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What We Really (Should) Talk About When We Talk About Big Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 7 2014

Corporations don't need census data to guess your race & use it against you (Wikipedia)

Discrimination. Redlining. Racial profiling. These practices predate the Internet, and yet there is every indication that technology can enable infringements on civil rights to an even greater extent than before. Last week, in an effort to put civil rights at the forefront of the ongoing debate about digital privacy and security, a coalition of civil and human rights organizations jointly released “Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,” five tenets to guide policy-making.

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A Bit of Hypocrisy From Ecuador On Internet Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 20 2013

President Rafael Correa (Wikipedia)

Proposed changes to Ecuador's Criminal Code threaten Internet users privacy, security, and possibly even access, reports the digital freedom activist group Access. Among the changes is the provision that Internet service providers (ISPs) must retain records of Internet activity for up to six months. This change would be at odds with the Ecuadorean Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary retention of communications online and off. Another provision would require cybercafes to videotape their patrons. Aside from violating user privacy, this requirement would be prohibitive to small ma and pop establishments, which might close if the owners are unable to afford cameras and data storage equipment.

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First POST: Seeking Refuge

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 8 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The UN is seeking digital humanitarians to help with Typhoon Yolanda crisis tweets; Germans are divided on whether to offer Edward Snowden asylum; How .nyc could be a new piece of civic architecture; and much, much more. Read More


Canadian Government Spied on Aboriginal Activist's Social Media Accounts

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 29 2013

Screenshot (video below) of Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, defending Canadians' privacy

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada found two government departments violated the Privacy Act when they gained access to aboriginal advocate Cindy Blackstock's social media accounts. According to the Toronto Star, officials began monitoring her Facebook page in February of 2010 to ensure Blackstock was not releasing sensitive information about her human rights lawsuit against Ottawa, but they gathered private, personal information entirely unrelated to the case.

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In Canada, Online Campaign to Protest Gov't's Digital 'Snooping Bill' Turns Nasty

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Wednesday, December 5 2012

MP Charmaine Borg outside of Canada's parliament (credit: Max Walker)

In Canada the issue of online privacy has become contentious, with experts, law enforcement officials, and legislators sharply divided. Bill C-30, formally called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was tabled in the House of Commons in February. The bill proposes expanding police powers so that telecoms and Internet Service Providers would be required to turn over subscriber data without a warrant. The opposition responded with a furious online campaign that took a bizarre turn into the realm of personal attacks. Read More

Supreme Court Rules GPS Tracking Is a "Search," Requires a Warrant

BY Nick Judd | Monday, January 23 2012

The Supreme Court has ruled that the police must obtain a warrant before installing GPS-enabled tracking devices on the vehicles of criminal suspects. There's a good summary of the ruling over at the Washington Post. The top-line takeaway from the decision, made today, is that the Court has held that using a GPS device to track a vehicle constitutes a search in the Fourth Amendment sense of the word. Read More

The Europe Roundup: 30 Years of Hacking - a Profile of the Chaos Computer Club

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, November 10 2011

30 Years of Hacking: a Profile of the Chaos Computer Club The Chaos Computer Club is well-known group that has been bringing together hackers from all over the world in the past few years. The group - that turned ... Read More

Freeing Kagan's Emails

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 17 2010

Playbook points out that the Obama White House has put in a National Archives request: Read More