Sweden Channels Big Brother… Inspired by the U.S.

Last month Sweden shocked its citizens and many in the free world when its parliament passed a controversial surveillance law by the slimmest of margins (143-138) in an effort to combat “terrorism.” This is a familiar refrain for U.S. citizens who have ceaselessly heard the Bush Administration and many in Congress justify encroachments on civil liberties in the name…

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FOIA Transparency… It Shouldn’t Be An Oxymoron

Yesterday, circulated a letter endorsing the OPEN FOIA Act (S.2746). CDT was one of the 29 organizations that signed on to the letter. As Sophia noted during Sunshine Week this year, the bill is a short one but would be very helpful in preserving the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act. There are many ways…

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More on YouTube v. Viacom v. User Privacy

There is more to say, in addition to what David Sohn pointed out in Thursday’s blog post, about the recent court order requiring YouTube to turn over user information. The order directing YouTube to turn over information about anyone who has ever used YouTube illustrates two points: (1) Google (which now runs YouTube) and other Internet and…

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Court Orders Google to Turn Over YouTube User Data

The federal court hearing Viacom’s billion-dollar copyright lawsuit against YouTube issued an order earlier this week in the discovery phase of the case. The court denied Viacom’s audacious request to require YouTube to turn over the source code that powers YouTube’s (and Google’s) search engine. But the court granted the request to compel YouTube to turn over the…

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Still ‘Dirty’ After All These Years

Thirty years ago this week (July 3rd), the Supreme Court handed down its landmark First Amendment decision, FCC v. Pacifica Foundation. Spurred by a Pacifica Foundation radio station airing the late George Carlin’s infamous “seven dirty words” monologue, a splintered 5-4 court held that the Federal Communications Commission…

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This Right Can’t Help the Wrong

On Monday, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt put his signature on a new law that targets stalking and harassment on the Internet, pulling the state’s harassment law into the 21st Century by including telephone and electronic communications in a statute traditionally reserved for in-person activities. What that new law can’t do is rein in…

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CRS Report of the Week – Science and Technology Policymaking: A primer

The report begins with an overview of U.S. science and technology policy, followed by explanations on who makes the policy, what organizations provide information on policy, and the challenges that policymaking presents. CRS No. RL34454, April 22, 2008. From the Report’s Summary: Several organizations, when requested by the federal government or Congress, provide formal science and technology policy advice: federal…

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Does “Targeting” Authorize the Vacuum Cleaner?

Does the new FISA bill authorize wholesale interception of all communications to and from the US, or does it only authorize the interception of the communications of particular individuals? In either case, the legislation affects Americans, because some of the intercepted communications of persons abroad will be with people in the United States. Also, in either case, the…

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FOIA Brain Teaser: When Is An Agency Not An Agency?

A judge ruled this week that the Office of Administration (OA), part of the Executive Office of the President (EOP), is exempt from Freedom of Information Act requests because it is not an “agency” under the law. The ruling adds to the inconsistent and somewhat arbitrary set of determinations on what is and what is not an FOIA agency….

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