Experts from broad coalition conduct briefing on bipartisan Surveillance State Repeal Act

March 25, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

My report from the briefing. Special bonus photo at the end, so read the whole thing.

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

Rep. Mark Pocan, sponsor of the Surveillance State Repeal Act

As reported in ThinkProgress and elsewhere, experts from across the political spectrum convened in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday afternoon to strongly advocate the Surveillance State Repeal Act (SSRA) before an audience of press, public, and congressional staff.  The act, numbered HR1466, was released by Representatives Pocan (D-WI) and Massie (R-KY) last week; they are seeking additional co-sponsors in the House and a partner bill in the Senate.  In his own brief comments, Rep. Pocan pointed out “this isn’t just tinkering around the edges, this is a meaningful overhaul of the system.”

On hand to discuss the proposed legislation — and the urgent need for it — were Patrick Eddington (CATO Institute, former senior policy adviser to Rep. Rush Holt), Zack Malitz (CREDO Action), Shahid Buttar (Bill of Rights Defense Committee, BORDC), Norm Singleton (Campaign for Liberty), and…

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Press release, Rep. Mark Pocan: Pocan & Massie Introduce Legislation to Repeal PATRIOT Act

March 24, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

Great news!!!!

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

Surveillance StateLegislation would end NSA Dragnet Collection of Personal Communications
Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act. The legislation would repeal dragnet federal surveillance laws, while overhauling the NSA’s domestic surveillance program.

“The warrantless collection of millions of personal communications from innocent Americans is a direct violation of our constitutional right to privacy,” said Rep. Pocan. “Revelations about the NSA’s programs reveal the extraordinary extent to which the program has invaded Americans’ privacy. I reject the notion that we must sacrifice liberty for security- we can live in a secure nation which also upholds a strong commitment to civil liberties. This legislation ends the NSA’s dragnet surveillance practices, while putting provisions in place to protect the privacy of American citizens through real and lasting change.”

“The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have…

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Save The Internet! with Popular Resistance

February 6, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

Audio of Kevin Zeese (popularresistance.org) remarks on FCC chief Wheeler’s announcement supporting net neutrality.

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

Advance elements of the banner-holding, demonstrating wing of the “Save The Internet” movement met tonight at Marx Cafe for beers, music,  along with an update about recent welcome ‘net neutrality’ news (and a look ahead to the next few weeks) from PopularResistance.org‘s Kevin Zeese.

The big news, of course, was FCC chair Tom Wheeler’s announcement yesterday:

…I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.

…including mobile broadband. In his blog post today (Major Historic Victory For Internet Freedom: The Fight Continues) recalling months of direct action activism, Zeese called the decision a “victory of people power over corporate power, indeed…

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Police body cameras: eyes on us, not on them?

February 3, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

Yet another surveillance tool – and one that often doesn’t even help stop bad cops the way it’s intended to.

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson, many (including Michael Brown’s family) made the understandable call for police body cameras, since such a device might have provided visual documentation for the claims or counterclaims made in that case.

But are body cameras are really going to be effective, long-term means of making police more accountable to the public?  Or will they just be another device to switch on and off as it suits the cop on the beat — while providing another surveillance stream of unwarranted, suspicionless observations to sift and analyze long after the recording?

Problems with body cams
Writing for Truthout, Bill of Rights Defense Committee director Shahid Buttar gives three reasons to suspect that body cameras are no solution to police violence:

First, there’s no guarantee that the public will ever see footage from police body cameras, especially in…

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Now that was an EPIC crypto-party

January 28, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

Seems like useful advice on encrypting your email, so I’m reposting this 2013 blog post here.

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

Michael Carbone (Access) explains the finer points of encryption to workshop participants.

Better late than never: here’s a report back from the “crypto party” hosted by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Public Citizen on Friday, October 25th in the offices of Public Citizen in connection with the “Stop Watching Us”rally against mass surveillance that weekend.

The evening was a pizza- and beer-fueled workshop on how and why to go about encrypting email and masking one’s Internet usage.  Much of it was (or should have been) familiar to me and MCCRC readers via our own Bill Day’s posts on the subjects (see here for an overview).

But a refresher course with hands-on help never hurts.  The email encryption workshop I joined led off with a clear, useful overview of the issues followed by excellent help from the experts on hand, via organizations like Access, Center for Democracy…

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One month left in the Battle for Net Neutrality

January 27, 2015

Thomas Nephew:

A quick reminder.

Originally posted on Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition:

What is net neutrality?  It’s the idea that no bit of data on the Internet highways and byways is more privileged than the next.  The ACLU puts it this way: it’s what makes the Internet “a place where you can always access any lawful content you want, and where the folks delivering that content can’t play favorites because they disagree with the message being delivered or want to charge more money for faster delivery” — the way companies like Comcast or Verizon would like to do.

For his part, John Oliver (“Last Week Tonight”) puts it this way:

The decision is just a month away now, and cable companies are putting big pressure on Congress to intervene and direct the FCC to make the decision they’d like.  So the Internet wing of the civil liberties community — Fight for the Future, EFF, DemandProgress, and other groups — are banding…

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Today: this just in from Facebook

May 31, 2014

http://on.fb.me/1kcadWt
Rally at 3 p.m. this afternoon #OpNSA
If you are a long-time reader here, you know why this matters—otherwise, scroll down.
(Sorry for quick post; crazy busy day.)


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