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National ID cards, biometric systems -- there's a lot going on in the name of "efficiency" as well as "homeland security," and this is where you'll find news items on these topics. Other privacy-related civil liberties issues that are not covered in their own sections of Privacy Watch are also included here.




States confident civil liberties safe
"STATE and territory leaders say they are confident of achieving tougher anti-terrorism laws without compromising civil liberties. Prime Minister John Howard and the leaders meet in Canberra on Tuesday to discuss proposed new laws including allowing terrorist suspects who have never been charged to be electronically tagged for up to a year."
Full story - The Advertiser (AU)
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 26 08:06:07 EDT 2005



Rights Groups Challenge Photo ID Law
"Voter and civil rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging Georgia's new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls."
Full story - Las Vegas Sun
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 19 19:32:09 EDT 2005



As terror squeezes British rights, some groups fight back
"...government ministers have put forward a series of proposals that increase the power of government, narrow the kinds of speech protected as free and, in some cases, abridge the rights of individuals to jury trials... The debate in Britain today centers not so much on whether civil liberties are being diminished as on whether that trade-off makes the country more secure or less so."
Full story - Salt Lake Tribune
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 18 09:52:47 EDT 2005



Shrivelled Liberties
"BBC Talking Points opened the question up to the world. 'Would losing some civil liberties be a price worth paying for greater security?' they asked. Most of their respondents had the common sense to see that it would not."
Full story - The Friday Project
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 17 10:36:27 EDT 2005



Privacy boss OK's inquiry into cops
"Alberta's privacy commissioner wants to know why police officers looked up personal information about city lawyer Tom Engel. Information and Privacy Commissioner Frank Work has launched an inquiry into the reasons police repeatedly looked up Engel's information, using a police records management system and the Canadian Police Information Centre database."
Full story - Edmonton Sun
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 15 09:23:07 EDT 2005



Today in history
"In 1957, President Eisenhower signed into law the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since Reconstruction."
Fulll story - indystar.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Sep 9 04:59:20 EDT 2005



New Orleans Mayor to Enforce Evacuations
"... As floodwaters began to slowly recede with the first of the city's pumps returning to operation, Mayor C. Ray Nagin authorized law enforcement officers and the U.S. military late Tuesday to evacuate all holdouts for their own safety."
Full story - Newsday
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Sep 7 11:06:17 EDT 2005



Ireland's abortion law jeopardises women rights
"Three Irish women who travelled to the United Kingdom for abortions are challenging Ireland in the European Court of Human Rights arguing that their rights to privacy, information and an effective remedy were jeopardised by Ireland's strict abortion laws."
Full story - eitb
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Sep 6 09:16:10 EDT 2005



Lawsuit Challenges Ordinance Prohibiting Sex Offenders In Public Parks
"The American Civil Liberties union has filed a lawsuit against the town of Woodfin, challenging an ordinance that prohibits anyone required to register as a sex offender from entering local public parks."
Full story - WFMY
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 17:09:55 EDT 2005



Groups fear Big Brother is strong, growing in U.S.
"Government has so much information on Californians - mostly carried on cards in their wallets and purses - that it could swiftly become something like Big Brother from novelist George Orwell's "1984" in this post-Sept. 11 world. That's the way a diverse coalition of privacy and consumer groups see it."
Full story - Daily Review
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Aug 21 16:13:06 EDT 2005



Gay Marriage Talks Colors Maine Debate
"Maine is in the midst of its third referendum campaign in eight years to decide if gays should be given broad civil rights protections. And while the measure has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, conservatives are warning Maine could go the way of Massachusetts if gays are given more rights."
Full story - Wired
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 16 16:21:40 EDT 2005



Random Searches vs Profiling (opinion)
"The NYCLU (New York's ACLU) is actually right about something. Random searches of subway riders DO present a problem. Such searches may well fit a legal definition of unreasonable search & seizure. Unfortunately, that's where we part company... because it's what MAKES it a problem that separates us."
Full story - Conservative Voice
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 16 02:46:34 EDT 2005



Britain crackdown raises rights concerns
"Secret trials. Curbing free speech. Three months in jail without charge. British authorities have hesitated to crack down in the past, largely because of human rights concerns and court actions that allowed radical Islamic activists to operate freely in Britain for years - raising money, beaming satellite TV spots and running Internet sites that condemn America and support al-Qaida. No more."
Full story - Herald Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Aug 14 16:13:28 EDT 2005



One Nation, Under Watch
"... While the [PATRIOT ACT] law is one of the most far-reaching and drastic in U.S. history, it is not the first time the government has moved to utilize a time of real or perceived crisis to increase its powers of surveillance and detention. And while portions of the bill will be reviewed again in two years, much of what is considered its most invasive components remains. "We rushed to put together legislation that we thought would safeguard us from another terrorist attack," U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-AK, said in the aftermath of the House reauthorization vote. "In the process we have created a bill that I feel takes away from our constitutional freedom. This is not patriotism, this is Big Brother.""
Full story - AlterNet
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 8 08:11:23 EDT 2005



U.S. civil-liberties board struggles into existence
"A civil-liberties board ordered by the U.S. Congress last year has never met to discuss its job of protecting rights in the fight against terrorism, and critics say it is a toothless, underfunded shell with inadequate support from President Bush."
Full story - Washington Post
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 4 12:17:38 EDT 2005



US military to increase domestic surveillance
"The US Defense Department has developed a new counterterrorism strategy "that would increase military activities on American soil, particularly in the area of intelligence gathering." FoxNews reported Monday that this has caused a great deal of concern among civil liberties advocates who fear the possibility of the military "encroaching" on domestic law."
Full story - Christian Science Monitor
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 4 11:46:57 EDT 2005



Roberts' Views on Privacy Raise Further Doubts (press release)
"Articles today by the Bloomberg news service and the Washington Post documenting Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' skepticism toward what he calls the "so-called" right to privacy add urgency to the need for Senators to get unequivocal answers about Roberts' views on privacy and other constitutional rights, freedoms, and legal protections, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas said today."
Full story - civilrights.org
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 4 09:33:57 EDT 2005



Gay-Marriage Ban Group Sues Calif. AG
"The sponsors of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage sued California's attorney general Tuesday over the summary the state prepared for the group's signature-gathering petitions. The lawsuit claims Attorney General Bill Lockyer inaccurately described the measure, which would also strip same-sex couples of domestic partnership rights."
Full story - FindLaw
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 13:14:08 EDT 2005



2 NY Officials Back Terror Check Profiling
"Middle Easterners should be targeted for searches on city subways, two elected officials said, contending that police have been wasting time with random checks in efforts to prevent terrorism in the transit system. The city began examining passengers' bags on subways and buses after the second bomb attack in London two weeks ago. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have said several times that officers will not engage in racial profiling."
Full story - Washington Post
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 01:49:45 EDT 2005



AU: Safety before liberty, say most voters
"Two-thirds of Australians, including half of Coalition voters, believe Australia is more at risk of terrorist attack because of the Iraq war, and are willing to sacrifice privacy and civil liberties for protection from it. The results of the latest Herald Poll come as the Federal Government is contemplating a range of new counter-terrorism measures in the wake of the London bombings, including new legislation to introduce the controversial charge of indirect incitement to terrorism, a national identity card and increased use of closed-circuit surveillance cameras."
Full story - SMH
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 2 10:59:21 EDT 2005



Court rules that California country club discriminated against lesbian couple
"California's highest court ruled Monday that country clubs must offer gay members who register as domestic partners the same discounts given to married ones - a decision that could apply to other businesses such as insurance companies and mortgage lenders. The decision by the California Supreme Court dealt with a policy at the Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego that allowed only the children, grandchildren and spouses of married members to golf for free."
Full story - FindLaw
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 2 10:57:15 EDT 2005



Pentagon to Increase Domestic Surveillance for Counterterrorism
"The Department of Defense has developed a new strategy in counterterrorism that would increase military activities on American soil, particularly in the area of intelligence gathering. The move is sparking concern among civil liberties advocates and those who fear an encroaching military role in domestic law enforcement."
Full story - Fox News
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 1 07:59:00 EDT 2005



Posting of 'Johns' on the Web Raises Rights Issue
"Chicago's use of the Internet to humiliate customers of prostitutes, or "johns," has led to concerns that the practice may violate constitutional rights. At issue is Chicago's recent decision to run a Web site that posts the names and photos of people who have been arrested for soliciting a prostitute -- but not convicted."
Full story - law.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 1 07:57:45 EDT 2005



Evenin' all. Name, address, DNA sample . . . (opinion)
"I WILL PLACE a bet, here and now. Within two years, tens of thousands of British motorists will have been arrested, fingerprinted, DNA-tested and drug tested for minor road and traffic violations. Some for turning the wrong way at an intersection. Some for thoughtlessly driving in a bus lane. The experience will be traumatic, but efficient. Fingerprints will be scanned at the roadside and transmitted instantly for checking against the national fingerprint database. While this information is being processed, a sample of saliva or a hair will be taken."
Full story - Times Online
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Jul 27 08:57:58 EDT 2005



Iraq Constitution May Erode Women's Rights
"A chapter of Iraq's draft constitution obtained by The Associated Press gives Islam a major role in Iraqi civil law, raising concerns that women could lose rights in marriage, divorce and inheritance."
Full story - chippewa.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jul 26 08:24:12 EDT 2005



FBI files are chilling (editorial)
"BACK IN THE 1960s, under the guise of fighting communism, the FBI opened thousands of secret files on American citizens whose sole crime was to protest government policies that they found unjust. Under COINTELPRO, a covert intelligence program, federal agents bugged people's homes, sent anonymous letters to their spouses about alleged marital infidelities and infiltrated pacifist organizations, creating havoc within their ranks. The goal was to crush public opposition to the Vietnam War and destroy an emerging civil rights movement that J. Edgar Hoover feared might produce a "Black Messiah." For those old enough to remember those dark times, there is a chilling sense of deja vu."
Full story - Contra Costa Times (reg. req.)
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 22 09:35:59 EDT 2005



America wrestles with privacy vs. security
"The recent attacks in London by home-grown terrorists have intensified attention on homeland security in the US. And that in turn has raised new questions about protecting civil liberties and privacy during a new kind of war that knows no national borders."
Full story - Christian Science Monitor
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 22 09:29:09 EDT 2005



House reauthorizes Patriot Act
"The House of Representatives, ignoring protests from civil liberties groups, renewed the USA Patriot Act on Thursday mostly along party lines, to make permanent the government's unprecedented powers to investigate suspected terrorists."
Full story - CNet
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 22 09:12:18 EDT 2005



The Patriot Act: Alleged Abuses of the Law
"Critics of the USA Patriot Act say the law has made it too easy for law enforcement to spy on people. They contend that, by easing restrictions on the use of surveillance tools once reserved for foreign-intelligence investigations, the law cuts too deeply into personal liberties and privacy rights."
Full story - NPR
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Jul 21 12:35:55 EDT 2005



FBI says it has files on rights groups
"The FBI has thousands of pages of records in its files relating to the monitoring of civil rights, environmental and similar advocacy groups, the Justice Department acknowledges. The organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Greenpeace, are suing for the release of the documents. The organizations contend that the material will show that they have been subjected to scrutiny by FBI task forces set up to combat terrorism."
Full story - kansas.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Jul 18 00:07:33 EDT 2005



Activists fear Muslims' privacy in jeopardy
"Civil rights activists are urging Canada's intelligence officials to not increase surveillance on Muslim communities, saying it will conflict with their Charter rights. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous to even be considering greater surveillance of Muslim Canadians," Lawrence Greenspon, a lawyer and civil rights advocate, told CTV News."
Full story - CTV
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 15 11:24:07 EDT 2005



In New Court, Roe May Stand, So Foes Look to Limit Its Scope
"In 2003, abortion opponents took a calculated gamble and pushed through the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, a federal law very similar to a state law ruled unconstitutional just three years before. Critics asserted they were defying the court and doomed to fail in any legal challenge. Strategists for the anti-abortion movement were betting that the Supreme Court would soon be different: more conservative, and more open to an array of new abortion restrictions. With the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, part of the court's majority for abortion rights, that gamble may soon begin to pay off."
Full story - NY Times (reg. req.)
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Jul 10 10:18:12 EDT 2005



Patriotism vs. the USA Patriot Act (opinion)
"... The Patriot Act in its current form includes provisions that threaten the American legacy of liberty and privacy. But it can be fixed easily to restore meaningful checks and balances while properly focusing our limited anti- terrorism resources on foreign terrorists rather than ordinary Americans. Bipartisan legislation, the Security and Freedom Enhanced Act, is a good place to start."
Full story - San Francisco Chronicle
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Jul 4 09:43:57 EDT 2005



ACLU Concerned O'Connor Replacement Will Roll Back Vital Civil Liberties Protections
"The American Civil Liberties Union today expressed great concern that the Bush administration will replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her retirement today after more than two decades on the court, with a nominee whose judicial philosophy is fundamentally opposed to the progress made in protecting individual rights over the past century."
Full story - ACLU (Press Release)
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 1 14:18:00 EDT 2005




Other resources on Civil Rights:
  • Bill of Rights Defense Committee (List of Local Communities)




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