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To Be a Domestic Terrorist, Hug an Animal

Was the shooter at the Louisiana movie theatre a domestic terrorist? What about the man who killed four marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee? While the debate about the motives of the people responsible for these heinous acts continue, there’s no ambiguity about who the FBI and DOJ consider domestic terrorists: animal activists.
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Solitary Confinement is Torture…

Solitary confinement is a form of torture. That’s the message behind the movement to end solitary confinement of prisoners in the United States. Actions take place on the 23rd of every month—representing the 23 hours per day that many prisoners stay locked behind bars. Even the former warden of a high security prison, Robert Hood, […]


Protecting Free Speech Across the Political Spectrum

A Statement from the Board of the Defending Dissent Committee: The justified public outcry over recent white supremacist murders and other violence against people of color should not be exploited to further erode the Bill of Rights and its protection of dissident ideas. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties have equal status. Just as we have […]

In The News

Successful National Week of Action Against CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act!

Activists send the Senate 6 million faxes to oppose cyber billCBS News, Stephanie Condon

*** Take Action: Join Operation Fax Big Brother ***

Homeland Security Is Tracking Black Lives Matter. Is That Legal?, Mother Jones, Brandon Ellington Patterson

U.S.-Taliban Fight Goes On, So Guantánamo Detainee Stays, Court SaysNew York Times, Charlie Savage

Obama Administration ‘Senselessly’ Fights Release of Guantanamo Hunger StrikerRolling Stone, Lauren Kelley

July 30 Is Whistleblower Appreciation Day!, BORDC Blog

FBI’s Key West Counterterrorism Sting Target “A Little Slow”,The Intercept, Trevor Aaronson


Shooting Death of Samuel DuBose (compendium of articles),, various

Reminder: When Ron Wyden Says There’s A Secret Interpretation Of A Law, Everyone Should Pay Attention, TechDirt, Mike Masnick

Editorial: While Guantánamo Logjam Endures, Some Prisoners Could be Freed, New York Times

The Countering Violent Extremism Act: Combating Home Grown Radicalization At Its Roots?, Homeland Security Today, Amanda Vicinanzo

CISA: the dirty deal between Google and the NSA that no one is talking about, The Hill, Evan Greeg & Donny Shaw

How the Criminalization of the Queer Community Affects Us All, The Center for Sexual Justice, Andrew Extein

TPP’s Lesser-Known Threat to Democracy: What is Investor-State Dispute Settlement? Dissent NewsWire, Katy Li


U.N. Gives U.S. Flunking Grades on Privacy and Surveillance Rights, The Intercept, Jenna McLaughlin

To Be a Domestic Terrorist, Hug an Animal, Dissent NewsWire, Suraj Sazawal

Dylann Roof is Not a Terrorist, But Activists Who Free Minks from Slaughter Are, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald

Coalition to Obama: Veto CISA, BORDC Blog

Privacy groups turn to fax machines in cyber bill fight, The Hill, Cory Bennett

Blogging Day of Action Opposing CISA 2015 ReThink Media Storify

Illinois Spent $2.4 Million Jailing Residents of One Block in Chicago, DNAInfo, Alex Nitkin

Police Ignored Native American Woman, Telling Her to “Quit Faking” as She Died in Jail Cell, CounterCurrent News, M. David


Just the fax: internet activists go analog to fight Congress on cybersecurity bill, The Guardian, Sam Thielman

Highway Bill Contains FOIA Exemptions Big Enough to Drive a Truck Through, Dissent NewsWire, Sue Udry

Coalition to Obama: Veto CISA, BORDC/DDF Blog, BORDC staff

Doogie Huckster: A Terrorism Expert’s Secret Relationship with the FBI, The Intercept, Trevor Aaronson

There’s One Big Problem with the White House Plan to Close Guantanamo,Defense One, Molly O’Toole

Are Cops Treating Chief Keef Like a Terrorist?, Rolling Stone, John Knefel

N.S.A. Will Not Be Allowed to Keep Old Phone Records, New York Times, Charlie Savage


Exclusive: Feds Regularly Monitored Black Lives Matter Movement Since Ferguson, The Intercept, George Joseph

Breaking: Two Activists Accused of Freeing Animals are Charged with Terrorism, Green is the New Red, Will Potter

Even the Former Director of the NSA Hates the FBI’s Push for New Surveillance Powers, Daily Beast, Noah Shachtman

Death of Choctaw Activist Rexdale Henry in Neshoba Jail Prompts Private Autopsy, Jackson Free Press, R.L. Nave

In Iraq, I raided insurgents. In Virginia, the police raided me.,The Washington Post, Alex Horton

Lynch Says Death in Police Custody Highlights Fears Among Blacks, New York Times, Emmarie Huetteman

Frank Church – Idaho’s last Democrat U.S. Senator – feared government snoopingCoeur D’Alene Press, Syd Albright


The DHS Planned to ‘Plug’ Federal Officers Into the Ferguson Protests, Documents Show, Vice News, Jason Leopold

Homeland Security Chief Goes Off “Going Dark” Script, Says He Can See Plenty, The Intercept, Jenna McLaughlin

House Passes Bill to Deny/Revoke Passports for Americans Deemed to Have ‘Helped’ Terrorist Organizations [UPDATED w/ even more outrage!],Reason, Matt Welch

Justice Department Watchdog Complains He’s Been Curbed, The Intercept, Dan Froomkin

If Obama Can’t Close Guantanamo, Bloomberg View, Noah Feldman

So much for the “Ferguson effect”: Killings of cops are down 25 percent for the first half of 2015, The Washington Post, Radley Balko

Solitary Confinement is Torture: If the SHU fits, Dissent NewsWire, Chip Berlet

The Nonviolent Offenders Congress Forgot, The Marshall Project, Christie Thompson

Opinion: Why the information sharing bill is anti-cybersecurity, CSM, Patrick J. Eddington & BORDC President, Sascha Meinrath

Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison in the Works, Time, Maya Rhodan

Judge Orders CIA To Pay $400,000 In Legal Fees To FOIA Requester It Jerked Around For More Than A Decade, Techdirt, Tim Cushing

William Binney: NSA Claim Not to Be Mining Content Is an “Outright Lie”Huffington Post, Robin Koerner

Obama’s Plan for Guantanamo Seen Faltering, The New York Times, Charles Savage

DEA criticized for lack of oversight of confidential sources, Los Angeles Times,

Facebook Loses Appeal on New York Search Warrants, The New York Times, James C. McKinley Jr

Missed Calls: Is the NSA lying about its failure to prevent 9/11?,Foreign Policy, James Bramford

Capitol Police Search Powers Raise Constitutional Concerns, Roll Call, Hannah Hess

Sandra Bland and the Long History of Racism in Waller County, Texas, The Atlantic, David A. Graham

Why the Islamic State leaves tech companies torn between free speech and security, Washington Post, Scott Higham and Ellen Nakishima

Drone Contractors: An Oversight and Accountability Gap, Just Security, Laura Dickinson

NTIA to address drone privacy, transparency, accountability early next month, FierceGovernmentIT, Dibya Sarkar

Lawmakers Pin Blame For Chattanooga Shooting On ISIS, But Evidence Is Lacking, Think Progress, Justin Salhani – Think Progress

Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radicalized” Americans, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain

US should hang Edward Snowden, says former spy panel senator, The Hill, Julian Hattem

FBI needs new anti-terrorist strategy, Contra Costa Times, Ralph E. Shaffer

Court Shuts Down Government’s Attempt To Claim An In-Car GPS System Is A ‘Container’, TechDirt, Tim Cushing

Judge: CIA, Pentagon May Still Neither Confirm Nor Deny Records Exist on US Citizens Killed by Drones, FireDogLake, Kevin Gosztola

Senate, once again, looks to bring back CISA, Washington Examiner, Charlie Mitchell

Hello, Congress? CISA has nothing to do with data protection,InfoWorld, Caroline Craig

The Government’s Wiretap Orders Still Don’t Add Up, Just Security, Albert Gidari

The 35-Year-Old Mother Who Was Shot And Killed By Police,Esquire, Charles P. Pierce

Native Americans Get Shot By Police at an Alarming Rate,Mother Jones, AJ Vicens

US Justice Department’s Scathing Report on Ferguson Police,Dissent NewsWire, Humza Qureshi

McCain: Pentagon yet to offer plan to close Gitmo, The Hill, Martin Matishak

The School to Prison Pipeline, The Daily Beast, Emily Wilson

Secrecy, Privacy and the Future of American Liberty, Huffington Post, Patrick J. Eddington

Judge rejects government argument in No Fly List lawsuit, AP, Matthew Barakat

Ferguson Commission approves 148 ‘calls to action,’ prepares to finish work by September, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jack Suntrup

Critics Say Bill Would Turn Muslim Communities Into ‘Mini Surveillance States, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain

Homeland Security panel passes bill creating one anti-terror office, Washington Times, Maggie Ybarra

Why the CVE Act is Flawed and DangerousHuffington Post, Glenn Katon

CIA documents raise questions about spy agency’s domestic data collectionCSM, Joshua Eaton

The Golden Age of Surveillance, Slate, Peter Swire

‘Atom Spy’ Ethel Rosenberg’s conviction in new doubt after testimony releaseThe Guardian, Mahita Gajanan

The un-American way to tackle extremism, CNN, Arjun Sethi Singh

ACLU Sues to Stop Bulk Phone-Data Collection, Even if it’s Only Temporary, The Intercept, Jenna McLaughlin

A civil rights vision for countering violent extremism, The Hill, Margo Schlanger

Why do 45 Civil Liberties & Civil Rights Groups Oppose CVE?,BORDC Blog, Sue Udry

Do Encrypted Phones Threaten National Security?, The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf

Another “Terror” Arrest; Another Mentally Ill Man, Armed by the FBI, The Intercept, Dan Froomkin

ISIS Sting…or FBI Catfishing?, Daily Beast, Susan Zalkind

Citizenfour Filmmaker Laura Poitras Is Suing the U.S. Over Years of Alleged Harassment, Time, Helen Regan

Watching the watchers: Oakland seeks control of law enforcement surveillance, The Guardian, Halima Kazem

Eric Garner Case is Settled by NYC for $5.9 Million, The New York Times, J. David Goodman

The President Goes to Prison, Marshall Project, Andrew Cohen

Why Surveillance Won’t Prevent Cyber Attacks, American Prospect, Elizabeth Goitein

How the NYPD Uses Facebook to Surveill, Entrap and ArrestTeenagers, Alternet, Raven Rakia

U.S. Screening on Foreign Projects Roils Aid Groups, New York Times, Ron Nixon

How the Son of Edward Said is Trying to Change Terrorism Prosecutions, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain

Civil Rights, Civil Liberties, White Supremacy & Charleston Terror, Radio With A View, Chip Berlet and Mark Stern (Audio)

Website: Check the Police,the first open-source database of police union contracts and other documents related to police accountability for the 100 largest U.S. cities.

Describing Violence: The Charleston Shootings and the Label of Terrorism, JustSecurity, Faiza Patel

Judge pushes to speed up release of force feeding videos at Guantánamo Bay, The Guardian, Ben Jacobs & Spencer Ackerman

Spying on the Internet is Orders of Magnitude More Invasive Then Phone Metadata. The Intercept, Micah Lee

15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality,Identies.Mic, Zak Cheney-Rice

When the FBI Went After ‘Mad’ Magazine, Mental Floss, Jake Rossen

Maryland Ruling is a Loss for Police Accountability, Transparency,Dissent NewsWire, Katy Li

How Some Police Chiefs Are Like LeBron James — And Why That’s Bad for Cities, Vice News, Avi Asher-Schapiro

Documents show excessive use of Massachusetts SWAT teams,Washington Post, Radley Balko

FBI Boss: Your Crypto is Confusing to Me, Daily Beast, Tim Mak & Shane Harris

Why encryption back doors threaten human rights, The Hill, Cynthia M. Wong

Cleveland 8 Reject Tamir Rice Grand Jury as Secret Trial, BORDC Blog, Sue Udry

California students resist authorities’ attempts to conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, Dissent NewsWire, Ben Norton


FBI Director James Comey is on Capitol Hill today to testify before two Senate committees about “going dark,” or, his opposition to the ability of ordinary people to encrypt their internet communications. Today’s news digest will focus on that issue:

Going Dark: Encryption, Techonology and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at 10 a.m. eastern (webcast)

“Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and the Challenges of Going Dark”, Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on encryption at 2:30 p.m. eastern (webcast)

Cybersecurity Experts Recommend Against Encryption Backdoors For Government AgenciesInternational Business Times, Salvador Rodriguez

Not ‘going dark': The FBI’s misguided war on encryption, The Hill, Patrick G. Eddington

FBI and Comey Find new Bogeyman for Anti-Encryption Arguments: ISIS, The Intercept, Jenna McLaughlin

Why a Back Door to the Internet Is a Bad Idea, New York Times, Vikas Bajaj

Eric Holder: Department of Justice Could Strike a Deal with Edward Snowden, Yahoo News, Michael Isikoff

How Activists Won Reparations for Survivors of Chicago Police Toture, In These Times, Flint Taylor

Lawyer for environmental group interrogated repeatedly at US border, The Guardian, Adam Federman

Wiretap Numbers Don’t Add Up, Just Security, Albert Gidari

The good news about extremist violence in the US: It’s vanishingly rare, Washington Post, Radley Balko

The FBI Spent $775K on Hacking Team’s Spy Tools Since 2011,Wired, Joseph Cox

Dept. Of Defense Defends Strong Encryption While Its Impetuous Child — The NSA — Continues To Lament The Coming Darkness, TechDirt, Tim Cushing

Lawmakers want Internet sites to flag ‘terrorist activity’ to law enforcement, Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima

** Corrected link: Bill Would Create New Homeland Security Office for “Countering Violent Extremism“, Reason, Jesse Walker

The Shocking Scope of the NSA’s XKEYSCORE Surveillance, New American, Joe Wolverton II

The Pentagon’s New Weapon: Agent Whitewash, In These Times, Tom Hayden

Danielle Allen: Our Declaration, The Diane Rehm Show (audio)

Amnesty International Report on U.S. Police Use of Force, Jurist, Wesley Oliver

There’s No Reason to Hide the Amount of Secret Law, Just Security, Elizabeth Goitein

The United States Must Stop Perpetuating an Ever-Changing “Enemy”, TruthOut, Robert C. Koehler

Zero for 40: Why do Media Still Take FBI Terror Warnings Seriously?, FAIR, Adam Johnson

XKEYSCORE: NSA’s Google for the World’s Private CommunicationsThe Intercept, Multiple Authors

Officials: Facebook, Twitter Not Reporting ISIS Messages, ABC News, Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross

OPM, CISA, and the Cybersecurity Oxymoron, Just Security, Patrick Eddington

It’s Not Cyber Security, It’s Cyber Surveillance (Take Action), BORDC Blog

The Metadata Doesn’t Lie: Is that Why Local Governments Are Witholding It?,Slate, Yael Grauer

With court approval, NSA resumes bulk collection of phone data, Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima

Fear Alert: US Press Unquestioningly Spread Predictions of ISIS Attacks on July 4th Holiday, FireDogLake, Kevin Gosztola

The National Commission on the War on Terrorism Is Hereby Called to Order,FP, Micah Zenko

A Crystal Ball for Cops?Dissent NewsWire, Sue Udry

Florida man, accused of terrorism based on book collection, set free, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain

Warrantless phone tapping, email spying inching to Supreme Court review, Ars Technica, David Kravets

Sloppy Cyber Threat Sharing is Surveillance by Another Name,Just Security, Jennifer Granick

DOJ faults Ferguson police response to protests, Seattle Times, Christine Byers

Bratton Calls NYPD Reform Bills “Unprecedented Intrusions”, The Gothamist, Nathan Tempey

“This Flag Comes Down Today”: Bree Newsome Scales Flagpole, Removes SC Capitol Confederate Flag, Democracy Now (video)

CIA photos of ‘black sites’ could complicate Guantanamo trials, Washington Post, Adam Goldman

CIA can give “specialized equipment” to other agencies: Domestic partnerships allowed on surveillance as long as CIA agents don’t push the buttons,MuckRock, Shawn Musgrave

Homegrown Threat: FBI Tracks White Supremicists, Domestic Extremists, NPR(audio)

Muslim Advocacy Group Takes MTA to Court Over Advertisements, Newsweek, Polly Mosendz

New Evidence on CIA Medical Torture: Injection “to the Bone” on Former Black Site Prisoner Majid Khan, Firedoglake, Jeff Kaye

How the NSA started investigating the New York Time’s warrantless wiretap story, The Intercept, Cora Currier

Does U.S. Ignore Right-Wing Terror? Interview with Mike German, Democracy Now, Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh

Has the CIA Asked FISC to Restart Its Bulk Collection Program?(And if so, what is it collecting?), Just Security, Patrick C. Toomey

FBI Rounding Up Islamic State Suspects, Bloomberg News, Josh Rogin

A Former CIA Official Apologizes to ‘Every American’ For Iraq Intelligence Failures (but not for torture), Vice News, Jason Leopold

Beyond GuantanamoDefense One, Molly O’Toole

Chrisite’s Conspiracy: the real story behind the Fort Dix Five terror plot, The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain and Razan Ghalayini

100 Groups From Around the World to UN: Demand Accountability for CIA Torture, The Huffington Post, Jamil Dakwar

Look Away, Dixie!, Dissent NewsWire, Suraj Sazawal

IRS employees can use ‘password’ as a password? No wonder we get hacked, The Guardian, Trevor Timm

NYC: Settlement in Principle in Muslim Surveillance Lawsuit, ABC News, Jennifer Peltz

Justices Limit Police Searches of Hotel Registries, USA Today, Richard Wolf and Brad Heath

The True Story of a Texas Prison Riot, The Nation, Seth Freed Wessler; and A Most Unsurprising Riot, The Marshall Project, Carl Takei

A CIA Habit: Human Experimentation, Counterpunch, David Swanson

Why it Matters that the Charleston Attack was Terrorism: The term clarifies what took place last week, but not what the response should be, The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf

A Hacking Group Has Been Undermining Anti-Virus Software, but It’s Not Who You ThinkSlate, Lily Hay Newman

FBI head won’t call Charleston shooting a terrorist attack, The Hill, Kevin Cirilli

Refusal to Call Charleston Shootings “Terrorism” Again Shows it is a Meaningless Propaganda Term, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald

The Hidden Meaning (Maybe) of the FISC Opinion, Just Security, Julian Sanchez

The Mystery of the BOP, the CIA and Afghanistan, The Crime Report, Graham Kates

Justice Kennedy on Solitary Confinement, The New York Times, Editorial Board

The Whistleblower’s Tale: Jeffrey Sterling Took on the CIA — and Lost Everything, The Intercept, Peter Maas

Keep Fear Alive, Dissent NewsWire, Suraj Sazawal

Facial recognition talks collapse over privacy issues, BBC, staff

Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States, Amnesty International, staff

Federal Appeals Court Revives Lawsuit Against Bush Officials for Post-9/11 Abuse of Immigration Detainees, FiredogLake,  Kevin Gosztola

CIA Still Acting Like A Domestic Surveillance Agency, Despite Instructions Otherwise, TechDirt, Tim Cushing

Senators push warrants for spying in the skies, The Hill, Julian Hattem

FBI: Surveillance Flights by the Book, Rarely Track Phones, ABC News, Eileen Sullivan, Jack Gillum and Eric Tucker

Taser is Charging Police Stunning Fees to Handle Police VideoBloomberg Business, Matt Stroud

Even former NSA chief thinks USA Freedom was a pointless changeArsTechnica, Cyrus Farivar

Documents raise concerns about extent of CIA spying in U.S.,Firedoglake, Kevin Gozstola

Anti-Torture amendment passes Senate, Dissent NewsWire, Suraj Sazawal

Congress’ Fix for Cyberattacks May Hand the Government More of Your Data, Mother Jones, Max J. Rosenthal

5 reasons why the OPM data breach makes me angry; and why you should be angry too, Access, Amie Stepanovich

Why does a Fisa court decide if Twitter can talk about its dealings with Fisa? Secret tribunals are not appropriate forums to resolve questions of constitutional law about Americans’ right to privacy, The Guardian, Hannah Bloch-Wehba and Bruce Brown

The Inside War: To expose torture, Dianne Fienstein fought the CIA — and the White House, The New Yorker, Connie Bruck

Torture, Last Week with John Oliver, John Oliver and Helen Mirren (video)

The triumph of Occupy, and the cost to the Occupiers, DailyKos, Jay Elias

Surveillance reform wars continue, The Hill, Patrick G. Eddington

The Other Terror Threat, The New York Times, Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer

U.S. delivers 6 Guantanamo detainees to resettlement in Oman,Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg

What al Bahlul says, and what it means (an end to military commissions?), Just Security, Steve Vladeck

Civil rights: the next generation. What happens in Baltimore isn’t going to stay in Baltimore, In These Times, Martha Biondi

Judge says cause exists to arrest cop who killed Tamir Rice for murder, Think Progress, Ian Millhiser

Possible Pentagon destruction of evidence in NSA leak case probed, McClatchy Washington Bureau, Marisa Taylor

The ‘Sunday Times’ Snowden story is journalism at its worst — and filled with falsehoods, The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald

CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation, The Guardian, Spencer Ackerman

Does FBI use no-fly list to pressure Muslims to become informants? Aljazeera, Jenifer Fenton

House votes to block back door searches and to block backdooring encryption, TechDirt, Mike Masnick

Civil liberties activists say USA Freedom Act falls short on reforming NSA dragnet surveillace, Between the Lines, Scott Harris

Judge says USA Freedom Act may scuttle Twitter’s transparency lawsuit, Consumerist, Chris Morran

A Bipartisan group of Senators would like to re-ban torture again, Vice News, Jason Leopold

Homeland Security looks for leakers of report on airport checkpoint failures, Washington Post, Ashley Halsey III

Wyden rips plan to attach ‘surveillance’ cybersecurity bill to defense bill, Roll Call, Niels Nesliewski (video)

NSA phone dragnet program remains dead as surveillance court makes rare move, US News, Steven Nelson

House intelligence bill would limit PCLOB (Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board) oversight, Secrecy News, Steven Aftergood

Charlotte passes Civil Rights Resolution, Dissent NewsWire, Sue Udry

Latest domestic surveillance issues conjure up Church Committee’s probe, NPR, David Welna (audio)

NSA surveillance debate give rise to bipartisan Civil Liberties Coalition, CS Monitor, Sara Sorcher

FISA Court asked to shut down bulk collection of phone records during transition to USA Freedom, TechDirt, Tim Cushing

Keystone protesters tracked at border after FBI spied on ‘extremists’, The Guardian, Adam Federman

Michigan’s crime victim restitution laws being used by corporations to make protesters pay, Michigan Radio, Sarah Alvarez

The FBI discussed an ‘end game’ for a U.S. citizen killed in a drone strike, The Intercept, Jason Leopold

The Senate’s Guantanamo bill: a wolf in sheeps clothing, Just Security, Daphne Eviatar

NSA whistleblower warns of surveillance state, Minneapolis Star Tribune, James Eli Shiffer

What NYPD spy copter reveals about the FBI spy planes, Wired, Kim Zetter

Hackers can be fought without violating Americans’ rights, New York Times, Editorial Board

Defense Secretary: Plan to close Guantanamo is a ‘constructive step,’ Defense One, Molly O’Toole

FBI infiltrates defense team, causes new delay in 9/11 trial,Aljazeera America, John Knefel

Pastor: If DOJ won’t read the torture report, I’ll read it to them, Sojourners, Ryan Steward

The costs of covertness (international law edition), Just Security, Marty Lederman

When Will the Videos of Force Fed Guantanamo Detainees be Released? Dissent NewsWire, Suraj Sazawal

Exclusive: Inside Washington’s Quest to Bring Down Edward Snowden, Vice News, Jason Leopold

What Did the USA Freedom Act Actually Amend? Just Security, Megan Graham

Hella Privacy! Maybe, Dissent NewsWire, Occupy Oakland

Police Investigation: Officer correct in not using Taser before Tony Robinson shooting, Wisconsin State Journal, Nico Savidge

Stand Up for Truth: a series of live webcast conversations with whistleblowers. Tonight: NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Kirk Wiebe

Stand Up for Truth: a series of live webcast conversations with whistleblowers. Saturday: EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Abedayo and journalist Kevin Gosztola, hosted by BORDC/DDF’s George Friday


Obama Admin Seeks Revival of Lapsed NSA Spying Program, National Journal, Dustin Volz

Hunting for Hackers, N.S.A. Secretly Expands Internet Spying at U.S. Border,New York Times, Charlie Savage, Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Henrik Moltke

DEA eavesdropping tripled, bypassed federal courts, USA Today,  Brad Heath

FBI calls for new wiretap law covering social media, Computerworld, Grant Gross

Expect Up to Ten Guantanamo Transfers Within Weeks, Defnese One, Molly O’Toole


Sunsets require Sunshine, New York Review of Books, David Cole

U.S.Surveillance in Place since 9/11 is Sharply Limited, New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman

USA Freedom Act Passes, What we Celebrate, What we Mourn and Where Do We Go From Here? Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cindy Cohn, Mark Jaycox

Are police cameras invading your privacy? Arizona Republic, Jim Walsh

Stand Up for Truth: a series of live webcast conversations with whistleblowers. Tonight: Trevor Timm and Tim Shorrock


FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over American cities, AP,  Jack Gillum, Eileen Sullivan, Eric Tucker

How the Government Will Spy on You If the Patriot Act Dies, Gizmodo, Cindy Cohn & Andrew Crocker

The Secret Origins of the CIA’s Torture Program and the Forgotten Man Who Tried to Expose It, The Nation, Barbara Myers

A New Version of Justice for Chicago Torture Victims, Dissent NewsWire, Niccole Kunshek

Vigil, protest planned for Feras Morad, killed last week by Long Beach police, Long Beach Press Telegram (CA), Andrew Edwards


The Debate is Only Just Beginning: USA Freedom and the Surveillance State, Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation, Sue Udry

Appeals Court Refuses to Block Release of Guantanamo Force-Feeding Videos,The Intercept, Cora Currier

Fears NSA will seek to undermine surveillance reform, The Guardian, Spencer Ackerman

US police have killed hundreds this year, but the FBI still doesn’t keep count,The Verge, Lizzie Plaugic

The Federal Grand Jury, Congressional Research Service, Charles Doyle

May 21, 2015

Anthony D. Romero and Matt Kibbee, USA TodayACLU & Tea Party: NSA Reform Bill Has Gaping Holes 

Seung Min Kim and Alex Byers, Politico, Rand Paul Calls it a Night After 10 1/2 Hours

Andy Greenberg, WiredAnti-NSA Pranksters Planted Tape Recorders Across New York and Published Your Conversations

Jason Leopold, Vice News, A CIA Interrogator Said the Agency Punished Him For Cooperating With Torture Probe 

Hannah Hess, RollCallCongress Concerned By Capitol Police Conduct With Protesters 

Shahid Buttar and Sue Udry, BORDC/DDF, TAKE ACTION: Write & Rally to Sunset PATRIOT

May 20, 2015

Patrice Taddonio, PRI, How the CIA helped make ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ — and shape the torture debate

Naureen Shah, MSNBC, Loretta Lynch’s torture problem

Justin Salhani, Think Progress, Would this man be charged with terrorism if he were a Muslim?

Tom Udall, Dallas Morning News, It’s time to rethink the Patriot Act

Alleen Brown, The Intercept, FBI invokes national security to justify surveillance of tar sands protesters 

May 19, 2015

Ellen Nakashima, Washington PostTech giants urge Obama to resist ‘backdoors’ into encrypted communications

Hamid Khan, Stop LAPD Spying, Documents Expose the ACLU

Shahid Buttar, BORDC/DDF, Statement on Obama Announcement on Policing and When Even the DOD Says Your Police Are Too Militarized

Trevor Aaronson, Foreign Policy, To Catch The Devil:A Special Report on the Sordid World of FBI Terrorism Informants

May 18, 2015

The Daily News Digest is back!

If you are baffled by our new banner, you might have missed the exciting news that the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation are merging. Together, we’ll be in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies.

Since the Daily Digest has been absent for a few weeks, we have a backlog of important articles we’d like to share.
We will return to the shorter more frequent format as soon as possible.


Julie Hirschfeld, The New York TimesObama to Limit Military Style Equipment for Police Forces 

Sue Udry, Dissent NewsWireIs the City of Cleveland Trying to Confuse Everybody? 

Michael Maharrey,, Signed Into Law: Florida Bill Expands Limits on Drone Surveillance


Kristina Wong, The HillObama’s Last Hope on Gitmo: John McCain? 


Editorial Board, The Oregonian, Body Camera Policies Must Block Officers’ Previewing Video in Use-of-Force Cases


Tim Cushing, TechDirt, FBI Spied on Activists Because Protecting Corporate Interests is Roughly Equivalent to Ensuring National Security


Shahid Buttar, People’s Blog for the ConstitutionBill of Rights Defense Committee & Defending Dissent Foundation (BORDC/DDF) urge Senate to reject so-called USA Freedom Act

Editorial Board, The New York Times, Shortcomings of Cyber Security Bills


Steven Wishnia, Dissent NewsWireFBI Spied on Keystone Pipeline Opponents


Steven Wishnia, Dissent NewsWire, Opposition Grows to Inadequate USA Freedom Act


Shahid Buttar and Thom Hartmann, Blog for the ConstitutionNSA Phone Surveillance Ruled Illegal

Suraj Sazawal, Dissent NewsWire, Crackdown on Protesters by FERC Continues


Michael Maharrey, Dissent NewsWire, Maine Bill Taking on NSA Spying Advances

May 13

Torture, Spying and COINTELPRO
Not surprisingly, the U.S. ducked the hardest questions it faced during a review of its human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council.

Rep. Gabbard Down on NSA Reauthorization
“The American people deserve to have confidence that the government will balance its’ responsibilities of protecting our civil liberties and privacy, and keeping the American people safe.”

May 11

Fight Against the Burgeoning Regulatory State (with Cartoons)
The regulatory burden in the United States has become absurd. Civil disobedience is a powerful and traditional way for Americans to resist bad government policy.

May 8

Pam Geller: American Hero?
Say what you will about Pamela Geller, she has not backed down from any of her vile positions under fear of violence.

May 7

Dirtboxes: The Aerial Surveillance You Don’t Know About
While people protested in Baltimore, law enforcement employed powerful new surveillance technologies that use aircraft to collect mass information. Dirtboxes, like Stingrays in the sky, sweep up identifying information about tens of thousands of cell phones in a single flight and are also capable of stealing data off of phones.

Virginia PD Sued Over License Plate Database
“The danger to privacy comes when the government collects tens of thousands of license plate records so it can later find out where people were and when.”

May 6

Don’t Let Terrorists Determine the Limits of Free Speech
The only limitations to free speech should be legal ones. Terrorists should never be allowed to create an exception to free speech.

NSA Converts Spoken Words into Searchable Text
And this has happened with no apparent public oversight, hearings or legislative action. Congress hasn’t shown signs of even knowing that it’s going on.

May 4

Would President Bernie Sanders Curb NSA Spying?
“Kids will grow up knowing that every damn thing that they do is going to be recorded some place in a file, and I think that will have a very Orwellian and very inhibiting impact on the way we live our lives,” Sanders said.

Idaho Ag-gag Law Faces Legal Challenge
A federal judge will determine if the law is unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

April 21

Keeping Track of Intelligence Community’s Leakers
It’s getting hard to keep track of the U.S. intelligence community leakers without a scorecard. So Lawfare’s Bruce Schneier took a crack at it.

April 14

DC Mayor Wants to Exempt Police Body Camera Video from FOIA
If Mayor Bowser gets her way, obtaining footage from the police-worn cameras will be difficult. Fortunately, there is pushback by members of the DC Council.

Forget About Asking, NSA Will Just Take Your Data
The NSA has a solution to public concerns over privacy invasions: Ask tech companies to create a master key that lets spy agencies access encrypted data directly rather than sneaking in through the back door.

April 9

“Protesters are citizens, not suspects”
Philadelphia’s police officers handling of public protests has a checkered past and an unknown future.

April 7

Less Grand Juries, More Freedom
Over the years, the grand jury has evolved as a tool to abrogate individual rights.  A grand jury can subpoena you to testify without telling you why or even if the investigation is about you.

Ted Cruz & Rand Paul: Scale Back NSA Surveillance
While Paul said he would dismantle the NSA,  fellow presidential candidate Cruz backed the USA Freedom Act sponsored by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont which — had it passed — would have reformed but not gutted the Patriot Act.

Video: John Oliver Interviews Edward Snowden
Oliver traveled to Russia and interviewed Snowden in person about surveillance ahead of the June 1 deadline for government reauthorization of some portions of the Patriot Act.

April 6

Poll: Majority Of Americans Oppose Mass Surveillance
“Despite the President’s promises of reform, mass surveillance could prove to be a permanent scar on the USA’s human rights record, just like unlawful drone strikes and impunity for CIA torture,” Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director of Amnesty International, said.

Who Do You Protect?
Like many other fusion centers that have lost track of their counterterrorism directive, one based in Chicago directs police officers to notify it of “information concerning strikes, labor-management incidents or union controversies or the possibility thereof.”  A report it issused in 2013 warned about an “anti-drone protest, rallies for women’s rights and animal liberation, protests against banks and Boeing headquarters, and a march on City Hall “to stop police crimes.”

April 3

DHS Wants Access to License Plate Tracking System
“If this goes forward, DHS will have warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S., and sometimes to their image as well.”

Almost $600 Million to Fusion Centers, but Why?
Based on relative terror risk facing individual cities, DHS hands out millions in urban security grants. In 2013, DHS deemed Las Vegas’ risk low enough to remove it from the list of cities that receive these funds. But after a year of intense lobbying by Nevada politicians, Vegas is back on the list and receiving millions in “terror” related funding.

April 2

Support for Civil Liberties and Data Privacy is Bipartisan
Whether it’s police body cameras, drones or devices that read and collect data on car license plates, legislators are trying to strike a delicate balance between protecting citizens’ private data and assuring law enforcement’s ability to catch criminals.

March 31

ACLU Slams Virginia’s Efforts to Curtail Privacy Protections
“It is difficult to understand why the Governor would propose amendments to pro-privacy legislation that would authorize unrestricted mass surveillance of Virginians by police and government agencies,” the ACLU said.

NSA Officials Described Mass Surveillance Program as Ineffective
“The system was not capturing most cellphone calls, and program was not central to unraveling terrorist plots,” the AP writes, citing anonymous officials.

March 30

Why Doesn’t the Intelligence Community Care if its Surveillance Programs Work?
All too often, the intelligence community launches grand new programs without conducting the appropriate research and evaluations to determine whether they will work or create new harms.

Rand Paul Tells Students: Beware Indefinite Detention
Referring to the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) of 2011 and 2012, Paul says the Executive Branch can arrest and detain anyone without informing them of any criminal charges, without a trial, and without the due process safeguards protected by the U.S. Constitution. And he’s right.

March 27

So, What’s the Big Deal about Collecting Metadata?
If data is content, then metadata can be seen as context. Metadata can be much more revealing than data. As former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker said: “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content.”

Coalition Fighting Back Against Ag-Gag Bills
The group launched a campaign website at in which concerned citizens can quickly learn more about any proposed laws in their area and contact their legislators. The website contains petitions that encourage the legislative sponsors of proposed “ag-gag” laws to reject or drop the bills.

March 26

Back to Square One on Spying
Members of Congress who remember their oaths of office should support The Surveillance State Repeal Act to force a long overdue transparent debate. And Americans who value privacy, checks & balances, or freedom of thought should tell their Members of Congress to support it.

Pheasants Liberated in Act of Solidarity
A flock of ring-necked pheasants at the Estacada Game Farm in Oregon were recently released by activists into the wild. This liberation is dedicated to the individuals who are currently being prosecuted and/or imprisoned under the “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act”.

March 23

Confederate Flag permitted on Texas License Plate?
The Supreme Court will hear a case that considers the limits of free expression and the meaning of a charged symbol that many associate with secession and slavery.

KC schools, ACLU Settle Suit over Students’ Ferguson Protests
“I think it’s important that everybody recognizes that students do still have First Amendment rights while they’re in school,” an ACLU representative said. “Those don’t go away just because they walk into a school house.”

March 20

Protect Your Privacy…For Now
Governments will eventually break these encryptions or make them ‘illegal’ and brand everyone using them a thought criminal and/or terrorist. But until that happens, Any one of these tools are effective ways to thwart mass surveillance and take back at least a little bit of your privacy. For now.

Civil Liberties Groups Force Disclosure of Fake Cell Tower Details
A judicial ruling requires the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in New York state turn over a number of documents concerning its purchase and use of stingrays, secretive devices that are used to determine a phone’s location and can also intercept calls and text messages.

March 19

How the FBI Created a Terrorist
That’s the subtitle of a new exposé in The Intercept by Trevor Aaronson, a journalist who investigates the FBI’s use of informants in sting operations. The article tells the story of Sami Osmakac, a mentally disturbed, financially unstable young man who was targeted by an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting in early 2012.

March 18

Multi-Million Dollar Fusion Center Investigating Home Break-Ins
After 9/11, fusion centers were supposedly created for counterterrorism efforts. These days, they are more likely to use license-plate readers to investigate home burglaries and collect and indefinitely store personal data of the thousands of residents who drive by them.

March 16

Ag-Gag Bills Getting Creative in New Mexico
Silencing or deterring whistle-blowers of animal abuses at factory farms is the intent of a Senate bill being considered by New Mexico lawmakers. Another bill in the House would make it more difficult to sue corporate farms for causing undue noise, water and air pollution.

The Orwellian Re-Branding of “Mass Surveillance” as “Bulk Collection”
Glenn Greenwald writes just as “torture” was replaced with the Orwellian euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques” to make it more palatable, there are now efforts to re-brand “mass surveillance” as “bulk collection” in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal).

March 13

The Power of Protest
“Look at all the people who are resigning because our words brought attention,” said Marcus Cooper, a police reform activist in Portland. “Our voice will do the damage a bullet would. I will end your career with my words.”

1971: A Film about the Burglary that Brought COINTELPRO to Light
While much of America was watching the heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Penn, and walked out with proof the FBI threatened and coerced activists like Martin Luther King Jr. through a shocking program called COINTELPRO.

Gandhi’s Salt March, 85 Years Ago
On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi and a small band of supporters set off on a 241-mile march across western India as an act of nonviolent protest against the British colonial government’s salt monopoly. Their peaceful protest captured the world’s attention and demonstrated the power of mass resistance.

March 12

Solitary Confinement Run Amok
An internal review by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons sheds light on the overuse and misuse of solitary confinement in the federal prison system. While solitary is often portrayed as a disciplinary tool, in fact, only 15% of federal prisoners in isolation are being held for disciplinary reasons.

Judge’s Decision Strengthens California Prisoner’s Case Against Solitary
“Our goal in this case is to support the demand of prisoners to end the inhumane use of indefinite solitary, and no amount of legal shell games is going to stop us from achieving that goal.”

March 11

Did Expulsion of OU Frat Brothers Violate their First Amendment Rights?
“President Boren has essentially declared OU a non-free speech zone,” said OSU media law professor Joey Senat. “The First Amendment doesn’t exist to protect the speech most of us like. It exists to protect unpopular speech.”

New Lawsuit Alleges Massive Surveillance of Internet by NSA
Plaintiffs argue that they must be able to exchange information in confidence, free from warrantless government search which undermines the named organizations’ ability to communicate with clients, victims of human rights abuses, government officials and other civil society groups.

March 10

Racial Profiling Prevention Act passed by Tennessee Senate
“Racial profiling has no place in law enforcement in this state,” Sen. Brian Kelsey (R) said. “Senate Bill 6 would ensure that is the case. This is an idea whose time has come.” The bill was inspired by the events in nearby Ferguson, Mo.

Protecting Whistleblowers Protects National Security
Former FBI agent Mike German explains why the failure to provide safe avenues for reporting internal government misconduct is what drives anonymous leaks to the press.

March 9

Clinton’s Email Practices Undermine FOIA
More than 75 separate FOIA requests for Clinton material were filed with the State Department between 2009 and 2013. According to the AP, requests for Clinton emails and other documents have been delayed for more than a year — and in one case, four years — without any results.

March 5

Online Snowden Archive Launches
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) launched the Snowden Archive, a comprehensive database of all the documents from the Snowden leak for journalists, researchers and concerned citizens to delve deeply into the critically important information about government surveillance practices.

March 4

Chomsky: US Drone War Fuels Terrorism
In an interview, Chomsky argues that while mass surveillance has been ineffective in stopping terrorism, programs like the global U.S. drone war have helped spread it to areas all around the world.

“This does not guarantee that you will not be retaliated against”
The FBI bluntly told a potential whistleblower that he could face retaliation by coming forward with concerns about political meddling inside a secret terrorism and counterintelligence surveillance program.

March 3

Video: Cop Cocks Shotgun & Asks Protesters, “Are You Scared?”
At the 3:20 mark, you can see the officer with the shotgun approach Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City.

Are San Fran Cops Violating Civil Liberties Law In Terrorism Interviews?
The Examiner reports the SFPD may be lying about their level of participation in federal investigations as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, violating a 2012 law created to curb illegal questioning of Muslim-Americans.

Privacy Groups Balk at Senate Cyber Bill
Critics say the cybersecurity bill would grant some legal liability protection to companies exchanging cyber threat data with government agencies.

February 25

Anti-SLAPP Bill Approved by New Jersey Assembly
The bill (A-3505) would address the problem of “SLAPP” lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) brought against individuals who speak out about public issues. The intention of the plaintiffs who file these suits is not to win, but to stop defendants from voicing their criticism.

February 24

TSA’s PreCheck Expansion Stalled over Privacy Concerns
Efforts to expand TSA’s PreCheck advanced air passenger screening initiative hit a snag after it was revealed that private companies would be responsible for determining who poses security threats to the traveling public.

“What happened to me already had a chilling effect on whistleblowers”
Because of the case against him, former NSA official Thomas Drake says other intelligence officers will remain silent about abuse within their agencies when they should be blowing the whistle.

February 23

Young and Loud: A New Wave of Activism
“A lot of people talk about the civil rights movement as if it was this thing that happened in the past, that we were there and now we are past it, but I think that the issues being exposed by this movement show we are not past it and that this sort of level of resistance is still extremely necessary.”

Is Releasing 2,000 Animals from a Mink Farm an Act of Terrorism?
A law enacted during the George W. Bush administration that calls protests against animal treatment “terrorism” is being used to prosecute two men who released about 2,000 minks from an Illinois breeding operation.

February 20

Then & Now: Photos of Activism Through the Years
Many of the same issues recent protests have raised are comparable to those fought by vocal activists during the peak of the civil rights fight in the 1960s and years following.

Non-violent ‘Terrorism’?
The AETA intimidates and discourages animal rights activists, even those with no intention of breaking the law – first, by painting them as terrorists,  and second, by the lack of clear protection for animal-rights-related free speech.

Google Opposes Expansion of FBI Spy Powers
The technology giant says a DOJ proposal that would grant judges more leeway in how they can approve search warrants for electronic data is a threat to the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable government search and seizures..

February 18

Over 300 Peoples’ Prosecutions Might Be Tossed Out
As the investigation into the improper and possibly illegal conduct of a federal prosecutor and ATF agent continues, a U.S. Attorney released the names of an additional 340 people whose criminal prosecutions may have been tainted.

CIA Whistleblower: Prosecute Officials Responsible for Torture
“But what really bothers me, is that there is no prosecution of CIA officers who obviously violated the law; those CIA officers who were conducting interrogations in which prisoners were killed,” former CIA agent John Kiriakou said.

Is the Department of Homeland Security Necessary?
Instead of solving the coordination problems it was supposed to solve, DHS simply duplicates efforts already happening in other federal departments. And attempts to control and distinguish the department have politicized it to the point where it can’t function smoothly — and might be threatening national security.

February 17

Privacy Guidelines Issued for Government Drones
Civil libertarians and many in Congress have long worried that the use of drones by government agencies could lead to mission creep, with data collected incidentally for one purpose — say wildlife tracking, agricultural mapping or a search-and-rescue mission — being used for unrelated law-enforcement purposes.

Freedom of Press Index: US Trails El Salvador and Burkina Faso
The US sunk to 49th place in the Press Freedom Index for 2014. Reporters Without Borders justified their decision on the basis of the US government’s continued witch-hunting of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and the wanton attacks on journalists by riot police during the violent crackdown of protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

February 13

Today’s Civil Disobedience Continues MLK’s Legacy
Why protest to raise awareness? As King explained in his 1963 letter, nonviolent action “seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.” He wrote that such actions are necessary both to create a crisis and to foster tension that will force communities to confront the issue at hand.

Shut Down the Patriot Act’s Section 215!
Bulk collection of Americans’ phone call metadata is not effective in identifying terrorist plots or terrorists.

February 11

The Whole Haystack
Since 9/11, the NSA has used the Patriot Act to take in records from hundreds of billions of domestic phone calls. But is that the best way to catch a terrorist?

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Group Claims Exemption from Public Records Law
A 501(c)(3) created and funded by public police agencies is arguing that it is exempt from public records law, even though it deploys public police officers and SWAT teams with the power to detain, arrest, threaten, and kill.

February 10

FBI Monitored Activities of Black Writers for Decades
Literary luminaries such as Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes were scrutinized by law enforcement who became increasingly obsessed with ‘revolutionary’ black authors and their possible political effects.

Kiriakou: “I Would Do It All Again” to Expose Torture
In 2007, Kiriakou became the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the agency’s use of waterboarding. In January 2013, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

Is Big Brother Here for Good?
Edward Snowden’s revelations of NSA abuse have not resulted in any real reduction in NSA’s powers and that no consequences have befallen those responsible for the abuses.

February 6

Documentary Points the Camera at FBI’s Paid Informants
(T)ERROR, by filmmakers Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, is a rare close-up of a paid confidential informant, one of thousands who receive, in all, tens of millions of federal dollars each year.

FOIA Reform Bills Revived in Both Chambers of Congress
“There should be a presumption of openness in this country, and agencies should have to justify their actions when they want to withhold information from the American people.”

Wisconsin Legislators Mull AG-Gag Legislation
Not only does this bill virtually guarantee animal abuse will continue, it also threatens workers’ rights, consumer health, food safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply.

February 5

Shot by the Police in Albuquerque
In a city of five hundred and fifty thousand, the rate of fatal shootings by the Albuquerque police is eight times that of New York City. They are also facing scrutiny for covertly spying on protestors, insufficient training and hiring standards, and using military-style hardware courtesy of Uncle Sam.

February 4

Activists Prepare to Push Back Against NYPD Terror Unit
“Their training should be focused foremost on (the fact) that protest is lawful, protected activity. This is good activity that should be cherished and protected, not seen as something presumptively potentially criminal.”

NSA’s Director of Civil Liberties Renounces Secret Law
Rebecca Richards says that “cute” legal interpretations hurt the surveillance agency’s legitimacy with the public.

February 3

Did NSA Officials Who Looked Up Lovers’ Records Get Sanctioned?
The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is renewing his call for AG Holder to explain whether or not any of the dozen people who used spying tools to track their spouses or others without authorization have been punished.

February 2

Big Brother Watches You Run Errands
Ubiquitous license plate readers are dangerous not only because the rise of automotive surveillance raises questions about privacy and presents opportunities for abuse, but also because it crept up on the public without an open debate about how to weigh its benefits against its costs.

January 30

What Is on the Horizon for Grand Jury Reform?
The decisions not to indict police in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. and the Eric Brown chokehold case in New York have prompted various proposals to reform grand juries.

January 29

5 Ways the US Criminal Justice System Violates Human Rights
Human rights abuses are not relegated to Guantanamo or black sites in Syria, says Alexa Van Brunt, an attorney and professor at the MacArthur Justice Center.

How U.S. Foreign Policy Runs Under a Cloak of Secrecy
Over reliance on secret operations and a lack of accountability among senior defense officials come under scrutiny by Scott Horton, a human rights attorney.

Council of Europe: Mass Surveillance Doesn’t Stop Terrorism
Resources that might prevent attacks are diverted to mass surveillance, leaving potentially dangerous persons free to act, says a new report from Europe.

January 23

Opposition Growing to Washington’s Ag-gag Bill
“To model [the Washington bill] after the Idaho bill, which is wrapped up in court with a very strong decision from a federal judge saying it’s unconstitutional, makes it a curious template.”

January 22

New Report on Bulk Collection: No Magical Solution to Bad Policy
Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options concludes that right now, there are no software-based techniques that could fully replace the bulk collection of data.

January 21

Police Radar Allows Law Enforcement to See Into Your Home
More than 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies use a type of radar, known as Range-R, that effectively lets officers peer through the walls of homes to determine whether anyone is inside.

President Promises to Release New Report on NSA Spying
“As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse,” Obama said during his SOTU speech.

January 15

Mass Surveillance Ineffective for Finding Terrorists
Surveillance of the entire population leads to the diversion of limited intelligence resources in pursuit of huge numbers of false leads. Terrorists are comparatively rare, so finding one is a needle in a haystack problem. You don’t make it easier by throwing more needleless hay on the stack.

January 14

Cybersecurity Doesn’t Have to Mean Sacrificing Privacy
Before we give the government more power to collect our private information, we should focus on common sense security measures, including educating users on cyber-hygiene and encouraging companies to adopt basic security best practices.

Audio: Civil Disobedience in the Internet Age
Author Molly Sauter says, “Networked technologies mean our opportunities for effective political activism have increased exponentially. Where activists once put their physical bodies on the line to fight for their causes, online activists can engage in digitally-based acts of civl disobedience from their keyboards.”

New Ruling on NYPD Mass Surveillance Program Sought
Lawyers representing a group of Muslims in a landmark case are hopeful of reversing a controversial decision in the district court, which would allow their clients to proceed with a challenge against the NYPD’s post-9/11 mass surveillance program.

January 13

Terror Attacks Shouldn’t Stall NSA Surveillance Reform
Absolute security and guaranteed prevention of these kinds of extreme acts is impossible. Mass surveillance cannot and will not move us any closer to that goal. Counter-intuitively, it actually makes us all less secure.

More Surveillance Won’t Protect Free Speech
Let us resist attempts to use this tragic moment as an opportunity to advance law enforcement surveillance powers. Freedom of speech can only thrive when we also have the right to privacy.

January 12

CISPA: The Awful Anti-Privacy Law
You thought Facebook’s privacy policy was bad? CISPA will allow government agencies to force companies to hand over your data.

Animal Activists Charged Under Utah’s Controversial ‘Ag-Gag’ Law
An attorney for the four activists from the Farm Animal Rights Movement says they were on a public road and took images of buildings, not animals or workers. He said the four were retracing the journey of pigs from the farm to a California slaughterhouse.

January 7

Writers Group: Surveillance Having a Chilling Effect
A new study released by PEN American Center suggests that journalists and other writers are more fearful than ever of speaking their minds—and concerns over government surveillance are a primary reason.

January 5

Guantanamo Remains Open 
You remember Guantanamo, don’t you? As a candidate in 2008, President Obama pledged to close it. But seven years later, 127 inmates remain, including 59 who are currently cleared for transfer.

December 31

NSA Details a Decade’s Worth of Privacy Violations
Covering NSA activities from mid-2001 to 2013, the heavily-redacted reports document possible abuses, including instances of employees emailing classified information to unauthorized recipients or issuing “overly broad or poorly constructed data queries that potentially targeted” Americans.

Revealed: The Encryption Tools Spies Can (and Can’t) Crack
Many commonly used services (Skype) and encryption tools are easy picking for NSA, but others like the Tor network and Truecrypt are described as “catastrophic” for the NSA and its partners, according to documents released by Ed Snowden.

December 23

Sony Hack Points to NSA’s Conflicting Roles
How could any CEO today feel comfortable turning to the NSA for help? That would mean sharing information with the snoops that would ultimately make it easier for them to parse the technology and later access the firm’s computers whenever they want.

December 22

Powerful Protest Photos of 2014
There wasn’t a corner of the planet untouched by protest this year, from the tear-gassed streets of Ferguson to the student camps of Hong Kong

December 18

Lawsuit Filed Over Stingray Surveillance
The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) has filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Department to obtain records about policies, rules and procedures they use for Stingray surveillance.

NSA’s Internet Surveillance Faces Constitutional Challenge
Six years after EFF filed a suit against the NSA’s internet surveillance operations for violating the Fourth Amendment, a federal court will hear arguments this week.

December 17

Tech Giants Join Microsoft’s Privacy Fight vs DOJ
Heavy Hitters like Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Cisco, and eBay all signed on to legal briefs urging a federal appeals court to throw out the Justice Department’s warrant to access Microsoft’s emails stored on overseas servers.

December 16

Congress’ Gift to Feds: Constitutional Spying on Americans
While everyone was focused on the torture report last week, Congress quickly passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2015, which allows for the “acquisition, retention, and dissemination” of your communications.

Thousands March in Washington to Protest Police Violence
“It’s not just black people, like I thought it would be. Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic, everyone cares about this,” said a student from New Jersey. “We are making history.”

December 15

A Supply-Demand Curve for Privacy
The ACLU’s Jay Stanley looks at what is at stake when we consider policies that will or will not ensure greater amounts of privacy over various communications media.

December 11

Just Keep Fighting for What’s Right
Marches and “die-ins” took place in dozens of cities across America. Demonstrations raised the volume and slowed major arteries in Boston, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, Washington, Miami and elsewhere.

Outrage over Torture Report
“A gentleman’s club for psychopaths, sociopaths, lunatics, misfits” reports Pravda after the release detailing years of torture conducted by U.S. agents.

December 10

No Guarantee the US Won’t Torture Again
For “those of us who value honor, justice and the rule of law should demand that the officials and operatives who tortured people in our name answer for the harm they have inflicted. Until we do, there is no guarantee our country will never torture again.”

December 5

59 Years After Rosa Parks
A Second Civil Rights Movement can bring together millions of Americans in unison to protest the inequities that not only divide our society, but are creating deeper, possibly insurmountable rifts in our national fabric.

Auroragold: How the NSA Gets In Every Cell Phone
Newly released documents reveal the NSA’s plans to introduce security flaws into communications systems to give U.S. spies more access to people’s conversations. Through its Auroragold programs, the NSA collected information on about 70 percent of the world’s cellphone networks.

Bill to Ban FBI ‘Backdoors’ Introduced by Wyden
“Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans’ data safe from hackers and foreign threats. It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person’s whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone,” Sen. Wyden said.

Drone Campaign: Portrait of Failure
The presence of unmanned killing machines in foreign countries spreads terror and anger among otherwise peaceful communities, driving them into the arms of terrorist organizations.

December 4

FAA Isn’t Worried About Drones Invading Your Privacy
As more and more domestic drones take flight, more and more people are worried that these airborne cameras will be peeking in their windows and watching them drive around town. Yet the federal agency overseeing the growing industry apparently doesn’t think this is a pressing concern.

Chris Rock Explains Why Privacy Matters
Comedy is often funny because it flirts with the boundaries of social propriety and so it makes sense that even its masters need safe spaces to explore its possibilities. A society that loses those spaces is one that will be less dynamic, creative, progressive, and free.

December 2

Four Ways Obama Is Trying to Mend Police-Community Relations
Stopping short of curtailing the transfer of military-grade gear to local law enforcement authorities, President Obama announces new actions aimed at boosting accountability of local law enforcement and improving policing policies in minority communities.

December 1

Privacy Concerns Jeopardize US Firms Doing Business’ in Europe
Thanks to revelations about government spying, a revamped E.U. Safe Harbor framework, a 15-year-old agreement governing the exchange of personal data between EU and the U.S., still seems a long way off, threatening the ability of American companies to do business in Europe.

November 26

Is This All a Joke?
Rebecca Richards, the NSA’s civil liberties and privacy director, answered questions this week about the agency’s commitment to civil liberties.

The Consequences of Letting the Government Invade Your Privacy
Privacy infringements are usually the harbinger of additional civil rights violations. When we cede the right to privacy, or even remain silent when given a diminished version of it, we declare that it’s ok to treat some people as being less equal.

November 25

Bill to Cut off Water to the NSA Data Center Returns
Legislation to cut off the water to the massive NSA data center near Salt Lake City has been reintroduced in Utah. HB 161 wouldn’t immediately close the spigot, but would prohibit a renewal of the current contract which is due to expire in 2021.

November 24

Police, Privacy Advocates Clash over Cellphone Tracking
Developed for the military, the stringray mimics a cell tower to pin down the location of a phone to within a few feet. Because it is mobile, officers can drive around until they get a signal from the target phone.

Activists Ask for Action
A coalition of animal and civil rights groups that filed a lawsuit targeting Idaho’s new Agricultural Security Act have asked for a summary judgment. The plaintiffs argue the law violates their First Amendment free speech rights as well as the 14th Amendment equal protection clause.

November 21

Undercover Federal Agents Not Limited to FBI
The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing political protesters, journalists and even doctors or ministers, according to the New York Times.

Civil Liberties Advocates Vow to Fight On
Despite the Senate’s failure to pass legislation that would reign in NSA surveillance this term, lawmakers and advocates say they will continue the fight in the next congressional session.

November 19

Senate Blocks Bill that would Curb NSA Surveillance
Legislation to keep most Americans’ phone records out of government hands was defeated in the Senate today, dooming for now prospects of national security reforms that supporters said would protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens.

November 13

New Polls Find Public Increasingly Wary of NSA Snooping
One of the most notable findings in the study is that those who have heard the most about government surveillance are more privacy-sensitive across an array of questions in the survey

November 12

How the FBI Nabs Non-Terrorists for Lying in Terror Cases
The little-known interrogation tricks behind the feds’ so-called victories in the “war on terror”

How Much Money Do Fusion Centers Receive from FEMA?
“To date, FEMA has not been able to accurately account for and report on the amount of funds it has provided to [fusion] centers,” according to a new GAO report

November 6

Webinar: The Constitutional Implications of Ebola
At this forum, a panel of experts will raise questions not only about how to contain the disease, but also to what extent Americans value their healthcare privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.

The CIA And NSA Not Upset over Mark Udall’s Loss
With Udall’s departure, civil liberties organizations are losing one of their most critical allies on Capitol Hill. Udall has consistently broken with his own party leadership to criticize the White House’s leading spy agencies.

Michael Brown’s Parents: Son’s Death is a Human Rights Violation
The slain teen’s parents will speak before the UN’s Committee Against Torture in Geneva later this month to unite governments around the world against the human rights violations that result from racial profiling and police violence.

November 5

When Is Congress Going to Rein In FBI Surveillance?
If the public knew “the number of backdoor searches the FBI performed in the course of ordinary criminal investigations, it could understand how these spying programs are actually being used–and Americans would be surprised.”

Animal Activists Have New Way to Report Abuse
To counteract the chilling effect of “ag gag” laws, the Humane Society has launched a hotline for reporting neglect and cruelty at factory farms, livestock auctions and slaughterhouses.

November 3

NSA Phone Surveillance Faces Fresh Court Test
More than a year after Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday will weigh the government’s bulk collection of U.S. phone records. The case is poised to have far-reaching implications for digital privacy and could appear before the Supreme Court as soon as next year.

October 31

Boo! These Police Tactics Are Threatening Your Civil Liberties
From militarization to asset forfeiture, cops across the country are dodging the Constitution. But people shouldn’t have to surrender either privacy or due process as the price of safe streets.

Nice Idea, Wrong Bill
USA FREEDOM Act would end the government’s bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata, but it does so only in accordance with the government’s bizarre definition of this term and at a very steep price, H.L. Pohlman, professor of political science at Dickinson College, says.

FBI Demands New Powers to Hack Into Your Computer
“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move.”

October 30

A Keystone XL Activist Gets His Day in Court….Finally
Nearly a year and a half after the arrest of Alec Johnson, the 62-year-old who locked himself to an excavator sitting on a pipeline easement site for Keystone XL in Oklahoma, a jury finally heard his case.

October 29

Colorado Senate Race May Deal Major Blow to Civil Liberties
“When you actually list out the number of senators who work on pushing back, it’s a short list,” said Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel at ACLU. “There’s a tremendous amount of work to do. So if you lose one of those people, it’s a big loss. It’s a big loss for the country.”

October 28

EFF Reboots Surveillance Self-Defense
Check out EFF’s guide to defending yourself and your friends from digital surveillance by using encryption tools and developing appropriate privacy and security practices.

Free Speech in the Movies
Battles over speech restrictions and efforts to publish important news stories make for good movies not only because filmmakers have an interest in free expression, but also because these stories pit determined individuals against powerful forces.

October 27

Will Ebola Make Americans Surrender their Civil Liberties?
According to polling, anxiety makes people more supportive of government playing an expansive role in protecting them during a health crisis.

Citizenfour: What the War on Terror Actually Looks Like
Read an interview with Laura Poitras, the creator of the new documentary on Edward Snowden and mass surveillance, who explains why she is a dissenter.

October 23

Special Report: America’s Perpetual State of Emergency
The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.  Thirty separate emergencies, in fact. An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.

October 21

How Edward Snowden Changed Journalism
It had been evident for some time before Snowden surfaced that best practices in investigative reporting and source protection needed to change, writes Steve Coll in the New Yorker.

Former CIA director Leon E. Panetta reportedly clashed with the CIA over his recently released memoir after he allowed his publisher to begin editing the book before he had received final clearance from the agency, apparently in violation of the CIA’s employee secrecy agreement.

October 20

ACLU Comment on FBI Director Comey’s Encryption Speech
“Whether the FBI calls it a front door or a backdoor, any effort by the FBI to weaken encryption leaves our highly personal information and our business information vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments and criminals.”

NSA and Companies Working Closer than You Think
The NSA has “undercover” spies working at or with some U.S. companies, according to newly disclosed documents obtained by the Intercept.

October 16

Nominations Open for Freedom of Expression Awards 2015
“The Index Freedom of Expression Awards is a chance for those whom others try to silence to have their voices heard. I encourage everyone, no matter where they are in the world, to nominate a free expression hero.”

Recurring Terrorist Nightmares
While the threat of terrorism is real, Harlan Ullman, Senior Advisor at Atlantic Council, says we cannot lose sight of protecting our values and civil liberties.

October 15

Epic Fail: Electronic Mass Surveillance
Electronic mass surveillance fails drastically in striking the correct balance between security and privacy that American officials and other proponents of surveillance insist they are maintaining, says new research.

UN Report: Mass Internet Surveillance is Corrosive to Privacy
The use of mass internet surveillance via Prism, Tempora and QUANTUM, “effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the internet altogether,” the report says.

October 14

She Exposed the FBI, Then Went Underground
The last of the eight activists who in 1971 broke into an FBI office, where they removed more than a thousand files on COINTELPRO, the bureau’s program to infiltrate and disrupt political groups, finally breaks her silence.

Law Targeting Cyber-Bullies Raises Civil Liberties Concerns
Efforts to combat online impersonators, in hopes of curbing cyber-bullying and harassment, are meeting resistance from civil liberties groups that worry about squelching satire and dissent protected by the First Amendment.

October 10

NSA: Even the Secrets We Tell You Are Too Secret For You To Know About
The agency claimed in response to a FOIA request that it could not give out a list of programs that it had previously decided were safe for the media to report on, “because its disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

October 8

NSA’s Civil Liberties Report Light on Details
“I can’t seem to find the part of the NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Office report that slams the NSA for violating our civil liberties,” tweeted Chris Soghoian of the ACLU.

NIST Developing IT tools to Protect Individual Privacy, Civil Liberties
The agency is developing technical standards, guidelines and best practices to protect individual privacy and civil liberties  – tools that will be used by NIST, federal agencies and eventually the private sector.

October 7

Industry hides Animal Cruelty Instead of Ending It
If the meat and dairy industries are so concerned about people taking photos of their practices, perhaps the answer is to start improving those practices rather than trying to silence potential whistleblowers by treating them like domestic terrorists.

If Police Can Access to Your Smartphone, Who Else Can Too?
The same security measures that make it hard for police to get into electronic devices also deters other – be they foreign governments, business rivals or creepy guys looking to steal your photos and post them on the Internet.

Are FBI Surveillance Letters Constitutional?
A federal appeals court will consider whether “national security letters,” a linchpin of the federal domestic surveillance program, infringe on free speech rights.

September 26

Fearmongering NSA Reform
“In times of war, there is always a temptation to barter with Americans’ freedoms. But more surveillance does not translate into more security. In this era of perpetual war, we should be extra cautious about signing away our rights in exchange for hollow promises of enhanced safety.”

FBI in talks with Apple, Google Over Device Encryption
FBI officials are pushing both companies to change their policies in order to allow law enforcement officials to access data.

September 24

Bill Would Give Civil Liberties Oversight Board More Power
The Strengthening Privacy, Oversight and Transparency (SPOT) Act would expand the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to cover issues beyond its current purview of counterterrorism. It would also make the board’s five members full-time and allow them to issue subpoenas without having to go through the Justice Department.

September 23

Apple Throws Down Privacy Gauntlet
Apple made big news last week by announcing that they are no longer able to extract data from iOS devices for law enforcement agencies. The message from Apple is clear: they don’t like being in the surveillance business.

September 22

Terrorization of Dissent
Will Potter’s new book examines how the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act threatens the right to protest.Not just for animal rights activists, this book is for all social movements who want to better prepare themselves for the backlash of taking on powerful corporate interests.

How a few Google Searches Can Get You a Visit from the Terror Squad
What happened says one mother is that her son’s reading habits combined with her search for a pressure cooker and her spouse’s search for a backpack set off some kind of alarm at the joint terrorism task force headquarters.

September 19

Mummers Parade Makes Fusion Center “Special Events” List
Check out the list of “special events” the New Jersey Fusion Center distributed to law enforcement throughout state.

Snowden: NSA Shared Americans’ Private Communications with Israel
According to New York Times reporter James Bamford, the shared intelligence included information about Palestinian-Americans sexual orientations, infidelities, money problems, family medical conditions and other private matters that could be used to coerce them into becoming collaborators.

September 17

Businesses and Your Civil Liberties
“Ultimately government spies and corporate spies converge …The global panopticon, as former CIA officer Philip Agee would say, is a “logical, necessary manifestations of a ruling class’s determination to retain power and privilege.””

September 16

FBI’s Facial Recognition Program is Now Fully Operational
The FBI’s Next Generation Identification System, a biometric database which contains over 100 million individual records, links a person’s fingerprints, palm prints, iris scans and facial-recognition data with personal information like their home address, legal status and other potentially compromising details.

Snowden Leaks Didn’t Make Al Qaeda Change Tactics
A private security firm that examined the online security behavior of jihadi groups found no evidence that the Snowden leaks caused them to fundamentally change their encryption methodology.