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The only IDs I have: Philippine passport and my pocketbook Consitution

Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained attempting to leave McAllen Airport in Texas. As Mr. Vargas wrote in Politico on July 11, he had traveled to Texas to document the crisis of undocumented immigrants before realizing that he might, in fact, be stuck there. His film, Documented, which just began airing on CNN last month, "chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in person in over 20 years."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 15, 2014 - 95 comments

Let Me Finish

Roger Angell is the greatest of all baseball writers. Today, the game has recognized the fact. This July, along with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa, Roger will be celebrated in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Hall of Fame. He will receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. [more inside]
posted by JohnnyGunn on Dec 10, 2013 - 10 comments

My Big Gay Illegal Wedding

Tim Gunn and the ACLU present "My Big Gay (Il)legal Wedding", a contest for same-sex folks in non-marriage equality states to come up with the most creative ways to cross state lines into a marriage equality state and get married. The winning couples will receive $5,000 for their wedding expenses, assistance from a wedding planner and a trip to New York for an event, planned for March, styled like a wedding reception.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 10, 2013 - 24 comments

It's coming just that much closer to reality

Curious as to what various legal and intelligence agencies can do with the data they are now currently collecting? They are collecting cell phone locations, there are currently license plate scanning vehicles in many larger cities, and Google Maps will gladly integrate with your location mapping systems to show you what type of business is at your coordinates. All state criminal databases are now nationally available. So the ACLU would like you to know what is going to happen in the possible near future.
posted by Purposeful Grimace on Dec 9, 2013 - 68 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

A LIVING DEATH: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.

A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

Snowden documents shed light on Shiban, Akbar, and Trojanov cases

New documents released by Glenn Greenwald from trove leaked by Edward Snowden show that the agency officially viewed arguments about 'due process' to be an 'adversary propaganda theme', listed alongside military threats to drones. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Oct 1, 2013 - 80 comments

Bradley Manning Sentenced

Whistleblower Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years for releasing documents to Wikileaks. Amnesty International, the ACLU, and other rights groups have decried the verdict.
posted by anemone of the state on Aug 21, 2013 - 397 comments

ReCISPA

The TechNet trade association has been lobbying for CISPA, a bill the EFF describes as a “misguided cybersecurity bill that would create a gaping exception to existing privacy law while doing little to address palpable and pressing online security issues” (previously). Google's Eric Schmidt signed TechNet's letter supporting CISPA. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 17, 2013 - 67 comments

Gene genie, let yourself go

After a decade or so of legal back-and-forth between Utah-based Myriad Genetics and medical researchers, the ACLU, and the Public Patent Forum, the US Supreme Court will hear a case next week which attempts to address whether genes — isolated (derivative) or original — can be patented. The stakes are high on both sides: opponents use Myriad's actions to argue that giving short-term monopoly control over humanity's genetic constituency is not in the public interest, while proponents defend the use of patents to spur private research in biotech, alternative energy and other nascent industries.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 12, 2013 - 58 comments

IRS Claims Authority to Read Your E-Mail Without A Warrant

The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 11, 2013 - 50 comments

Coming Home to Roost: Domestic Drones (U.S)

"When most Americans think of surveillance drones, it conjures up an image of a Predator drone in a far-off land unleashing a missile against a terrorist suspect. The last thing they think of is a flying surveillance vehicle over their own city. But an increasing number of federal, state, county and municipal police departments are purchasing drone surveillance vehicles of one sort or another to watch Americans. And a few have even discussed arming the drones." - Drones over America. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wants to more than double its fleet of Predator drones for surveillance missions inside the United States. Despite Problems, there is a push to expand domestic use. Much of that push comes from a "powerful" lobbying group that most Americans have never heard of: the Unmanned Systems Caucus. Drone Makers Push Congress to Move Up Domestic Deployment Date (follow the money). More? ACLU blog posts related to domestic drones. Here is a Map of Domestic Drone Authorizations, last updated in April. Insiders assure You have nothing to worry about, but a little remarked-upon court decision may bring the domestic drone age one flight closer to your doorstep. (previously)
posted by spock on Dec 3, 2012 - 72 comments

Windsor vs. United States

Today, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that "we conclude that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional" [PDF of decision]. Plaintiff Edie Windsor has also petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear her case. [more inside]
posted by catlet on Oct 18, 2012 - 51 comments

Electronic surveillance skyrockets in the US

The Justice Department, after a legal battle with the ACLU to avoid having to admit it, recently released documents showing that the federal government’s use of warrantless “pen register” and “tap and trace” surveillance has multiplied over the past decade. But the Justice Department is small potatoes. Every day, the NSA intercepts and stores 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, texts, and other electronic communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Oct 3, 2012 - 82 comments

Voter Suppression Rages On

The history of voter's rights in America is treacherous. In this upcoming election, voter suppression continues and as before, it is racialized, and targets traditionally marginalized & left-leaning individuals. The ACLU's Laura Murphy on voter suppression this year. The NAACP and Project South both have a hand in the fight to be counted.
posted by gracedepapel on Oct 3, 2012 - 18 comments

"There's nothing more aggravating in the world than the midnight sniffling of the person you've decided to hate." ― Shannon Hale, Book of a Thousand Days

The DoJ drops all remaining investigation and prosecution of US War on Terror deaths/murders through harsh tactics/torture: "No Charges Filed on Harsh Tactics Used by the C.I.A." [NYT] Glenn Greenwald reacts and describes the cases that just got dropped. [Guardian] Second link is arguably a violence trigger, but is better and bothers to do things like talk to the ALCU.
posted by jaduncan on Sep 2, 2012 - 209 comments

$20 million ... 'sold to the public as charity work in the service of human rights.'

Mark Ames (of the eXile): The Left’s Big Sellout – How the ACLU and Human Rights Groups Quietly Exterminated Labor Rights (via naked capitalism) [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 1, 2012 - 129 comments

CISPA

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a controversial surveillance bill that proposes broad legal exemptions for the U.S. government and private companies to share "cyber threat intelligence" that go well beyond the FISA Amendments Act which legalized the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 23, 2012 - 79 comments

Wirele$$tap

These Are The Prices AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Charge For Cellphone Wiretaps. After a flurry of public records requests to over 200 police departments, the ACLU has obtained a trove of documents detailing police tracking of cell phone location, call logs and more, including a price list for subscriber information from every major US carrier. [more inside]
posted by indubitable on Apr 3, 2012 - 35 comments

“I think I hear someone’s liberty in danger!”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the Gregory Brothers and the ACLU have teamed up to bring attention to the issue photographer’s rights in public spaces, with an animated musical piece featuring the ghost of Benjamin Franklin. [via]
posted by quin on Feb 14, 2012 - 20 comments

The Year Secrecy Jumped the Shark

The EFF's Year End Review   The ACLU's This Year in Civil Liberties   Amnesty International's Anual Report (video) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Dec 25, 2011 - 11 comments

LA vets demand housing at giant VA campus

There are an increasing number of homeless military vets living in Los Angeles. The VA in Los Angeles has a 400 acre parcel of land meant to house vets. Slight problem: the VA has decided to lease the property to various area businesses instead of using the land for its intended purpose.
posted by reenum on Oct 22, 2011 - 36 comments

All I want is to be left alone in my average home... But why do I always feel I'm in the twilight zone?

In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed 381 requests in 32 states with local law enforcement agencies seeking to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. So how long do American cell phone carriers retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the US Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. (Via / More)
posted by zarq on Oct 9, 2011 - 27 comments

Let's have a moment of silence ... but not before we pray first

Student Protests Prayer at Graduation, Gets Divine Retribution Instead A high school atheist in Bastrop, Louisiana tried to stop prayer at his graduation by writing to his superintendent and threatening to bring in the ACLU. The superintendent complied, but the student's name was leaked, and soon he was harassed by fellow students and a former Teacher of the Year, and was kicked out of his house. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on May 26, 2011 - 357 comments

Please step away from the cell phone, Sir.

Should Cops Be Allowed to Scan Your Phone During a Traffic Stop? In Michigan, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a complaint [PDF letter here] alleging that Michigan State Police officers used forensic cellphone analyzers to snoop in drivers' cellphones during routine traffic stops. [Before they fulfill an ACLU FOIA request, the MSP wants a $272,340 deposit up front to cover their costs of retrieving analyzer data, which is obtained without the cellphone owner's knowledge.]
posted by cenoxo on Apr 19, 2011 - 97 comments

The Twitter Three & Ethan McCord

On the one year anniversary of wikileaks release of Collateral Murder, Panorama has released a documentary on the shooting featuring an interview with Ethan McCord.

The Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal commemorated the occasion by informing a Green MP that he "would not rule out extraditing Rop Gonggrijp to the US" for Gonggrijp's role in the video's production. The ACLU and EFF are appealing a U.S. subpoena of the twitter accounts belonging to Rop Gonggrijp, Birgitta Jonsdottir, and Jacob Appelbaum.
posted by jeffburdges on Apr 6, 2011 - 7 comments

Corporations, Don't Take It Personally

Today the Supreme Court in ruled 8-0 in FCC v. ATT that corporations have no "personal privacy" exemption under the Freedom of Information Act. The opinion ended the speculation that the Supreme Court would use this case to take yet another step towards equating corporations with actual people. For links to the various briefs, lower court decisions, and a summary of the underlying facts and opinion, visit the SCOTUSblog. [more inside]
posted by Muddler on Mar 1, 2011 - 93 comments

Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes

Judge sides with motorcylist in videotaping incident. Previously [more inside]
posted by peeedro on Sep 28, 2010 - 37 comments

"We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

In late July the American Civil Liberties Union released "Establishing a New Normal" (pdf), an 18 month review of national security, civil liberties and human rights under the Obama Administration.
posted by IvoShandor on Aug 9, 2010 - 30 comments

Cops get privacy on a public street?

The ACLU of Maryland is defending Anthony Graber for violating Maryland wiretap laws because he recorded a video of a plain clothes officer drawing a gun during a traffic stop without first identifying himself as a police officer. The Maryland State Police raided Graber's parents' after learning of the video on YouTube. Another person has since been similarly charged under the same statute. [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Jul 27, 2010 - 141 comments

Justice for Constance

Constance McMillen receives $35,000 in a settlement with the Mississippi school district that cancelled her prom. Previously. [more inside]
posted by waraw on Jul 20, 2010 - 120 comments

Spy Files: Illegal Domestic Spying

ACLU launches "Spyfiles" to track domestic surveillance. "The American Civil Liberties Union launched a new website Tuesday to track incidents of domestic political surveillance by the government along with a report (PDF) claiming such incidents have increased steadily since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to the report there have been 111 incidents of illegal domestic political surveillance since 9/11 in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The website, Spyfiles, will serve as the ACLU's online home for all news and reports of domestic spying."
posted by homunculus on Jun 29, 2010 - 12 comments

We don't want your kind at our prom

Constance McMillan, an 18yo lesbian graduating from high school in Itawamba County, Miss., was told she couldn't bring a female date to the prom because of county rules against bringing same-sex dates. The school district in fact canceled the prom rather than let a same-sex couple attend. After a judge ruled that doing so violated Constance's civil rights, Constance was told (after long evasions and no answers as to details of the party) that the prom would be held at a country club Friday night in Fulton, Miss. When she got to the club with her date, she found out that the parents and rest of the students had scheduled second prom at a different, secret location. Five other students were directed to the prom Constance & her date were sent to, including two students with learning disabilities. The school principal & 2 teacher acted as chaperones for the seven students at the country club.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Apr 6, 2010 - 251 comments

"You Can't Patent Nature"

Followup to this post: A US District Court has ruled that Myriad Genetic's patents on breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which allow them to hold exclusive rights to a widely used genetic test for inherited breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility, are invalid. Genomics Law Report analyzes the ruling in two posts. The decision is likely to be challenged in a legal appeal — but if upheld, it could have huge implications for the biotechnology industry. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2010 - 51 comments

Learning Arabic

An American student learning Arabic was detained for hours by the TSA and questioned because he carried basic Arabic flash cards. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nick George a physics student at Pomona College who was detained and aggressively interrogated by Transportation Security Administration authorities, by the FBI and by Pennsylvania police when he tried to board a plane carrying Arabic language flash cards.
posted by sierray on Feb 11, 2010 - 145 comments

Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo

Released detainees talk about life during and after their unlawful detention in the video Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo which is part of an ACLU initiative against the practice of detention without due process that violates fundamental principles of American justice. (Previously)
posted by gman on Nov 5, 2009 - 7 comments

Internet Anonymity: A Right of the Past?

Internet Anonymity: A Right of the Past? | North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology
A newly designed Internet Protocol, restricting communication source autonomy, is being quietly drafted with detailed technical standards that “define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous” by a United Nations agency. The “IP Traceback” drafting group, which has declined to release key documents or allow their meetings to be open to the public, includes, among others, the United States National Security Agency.
[more inside]
posted by shetterly on Jun 25, 2009 - 52 comments

Do they preserve scientific transparency, protect profits or both?

On behalf of medical organizations, universities, & individual patients, pathologists and genetics researchers, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against Utah-based Myriad Genetics and the US Patent and Trademark Office. Myriad holds the US patents to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, associated with hereditary causes of breast and ovarian cancers. Their patents guarantee the company the right to prevent anyone else from testing or studying those genes, which the ACLU says is unconstitutional and inhibits researchers from finding treatments and cures. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 13, 2009 - 64 comments

Just Following Orders

Torture Memos Released
As we explained in the Section 2340A Memorandum, "pain and suffering" as used in Section 2340 is best understood as a single concept, not distinct concepts of "pain" as distinguished from "suffering"... The waterboard, which inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever, does not, in our view inflict "severe pain or suffering". Even if one were to parse the statute more finely to treat "suffering" as a distinct concept, the waterboard could not be said to inflict severe sufering. The waterboard is simply a controlled acute episode, lacking the connotation of a protracted period of time generally given to suffering.
Ambinder breaks it down, Greenwald rants.
posted by empath on Apr 16, 2009 - 170 comments

Growing Up In Guantánamo.

"Six days after the inauguration of President Obama, the U.S. is scheduled to begin the first trial of a child soldier accused of war crimes since World War II." via ACLU [more inside]
posted by ageispolis on Jan 15, 2009 - 34 comments

Curfew is declared in a 10 block area of a small Arkansas town

Curfew is declared in a 10 block area of a small Arkansas town. [more inside]
posted by Daddy-O on Aug 13, 2008 - 90 comments

Baddest eggs revealed

The "a few bad eggs" theory crushed - ACLU summarizes the Justice Department Inspector General's report. "This new report should become exhibit A at the next congressional hearing on the Bush administration's use of torture," said Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel to the ACLU. ... "The questions are who did what and what crimes were committed. This Justice Department report helps answer both questions." [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson on May 22, 2008 - 32 comments

Catherine Roraback

Catherine Roraback was the only woman in her class at Yale Law School. She was a founder of the Connecticut ACLU, and a president of the National Lawyers Guild. During her long career she defended labor organizers, immigrants, civil rights organizers, Black Panthers, and maybe most famously, Estelle Griswold before the United States Supreme Court in the case that legalized the distribution of birth control. She died this week at age 87. [more inside]
posted by serazin on Oct 24, 2007 - 19 comments

White House Policy Illegally Silences Americans Critical of Bush

"When taxpayers foot the bill for a public event, the president does not have the right to use a partisan litmus test to stack the audience with his political supporters."
posted by prostyle on Jul 6, 2007 - 28 comments

The Limits of Free Speech in Schools

From the guy who brought you the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment of President Clinton for lying about oval antics in the Oral Office, a legal push to make the Supreme Court just say no to "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Ken Starr's petition to the Court [PDF] makes clear that Starr believes this is no laughing matter, but a chance for the Court to make a landmark ruling that will give school adminstrators the power to limit student speech: "This case presents the Court with a much-needed opportunity to resolve a sharp conflict among federal courts (and to eliminate confusion on the part of school boards, administrators, teachers, and students) over whether the First Amendment permits regulation of student speech when such speech is advocating or making light of illegal substances."
posted by digaman on Aug 28, 2006 - 131 comments

Representatives from AOL, Microsoft, Google, Verizon and Comcast talk to US government

Newsfilter. Surveillenve of everything you do online: "It was clear that they would go beyond kiddie porn and terrorism and use it for general law enforcement." Offline: "I'm John Doe, and if I had told you before today that the F.B.I. was requesting library records, I could have gone to jail." Previously, here. On your phone? We've already discussed that, too.
posted by |n$eCur3 on Jun 2, 2006 - 36 comments

Using Big Laws to Catch Little Terrorists

The terrorists in New Jersey have been captured. They're, uhm, like 15 years old. A fine example of how anti-terror laws like the Patriot Act can be subject to mission creep. (The "terrorists" at the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice in Pittsburgh seem to be still at large.)
posted by digaman on Apr 7, 2006 - 59 comments

Fly in the Fast Lane

Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler, and fly Clear in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects become indistinguishable from reality.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here].
posted by digaman on Jan 25, 2006 - 52 comments

Stop. Hey, what's That Sound?

Presenting: The ACLU Freedom Files. Teaming up with producer Robert Greenwald (of Outfoxed and Unconstitutional, among others), the American Civil Liberties Union is presenting a 10-part series on current issues in civil liberties, viewable free online. Using comedy, drama, documentary, personal stories, music, interviews, and animation, each epsiode focuses on a timely topic, "stripping away the sound bites" and illustrating what civil liberties mean for the average American. Check out the first three, available now: Harry Shearer, librarians, and harrassed Muslim americans take on illegal search and seizure in Beyond the Patriot Act; high school students oppose mandatory drug testing and experience firsthand the power of The Supreme Court, and Gulf War veterans, protestors, and attendees at a Bush speech llustrate the concept of freedom of speech in Dissent. Production is ongoing: stay tuned for more. And more. And more.
posted by Miko on Dec 7, 2005 - 15 comments

[Ugarte gives exit visas to Rick for safe keeping]

First they take Ugarte and then she walks in. On the 9th of December 2005, Deborah Davis will be arraigned in U.S. District Court in a case that will determine whether people must show "papers" whenever police demand them. Unlike Dudley Hiibel (discussed on mefi last year) who had (arguably) caused a disturbance meriting police attention, Deb was just riding the bus when she was "welcomed" to the Denver Federal Center.
posted by Smedleyman on Nov 25, 2005 - 35 comments

A Short Guide to Iraq

How things do change! A short Guide to Iraq published in 1942 by the US government. The handbook was written for American soldiers who were stationed in Iraq to prevent Nazis from seizing the country’s oil. .... 63 years later.
posted by threehundredandsixty on Oct 27, 2005 - 30 comments

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