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Free speech issues examined after failed terrorist attack on Texas anti-Islam event

After the aborted terrorist attack at a Prophet Mohammad cartoon event in Texas, there was much criticism of the event’s sponsor Pamela Geller along with defenses of the event on free speech grounds. Writing in Time, May 6, 2015, Qasim Rashid downplays the free speech issue, saying that laws protecting hate speech were developed during […]

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Free speech: Questions persist over impact of U.S. Supreme Court ruling on judicial elections

In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was not unconstitutional for Florida to bar a candidate for a judge seat from sending out a mailing soliciting contributions and from asking for donations on her website. The candidate claimed the restriction violated her free speech rights. “The State may conclude that judges, […]

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Pennsylvania high school students resist prior restraint

In a classic case of prior restraint, police and school officials in a suburban Pittsburgh high school warned students against saying anything on or off campus about an investigation of three teachers variously charged with sexual assault and victim intimidation. In an assembly, the principal warned students “against tweets, posts, text, emails, conversations or any […]

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Journalists suffer corrosive effects of government surveillance

Now that the government has harnessed surveillance technology in monitoring journalists, they have been forced to invest in expensive and time-consuming counter measures to protect their sources. Journalists can now tap anti-surveillance tools including digital security guides and training programs and an anonymous tip line called SecureDrop that uses security and privacy software to encrypt […]

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Influential lobbyists can now be tracked in the California state legislature

A former California state senator is establishing a database allowing the public to discover how lobbyists influence legislation. San Blakeslee’s project will debut May 6 as the Digital Democracy Project (www.digitaldemocracy.org) with videos of legislative hearings. When politicians speak a simultaneous graphic of their major campaign contributors surfaces. When lobbyists speak, a list will appear […]

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Transparency: White House correspondents bidding for more access

White House reporters are drumming for increased access to campaigns by releasing a document with revised rules for treatment of the press. The White House Correspondents’ Association wants greater access particularly more opportunities to question Obama directly. (Politico, April 22, 2015, by Dylan Byers) Association president Christi Parsons has vigorously fought White House secrecy and […]

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Innocents’ deaths bring calls for openness on targeted drone killings

With the revelation that a U.S. drone strike in in Pakistan in January killed two hostages, aid workers Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, there are renewed calls for greater transparency about the strikes and their collateral damage. Human rights groups have long urged the Obama administration to disclose enough information about the drone strikes […]

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Civil liberties groups critical of pending cybersecurity laws

The cybersecurity laws currently in Congress will create a new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act that blocks the public from knowing anything about signs of cyber threats and defensive tactics companies and individuals share with the government. (Politico, April 20, 2015, by Josh Gerstein) The Freedom of the Press Foundation and others signed […]

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Workers gain greater protection in bringing complaints to supervisors

In a rare victory for workers, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that  federal labor laws protect employees making complaints to their employer. The ruling came in a case in which a security guard claimed he was punished for telling his boss he had not been paid for several month. (Courthouse News Service, […]

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WikiLeaks publishes hacked documents from Sony in searchable format for those who dare

Sony lawyer David Boies warned the media not to publish a WikiLeaks database of internal Sony documents and e-mails obtained after a cyberattack last year. WikiLeak’s Julian Assange claimed that the information should be public because Sony is part of the U.S. military-industrial complex and the documents offer a view of a “large, secretive multinational […]

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