Posts Tagged: civil liberties

What Would the Talmudic Rabbis Think of the NSA?



Thanks to two leaks of classified information, we have been hearing about data collection practices at the NSA. The evolution of new technologies requires us as a nation to thoughtfully consider how to strike the proper balance between protecting national security and protecting individual privacy. The revelations of the last few weeks, arguably, fall somewhere […]

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NYPD Spied on American Muslims in Vain



In September 2011, the Associated Press began its investigation of the New York Police Department’s specific targeting of American Muslims. Members of the NYPD were found to have spied on Muslim religious centers, workplaces and student associations at local colleges (some of which were not even in New York City), often without any evidence of […]

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URJ Calls for a Fair Judiciary



Over a month ago, the Senate leadership struck a bipartisan deal pledging to vote on a package of 14 judicial nominees, thereby momentarily addressing the pervasive obstructionism to judicial appointments. While this deal effectively stimulated voting on judicial vacancies, it did not even begin to address the urgent need for a real commitment to filling […]

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Senate Report Expected to Confirm Torture Ineffective



About a year ago, the United States finally killed Bin Osama Laden, the terrorist mastermind behind the September 11th attacks. It didn’t take long for torture apologists to start claiming that brutal interrogation methods had yielded the information that led to the compound where the Al Qaeda leader had been hiding. At the time, the […]

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The Supreme Court Brings the Fourth Amendment into the 21st Century



This week, the Supreme Court held, in United States v. Jones, that police violated the Constitution by using a global position system (GPS) device to track a suspect’s movements. In addition, the Court indicated that it may bring the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures into the modern era: though the Founders could […]

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Stopping Piracy or Censoring the ‘Net?



If you’ve been online today, you may have noticed that some of your favorite websites are a little different than usual. Google’s logo has a censor bar over it. Wikipedia, Imgur, and other sites have a splash page. WordPress has “censored” much of its main page. These changes are the result of a coordinated “web […]

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Despite Veto Threat, Obama Signs Defense Bill with Dangerous Implications



On New Year’s Day, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law. The bill, as I’ve noted before, contains two troubling provisions which threaten basic civil liberties. These parts of the bill together allow for the indefinite detention—without trial—of terror suspects, even American citizens, and their rendition to military authorities. President Obama had […]

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New Technology, Same Violation of Civil Liberty



Over the past year, the issue of warrantless GPS tracking has become increasingly prominent. In particular, a bipartisan bill – the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act (H.R.2168/S.1212)- was introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to require the government to get a warrant before tracking an individual’s movement through his or […]

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Indefinite Detention Provisions Remain in Defense Bill



  As I’ve noted before, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the appropriations bill for the United States Armed Forces, contains troubling provisions that would empower the government to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects and render all terrorism suspects from civilian to military authorities – even if they are US citizens. There was a short-lived hope […]

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Defense Bill Endangers Civil Liberties



This year, as every year, the United States Congress will be taking up a piece of legislation called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). However, this year, unlike past years, there is a provision in the NDAA that would explicitly empower the federal government to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects. In other words, the government would […]

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A Decade of the PATRIOT Act



A decade ago today, the United States Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act. But before they voted for it, many members of Congress didn’t even read it. What they missed by not reading it was the risk that the legislation posed to our basic civil liberties – including a number of provisions that were recently […]

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