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This Week in Civil Liberties (03/14/2014)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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March 14, 2014

What NSA whistleblower joined the ACLU at South by Southwest for his first live conversation with an audience?

On March 25, the Supreme Court will hear arguments from companies who want to violate what law that requires employer-based health plans to include no-cost coverage for contraceptives?

What United Nations committee reviewed the U.S.’s compliance with human rights standards as obligated by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)?

The state attorney of what U.S. state has worked to send more people to death row than anyone else nationally?

According to public records, more and more Bay Area law enforcement are planning to acquire what highly intrusive and completely unregulated cell phone surveillance tool?

“Snowden’s disclosures have improved the security of the Internet.”

In a highly anticipated panel this Monday, Edward Snowden discussed privacy, technology, and NSA surveillance with the ACLU’s Ben Wizner and Chris Soghoian at South by Southwest. To watch a recording of the event, click on the play button below.

My Employer Shamed Me for Using Birth Control

The Affordable Care Act makes effective birth control more affordable for millions of women by requiring employer-based health plans to include no-cost coverage for contraceptives. On March 25, the Supreme Court will hear arguments from companies that want to violate this law. Here is a story from one of the many women whose boss has tried to deny her birth control.

U.S. Human Rights Record Undergoes International Scrutiny

This week, the United Nations Human Rights Committee reviewed U.S. compliance with its obligations under the ICCPR, ratified by the U.S. in 1992. The review will cast light on a dark underbelly of American exceptionalism—our refusal to acknowledge that human rights treaties apply overseas. Unlike most of the world, the United States continues to claim that it has no obligation to follow the ICCPR when operating abroad.

Florida Prosecutor Goes on Killing Spree

Florida State Attorney Angela Corey is certainly making a name for herself. Not only has she worked to send more people to death row than any other state’s attorney in the Sunshine State, but she leads the pack nationally as well.

Documents Reveal Unregulated Use of Stingrays in California

Once again, we see the proliferation of powerful new surveillance tools, but without any rules to constrain their use. More and more Bay Area police departments plan to acquire stingray devices, a powerful cellphone surveillance tool, according to public records obtained by Sacramento News10. Stingray use by local law enforcement reflects the all too common phenomenon of mission creep. Although the justification for acquiring these devices is “fighting terrorism,” agencies seem to be using them for ordinary criminal law enforcement.

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