Ecuador granted asylum to WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange on Thursday in defiance of the British government’s threat to occupy the country’s embassy. Prior to Thursday's announcement London's finest surrounded the Ecuadorian embassy throughout the day. Hundreds of metropolitan police waited on orders to seize control of the embassy as the announcement of Ecuador's decision on Julian Assange's asylum petition approached.

 On July 27 defense counsel representing Army PFC Bradley Manning filed a motion to dismiss “owing to the unlawful pretrial punishment to which PFC Manning was subjected while at Marine Corps Base, Quantico [Virginia].” Another motion was filed requesting a continuance of the proceedings owing to the slow production by the government of reams of documents that are “obviously material to the preparation of the defense.”

 Freedom advocates breathed sigh of relief when a coalition of Senate Republicans and a few Democrats opposed the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414). Unfortunately, the recent setback of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 has all the earmarks a false sense of security. The timing has created a false impression that Internet regulation legislation has failed for this session of Congress, but the 112th Congress is virtually certain to convene a lame duck session after the election.

Although it was passed in May by an overwhelming majority by the House of Representatives, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 is stalled in the Senate. During 45 minutes of partisan debate late last month, Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) verbally sparred with his Democratic counterpart, Harry Reid (Nev.), the one accusing the other of dragging his feet on bills each sponsored.

Although Senate Republicans rejected cybersecurity legislation last week, President Obama may yet rule on the issue, once again bypassing the legislative branch and the separation of powers set out in the Constitution.  According to a report in The Hill, President Obama is mulling the issuing of an executive order to create “law” where Congress failed to do so.

 Imagine that the U.S. government had the power to scour the reams of public records and collect and collate every bit of personal information about every citizen of this country. Now imagine that any of the various intelligence and security agencies within the government could combine that data with any other information about a person that has been posted to a social media website or compiled by one of the many data aggregating companies that keep tabs on all of us.

In advance of the announcement of his vice-presidential running mate, Mitt Romney has released a smartphone app that is capable of tracking users' GPS location, as well as writing to their SD card.

 The Internet-based whistleblower website WikiLeaks appears to have won some battles to recover its financial infrastructure in the past few weeks, winning the first stage of a legal battle in Iceland with Visa Corporation and gaining a French source for accepting donations in the Fund for Defense of Net Neutrality (FDN2). But a WikiLeaks satire of former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller — admitted as a phony by WikiLeaks July 29 on its Twitter feed — threatens to undo much of the organization's credibility. FDN2 claims that banks and credit card companies are legally bound to honor the French-based “Carte Bleue” transfer system.

 

 

Judge Stephen W. Smith has criticized the law permitting the process of obtaining an electronic surveillance warrant to be kept secret.

JBS CEO Art Thompson's video news update for July 16-22, 2012.

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