Legislation

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by the Obama administration of an appeals court decision granting standing to the ACLU to challenge the NSA's domestic wiretapping program.

Last the week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) aimed at discovering the content of all electronic correspondence between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA).

The demand that Congress give more power to the Justice Department to track citizens through their cellphones is meeting resistance.

 

 No one ever accused Jeremy Bentham of thinking small. The early 18th-century British philosopher, social reformer, and co-founder of the celebrated philosophical school of Utilitarianism, Bentham was known for his unconventional ideas. Like many self-styled progressive thinkers of his age, Bentham expended a considerable amount of energy dreaming up new ways to use the power of the state to protect private citizens from their own alleged follies.

In a letter published in Foreign Affairs, the official journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, Senator Carl Levin claims that the NDAA only reaffirms existing law and that America is safer since its enactment.

The U.S. government is developing implantable sensor microchips for use in American troops, supposedly to monitor their health on the battlefield, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced earlier this year seeking proposals. But critics of the scheme are speaking out, warning that the new technology could just be a prelude to expanding the use of related devices among the general population — with dangerous implications for freedom and privacy.

In a surprise move the White House issued a statement on Wednesday threatening to veto CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) because of privacy concerns. Parts of the statement sounded as if they had been drafted by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul:

Is saving 30 percent on your car insurance enough to justify granting Big Brother access to your vehicle? That’s the question many consumers and industry analysts are asking, as more auto insurance companies offer new options that calculate premiums based on a person’s driving habits, rather than set variables such as age, gender, and past driving records.

An Internet censorship and privacy-destroying bill will be taken up by the House this week.

This is “cybersecurity week,” according to Brock Meeks at Wired.com when CISPA (the Orwellian-named Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) is scheduled to move to the House floor for a vote. Offered originally before SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and its sister PIPA (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) were blown up in January, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) have offered some amendments to the bill (H.R. 3523) to soften some of its critics and to avoid the same result.

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