More than two years ago, on September 11, 2011, I was stuck on a grounded airplane in Detroit. At first I thought we were just waiting for our gate to clear, but then our plane taxied to an isolated part of the tarmac. Police vehicles appeared, and many men in uniform and plainclothes huddled in conversation near the plane. Nervous and antsy, I watched them through the window at my seat.
In the wake of the NSA scandals and daily corporate privacy invasions, the president asked one of his senior advisors, John Podesta, to perform a quick 90-day review of “big data” (corporate jargon for privacy) and lay out what next steps his administration should take. Today we submitted formal comments to the White House, but here is a slightly less wonky way of putting it:
Dear Mr. President,
Often when the government wants to keep something secret, it claims that transparency would endanger national security. We’ve been hearing a lot of this lately with regards to Edward Snowden. The leaks have caused “grave harm” to national security and even US foreign policy, Snowden’s critics repeat over and over again.The trouble is, whenever these critics are pressed to explain how Snowden's disclosures have harmed the public interest, they usually do one of two tricky things:
It's the best time of year, folks: March Madness. Even though it's almost April, March Madness still consumes offices across the country as we move onto the Final Four. Whether you're a diehard Kentucky fan like me (go Cats!) or just someone who wants to win their office bracket, it's going to be hard to focus on anything else for the next couple days.
"The United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights," warned Jimmy Carter in a 2012 New York Times op-ed. Less than two years later, Carter's warning has been vindicated. Yesterday, the U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a blistering report on the U.S.
Today is one of the worst days in my professional career. I have been working to defend the rights of women and families to make their own private decisions about abortion for well over a decade. There have been wins and there have been losses. But no loss has been as profound as the one we got this week.
Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, and several other agencies asking for information about a surveillance technique known as a “cell tower dump.” If you’re wondering what that is or why we’re worried about it, a story from a few years back might help to illustrate.
The imposing columns. The ornate and soaring ceiling. The hushed tone. The Supreme Court feels like a place where justice happens. There is a sense of importance, reverence, and loftiness. I've worked on every reproductive rights case to reach the Supreme Court in the last 15 years, and, as corny as it sounds, it is always thrilling for me to watch a Supreme Court argument.