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Category Archives: Free Speech

EFF Sues DOJ For Records on Procedures for Ending National Security Letter Gag Orders

EFF news release:  “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Justice Department today to obtain records that can shed light on whether the FBI is complying with a Congressional mandate that it periodically review and lift National Security Letter (NSL) gag orders that are no longer needed. The FBI has issued as many as 500,000 NSLs since 2003. Despite Congress requiring the FBI in 2015 to review and terminate unwarranted gag orders, only a handful of companies and individuals have publicly disclosed receiving an NSL after being notified the FBI terminated the gag orders. NSLs are secret FBI demands to phone companies and Internet service providers for data about their customers’ communications and online activity. The letters are not subject to any meaningful oversight or court review and almost always come with a gag order. Companies receiving the letters are barred from telling customers their data is being sought and banned from publicly acknowledging or otherwise discussing the letters, potentially indefinitely.”

Non profit Knight First Amendment Institute threatens to sue Trump over blocked Twitter critics

Poynter – “The Knight First Amendment Institute, a nonprofit advocacy group based at Columbia University, threatened to take legal action against President Trump if he does not unblock critics on Twitter. The demand, made in a letter to President Trump, was sent on behalf of Holly O’Reilly and Joseph M. Papp, two Twitter users who… Continue Reading

Americans Divided on Whether Recent Science Protests Will Benefit Scientists’ Causes

“In the wake of last month’s marches for science and climate in Washington and around the country, Americans are divided in their support of the events’ goals and their sense of whether it will make a difference. In particular, a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most Democrats and younger adults are convinced that… Continue Reading

Freedom of the Press 2017 – Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon

Key Global Findings 2017 “Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 13 years in 2016 amid unprecedented threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies and new moves by authoritarian states to control the media, including beyond their borders. Only 13 percent of the world’s population enjoys a Free press—that is, a… Continue Reading

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017

World Bank – “The Atlas is built around World Development Indicators 2017 – the World Bank’s compilation of statistics from over 200 economies about global development and the quality of people’s lives. For each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, selected indicators have been identified and visualized to analyze trends and challenges, and to stimulate… Continue Reading

Index on Censorship

“This non-exhaustive study of threats to media freedom in the United States researched over 150 publicly reported incidents involving journalists. It uses the criteria developed for and employed by Mapping Media Freedom, Index on Censorship’s project launched in May 2014 that monitors the media landscape in 42 European and neighboring countries. This survey reviewed media… Continue Reading

The Future of Free Speech, Trolls, Anonymity and Fake News Online

Pew Report – “Many experts fear uncivil and manipulative behaviors on the internet will persist – and may get worse. This will lead to a splintering of social media into AI-patrolled and regulated ‘safe spaces’ separated from free-for-all zones. Some worry this will hurt the open exchange of ideas and compromise privacy..Since the early 2000s,… Continue Reading

Twitter pushes back on revealing anti Trump account identity

Reuters: “Twitter Inc on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit to block an order by the U.S. government demanding that it reveal who is behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump’s tough immigration policies. Citing freedom of speech as a basis for not turning over records, Twitter filed the lawsuit in federal court in San… Continue Reading

For April Ryan, Clashes With WH Bring a New Kind of Prominence

The New York Times – “…One of the few black journalists in the White House press corps, Ms. Ryan has covered presidents and clashed with press secretaries for 20 years. But her encounters with the Trump administration are propelling the 49-year-old, Baltimore-bred journalist to a new level of prominence — and into a contentious debate… Continue Reading

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’

Politico, Eric Wolff – “The Office of International Climate and Clean Energy is the only office at DOE with the words ‘climate’ in its name, and it may be endangered as Trump looks to reorganize government agencies. A supervisor at the Energy Department’s international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases “climate… Continue Reading

MIT announces prize for responsible civil disobedience

“On July 21, 2016 we announced the creation of a $250K cash prize award for responsible disobedience. This idea came after a realization that there’s a widespread frustration from people trying to figure out how can we effectively harness responsible, ethical disobedience aimed at challenging our norms, rules, or laws to benefit society. And so… Continue Reading