Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts in Civil Rights

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving.


“The idea that the government can send signals through the wall of your house to figure out what’s inside is problematic,” said Christopher Soghoian, the American Civil Liberties Union’s principal technologist. “Technologies that allow the police to look inside of a home are among the intrusive tools that police have.”

Agents’ use of the radars was largely unknown until December, when a federal appeals court in Denver said officers had used one before they entered a house to arrest a man wanted for violating his parole. The judges expressed alarm that agents had used the new technology without a search warrant, warning that “the government’s warrantless use of such a powerful tool to search inside homes poses grave Fourth Amendment questions.”

By then, however, the technology was hardly new. Federal contract records show the Marshals Service began buying the radars in 2012, and has so far spent at least $180,000 on them.

More at USA Today.

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WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Superintendent Hugh Taylor feels it forces the school teachers to act as parents and also questions. What happens if a child becomes so offended they have to leave the theater?

High school History club students were banned from seeing the movie “Selma” because there is obscene language and racial profanity in the movie. Since this is a school outing, parents were presumably sent permission slips so the school’s stance that they don’t want to be the parents is moot.

If your child cannot handle being offended, then they probably shouldn’t go. Since this is a club, the movie is probably a voluntary thing and no one is required to attend. Also, the students are likely the ones who thought it would be a great idea to attend a viewing of the movie. If the club is like every other high school club, they would have talked about the issue already and prepared the students for what they are likely to see and hear, which is probably similar to their every day lives anyway.

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State Sen. C.B. Embry, from Butler County, recently introduced the Kentucky Student Privacy Act, which would make transgender students in public schools use the bathrooms which correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

“I just don’t think people of a different biological sex should, children, should be allowed into restrooms who are not the same sex that they are,” Embry said. “I think that’s very upsetting to a number of students and parents.”

As someone who has traveled the world from a young age and used many unisex bathrooms, get over yourselves. What Embry thinks and what reality is are two different things.

If the bill does go into law, students who encounter a person of the opposite biological sex in a restroom, locker room, or shower room could recover $2,500 from the school, depending on the specific situation.

This bill is a violation of Title IX and, hopefully, will be overturned if it ever sees the light of day.

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From The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC, 1-15-2015.

I attempted to find the full story on MSNBC’s site, but was unable to. Maybe it hasn’t been uploaded yet.

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Politicians in Congress are pushing to declassify 28 pages from the 9/11 reports. Rep. Massie spoke in July about why these particular pages need to be declassified.

the former co-chairman of the panel that produced the heavily-redacted 2002 report will hold a Capitol Hill press conference calling for its complete release. Former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham will join Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), as well as 9/11 families, to demand President Obama shine light on the entire blanked-out Saudi section.

Graham claims the redaction is part of an ongoing “coverup” of the role of Saudi officials in the 9/11 plot. He maintains the Saudi hijackers got financial aid and other help from the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and the Saudi embassy in Washington, as well as from wealthy Sarasota, Fla., patrons tied to the Saudi royal family.

Jones and Lynch say they will reintroduce their resolution urging Obama to declassify the information in the newly seated Congress. The bipartisan bill has attracted 21 co-sponsors, including 10 Republicans and 11 Democrats, since first introduced 12 months ago.

organizers have launched a letter-writing campaign to encourage senators to sign the resolution, including Sen. Charles Schumer, who in 2003 led a group of 46 senators in penning a letter to Bush.

Schumer (D-NY) at the time said, “The bottom line is that keeping this material classified only strengthens the theory that some in the US government are hellbent on covering up for the Saudis.”

The New Yorker discussed the 28 pages, questioning why they are still kept secret. No one is allowed to see the documents from the Bush, Cheney and Bill Clinton interviews with the commission, if they exist. Those interviews were said to have no recordings, no transcripts and no one was under oath.

The behavior of the government is why people are skeptical about everything the U.S. government says and does. The whole notions appears to be simply conspiracy, but those who have seen the 28 pages say there is nothing in them that threaten national security and no reason to not let the public read them. By keeping them secret, the government is fueling the conspiracy fire.

James Bamford’s documentary, Spy Factory, touches on what the CIA knew and how it works, including the information it had, but refused to share with the FBI.

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