Garmin makes a range of GPS devices and sports and fitness products. So it’s not surprising that the company’s 3 new smartwatches place a heavy emphasis on those features. The Garmin epix is a phone with a 1.4 inch color touchscreen for displaying maps and satellite imagery. Garmin’s vívoactive is a GPS watch with sports and […]
Microsoft’s latest cellphone doesn’t run Windows and it’s not even really a smartphone. But the Nokia 215 can connect to the internet and run a series of apps including Facebook, Twitter, the Opera Mini web browser, and of course Bing search. What really makes the Nokia 215 special though, is its price: the phone will […]
Microsoft’s Nokia 215 is a $29, internet-connected phone is a post from: Liliputing
A little more than a year after introducing its first smartphone with a curved display, LG is updating the G Flex family. Meet the LG G Flex 2. Like its predecessor, the new G Flex 2 has a curved display that’s designed to match the curvature of your face. But it has a smaller screen, […]
LG G Flex 2: Curved smartphone with Snapdragon 810 is a post from: Liliputing
Google has unveiled a new protocol that will make it easy to stream internet audio to a WiFi-capable speaker. Google Cast for Audio works a lot like Cast for Chromecast: find music you want to play on your phone, tablet, or web browser and tap a button to send it to a speaker. What’s different […]
Writers living in liberal democracies are now nearly as worried about the government watching them as their colleagues in countries that have long histories of internal spying, according to an international survey conducted by PEN, a literary and human rights organization.
Brave writers have historically stood up to even the gravest threats from authoritarian regimes. Conversely, there have always been some who willingly censor themselves.
But the online survey of 772 self-selected respondents in 50 countries nevertheless indicates that the mass surveillance programs disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden are chilling freedom of expression – in some cases, nearly as much as in countries the U.S. considers repressive.
The proportion of respondents in liberal democracies who report actually having engaged in self-censorship thankfully remains small.
Using Freedom House rankings of countries, the PEN report states that 34 percent of writers in “free countries”; 44 percent in “partly free” countries; and 61 percent in “not free” countries “have avoided writing or speaking on a particular topic, or have seriously considered it, due to fear of government surveillance.”
If you only count those how say they’ve actually avoided such topics — and not those who have only “considered” it — the numbers go down, to 20 percent in free countries, compared to 41 percent in not-free countries.
When it comes to actually avoiding activities on social media due to fear of government surveillance, the numbers are considerably closer: 31 percent in free countries and 41 percent in non-free countries.
And almost as many respondents in free countries (15 percent) as in not-free countries (19 percent) reported that they have “have refrained from conducting internet searches or visiting websites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious… due to fear of government surveillance.”
PEN also reported hearing about fears that communications data being collected and stored today could be misused tomorrow. It quoted one respondent:
Stored and analyzed data today that does not have any immediate consequences on the life of a minority-language author like me, can later become extremely dangerous, following a change towards a much more totalitarian government.
An October 2013 survey PEN condcucted of U.S. writers found that 85 percent “were very or somewhat worried about current levels of government surveillance” and that 16 percent reported having censored themselves by not writing or speaking about a particular topic.
That report generated ferocious blowback from some in the literary and journalism community. “What,” asked Los Angeles Times book critic David L. Ulin, “is the matter with these writers?”
Ulin concluded that “the most chilling aspect of the PEN report” was “Not the surveillance, treacherous as it is, but that some writers, at least, already appear willing to capitulate.”
This report will raise some of the same questions and concerns.
But PEN’s greater point is considerably more unassailable: That “Writers’ accounts of the impact of mass surveillance sound a loud alarm bell about the pervasive damage that intrusive surveillance is wreaking on privacy and unfettered expression worldwide.”
And while PEN’s survey was of fiction and non-fiction writers of all sorts, it dovetails with a report by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union based on a survey of journalists and lawyers working in the areas of national security and intelligence that I wrote about last summer.
In that survey, the journalists and lawyers said government surveillance has impaired if not eliminated their ability of to communicate confidentially with their sources and their clients.
Photo: Ben Ward/Flickr
The post Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance Concerns With ‘Not-Free’ Brethren appeared first on The Intercept.
HP’s Stream Mini is a tiny Windows desktop computer with an Intel Celeron processor, 32GB of solid state storage, and a $180 price tag But if you want a little more power, there’s the HP Pavilion Mini. Like the Stream Mini, this model measures 5.7″ x 5.7″ x 2.1″ and weighs just about 1.4 pounds. […]
HP Pavilion Mini desktop coming January 14th for $320 is a post from: Liliputing
HP launched the Stream line of low-cost Windows notebooks in 2014, offering moderate performance, long battery life, and low prices. In 2015 the company is expanding the Stream line to include desktops. The HP Stream Mini 200 is a desktop PC that’s small enough to hold in one hand. It’s a full-fledged Windows desktop PC, […]
EFF was suing the NSA before it was cool. We filed our first lawsuit against the NSA for mass spying in 2008, after the NSA butted into our lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA do mass spying. We’ve also been doing Freedom of Information lawsuits trying to ensure you know what the NSA is up to for many years before that. But when it comes to fighting unconstitutional spying, the more the merrier. And 2014 was awfully merry: litigation challenging NSA surveillance moved forward in multiple cases, giving the government plenty of time to demonstrate exactly how outrageous its arguments in defense of mass spying are.
EFF continued litigation in our mass spying cases Jewel v. NSA for several spying methods and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA for the mass telephone records collection. We also joined the legal team in Smith v. Obama when the case went to the Ninth Circuit on appeal, and joined Klayman v. Obama and ACLU v. Clapper as amici. Finally, we sued the Department of Justice for failing to respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.
Jewel v. NSA: We closed the year out with a bang, with EFF Special Counsel spending 4 hours on December 19, arguing before the court that the government’s access to your Internet communications via tapping into the fiberoptic cables of AT&T violates the 4th Amendment as both a seizure and a search. The court has not yet ruled.
Smith v. Obama: EFF joined forces with ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho, Peter Smith, and Idaho State Rep. Luke Malek in Smith v. Obama, helping Idaho nurse Anna Smith appeal her challenge to bulk telephone record collection. The Ninth Circuit in Seattle heard oral argument on the appeal on December 8, and the court has not yet issued an opinion.
Klayman v. Obama: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted us time during oral argument in Klayman. EFF and the ACLU filed an amicus brief in the case on August 20, 2014. We made slightly different arguments from the plaintiff (more on our arguments below), and so we asked for time to elaborate on those in court. You can listen to the oral argument here. No decision has been issued in Klayman yet either.
ACLU v. Clapper: EFF also filed a brief arguing that “metadata matters,” on behalf of a large number of computer scientists in ACLU v. Clapper, which was heard in early September, 2013. No decision in that case either.
In Smith and Klayman and ACLU we attacked the applicability of the outdated “third party doctrine” to NSA spying. The “doctrine” says that no one has an expectation of privacy in information they convey to a third party, such as telephone numbers dialed. It comes from the 1979 case Smith v. Maryland. In that case, law enforcement collected numbers from a criminal suspect for three days using a rudimentary pen register. But, as we pointed out, that decision certainly doesn’t encompass bulk collection—and sophisticated analysis—of the detailed telephone records of millions of people suspected of nothing at all.
We also explained in both those cases why collection of metadata is not trivial, pointing out the incredibly sensitive information that can be revealed by collecting and collating such data. We emphasized that aggregation provides context and information to that wouldn’t otherwise exist, and allows analysts to create “social graphs” that map webs of relationships between individuals and groups. And even one phone call, such as an “hour-long call at 3 A.M. to a suicide prevention hotline” can be incredibly revealing.
In First Unitarian and Jewel v. NSA: we also had an intense Spring in our two landmark cases, since we had to rush in to court multiple times to stop the NSA from destroying evidence. The NSA had failed to tell the secret FISC court about our cases, resulting in the FISC court ordering them to destroy some of the telephone records they have collected. We were able to get that order reversed and the records preserved. Questions remain, however, about how the NSA is preserving records of its collection from the Internet backbone between 2007 and 2012 and its admitted destruction of the Internet metadata it collected from 2004-2011.
Finally, many of the documents released by the government about the NSA’s spying programs and posted on its Tumblr IContheRecord were released in response to lawsuits brought by EFF—including its most recent release of documents pertaining to President Bush’s “terrorist surveillance program.”
After all of the oral arguments that have happened in the last several months, 2015 promises to be an exciting year, since we’ll likely see opinions in multiple cases.
This article is part of our Year In Review series; read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2014. Like what you're reading? EFF is a member-supported nonprofit, powered by donations from individuals around the world. Join us today and defend free speech, privacy, and innovation.Related Issues: PrivacyNSA SpyingRelated Cases: Smith v. ObamaKlayman v. ObamaJewel v. NSAFirst Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA
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Over thirteen years after being captured in Afghanistan, John Walker Lindh, otherwise known as Detainee #001 in the Global War on Terror, is waging a very different sort of battle: a legal campaign to wear his pants above the ankle.
Lindh, 33, filed Dec. 29 for class action status for all Muslim inmates in the Bureau of Prisons system, requesting that they be allowed to shorten their prison pants. Lindh, who first filed suit on the issue in May 2014, claims “it is a clear tenet of Islam that Muslim men are prohibited from wearing pants below their ankles” and that a Bureau of Prisons policy that “Islamic inmates may not hem or wear their pants above the ankle” violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
After being captured in Afghanistan in December 2001, Lindh–who was photographed naked and strapped to a stretcher by U.S. military personnel–was labeled the “American Taliban.” He pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban, and is currently housed at the Bureau of Prisons’ Communication Management Unit (CMU) in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The pants lawsuit highlights the unique role of the CMUs, which were first created in 2006 to house prisoners whose communications are subject to strict monitoring; when it opened, 15 of the first 17 inmates were Muslim and as the population grew, the CMUs became known by some people as Guantanamo North. CMU inmates now include Muslims convicted on terrorism charges and non-Muslims who have conducted activities involving illegal contraband or communicating threats while in other federal facilities (a second CMU is at the Bureau of Prisons facility at Marion, Illinois).
Last week’s filing included the declarations of 45 inmates in facilities across the United States; they signed on to Lindh’s claim that the policy denying shorter pants violates religious laws. One inmate said that he needed to shorten his pants, because Islamic teachings dictate “everything below the ankles is in Hellfire.”
A Bureau of Prisons imam responded in September 2014, arguing that there is no uniformity of opinion or practice in Muslim jurisprudence regarding this claim. “While it may be the religious personal preference for some followers of a particular school or methods to wear their pants above the ankle, it is not possible for a single Muslim to state that his personal preference or viewpoint represents the sincere beliefs, preferences, or positions of all Islamic inmates in the Bureau of Prisons,” the chaplain wrote in a declaration to the court.
This isn’t the first class action suit Lindh has filed; in December, Lindh, who now calls himself Yahya Lindh in court filings, obtained class action status for the current 48 CMU prisoners in an ongoing lawsuit challenging inmate strip searches before non-contact visits. Lindh claims these searches are unreasonable and violate the Fourth Amendment.
Lindh, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence, will be eligible for release in May 2019.
Photo: Alexandria County Sheriff’s Department/AP
The post Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Brotherhood of the Incarcerated Pants appeared first on The Intercept.
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