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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do people have a right to use Twitter and Facebook? Mathew Ingram responds to WSJ‘s Gordon Crovitz, who took a curmudgeon swing at what he considers to be “techno-utopianism.” Crovitz argues banning social media doesn’t violate freedom of speech. Except, as Ingram points out, it does, especially if it is a blanket ban that doesn’t permit anyone to use it at all.
Al Jazeera English’s “The Stream” has full coverage of the Mubarak Trial. The former president of Egypt has been showing up to sessions on a stretcher, not in a wheelchair. And after a bit of political theater, the judge has announced the trial will no longer be telecast.
Add “Secure Communities” to the list of controversial and disgraceful policies the Obama administration won’t end. An NYT editorial points out why police chiefs are “infuriated” by having to carry out “Secure Communities.” It effectively turns “every local cop” into a “potential immigration agent” and makes it next to impossible to do community policing.
Department of Defense revises its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) directive. The DoD is now to operate with a “presumption in favor of disclosure.” We’ll see if this makes a difference.
Andy Worthington has posted Part 8 of his ten-part series on Guantanamo Bay detainees. Share this information widely. It’s the real truth of what goes on with detainees in what Worthington calls “an experimental prison built on torture and abuse.” (Plus, admire the craft. It is clear a lot of work has been put into this.)
MI5 now helping UK govt “trawl” social media for those who may have incited riots in London. The intelligence agency is being asked to help crack encrypted messages from BlackBerry Messengers.
Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert opposes government calls to shut down social media during riots. “The idea that we should prevent communication via these networks is patently ludicrous.” Well put.
Introducing CONPLAN 3502, the military’s plan for social unrest. Public Intelligence, which regularly posts government documents to its website, examines what would happen if there was widespread unrest in the US.
More on Gordon Crovitz’s curmudgeon-li-ness from EFF’s Jillian York. She notes Crovitz seems to think “shutting down networks would actually prevent violence.” York doubts that assertion can be substantiated with evidence
The FCC issues a statement on BART’s shutting down of mobile services last Friday. It’s pretty bland but at least the FCC is showing some level of interest.
John Giacolone appointed special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office of Counterterrorism. The FBI’s press release says he has worked in Iraq and in 2008 he helped develop the department’s “domestic investigative policy.” (Would that have anything to do with whether to investigate and target peace activists?)