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Author Archive | donal brown

Right to protest: Judge dismisses some of charges against Inauguration Day protesters

A District of Columbia judge dismissed the most serious charges of felony rioting in the trial of six people arrested during protests on Inauguration Day last January. The judge found no evidence that the six incited others to destroy property. Among those who had these charges dismissed was photojournalist Alexei Wood who brought a medical […]

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Vote to end net neutrality sullied by fake comments during public comment

From the public comment period, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found at least two million fake comments using real people’s names in support of FCC chair Ajit Pai and his campaign to end net neutrality. Pai showed no interest in acknowledging the scam and cited privacy concerns in refusing to summit evidence of the […]

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Pharmaceutical industry mounts federal court challenge to California drug price transparency law

The pharmaceutical industry is suing California over its new drug price transparency law. It claims the law is unconstitutional and holds the industry solely responsible for escalating drug prices when many others play a significant role in the pricing. (San Jose Mercury News, December 8, 2017, by Tracy Seipel) The drug industry argues in their […]

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Palo Alto school district rule for limited disclosure of anonymous donations may not pass Brown Act muster

The Palo Alto Unified School District board passed a unique rule to circumvent the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. To establish some awareness of anonymous donations while keeping the identities of the donors secret to the public, the board is allowing the superintendent to know who is donating $50,000 or more then providing […]

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FBI closes investigation of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras

The FBI closed its six year long investigation of an award-winning documentary filmmaker after failing to find any crime or threat to national security. During the six years, the government subjected Laura Poitras to numerous border searches and interrogations. Airport delays numbered over 50 from 2006 to 2012. Poitras and the EFF contend that she […]

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Free speech or discrimination? U.S. Supreme Court holds wedding cake hearing

There’s no telling how the Supreme Court is leaning as Justice Anthony Kennedy with his usual swing vote gave contradictory messages once indicating refusing to bake cakes for gay couples was discriminatory and another in pointing out that the Colorado state civil rights commission did not give the baker’s religious beliefs a fair hearing. The […]

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Trust in media increasing with Trump presidency, now the bad news…

A Poynter survey showed that the public has become more trustful of the media since Trump became president but that partisan divisions persist with more Republicans than Democrats harboring negative feelings. The authors of the report said the role of the press is more crucial than ever, “Under these circumstances, journalists’ role in creating a […]

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Report finds Charlottesville police failed to protect demonstrators’ free speech rights

An independent report found that Charlottesville fumbled their duty to protect the public and free speech during the white supremacist rally last August. Not only did the report say the city failed to uphold the right to free speech of the rally sponsors and their opposition, but also in the wake of the rally that […]

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California high school: Federal court finds off-campus racist speech subject to school discipline

A federal district judge backed the Albany Unified School District finding that they acted legally in disciplining students over a racist Instagram of a coach and fellow students. The judge acknowledged the students’ free speech rights but found that the posts were “school speech” so fell outside the protections. The students involved sued the district […]

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Carpenter v. United States: U.S. Supreme Court digital privacy case bears free speech and press ramifications

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a digital privacy rights case this week centering on the right of the federal government to gather data of individuals from cell phone companies without probable cause warrants. The government argues that if a person’s information voluntarily channels through a third party such as a phone company, there […]

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