Tag Archives: Fourth Amendment

27 Groups Urge Congress to Close FBI ‘Backdoor Search’ Loophole

“Ending this unconstitutional practice is imperative to ensure that foreign intelligence surveillance does not swallow Americans’ privacy rights.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2021

Demonstrators march in protest against government mass surveillance in Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2013. Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/flickr/CC

Over two dozen advocacy groups on Monday sent a letter urging members of Congress to back a measure that, if enacted, would close the so-called “backdoor search” loophole that allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens’ data by government agencies including the FBI and CIA.

The letter (pdf), led by Demand Progress and signed by 27 groups, calls on House leaders to support an amendment to H.R. 4505—the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022—proposed by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio). Continue reading

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Privacy Champions Urge Passage of ‘Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale’ Act

“Intelligence and law enforcement agencies must come to understand that the American people are off limits to warrantless mass surveillance, no matter how it is done.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-21-2021

Phpto: Microsiervos/flickr/CC

Federal agencies have taken advantage of legal loopholes to collect massive amounts of personal information from cell phone and internet users without congressional or judicial authorization for years, but that practice is being challenged by a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers who introduced legislation on Wednesday that would prevent the U.S. government from buying individuals’ information from data brokers without a court order.

Led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a group of 20 senators introduced the Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act (pdf) in the upper chamber of Congress. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) also unveiled an equivalent bill in the House. Continue reading

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Rights Advocates Alarmed by US Spy Agency’s Purchase of Warrantless Phone Location Data

“Congress must end this lawless practice and require the government to get a warrant for our location data, regardless of its source.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-22-2021

Image: Free Press

Digital rights advocates reacted with alarm to a report published Friday detailing how Defense Intelligence Agency analysts in recent years bought databases of U.S. smartphone location data without first obtaining warrants.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is part of the Department of Defense and is tasked with informing military and civilian policymakers about the activities and intentions of foreign governments and nonstate actors. Continue reading

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Prohibited From Holding Police Officer to Account, Federal Judge Calls on Supreme Court to Overturn ‘Qualified Immunity’

“Those who violate the constitutional rights of our citizens must be held accountable. When that day comes we will be one step closer to that more perfect Union.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2020

Image: change.org

Handing down a ruling to dismiss a civil lawsuit which alleged a police officer violated a Black man’s Fourth Amendment rights during a traffic stop in 2013, a federal judge in Mississippi made clear that he sided with the plaintiff—and demanded the U.S. Supreme Court overturn legal precedent that makes it nearly impossible for the judicial system to hold officers accountable for rights violations. 

Calling for an end to qualified immunity, which dates back to a 1982 ruling and shields police from civil liability in most cases, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves turned his ruling into a plea for justice for plaintiff Clarence Jamison as well as countless other Black Americans who have faced violent abuse and deadly use of force by officers. Continue reading

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1,250 Former DOJ Officials Demand Investigation Into Barr’s Involvement in Violently Dispersing Demonstrators Near White House

“None of us would ever have considered directing or engaging in such actions to be consistent with our oaths to support and defend the Constitution.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2020

Screenshot: WUSA9

More than 1,250 former Department of Justice employees on Wednesday called on the department’s inspector general to open an investigation into reports that Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the tear-gassing of protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 1.

The former employees wrote that Inspector General Michael Horowitz must get to the bottom of Barr’s involvement in the dispersing of the crowd, which was part of the nationwide uprising against racial injustice following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Continue reading

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ACLU Files Historic Lawsuit to Stop Surveillance Planes Above Baltimore

“If this wide-area aerial surveillance program is allowed to move forward, we can expect mass surveillance to spread in cities across the country.”

By Derrick Broze. Published 4-15-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the city of Baltimore from rolling out a disturbing aerial surveillance program.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of a group of Baltimore community activists who have raised concerns about the introduction of a controversial technology known as wide-area aerial surveillance which involves stationing an aircraft equipped with ultra-high-resolution cameras over a city to track all visible pedestrians and vehicles within that city. Continue reading

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A Secret CBP Team is Targeting and Detaining Innocent Travelers. We’re Suing.

For too long, the government has acted as if it has carte blanche at the border. No more.

By Tarek Ismail  and Scarlet Kim. Published 12-18-2019 by ACLU

In fiscal year 2017 alone, these teams denied entry to over 1,400 individuals with valid travel documents. (Photo: CBP/flickr)

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is deploying secret teams that target, detain, and interrogate innocent travelers. We’re suing to expose their activities.

In November 2018, three CBP officers detained Andreas Gal, a former chief technology officer at Mozilla Corporation and current Apple employee, at San Francisco International Airport after he landed from a business trip to Sweden. Andreas was offered no reason for the detention, except a receipt from a Global Entry kiosk that was marked with the letters “TTRT.” Continue reading

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With Little Fanfare, William Barr Formally Announces Orwellian Pre-Crime Program

A recent memorandum authored by Attorney General William Barr announced a new “pre-crime” program inspired by “War on Terror” tactics and is set to be implemented next year.

By Whitney Webb. Published 10-25-2019 by MintPress News

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

Last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued a memorandum to all U.S. attorneys, law enforcement agencies and top ranking Justice Department officials announcing the imminent implementation of a new “national disruption and early engagement program” aimed at detecting potential mass shooters before they commit any crime.

Per the memorandum, Barr has “directed the Department [of Justice] and the FBI to lead an effort to refine our ability to identify, assess and engage potential mass shooters before they strike.” The Attorney General further described the coming initiative, slated to be implemented early next year, as “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.” More specific information about the program is set to follow the recent memorandum, according to Barr, though it is unclear if that forthcoming document will be made public. Continue reading

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‘Chilling’: Mississippi City Claims Undocumented Man Killed by Police Had No Constitutional Rights

“We’re stunned that someone put this in writing,” a lawyer for Ismael Lopez’s family said.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-30-2019

A city in Mississippi is arguing that 41-year-old Ismael Lopez, who was killed by police who apparently mistook him for a domestic violence suspect, had no constitutional rights because he was an undocumented immigrant. (Photo: Kurman Communications/Flickr/cc)

A court filing publicized late last week drew outrage on Monday over the case of Ismael Lopez, a 41-year-old man who was killed by police two years ago in Southaven, Mississippi.

To avoid responsibility for the man’s death, attorneys for the city are arguing that Lopez had no constitutional rights due to his status as an undocumented immigrant—blatantly contradicting U.S. law and numerous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was among the immigrant rights defenders who drew attention to the case on social media. Continue reading

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‘Not a Good Answer’: Privacy Advocates Reject Democratic Proposal for ‘Technological Wall’ With Expanded Border Surveillance

“‘More surveillance’ has become the default answer to far too many difficult policy questions.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-11-2019

A U.S. surveillance tower seen from Nogales, Mexico, near the wall that runs between Mexico and the United States. (Photo: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr/cc)

Progressives in recent weeks have applauded Democrats’ refusal to bend to President Donald Trump’s demands for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, a key component of his xenophobic anti-immigration agenda. But on Friday, digital rights advocates called on Democratic lawmakers to expand their fight against the wall into a fight for all human and constitutional rights—instead of suggesting alternative “border security” proposals that would infringe on civil liberties.

Fight for the Future launched a campaign Friday to fight against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) suggestion on Thursday that a so-called “technological wall” would be an appropriate alternative to Trump’s planned concrete or steel wall. Continue reading

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