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This Week in Civil Liberties (9/16/2011)

What kind of information still remains vulnerable to government surveillance even 10 years after 9/11? Learn this and more.
Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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September 16, 2011

What kind of information still remains vulnerable to government surveillance even 10 years after 9/11?

Who can you help save by sending a letter to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole?

Which state is proposing an amendment that is intended to limit the religious freedoms of Muslim-Americans?

At what school did a judge temporarily stop the unconstitutional mandatory drug testing of students?

Which federal agency’s training materials teach religious discrimination and mistrust of the Muslim-American community?

The Government Might Know You’re Reading This
After 9/11, Congress hastily passed the Patriot Act, the first of many changes to surveillance laws making it easier for the government to spy on you without having any evidence, or even suspicion, you’ve done something wrong, often with no meaningful judicial oversight. These loosened surveillance laws provide access to a growing trove of electronic information about your everyday life: who you talk to or email, where you shop, your credit rating, the websites you visit, where you bank, what you read and more.

This week, the ACLU’s Ben Wizner hosted a live discussion on Facebook regarding civil liberties that have been rolled back in the wake of 9/11. Check out these true patriots’ pledges to fight for the Constitution and the freedoms it protects.

Troy Davis Execution Set
The State of Georgia plans to execute Troy Davis at midnight on September 21, even though he is very likely innocent. His execution has been stayed three times amid doubts and new evidence against other suspects. Take action today!

Oklahoma Seeks to “Save” Itself from the Requirements of the U.S. Constitution
On Monday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Awad v. Ziriax, a legal challenge to Oklahoma’s proposed “Save our State Amendment”, which would prohibit Oklahoma state judges from considering international law, foreign law, or Sharia (Islamic law).

Judge Temporarily Halts College’s Unlawful Drug Testing Program
Taking swift action, a federal district court judge this week granted an ACLU request and temporarily halted an unconstitutional policy at a public college in Missouri requiring all incoming students to submit to mandatory drug tests. Judge Nanette K. Laughrey ordered officials at Linn State Technical College in Jefferson City, Mo., to stop analyzing urine specimens that have already been collected and to instruct the drug testing company not to release any results it may have already compiled.

ACLU Lens: FBI Using Biased Counterterrorism Training Materials
Innocent, peaceful American Muslims are being targeted by the FBI, with the bureau engaging in racial-mapping programs and informants infiltrating and spying on neighborhood mosques. Now we know that at least some of these activities might be the result of FBI counterterrorism trainings that describe Muslims as terrorist sympathizers.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you’d like to see changes. Share your thoughts: ideas@aclu.org

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