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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Biden Issues Executive Order to Protect Americans’ Sensitive Personal Data

“President Biden issued an Executive Order to protect Americans’ sensitive personal data from exploitation by countries of concern. The Executive Order on Preventing Access to Americans’ Bulk Sensitive Personal Data and United States Government-Related Data by Countries of Concern, marks the most significant executive action any President has ever taken to protect Americans’ data security, authorizes the Attorney General to prevent the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to countries of concern and provides safeguards around other activities that can give those countries access to Americans’ sensitive data. The President’s Executive Order focuses on Americans’ most personal and sensitive information, including genomic data, biometric data, personal health data, geolocation data, financial data, and certain kinds of personally identifiable information. Bad actors can use this data to track Americans (including military service members), pry into their personal lives, and pass that data on to other data brokers and foreign intelligence services. This data can enable intrusive surveillance, scams, blackmail, and other violations of privacy. Companies are collecting more of Americans’ data than ever before, and it is often legally sold and resold through data brokers. Commercial data brokers and other companies can sell this data to countries of concern, or entities controlled by those countries, and it can land in the hands of foreign intelligence services, militaries, or companies controlled by foreign governments. The sale of Americans’ data raises significant privacy, counterintelligence, blackmail risks and other national security risks—especially for those in the military or national security community.  Countries of concern can also access Americans’ sensitive personal data to collect information on activists, academics, journalists, dissidents, political figures, and members of non-governmental organizations and marginalized communities to intimidate opponents of countries of concern, curb dissent, and limit Americans’ freedom of expression and other civil liberties…”

Their States Banned Abortion

ProPublica – Doctors Now Say They Can’t Give Women Potential Lifesaving Care. “…Most medical exceptions in abortion bans only allow the procedure to “save the life of the mother.” But there is a wide spectrum of health risks patients can face during pregnancy, and even those that are potentially fatal could fall outside of the… Continue Reading

Violence Against Women and International Law – Updated February 2024

Violence Against Women and International Law – Updated February 2024 – Sabrina I. Pacifici is identifying and documenting pertinent sources for researchers on the October 7, 2023 terrorist attack and violence against women and girls. The guide was originally published on November 23, 2023 – link here, and had 8 pertinent sources on this topic comprising… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court is about to decide the future of online speech

The Verge: “Social media companies have long made their own rules about the content they allow on their sites. But a pair of cases set to be argued before the Supreme Court on Monday will test the limits of that freedom, examining whether they can be legally required to host users’ speech. The cases, Moody… Continue Reading

Émigrés Are Creating an Alternative China, One Bookstore at a Time

The New York Times [no paywall]: “From Tokyo and Chiang Mai, Thailand, to Amsterdam and New York, members of the Chinese diaspora are building public lives that are forbidden in China and training themselves to be civic-minded citizens — the type of Chinese the Communist Party doesn’t want them to be. They are opening Chinese… Continue Reading

Tools for Thinking About Censorship

ReactorMag – “One price of free speech is eternal humility, recognizing that none of us is immune to becoming a tool of censorship if we fail to recognize its manipulative tactics. Was it a government action, or did they do it themselves because of pressure?” This is inevitably among our first questions when news breaks… Continue Reading

ARCCI submits first report regarding Hamas October 7 attack to the UN

Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI): “The report clearly demonstrates that this is not a “malfunction” or isolated incident but a clear operational strategy involving systematic, targeted sexual abuse. The report focuses on sexual and gender-based violence during the massacre of October 7, 2023, and the war that ensued, serving as a primary… Continue Reading

Silicon Valley has its own ascendant political ideology. It’s past time we call it what it is.

The Rise of Techno-Authoritarianism by Adrienne LaFrance [The Atlantic; read free] “Silicon Valley still attracts many immensely talented people who strive to do good, and who are working to realize the best possible version of a more connected, data-rich global society. Even the most deleterious companies have built some wonderful tools. But these tools, at scale,… Continue Reading

The Dignity Index is designed to prevent violence, ease divisions, and solve problems

“The Dignity Index scores distinct phrases along an eight-point scale from contempt to dignity. Lower scores (1-4) reflect divisive language while higher scores (5-8) reflect language grounded in dignity. In its pilot season, a trained group of students supported by the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and the Hinckley Institute of Politics… Continue Reading

Why the Most Educated People in America Fall for Anti-Semitic Lies

The Atlantic [read free] “By now, December’s congressional hearing about anti-Semitism at universities, during which the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT all claimed that calls for the genocide of Jews would violate their university’s policies only “depending on the context,” is already a well-worn meme. Surely there is nothing left to… Continue Reading

Wyden Reveals Phone Data Used to Target Abortion Misinformation at Visitors to Hundreds of Reproductive Health Clinics

“U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., revealed today that an anti-abortion political group used mobile phone location data to send targeted misinformation to people who visited any of 600 reproductive health clinics in 48 states. In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission, Wyden urged the government to act quickly to… Continue Reading

Captive Labor: Exploitation of Incarcerated Workers

“Our nation incarcerates more than 1.2 million people in state and federal prisons, and two out of three of these incarcerated people are also workers. In most instances, the jobs these nearly 800,000 incarcerated workers have look similar to those of millions of people working on the outside. But there are two crucial differences: Incarcerated… Continue Reading