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Big Brothers Are a Big Problem

As we pine for a digital Magna Carta or a digital Bill of Rights, the scale of the problem is daunting. Part of the problem lies at home. It rears its head when the National Security Agency searches domestic calls, emails, and data that are “incidental” to its surveillance of foreign-intelligence targets but takes liberties in doing so. Or Read More

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Leading Legal Minds Call for a Digital Bill of Rights

Federal inmates are not the only ones fighting for the right to confide in a lawyer. Earlier this month, at the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Boston, several leaders of national and international bar associations called for stronger coordination among lawyers to combat a growing sense of governmental surveillance attacks on the attorney-client privilege. The leaders, whose panel Read More

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A Convergence of Pot and Patriotism

It’s been a good month for the U.S. Justice Department. On May 12, it established a new policy that requires agents and prosecutors to electronically record their custodial interrogations in most cases. Then on May 19, FBI Director James Comey publicly suggested that the Bureau may need to rethink its hiring policy on pot if it wants to attract the Read More

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Cleanliness is Next to Godliness for George, Tom, Abe, Alex, Andy, Ulysses, and Ben

In common parlance, money laundering is the process of taking illegally-gained, “dirty” money and making it appear legal or “clean.” Who needs to wash money? A classic case is the drug dealer who’s sitting on a pile of cash but can’t very well explain where he got it from. The same concept, however, applies to other unlawful activity like financial frauds, computer crimes, alien smuggling, Read More

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Early Signs of Surveillance Inroads Into the Attorney-Client Privilege

About a week ago, the New York Times broke a story that the NSA had obtained the attorney-client-privileged communications of an American law firm that was representing a foreign client in trade negotiations. Apparently, the NSA was informed by its Australian counterpart—the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)—that ASD was conducting surveillance on the trade talks, including of attorney-client communications, and Read More

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“I Worked on the Drone Program. The Public Should Know What Really Goes On.”

In a detour from criminal-justice issues at home, here’s a voice worth listening to about an issue that will soon affect us at home and abroad. In fact, the use of “unmanned aerial vehicles,” or drones, already affects us abroad because we use them abroad (of course), and it affects us now in the way people around the world perceive American power, whether we Read More

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Your Cell Phone Meets Warrantless Border Searches in the Digital Age

The amount of personal papers and effects that we travel around with used to be cabined by the size of our cars or luggage. No more. Today, our phones, tablets, and laptops are veritable supercomputers capable of storing more information than an entire warehouse of documents. What’s more, they often hold confidential, proprietary, or otherwise sensitive information, including the most intimate Read More

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If You Don’t Draw The Line Here, Then Where?

From Forbes comes a forceful response to the revelation that the NSA shares information from its warrantless surveillance programs with other agencies, which then use the information in their ordinary, non-terrorism-related investigations while covering up its source — even from prosecutors and judges. Talk about an end run around the Fourth Amendment. Yes, the issues are Read More

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