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Posts Tagged ‘American Civil Liberties Union’

Twitter must give user info in WikiLeaks probe

March 12, 2011 Comments off

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A federal magistrate ruled Friday that prosecutors can demand Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks.

The prosecutors’ reasons for seeking the records remain secret and it’s unknown how important they are to the investigation of the largest leak ever of classified American documents.

The Twitter users argued that the government was on a fishing expedition that amounted to an unconstitutional violation of their freedoms of speech and association.

But in a ruling issued Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan said the government’s request was reasonable and did nothing to hamper the Twitter users’ free speech Read more…

FBI can obtain phone records without oversight, Justice Dept memo claims

February 14, 2011 Comments off

Without court oversight, the nation’s top law enforcement agency can obtain domestic records of telephone conversations made to international receivers, the Justice Department claimed recently.

“[The Office of Legal Counsel] agreed with the FBI that under certain circumstances (word or words redacted) allows the FBI to ask for and obtain these records on a voluntary basis from the providers, without legal process or a qualifying emergency,” the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a recent report by McClatchy Newspapers.

The claim put forth in the document released to McClatchy seemed to indicate that the Obama administration has continued the previous administration’s policies.

The Bush administration maintained that the FBI needed such policing powers in order to stop possible terrorism. Critics of the FBI’s surveillance program stated that the tactic was frequently applied in abusive manners.

Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told McClatchy that the OLC’s disclosure that Read more…

ACLU slams Chicago’s pervasive surveillance system

February 10, 2011 Comments off

CHICAGO — A vast network of high-tech surveillance cameras that allows Chicago police to zoom in on a crime in progress and track suspects across the city is raising privacy concerns.

Chicago’s path to becoming the most-watched US city began in 2003 when police began installing cameras with flashing blue lights at high-crime intersections.

The city has now linked more than 10,000 public and privately owned surveillance cameras in a system dubbed Operation Virtual Shield, according to a report published Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.

At least 1,250 of them are powerful enough to zoom in and read the text of a book.

The sophisticated system is also capable of automatically tracking people and vehicles out of the range of one camera and into another and searching for images of interest like an unattended package or a particular license plate.

“Given Chicago’s history of unlawful political surveillance, including the notorious ‘Red Squad,’ it is critical that appropriate controls be put in place to rein in these powerful and pervasive surveillance cameras now available to law enforcement throughout the City,” said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the ACLU of Illinois.

The Chicago police “Red Squad” program from the 1920s through the 1970s spied on Read more…