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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to The Atlantic , Al Jazeera , Foreign Policy , The Guardian , Harvard Law and Policy Review and PBS MediaShift . He currently works as an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Previously, Timm helped the longtime General Counsel of The New York Times , James Goodale, write a book on the First Amendment.
(9 comments) SHARE Friday, November 1, 2013 Sen. Dianne Feinstein's New NSA Bill Will Codify and Extend Mass Surveillance of Americans
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of the NSA's biggest defenders, released what she calls an NSA "reform" bill today. Don't be fooled: the bill codifies some of the NSA's worst practices, would be a huge setback for everyone's privacy, and it would permanently entrench the NSA's collection of every phone record held by U.S. telecoms.
(34 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 18, 2017 Everyone loves Bernie Sanders. Except, it seems, the Democratic party
In the long term, change may be coming for Democrats whether they like it or not. Sanders loyalists are quietly attempting to take over many local Democratic party positions around the country. Sanders' supporters are already organizing primary challenges to incumbent Democrats who aren't sufficiently opposing Trump. One thing's for sure: Democrats who refuse to change do so at their peril.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 14, 2013 DOJ Investigation of AP Part of Larger Pattern to Intimidate Sources and Reporters
As part of a new leak investigation, the Justice Department has secretly obtained the call records for twenty phone lines owned by the Assocated Press (AP), which could put sources for as many as one hundred reporters at risk.
We agree. It's time to stop looking at all of these leak investigations and prosecutions as ancillary to press freedom; they are a direct attack on it. This should be an important wake-up call ...
(13 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 13, 2016 If Trump leaks are OK and Clinton leaks aren't, there's a problem
Leaks sometimes make the subject of them uncomfortable, and increasingly large leaks of private emails raise questions about internet security and privacy. But ultimately we should ask ourselves: would we rather reporters not cover what politicians are doing behind closed doors?
(11 comments) SHARE Tuesday, April 5, 2016 Why the Panama Papers should be a US election issue
While the investigation has not named any well-known US citizens -- though "just wait for what is coming next" as one of the lead editors said -- the scandal should be a critical issue in US presidential election. This is especially true in the Democratic primary, where the story once again calls into question free trade agreements which the party's elite have been pushing on its rank-and-file for years.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, September 12, 2015 One good thing about Donald Trump's campaign: it's ruining Jeb Bush's
While Trump remains strongly disliked by the vast majority of Americans who are not members of the Republican party, Jeb is often pitched as the "moderate" candidate who can appeal to a large swath of voters. Yet in substance, he is far more dangerous than Trump.
(3 comments) SHARE Friday, August 2, 2019 The Trump Administration Is Coming After WhatsApp
While Barr acknowledges it's clear that end-to-end encryption (which he dubbed "irresponsible encryption") provides some consumer protections, he claims it weakens people's overall safety and national security at the same time. Banning strong encryption is a terrible idea no matter the administration in charge. But why should anyone trust Donald Trump, of all people, with this incredible new power?
SHARE Friday, July 14, 2017 Here's a reality check: this Trump Jr storm will not lead to impeachment
While pro-impeachment advocates scream "treason!" on Twitter every time a new story is published, the truth is much more complicated. Some legal experts wonder whether the Trump clan actually did break any laws in their interactions with Russian nationals, even if their behavior pre-election was incredibly shady, unethical and nefarious.
SHARE Friday, December 1, 2017 The future of American privacy rights will be defined this year
If the US supreme court rules the right way, it could protect the data emitted from our cellphones, often without our knowledge and provide safeguards for police abuse. If they don't, police may have cart blanche power to turn any American's smartphone into a tracking device on demand. This is the most important privacy case in front of the supreme court in a generation concerning NSA surveillance reform.
(6 comments) SHARE Monday, July 6, 2015 Killing civilians to vanquish Isis will only make besieged people hate us
If the US is being a little more careful about civilian deaths on its third go-around in Iraq--and that's a giant "if"--we should be commending that. Perhaps they've learned that if our second invasion of Iraq didn't lead to the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi civilians, we wouldn't be in this Isis mess in the first place. A call for a return to anything short of only killing enemy soldiers should be called what it is: sociopathic.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 11, 2017 Trump's terror policies are bad enough now. What about after an attack?
Trump apparently wants to upend society, tear families apart and amplify the terrorists' message for them. Worse, he's doing all this while trying to blame judges and the American people for coming attacks. It's beyond cynical; it's deplorable, and he's only going to get worse.
(3 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 15, 2017 Rudy Giuliani is an absurd choice to defend the US from hackers
While Giuliani is just a particularly cartoonish example of a longstanding problem, he is, in one sense, a perfect fit for the Trump administration: yet another already rich man taking a position in which he clearly has a vested interest, set to more money for himself and likely to fail those he's supposed to be helping.
(7 comments) SHARE Saturday, August 22, 2015 It hurts to say it, but sometimes Donald Trump speaks the truth
Trump's deliberate forays into xenophobia and arrogance on immigration and foreign policy certainly remain awful and ugly, but there's also another reason he continues to sit atop the Republican polls: he speaks a particular kind of truth about some issues the way only someone with no filter can.
(7 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Is Hillary Clinton a neocon?
It's entirely possible that these Republicans are endorsing Clinton because Trump is an unhinged maniac who has given people of all political persuasions plenty of reason to not want him anywhere near the levers of power. But here's the thing: the neocon love affair with Clinton started well before Trump was even in the discussion of Republican candidates, let alone the party's likely nominee.
SHARE Sunday, October 29, 2017 Niger is the perfect example of the US state of perma-war
Congress, of course, has shamefully abdicated its constitutional role as legislative body in charge of declaring war since it passed the AUMF shortly after 9/11. That law -- just 60 words -- has been used for 16 years now to justify conflicts on multiple continents against enemies that didn't exist at the time of its enactment.
SHARE Thursday, July 28, 2016 The rush to blame Russia for the DNC email hack is premature
If politics led to logical conclusions, the disastrous hack of the DNC might encourage the party to take a much stronger stance embracing end-to-end encryption, which is a cybersecurity tool as much as a privacy enhancer. But we don't live in a logical world, so we can probably look forward to politicians continuing to stoke cybersecurity fears and escalating international tensions without doing anything effective about it.
(4 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 27, 2017 If Trump wants to fire Jeff Sessions, let him -- it would be a gift to America
Sessions leaving office leads to the best of all worlds: a uniquely horrible Trump cabinet official who is making life miserable for millions of Americans is gone; it will be incredibly tough for Trump to get a new attorney general confirmed; he won't be able to make a recess appointment; and it might further the obstruction of justice case against him.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 8, 2016 Almost everyone gets Russia wrong -- apart from Obama
The media largely seems to be eager to portray Putin as an 11th dimensional chess grandmaster, who is behind every major world event. (Conspiracy theories are almost universally mocked in the US, unless they involve Putin and Russia -- then they are encouraged.)
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 12, 2019 How Facebook Borrows From the NSA Playbook
Facebook has been under a consent decree with the FTC since 2012, when the agency reprimanded the social media giant for violating users' privacy. Facebook was at least supposed to follow strict rules about when and why it could not share users' data with others. But as the Times reported, Facebook relied on quietly redefining "service provider" to get everything it wanted.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 28, 2017 Donald Trump's bloodlust for war in the Middle East risks chaos
Lost among the deluge of stories about the Russia investigation and the Republicans' push to take healthcare away from millions of people, the Trump administration is laying the groundwork for a disastrous regional proxy war against Iran in Syria, and possibly beyond.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Don't punish Chelsea Manning -- release her
Manning has been denied proper medical care for gender dysphoria and has to fight in court every step of the way to get the government to recognize her rights as a transgender prisoner. In 2015, she was punished by the Army and was restricted in her recreation activities for having non-approved magazines and "expired toothpaste."
(11 comments) SHARE Friday, November 18, 2016 If Donald Trump gets his way, his administration will be disastrous
Trump surrogates have said he's exempt from ethics laws related to his future office and his businesses -- which are conflicts of interest disasters at this point. He at first claimed he'd put his businesses into a blind trust, and then said his children would continue to run them. Trump's transition website is literally promoting his business brands.
SHARE Thursday, December 1, 2016 Attention all journalists: US border patrol agents can search your phones
The US watch lists that prevent all sorts of people from entering the country are a due process-free nightmare, in which everything is kept secret from those affected and often there is no meaningful way to challenge it. This is a stark reminder that journalists need to do everything possible to protect themselves and their sources when traveling over any border -- including into or out of the United States.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, August 19, 2016 The US is promoting war crimes in Yemen
This US-backed war is not just a case of the Obama administration sitting idly by while its close ally goes on a destructive spree of historic proportions. The government is actively selling the Saudis billions of dollars of weaponry. They're re-supplying planes engaged in the bombing runs and providing "intelligence" for the targets that Saudi Arabia is hitting.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, July 2, 2016 Donald Trump's anti-terror policies sound a lot like war crimes
The amount of damage an unchecked Trump could do with the national security infrastructure in place -- the CIA drone program, NSA warrantless spying, the ability to conduct unilateral war with no congressional approval, etc -- is truly extraordinary. We learned Thursday from BuzzFeed that Trump allegedly listened secretly to the phone calls of employees at his Florida resort Mar-A-Lago.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, August 18, 2017 Did you visit this anti-Trump site? The US government wants your IP address
If this extraordinary broad legal order is allowed to stand, Jeff Sessions and the justice department could extend the same type of legal order to a whole host of situations. It should be strongly protested not just in court, but in public and the halls of Congress in the strongest terms possible.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, November 3, 2017 Trump wants to keep our draconian surveillance laws. Don't let him do it
The last time Congress had to reauthorize Section 702, they waited until the very last possible moment -- just a few days before the law was to expire -- and used the holiday season, when most people were with their families on vacation and phone calls to the Capitol would be at a minimum, as cover. Many members of Congress then lamented the lack of time to work on reforms.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, January 16, 2016 Bernie Sanders is winning with the one group his rivals can't sway: voters
It's clear that Sanders is not going to fade away, as many predicted in the fall after it looked like his support was leveling off; he is only getting stronger. Given that most voters don't even start paying attention until after the Iowa caucus, Democrats would do themselves well by putting the Clinton coronation on hold for now.
(7 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 20, 2016 If the US hacks Russia for revenge, that could lead to cyberwar
NBC News reported late last week that the CIA is working up blueprints for an "unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia," and it sounds a lot like they're planning on leaking documents on Vladimir Putin, just as the Russians are accused of doing to the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
(10 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 1, 2016 Clinton's embrace of Republicans will harm her own party's future
Instead of hanging Trump around all Republicans' necks, she is cleaving him off from other GOP candidates and giving them an easy out, despite the fact that Trump is a direct product of the GOP's pandering to classist and racist elements of society for a decade. (Leaked Democratic National Committee emails show that at least some Democrats were worried about this exact scenario.)
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 2, 2016 The US is bombing Libya again. It's a too-familiar vicious cycle
Whoever is in office after Obama leaves in January will have many decisions to make about wars across the Middle East. But one thing seems clear: the government's established pattern of needing to address the problems its own past actions helped create will continue.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, June 3, 2017 Ice agents are out of control. And they are only getting worse
With arrests of non-violent undocumented immigrants exploding across the country, it's almost as if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) agents are having an internal contest to see who can participate in the most cruel and inhumane arrest possible.
(7 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 1, 2016 President Obama, pardon Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning
Samuel Morrison, the first leaker convicted under the Espionage Act, was pardoned by Bill Clinton during his presidency. Given how powerful figures who have also mishandled or leaked classified information, such as David Petraeus, have gotten off almost scot-free, it's past time the administration did the right thing and made sure these two American heroes can return from exile and prison.
(19 comments) SHARE Sunday, November 1, 2015 US special forces in Syria are Obama's latest broken foreign policy promise
No one denies Isis is barbaric and extremely depraved, or that Bashar al-Assad is a murderer, but it is supposed to be the American public's decision as to whether we go to war. The administration has changed that calculus. It alone now decides when it goes to war: Congress and the public be damned.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, June 23, 2016 As quietly as possible, the government is renewing its assault on your privacy
In Congress, Senate Republicans are pushing for a vote this week on controversial new warrantless surveillance measures that would let the FBI use unconstitutional National Security Letters to get email records and internet browsing history from countless US citizens -- without going to a judge or court at all.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 17, 2018 ProPublica's mistake was inevitable in age of CIA secrecy over torture
A brave government official who has access to the torture report can still leak it to the press. They would be doing a vital public service. Though such an act would put any individual at great risk, there are few things more important to our democracy than holding government officials accountable when they commit crimes against humanity, such as those committed by the CIA.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, May 20, 2016 Five things people should stop saying about Bernie Sanders
It seems to be open season on Bernie Sanders in the Democratic party now that his chances of winning the nomination are dwindling. But the criticism of him is misguided and hypocritical, and he is doing the right thing by largely ignoring it. Bernie Sanders has certainly been a shot in the arm for the Democratic party. But that is only a good thing, and I, for one, hope he continues.
(10 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 6, 2015 Obama's speech reminded Americans that the war with Isis is still illegal
What the president said in his speech Sunday is nothing new: he has been half-heartedly calling on Congress to authorize the war since January. But the White House has put forth no language of their own for a bill that would satisfy their requirements, and the administration has made clear they don't think they really need legislation anyway.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, August 12, 2016 People who film police violence are citizen journalists. We stand with them
Almost all police departments have been forced to concede in recent years that everyone in the United States has a first amendment right to record the police in public spaces. So while they can't prosecute people for filming them killing unarmed civilians, it's clear that police departments are using their position of power to intimidate those who have led to more scrutiny of police.
SHARE Friday, October 13, 2017 Trump's threats amount to a First Amendment violation
Everyone knows Trump regularly issues legal threats that he never follows through on. But that may not matter either: Even if Trump's comments on punishing NBC and the NFL are seen as empty threats, it's still a First Amendment issue. it would be interesting if NFL Players Union or individual players decided to sue Trump for violating their First Amendment rights.
(10 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 1, 2017 The Muslim ban has brought the US close to constitutional crisis
The fact that the White House is attempting to circumvent legal advice, install dubious appointees to incredible powerful national security positions and violate court orders is outrageous and despicable, so let's be clear: Congress needs to quickly move towards impeachment if this is true.
(8 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 3, 2015 David Petraeus' bright idea: give terrorists weapons to beat terrorists
Continually ignored in the debate over arming Syrian rebels, is that the CIA itself produced a study that concluded that arming any rebel force, whether they are a notorious terrorist group or not, is generally a bad idea. The study found that most of the time such attempts either fail spectacularly or backfire in the face of the US, even if they initially succeed.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Obama is bullish on war, no matter how you spin it
Gone are the battalions of tens of thousands of soldiers, torching everything in their paths. Obama's wars are fought with special forces, drones and other high-tech weaponry that, he argues, lead to fewer American deaths. But they pose the same dangers to world peace that the wars in Vietnam and Iraq once did, while making them far easier to fight.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 1, 2016 James Comey has been abusing his power for years
During his stints in the Bush and Obama administration Comey has continually taken authoritarian and factually dubious public stances both at odds with responsible public policy and sometimes the law. The Clinton case is not an aberration, it's part of a clear pattern. The evidence against Comey has been available ever since President Obama nominated him. All that's changed is that people are finally paying attention.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, June 8, 2016 America's voting system is broken. It's time to overhaul it
It's not just Bernie Sanders' campaign that should (and has) argued that the voting system in this country is "rigged." Virtually every major campaign in both parties griped about how the other was winning at some point during this campaign, and along the way almost all of them were right.
(3 comments) SHARE Thursday, September 22, 2016 The Washington Post is wrong: Edward Snowden should be pardoned
We know the US government makes all sorts of dire predictions when information is leaked to the press (the Pentagon Papers, the Chelsea Manning disclosures and the release of the torture report, to name a few cases), and it is always caught exaggerating. The Snowden disclosures are no exception.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, February 27, 2017 Why Paul Ryan is just Donald Trump in better wrapping
No matter the controversy, it is virtually guaranteed that telegenic and slippery Ryan will be there, using his clean-cut image to tamp down criticism of the increasingly unstable president. Make no mistake: there is no daylight between Ryan and Trump. They are one and the same. The question is, when will everyone stop falling for his act?
SHARE Thursday, July 7, 2016 The US needs its own Chilcot report
As the UK parliament released its long-awaited Chilcot report on the country's role in the Iraq war on Wednesday, there have been renewed calls all over Britain to try former prime minister Tony Blair for war crimes. This brings up another question: what about George W Bush?
(6 comments) SHARE Saturday, February 6, 2016 Bernie Sanders lacks foreign policy experience, but also his rivals' errors
It's true, as his detractors claim, that Sanders often falls back on his opposition to the Iraq war when asked about his foreign policy expertise. But pretty much everything he said before the war did come to pass. He also refused to support the Libyan intervention in 2011, that Clinton was the key architect of inside the Obama administration.
SHARE Saturday, September 26, 2015 Jeb Bush is the ultimate anti-internet candidate
A lot of the White House candidates have made worrying comments about the future of surveillance and the internet -- from Chris Christie's bizarre vow to track 10 million people like FedEx packages, to Hillary Clinton's waffling on encryption backdoors -- but Jeb Bush's deliberate campaign to roll back internet rights is the perfect storm of awful.
SHARE Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Many police departments spy on you without oversight. This must end
Stingrays facilitate a particular controversial and invasive form of surveillance, where the police essentially own a roving, fake cell phone tower that force all the cell phones in its vicinity to connect to it. They then vacuum up the cell phone data of their suspect, as well as that of potentially hundreds of innocent citizens.
SHARE Tuesday, September 8, 2015 Victory against secret fake cell phone towers shows privacy isn't dead
The extreme secrecy surrounding the government's use of the tools has been controversial for years, not only since stringrays can vacuum up information on whole neighborhoods at a time, but because the government has been concealing their use from even prosecutors and judges.
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, August 10, 2015 We're a year into the unofficial war against Isis with nothing to show for it
US officials were apparently shocked that the al-Nusra Front would attack the rebels despite the fact that the US has been engaged in a bombing campaign targeting the group in Syria, and the fact that another group of CIA-backed rebels were attacked by al-Nusra Front the year before. It is the perfect analogy to the Isis war so far: a tragic waste with no clear goal and no end in sight.
(4 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 19, 2015 Republicans are so bullish on war that 30% would bomb a fictional country
Republican voters, urged on by the Republican candidates, are now eager to bomb anywhere that has a Muslim-sounding name regardless of whether it comes from a cartoon. While the poll itself may be amusing, it's not exactly surprising given the cartoonish levels of tough-guy militarism that spews from the mouth of every Republican candidate.
SHARE Wednesday, August 24, 2016 First Thiel, now the Trumps: how billionaires threaten free speech
Media organizations should not face the financial death penalty for a mistake, even a deplorable and egregious one. After all, there is probably one billionaire or another who hates pretty much every news organization in the world worth their salt. If they all decide to go down the path Thiel took, how many publications will be left when they're done?
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, November 29, 2016 Think Trump's scary now? Obama is leaving him with broad war powers
Trump is now coming into office with ever expanding war powers, and they're being served to him on a silver platter by the same people who told the American public two months ago that Trump was so unstable and thin-skinned that he couldn't be trusted with the nuclear codes.
SHARE Sunday, October 30, 2016 Yes, US elections are rigged -- but not in the way Donald Trump thinks
There's almost no chance the Republicans will lose control of the House of Representatives this election -- or in the one after it -- since Republicans in statehouses across the country have fixed the election process by redrawing the congressional district maps in several key states in 2010. They can retain a majority even when Democrats received far more total votes.
(5 comments) SHARE Friday, April 29, 2016 Donald Trump's foreign policy speech shows: we have no anti-war candidates
Clinton has run on a more hawkish foreign policy than most Democrats and Republicans. As many have pointed out, her positions are often more militaristic than anyone else in the race. She is in favor of a no-fly zone in Syria -- a euphemism for declaring war on the Assad regime on one side, while also bombing Isis on the other. She was for the Iraq war, the 2011 Libyan war and the Afghanistan surge.
(5 comments) SHARE Monday, June 13, 2016 If Omar Mateen were white, we'd have a different Orlando shooting narrative
Lone wolf attacks are notoriously hard -- and in many cases impossible -- to stop, no matter what invasive laws are in place. If you have an unstable individual who is set upon destruction, doesn't tell anyone and is willing to die, there is often little recourse for law enforcement. Tragedies like these will, sooner or later, inevitably result.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, March 9, 2017 WikiLeaks says the CIA can use your TV to spy on you. But there's good news
There will be a heated debate over WikiLeaks and the value of having these documents in the public record for the days and weeks to come -- as any publication by WikiLeaks inevitably does. But whether Trump administration officials like it or not, the hacking powers of our government is a vital topic that needs much more public debate, and this latest release may end up fueling it.
(2 comments) SHARE Friday, November 6, 2015 The "Ferguson effect" is just a ploy to reduce scrutiny of the police
Unless you are choking an unarmed man to death who is not resisting, shooting an unarmed man in the back as he is running away or body slamming a calm teenage girl to the floor in front of her classmates, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. No one's career is going to get ruined by a "viral video" of you doing your job professionally (as countless police officers do every day).
(3 comments) SHARE Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Chelsea Manning did the right thing. Finally, Barack Obama has too
The commutation of Chelsea Manning's sentence cannot be looked at in a vacuum. President Obama, while commendably showing her mercy, also oversaw a justice department that prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined, while casting an unmistakable chill over investigative reporting and press freedom.
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, April 13, 2019 Assange's indictment is Trump's next step in his war on press freedom
To those who have no sympathy for Assange, are you going to trust Trump's justice department here over Obama's? Given the Trump DoJ is relying on nine-year-old evidence on a flimsy charge of "conspiracy" to crack a password, an alleged scheme even the DoJ admits didn't work, do you think they might have ulterior motives when it comes to this case?
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, January 31, 2016 Is America about to sleepwalk into a war in Libya? We need a debate now
If we are really planning on going to war against Isis in a third country (or actually a fourth, since the Afghanistan war is now expanding too), it sure would be nice if this was debated in front of the American people and decided by our representatives, instead of in complete secrecy.
SHARE Monday, April 11, 2016 Bernie Sanders' focus on Clinton's Iraq war vote isn't harping -- it's necessary
More politicians should be bringing up the Iraq war at every opportunity. The dismissive tone Clinton supporters have taken to the issue belies a callous indifference to the most disastrous foreign policy calamity in our lifetime -- a decision that continues to directly affect US foreign policy across the entire Middle East.
(2 comments) SHARE Thursday, February 25, 2016 Guantanamo Bay is only the symptom of a sickness: indefinite detention
Opponents of closing the controversial facility claim to be acting for the sake of public safety, as if Obama is going to release battle-hardened terrorists onto the streets of New York City. They seem to think terror suspects arriving in the US will suddenly develop cartoonish Magneto-like superpowers, allowing them to do things like escape maximum security prisons.
SHARE Thursday, October 8, 2015 The Snowden effect: new privacy wins await after data transfer ruling
In the US, there are still a series of lawsuits alive and well that are challenging different aspects of the NSA's surveillance. Wikipedia was just in court, represented by the ACLU, arguing that the NSA's "upstream" surveillance program -- where the spy agency has access to entire Internet streams coming into and out of the country -- is illegal and unconstitutional.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, May 11, 2016 If Facebook hides conservative news, a Senate inquiry is a bad idea
Facebook should certainly have to reckon with the criticism it has received over the allegations. Its unprecedented power to control and shape the news threatens how the public receives its news. This is the moment for news organizations to appraise how to prevent Facebook from controlling them. We can protect press liberties without the government having to threaten the first amendment in the process.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 22, 2015 It ain't over til it's over: America's wars drag on no matter what officials say
In all three of the countries where the Obama administration declared US wars "over" in the past few years -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya -- the US military is expanding its presence or dropping bombs at an ever-increasing rate. And the government seems to be keeping the American public in the dark on the matter more than ever.
SHARE Tuesday, March 1, 2016 Congress showed it's willing to fight the FBI on encryption. Finally
The court hearing in the San Bernardino case is in two weeks, and there is no doubt that this is really only the beginning of the debate. But, for the first time, it seems like Congress has finally opened its eyes to the long-term effects of designing vulnerabilities into our communications systems and forcing tech companies to becomes investigative arms of the government.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 23, 2015 Apple's Tim Cook defends encryption. When will other tech CEOs do so?
If we're going to avoid having a horrible law banning encryption passed in the next year, more of the tech company giants' high-profile representatives -- the Mark Zuckerbergs, Marissa Mayers and Eric Schmidts -- need to use their platforms as the world's most well-known technology chiefs to make crystal clear how important encryption is to users everywhere.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, August 1, 2015 Sorry, Hillary Clinton fans: her email errors are definitely newsworthy
None of this means that Clinton's presidential campaign is over or she is going to jail (of course she's not). But it does show exactly why government transparency is important, and the Clinton campaign, the State Department and the Obama administration in general should be embracing transparency, rather than running from it.
SHARE Wednesday, September 30, 2015 The "Athens Affair" shows why we need encryption without backdoors
The White House is reportedly close to coming to a decision on their official policy on encryption. Despite the FBI and NSA's best efforts to convince them that they should push for a law mandating backdoors -- a catastrophe for human rights, cybersecurity and the US economy -- the White House may be on the verge of openly condemning the FBI's approach.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, March 5, 2016 Imagine Obama's national security policies in Trump's hands
The extraordinary national security powers George W Bush pioneered and Obama shamefully entrenched could now fall into the hands of someone many people consider a madman. Someone whose opinion changes with the wind -- or the sound of the crowd -- and whose entire candidacy is based around personal vendettas.
(5 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 21, 2015 Paris is being used to justify agendas that had nothing to do with the attack
As dishonest as the "debate" over encryption, the dark descension of the Republican party into outright racism and cynically playing off the irrational fears of the public over the Syrian refugee crisis has been worse. Virtually every Republican candidate has disavowed any refugees to the US, and they are competing over who is more in favor of banning those who are fleeing the very terrorists that they claim to be so against.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Obama claimed to want transparency. His actions suggest the opposite
The Obama administration has taken a lot of well-deserved criticism over the years for claiming to be the most transparent presidency ever while actually being remarkably opaque, but they've now reached a new low: newly released documents show they aggressively lobbied Congress to kill bipartisan transparency reform that was based on the administration's own policy.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, May 3, 2016 Donald Trump's views are impossible to discern. Why pretend otherwise?
Trump's GOP opponents tried to criticize him for one flip-flop or another during the primary season, even his past support and good words for Hillary Clinton, and he vanquished all of them one by one. But it should at least matter to journalists reporting on him and pundits attempting to analyze his nonexistent positions.
(4 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Obama's troop increase in Syria is part of a troubling trend
No one doubts that the destructive and complex situation in Syria is certainly a tragedy, but there's no proof that adding more US guns and troops to the situation will make it any better, and history tells us it will only make it worse. Unfortunately, recent history seems to be the last thing our leaders take heed of in times like these.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, March 30, 2016 The CIA naked photos scandal is a wake-up call
Stripping suspects, taking humiliating photographs of them, sending them around the world into the hands of torturers: these sound like the actions of a crazed dictatorship. They should be the stuff of nightmares. In fact, they're the stuff of American policy in the 21st century. This is the latest in a series of wake-up calls. We ignore it at our peril.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, December 2, 2015 More troops in Iraq will sow the exact same chaos as America's Libya folly
In Syria, we're fighting both sides of a civil war, not just one -- with no one even coming close to explaining what the end game looks like, and how we avoid making the situation even worse than it already is. Our military interventions have created the generation of terrorists that fight us now. As we gear up for the second or third generation of creating this same problem, when will the cycle stop?
SHARE Wednesday, December 30, 2015 Lawmakers only care about others' privacy when their own is at stake
The NSA often uses its vast powers for surveillance of things that have little or nothing to do with terrorism directed at the United States. As former NSA director Michael Hayden candidly put it last year, the "NSA doesn't just listen to bad people. NSA listens to interesting people. People who are communicating information."
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 22, 2016 After invading Iraq 13 years ago the US is still making the same mistakes
With the Iraq invasion 13 years behind us, one thing is for sure: you can turn on Sunday morning television and see an Iraq war advocate -- whether it's a politician or pundit or a journalist -- eagerly explaining why we should throw ourselves into our next war and no one will blink an eye.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 14, 2016 Money influences everybody. That includes Hillary Clinton
In the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Clinton harshly criticized then senator Obama for accepting donations from oil and gas executives -- and even cut a campaign commercial about it. The kicker? It was less money than Clinton has accepted from people working for fossil fuel companies so far this campaign season.
SHARE Tuesday, June 7, 2016 Muhammad Ali wasn't just a boxing legend. He was also a muse
Ali certainly brought the best out of sportswriters, lifting their prose to new heights. But more than that, he forced them to grapple with the fact that sports are never just that. He taught a generation that political and social events are often intertwined, and they should be confronted head on rather than shunted or ignored.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, April 22, 2016 Why does the court charged with protecting our privacy keep doing the opposite?
The NSA engages in what's known as "Section-702" surveillance -- that's the name of the same law used for the Prism program -- where they collect information without a particular warrant on all sorts of people overseas that are suspected to be involved in terrorism, or whose communications contain "foreign intelligence" information.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, October 29, 2015 The Senate, ignorant on cybersecurity, just passed a bill about it anyway
The Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa), a spying bill that essentially carves a giant hole in all our privacy laws and allows tech and telecom companies to hand over all sorts of private information to intelligence agencies without any court process whatsoever. Congress has passed a surveillance bill in disguise.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, March 13, 2016 The five foreign policy questions every candidate should be asked
Clinton has skated through the entire election cycle while only getting a handful of questions about the Libyan catastrophe, while continuing to call for more military intervention elsewhere. But it's not just Clinton. Republicans have never been pinned down on Libya either, and now, are of course all in favor of us sending our drones and special forces in yet again.
SHARE Tuesday, November 17, 2015 Intelligence agencies pounce on Paris attacks to pursue spy agenda
Government officials are wasting no time in attempting to exploit the tragedy in Paris to pass invasive anti-privacy laws and acquire extraordinary new powers that they have wanted for years. In the process, they are making incredibly dishonest arguments and are receiving virtually no pushback from the media.
(5 comments) SHARE Wednesday, November 25, 2015 Obama kept his cool after the Paris attacks. Too bad his critics haven't
If Obama is taking a hit for his calm and rational rhetoric, then that's a shame, because he's actually the only one responding the way he should: by not elevating Isis to the status its members crave. President Obama seems to be the only one not spinning out of control and becoming unhinged because of a single horrific terrorist attack.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, February 5, 2016 Rand Paul was a sane voice in the Republican field. Well, almost
Before presidential aspirations forced Rand Paul to pander to the right, he was a promising candidate for those who care about privacy, constitutional rights and a foreign policy that does not cause destruction. Now his campaign will just be remembered as a disappointing lost opportunity.
SHARE Friday, November 13, 2015 Obama doesn't need Congress to close Guantanamo -- so what's keeping him?
The president has the power to close Guantanamo himself without approval from Congress. He's had this power for years, and has continually failed to use it. Unfortunately, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's increasingly looking like Obama's vow to end one of the Bush administration's most damaging legacies will actually live on as his own.
(2 comments) SHARE Saturday, December 5, 2015 It's messed up for Democrats to use the no-fly list to push for gun laws
If Republicans want to vote down this largely symbolic and hypocritical gun control legislation by Democrats, that's their prerogative. But let's not pretend that they suddenly care about the due process rights that they have spent the last decade and a half attempting to destroy.
SHARE Saturday, July 18, 2015 Is the political imperative to be "tough on crime" finally over?
It will take more than just bipartisan talk and pretty speeches to achieve any kind of criminal justice reform, but it should be the number-one priority of the Obama administration and Congress until the end of his term. For once, both parties have a chance to do something unquestionably good; we'll see if they take it.