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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

The Internet Dream Became a Nightmare. What Will Become of It Now?

The New York Times Magazine: “In this special Tech & Design Issue of The New York Times Magazine, we ponder the internet’s future at a time when that future has never felt more unsettled. It isn’t just about Facebook and the other American tech giants, which no longer enjoy the rapid growth that characterized their early days. The rise of the Chinese internet has threatened a geopolitical power shift, as a different government and national economy looks poised to become the center of the online world. Even governments that don’t “censor” the internet have begun to talk about regulating it in unprecedented ways — as with the European Union’s G.D.P.R. law, which already has given a huge swath of the developed world a subtly different set of online rules.

But perhaps the deepest shift has been a shift in attitudes: the breaking of a spell that seemed to protect Silicon Valley from distrust. After years in which questions about online privacy hardly penetrated the consumer consciousness, Americans have awakened to a feeling of deep suspicion about how companies are harvesting and using their data. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this year found that American adults, by double-digit margins, believed that social media does more to spread falsehoods than truths and more to divide the country than to unite it. Even the tech giants’ own employees have now become uneasy about the implications of their work, leading to some unusual labor movements among their highly compensated white-collar ranks…”

Europe’s Unauthorized Immigrant Population Peaks in 2016 Then Levels Off

“Europe has experienced a high level of immigration in recent years, driving debate about how countries should deal with immigrants when it comes to social services, security issues, deportation policies and integration efforts. Among these recently arrived immigrants are many who live in Europe without authorization. Coupled with unauthorized immigrants who were already in Europe,… Continue Reading

Federal Court Rules Suspicionless Searches of Travelers’ Phones and Laptops Unconstitutional

EFF – Government Must Have Reasonable Suspicion of Digital Contraband Before Searching People’s Electronic Devices at the U.S. Border – “In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers’ electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry… Continue Reading

76 things you can do to boost civic engagement

Brookings: “The year 1776 was an auspicious year for democracy. The idea that a people could govern themselves was radical at the time. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that followed are for most Americans revered documents and a cornerstone of our democracy. Over the years, this idea of democratic republicanism has become central… Continue Reading

DHS will have comprehensive biometric data on more than 250 million people

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects to have face, fingerprint, and iris scans of at least 259 million people [Quartz – paywall] in its biometrics database by 2022, according to a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations reviewed by Quartz. From the report: That’s about 40 million more than the… Continue Reading

The World on Two Wheels

Overlooked No More: Annie Londonderry, Who Traveled the World by Bicycle – She cycled away from her Boston home and into stardom, leaving a husband and three small children for a journey that came to symbolize women’s independence. Intrigued by what little he knew of his great-grandfather’s sister, Peter Zheutlin, a journalist, decided to write… Continue Reading

America on Trial

Jon Meacham, Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, author of The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels – TIME: “Here we are … trapped in a time of demagoguery, reflexive partisanship and a Hobbesian world of constant and total political warfare. We know all the factors: the return of the kind of partisan media… Continue Reading

This Is How the U.S. Military’s Massive Facial Recognition System Works

Medium OneZero: Documents obtained by OneZero show how the military captures biometric data around the world. “Over the last 15 years, the United States military has developed a new addition to its arsenal. The weapon is deployed around the world, largely invisible, and grows more powerful by the day. That weapon is a vast database,… Continue Reading

Freedom on the Net 2019 The Crisis of Social Media

Freedom House – “Governments around the world are increasingly using social media to manipulate elections and monitor their citizens, tilting the technology toward digital authoritarianism. As a result of these trends, global internet freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year, according to Freedom on the Net 2019, the latest edition of the annual country-by-country assessment… Continue Reading

Warehouses Are Tracking Workers’ Every Muscle Movement

Bloomberg – Walmart and other companies are testing a monitoring device for workplace safety made by a startup called StrongArm. “..StrongArm says it has about 30 clients, including Heineken NV and Toyota Motor Corp., and is also establishing relationships with insurance companies interested in ways to reduce workers compensation costs. Walmart says it’s testing StrongArm… Continue Reading