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New Technology Renews Old Fears of Manipulation and Control

In the first half of the 20th century, Americans gained a new awareness of the malleability and manipulability of the human mind, and the result was a wave of concern over “propaganda” and other techniques of influence. Today we may be seeing a new wave of similar fears as we begin to wonder whether the ways we use and rely upon technology today are making us susceptible to new, dangerous forms of manipulation.

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What Crack Cocaine Teaches Us About NSA Reform

This piece originally ran at POLITICO Magazine.
This week, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic senator from Vermont, introduced a revised version of the USA Freedom Act, a bill to finally start pulling the reins on America's out-of-control surveillance state. The ACLU supports the measure, though it is not a perfect bill. To understand why, it helps to think about something seemingly unrelated: crack cocaine.

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Want Safer Communities? Throw Fewer People Behind Bars

Before he started singing with muppets, John Oliver showed us a lot of boxes of Cheerios. This was in the second minute of his epic rant on the state of the U.S. criminal justice system last week.

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How to Save $24 Billion and Fix Our Broken Justice System

Here's a hypothetical for you: Someone approaches you on the street and offers you a big stack of cash with no strings attached. Do you take it?
Of course you do.
As much as we'd like to pretend otherwise, money matters. And that's why the fact that the Smarter Sentencing Act would save taxpayers $24 billion over 20 years shouldn't be overlooked by Congress.

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The Senate Jumps into the Race to Rein in NSA Surveillance

The race is on.
Senator Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced today a new version of the USA Freedom Act to rein in NSA surveillance, and only 10 legislative days remain to get it through the Senate before the November elections.

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An Evening Stroll, a Volley of Fire: A Senseless Death in Mexico

On the night of October 10, 2012, U.S. Border Patrol agents shot and killed Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. At the time of the shooting, Jose Antonio was unarmed and walking peacefully down a major street in Nogales, Mexico, directly across from the metal border fence separating the United States and Mexico. An autopsy report revealed that Jose Antonio had been struck by 10 bullets, virtually all of which entered his body from behind.
He was sixteen years old.

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Death and Abuse at the Southwest Border

As Congress debates how to respond to children's migration from Central America, we must not forget that Customs and Border Protection is in dire need of improved oversight and accountability. Here are three examples of how the system is failing and what the ACLU is doing to help:

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How Surveillance is Changing Journalism and the Law

If I can't report a story without keeping a source safe, I'm not going to report a story.

– Jonathan S. Landay, Senior national security and intelligence correspondent, McClatchy Newspapers
It turns out that surveillance affects more than just privacy.

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Prisoners Tortured by the CIA Find Justice (In Europe)

A court handed down a huge victory yesterday, for two men who were rendered to a secret prison in Poland and tortured by the CIA. But it wasn't in an American court. And it wasn't the United States that was held to account.

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Afraid, Lawyerless, and Warehoused: The Mothers of Artesia

The road to Artesia from Las Cruces, New Mexico, is a scenic three-hour drive past pristine white sand dunes, through chilly, foggy mountain ranges, and across flat, open pampas spotted with yucca plants. Artesia, itself, is a dusty town of around 11,000 people, mostly farmers, ranchers, and workers at local oil wells and refineries.

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