Loss of Privacy

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

Browsing Posts tagged Civil Rights

Debtors prisons were outlawed in the United States nearly 200 years ago. And more than 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear: Judges cannot send people to jail just because they are too poor to pay their court fines.

However, the Supreme Court didn’t tell courts how to determine what it means to “willfully” not pay. So it’s left to judges to make the sometimes difficult calculations.

An NPR news investigation has found there are wide discrepancies in how judges make those decisions. And every day, people go to jail because they failed to pay their court debts.

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A jury is currently deliberating four felony counts of assault by a police officer and causing great bodily injury by Enoch Clark, who blinded a woman when he used pepper spray less than a foot from her face.

According to the D.A.’s office, sheriff’s detectives determined that Clark had fired a JPX pepper spray pistol — which resembles a Star Trek Phaser and ejects propellant at 400 mph — ten inches from Hernandez’s face in the process of trying to arrest her, damaging both of her eyes. The recommended range to fire a JPX device is six to 16 feet from a target.

“For whatever reason, this officer decides to give her a field sobriety test,” Grimes said. “Then he tries to give her a breathalizer test, but the unit is not working right, so finally he decides to arrest her for being under the influence.
“She asks him, `What did I blow?’ And he tells her to shut up and slams her head to the hood of the car. He got her hands behind her back. She’s not biting or resisting. But he puts this pepper spray weapon to her head and pulls the trigger. She hears a boom, and that’s the last thing she remembers.”

The blast of pepper spray gel sliced her right eye in half, fractured her right orbital bone and severed the optic nerve in her left eye.

Clark’s attorney Steve Sanchez claims the Beaumont police department did not properly train its officers how to properly use the JPX pepper spray and didn’t understand how it worked. He also argues that the injuries were not intentional and that Clark was doing what he was trained to do.

The JPX in action.

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A trial that had become a rallying point for many Occupy Wall Street activists ended on Monday with a jury finding a protester guilty of assaulting a police officer at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan in 2012.

A jury of eight women and four men took less than three hours to decide that the protester, Cecily McMillan, 25, was responsible for assaulting the officer, rejecting her contention that she had reacted instinctively when he grabbed her breast during a protest on St. Patrick’s Day. Ms. McMillan had said she could not distinctly recall what happened amid the chaos of the night.

Read more at the New York Times.

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Four men claim they were approached by the FBI to become informants. when they declined, they say they were put on the no-fly list.

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Executive Order 13636, Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, requires that senior agency officials for privacy and civil liberties assess the privacy and civil liberties impacts of the activities their respective departments and agencies have undertaken to implement the Executive Order, and to publish their assessments annually in a report compiled by the DHS Privacy Office and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

This is the first of the required annual reports. It includes the DHS Privacy Office’s and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties’ assessments of certain DHS activities under Section 4 of the Executive Order (enhanced threat information sharing with the private sector) as well as assessments conducted independently by the Department of the Treasury and the Departments of Defense, Justice, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Energy, and by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the General Services Administration. April 2014. 152 pages.

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