Post Editor’s Note:  Despite the many warnings about the increased privacy invasion from this technology, as well as evidence showing that it is far from 100% accurate, Americans appear to be choosing perceived security (and convenience) over liberty. According to a recent survey from the Center for Data Innovation, only 1 in 4 Americans is at all concerned about government facial recognition tech, and that number is even lower when it specifically addresses law enforcement. The survey also indicates Americans are more…

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What Self-Ownership Means and Why It Matters

What Self-Ownership Means and Why It Matters By Jeffrey A. Tucker I’ve been thinking about this idea of self-ownership, a concept almost universally assumed to be a foundation for human rights and the civilized life. At the same, this idea is constantly threatened by political ideologies that presume it not to be true. Here is what got me thinking. In the final episode of season two of The Americans, Elizabeth Jennings, a Soviet spy in America during the Cold War, is given a message from her Moscow-based handlers. The KGB…

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Investigative Scoops Worth Rereading: Year in Review 2018

Investigative Scoops Worth Rereading: Year in Review 2018 By Dave Maass In an era where political and corporate leaders are attacking the free press as “the enemy of the people,” it’s crucial that we recognize the truth: journalists every day are uncovering stories that protect our rights and hold those in power accountable. Meanwhile, as the media landscape shrinks, non-profits are also stepping in to carry the load. Here are some of the investigative bombshells that we read, re-read, and shared this year. (And a big thank you to our…

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Big Wins for Privacy and Free Speech: 2018 in Review

Big Wins for Privacy and Free Speech: 2018 in Review By Cindy Cohn and Michael Rosenbloom As 2018 draws to a close, we’ve gathered together some of EFF’s key legal wins this year. Some of these wins are only stops along the way to a larger goal, but each is hard fought, whether we’re serving as counsel or amicus curiae. Every one of these victories helped move the needle of law in the direction of protecting your privacy and freedom of expression. EFF Helps Protect Against Location Tracking Carpenter v.…

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Before and After: What We Learned About the “Hemisphere” Program After Suing the DEA

Before and After: What We Learned About the “Hemisphere” Program After Suing the DEA By Dave Maass As the year draws to a close, so has EFF’s long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Agency about the mass phone surveillance program infamously known as “Hemisphere.” We won our case and freed up tons of records. (So did the Electronic Privacy Information Center.) The government, on the other hand, only succeeded in dragging out the fake secrecy. In late 2013, right as the world was already reeling from…

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Cambridge, MA Joins Growing Ranks of Cities Requiring Civilian Control of Police Surveillance Tech

Cambridge, MA Joins Growing Ranks of Cities Requiring Civilian Control of Police Surveillance Tech By Shahid Buttar Last week, the City of Cambridge, MA became at least the tenth local jurisdiction in the U.S. to adopt a crucial measure enabling civilian control of police surveillance technology at the local level. The measure requires local police to obtain civilian permission before purchasing surveillance equipment, to document the security rationale and privacy impacts of any such purchase, and also to comply with an annual audit to reveal potential misuse or overuse. The…

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City of Cambridge Passes Ordinance Taking on Surveillance State

City of Cambridge Passes Ordinance Taking on Surveillance State By Michael Maharrey CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Dec. 17, 2018) – The City of Cambridge, Mass., has passed an ordinance that sets the stage to limit the acquisition and use of spy gear by law enforcement and other city agencies. On Dec. 10, the Cambridge City Council passed an ordinance requiring its explicit approval before any city government agency can acquire, fund or use surveillance technologies. This includes, but is not limited to, automatic license plate readers, video surveillance, biometric surveillance technology including facial…

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London Begins Testing Facial Recognition In Public Despite Being “Staggeringly Inaccurate”

London Begins Testing Facial Recognition In Public Despite Being “Staggeringly Inaccurate” By Nicholas West It appears that London is ready to roll out the gift of surveillance to its citizens this holiday season.  The Met has announced that several areas around central London will be part of a field trial to be conducted today and tomorrow, despite previous reports that the tech is “staggeringly inaccurate.” In September 2017 I reported about results from a previous test of public facial recognition that was conducted in Britain’s Notting Hill area.  The results…

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Searching Travelers’ Devices At An Alarming Rate According To Gov’t Watchdog

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Searching Travelers’ Devices At An Alarming Rate According To Gov’t Watchdog By Aaron Kesel U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are searching the electronic devices of travelers at an alarmingly increasing rate a new watchdog report has found, Associated Press reported. The government watchdog — the Office of the Inspector General for Homeland Security — found there were 29,000 devices searched at a port of entry out of 397 million travelers to the U.S. in the year 2017, up from 18,400 the year before from 390 million…

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