Posts tagged civil liberties

Posted 5 months ago

Peoria Mayor Misses The Memo On Free Speech

What isn’t funny is the heavy-handed use of a police department to squelch free speech. Thankfully, most rational people, including the Supreme Court, know this. According to the Marshfield News Herald, in striking down the 2012 Stolen Valor Act, which punished people who claimed military honors they never actually earned, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote:

“Permitting the government to decree this speech to be a criminal offense, whether shouted from the rooftops or made in a barely audible whisper, would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”

I would say we can hope someone a little more sensible with a better sense of humor takes office in Peoria after the next election, but I’d hate to have a half-dozen officers make the hours-long drive up to Chicago to question me about my own Twitter account. 

Posted 8 months ago

No One Really Won In NATO 3 Trial

What the Tribune misses, what Alvarez misses and what the jury missed when sending down the conviction of the arson charges is not whether or not a 20 year old anarchist is “man enough to mean” his drunken, violent sounding rhetoric. It’s that even that rhetoric is suspect, given the context of the state’s desire to not only infiltrate and monitor political dissidents, but goad the few they can into doing something more serious to “make an example” of them. The City of Chicago spent millions of dollars on security for the NATO summit. Chicago Police spent hundreds of hours of manpower monitoring not only the NATO 3, but hundreds of other activists. Yet, the only “terrorist plot” foiled by law enforcement was the one they themselves engineered.

Posted 9 months ago

Chicago ‘NATO 3’ trial limits public access - Chicago Sun-Times

Since the day the defendants were arrested, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has attempted to control the public narrative, repeatedly picturing the defendants as “domestic terrorists” rather than protesters. This is a “high-profile” trial only because the state has inflated misdemeanor attempted vandalism charges into trumped-up terrorism charges. There is no apparent reason to suspect any threat to security.

Posted 9 months ago

Guantánamo by the Numbers [Infographic]

77 still imprisoned after being cleared for release.

Youngest prisoner ever held - 13 years old.

Oldest prisoner ever held - 89 years old.

21 children imprisoned.

At least 26 tortured before being transferred.

Feel safer?

Posted 9 months ago

ICP, ACLU Sue Feds Over Juggalos Gang Classification

Do the actions of some rabid fans of a group constitute an organized crime network worthy of this kind of attention from law enforcement? One can throw a rock in most directions of the internet to find fans of numerous music genres posting selfies showing off weapons and tattoos of band logos and the Juggalo family, even when camped out at Cave In Rock for their annual Gathering, appears to be about as organized as a group of heavy metal fans hanging out in a parking lot.

Posted 1 year ago

Wisconsin Mining Company Hires Paramilitary Squad To Protect Site From Protesters

Looks like GI-Joe has fallen on some hard times lately. Thankfully, corporations need protection from all of those ruffians that believe they’re free to protest.

Posted 2 years ago

DARPA To Develop Technology To Analyze Social Media

Phase three of DARPA’s proposal to develop computer algorithms that would analyze and interpret data on groups from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter reads the operation would:

be of great interest to industrial espionage prevention specialists, law enforcement, market analysts, and polling organizations. This capability would be applicable to a broad range of tactical as well as strategic military operations.

Creepy, no?


Posted 2 years ago

Don't taze us, we're with the media

"This is no longer just about whether people like me are being treated equally. It’s about the deliberate targeting of independent press.”

Posted 2 years ago

Government Increasingly Eyeing Dissent on Social Media

The District Attorney’s office is attempting to use Harris’ tweets to contradict his defense that demonstrators on the bridge did not hear police orders to vacate the area and had permission to march. Harris and his lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild argue the subpoena is an “unwarranted invasion of privacy.” The San Francisco Gate reports Assistant District Attorney Lee Langston disagrees, writing “he has no proprietary or privacy interest in tweets that he broadcast to every person with access to the Internet.”

The EFF acknowledges this partly, insofar as the government can simply scroll back through a public Twitter feed and get the information they desire. The subpoena however, covers much more than just the public tweets of Mr. Harris:

With this overbroad subpoena, the government would be able to learn about who Mr. Harris was communicating with for an extensive period of time not only through Tweets, but through direct messages. And with the government’s request for all email addresses associated with @destructuremal, they could subpoena Mr. Harris’ email provider to get even more information about who he communicated with.

Beyond that, the EFF points out the government could also be fishing for some other information, mainly location data. The majority of Twitter users are connected via mobile devices, and Twitter keeps track of IP addresses, dates and times related to log ins and messages. Should the government be able to subpoena this information, the ISP would hand over the information the specific cell tower someone uses to access Twitter. Armed with this information, the government would be able to track Mr. Harris’ movements over the past three months, sidestepping the Fourth Amendment.


Posted 2 years ago

Chicago To Get New Riot and Surveillance Gear for NATO/G8 Summits

According to Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields, 3,000 new helmets might not be enough. Because the old helmets are thinner, weaker and liquid can seep through them, Shields would like all of the city’s 9,500 patrol officers to have new equipment. He told the Sun-Times “Rioters known to attend NATO and G-8 meetings have been known to throw bags of urine and bags of feces at police. Chicago Police officers need a shield that can adapt to what is being thrown at them.”

To our knowledge, no protesters plan on bringing any kind of scatological materials to the demonstrations in May. Furthermore, while cursory searching found plenty of speculation, rumor and hyperbole about such instances, we have yet to find any actual hard evidence outside of commentary. To the contrary, a civil liberties advocate told an independent news website in December “This is part of a spectrum of information war strategies that the state uses to repress dissent.”