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This Week in Civil Liberties (3/16/2012)

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March 16, 2012

What kind of information do Kansas lawmakers want to withhold from expecting mothers?

Over in Arizona, what do that state's legislators want to make a fireable offense?

What kinds of pharmaceuticals were two men prevented from purchasing by the pharmacists?

What is iPhone 4S's Siri doing with your personal information?

What capabilities could domestic drones manufacturers offer U.S. law enforcement?

Kansas to Pregnant Women: "A Little Lie from Your Doctor Won't Hurt You"
Politicians in Kansas are giving pregnant women and their partners something new to worry about. Buried in a sweeping anti-abortion bill is a provision that would immunize a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient. That's right. If the bill passes, a doctor who opposes abortion could decide to lie about the results of your blood tests, your ultrasound, your cvs or your amnio. Lie to you so that you won't have information that might lead you to decide to end your pregnancy or that might lead you to learn more about your child's condition so that you are prepared to be the best parent you can be to your child.

Use Birth Control? You're Fired!
A bill pending in the Arizona legislature would give your boss the green light to fire you for using birth control. And we aren’t talking here just about exemptions for religiously affiliated employers like Catholic hospitals and universities. We are talking about authorizing secular, for-profit employers to deny a woman coverage for birth control if the employer doesn’t believe that she and her partner should be allowed to have sex without getting pregnant.

Not Again: Two More Pharmacies Refuse to Sell Emergency Contraception to Men
In recent years, pharmacies in several states have refused to sell emergency contraception to men. We've recently learned of two additional incidents — both at Walgreens — in Georgia and Alabama. The discrimination in the Georgia and Alabama stores followed the same pattern that we've seen in Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi: a man attempts to purchase the medication for his female partner only to be confronted by a pharmacist who refuses to sell him the medication for the sole reason that he is a man.

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too
It came as a surprise to some folks at a recent SXSW talk that Apple’s Siri “personal assistant” isn’t just working for us, it’s working full-time for Apple too by sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases. Take a peek at Siri’s privacy policy (which, by the way, is pretty difficult to find) and you’ll realize what’s happening behind the scenes.

VIDEO: See What Armed Domestic Drones Look Like
A big worry about U.S. law enforcement’s expanding use of drones is the lack of rules protecting from privacy violations. But drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote controlled aircraft with non-lethal (for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas.

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