Civil liberties and Privacy

How to Transcend Post-9/11 Homeland Insecurity

How to Transcend Post-9/11 Homeland Insecurity – Forbes I work in public policy, and civil liberties matter to me; I wondered with my Cato colleague Adam Theierer about 9/11′s havoc on citizen’s anonymity and privacy. Ten years later, I remain fascinated and worried by the exile of private enterprise from security policy. But given the disdain […]

Avoiding the Costly Mistake of Asking for Too Much Information

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, those of us who practice immigration law, in particular business immigration law, have seen substantial shifts in immigration enforcement at the worksite. Reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities have sensitized employers to the need for strict employment eligibility verification. However, the employers often forget about another side to their compliance obligations – that of avoiding immigration-related unfair employment practices.

BART Transit Police Learn Wrong Lesson of Social Media

The Bay Area Transit Police, amusingly known as BART, show that law enforcement still doesn’t understand the value — and challenges — of social media. The police force reacted to planned flash mobs by shutting down cell phone service in the BART stations. Hey, if you can’t talk to one another, how are you going to organize, right? Thank God BART wasn’t around when the Founding Fathers were trying to hammer out the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps the transit agency would have drummed the unruly bastards out of Philadelphia before they could dream up the First Amendment.

British Govt Considers Shutting Down Social Networks During Unrest

RealClearWorld – Reuters – World – Aug 11, 2011 – UK may disrupt social networks during unrest Britain is considering disrupting online social networking such as Blackberry Messenger and Twitter during civil unrest, Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday, a move widely condemned as repressive when used by other countries.

Federal Court Requires Additional Public Explanations for TSA's Advanced Imaging Technology

By Rob Strayer
The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals in a lawsuit challenging the Transportation Security Administration’s use of Advanced Imaging Technology machines is that they do not constitute an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What is significant is the D.C. Circuit’s holding that TSA failed to provide notice and solicit public comments on a new rule that passengers undergo a mandatory whole body scan or a pat down. The court’s decision will have potentially far ranging effects on the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies that seek to implement new security measures.

Upcoming House Hearing: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland

“FEMA will not save you,” said Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Yesterday, TSA Administrator John Pistole announced the first step in what is hopefully a lengthy process to reorient TSA’s airport checkpoint screening in a more risk-based manner. He announced a limited partnership with two airlines and four airports where travelers selected by the airlines will be asked to opt-in to a new screening program. This “proof of concept” is mainly designed to ascertain the changes that need to be made at airports to provide a more risk-based approach to aviation security.

Building Bridges, Instead of Walls!

At an airport security checkpoint last week, a TSA officer guided a 95-year-old cancer patient to a private room to investigate “something suspicious on her leg.” It turned out to be a wet adult diaper, which she was asked to remove. TSA offered no apology and stood by protocol. This was another missed opportunity. Sometimes, even when we do the “right” thing, we should apologize. Instead, we now have a “viral” episode that places another brick on the wall between the public and the security agencies charged with protecting them.

Botnets Continue Fight to Control Your Computer

There are now criminal turf wars going on over the thousands of computers that comprise botnets across America and the world. This “invisible” conflict is unknown to most computer users in America. Botnets can be used to search for and steal money, financial data, passwords, and intellectual property. The size of some of the botnets out there rival and surpass the capabilities of most nation states, and the guys who control them are NOT the good guys.

Attorney General Guideline Changes Impacting FBI Intelligence Collection Operations

The media is reporting changes to the Attorney General Guidelines. it looks like expanded authority to conduct physical surveillances, polygraphs of informants and limited attendance at public functions is not much change in terms of intrusion into the civil liberties of our population. I understand that some people may be alarmed; however, I know that the FBI’s agents charged with collecting intelligence within the United States are closely supervised – I was one of them.