Category Archives: Joan Bertin: Author

NSA’s collection of metadata “should end,” according to new report

Responses to recent disclosures about official surveillance of private communications and activities are rolling in. The most recent is from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which today released a Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted under Section … Continue reading

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ProPublica – Debunking Rationales for Mass Surveillance

ProPublica has published an analysis of the four most often cited rationales offered to justify mass surveillance and collection of metadata, describing why they are “questionable claims.” It is instructive reading for anyone who is concerned about claims that security … Continue reading

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Federal Judge Rules NSA Program Likely Unconstitutional

Yesterday, a federal judge issued an order holding that the National Security Agency’s tracking and collecting cellphone “metadata” without a warrant is “almost certainly” unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment. The court issued a preliminary injunction against the NSA’s tracking cellphone … Continue reading

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A Comment on Video Games and Violence

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone claimed that “the video games made him do it,” referring to the young man who killed 26 people in a horrific burst of senseless violence in Newtown, CT. For … Continue reading

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Response to PayPal’s blog about its ban on sales of certain erotic literature

Last week we sent a complaint to PayPal about its policy to shut down accounts of online merchants who sell erotica containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. Many other organizations have since registered their concerns over the policy.  Today, … Continue reading

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Violent video games in the Supreme Court

There were quite a few surprising moments at the Supreme Court argument Tuesday about California’s attempt to ban violent video games. There were references to “gratuitous violence” as material that “appeals to a base instinct especially [in] minors.” It made … Continue reading

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The fuss over GQ’s ‘Glee’ photo

The Parents Television Council has done a lot of things bordering on the inane, but this time they’ve outdone themselves by saying that the cover of GQ magazine “borders on pedophilia.” As Frank Bruni pointed out in the New York … Continue reading

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Secrecy vs transparency in the struggle over gay rights

The battle over same-sex marriage has taken many twists and turns.  One of the more unusual cases pitted the privacy rights of those who signed a petition to repeal a Washington law on domestic partnerships against supporters of the law … Continue reading

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Scott Southworth is at it again

Scott Southworth, the district attorney of Juneau County, Wisconsin, is threatening to prosecute teachers who comply with a new state law that requires sex education courses to include “medically accurate, age-appropriate” information, including information on contraceptives. Southworth claims the law … Continue reading

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To ban or not to ban: Selling violent video games to minors

Does the First Amendment bar a state from restricting the sale of violent video games to minors? That’s the question now before the Supreme Court in a case that will be argued next fall. In Schwarzenegger v. Video Software Dealers … Continue reading

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