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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (12/9/2011)

A sinister internet graphic.
A sinister internet graphic.
Caitlin O'Neill,
Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Associate,
ACLU of Northern California
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December 9, 2011

In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. The ACLU believes that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between using new technology and keeping control of your private information. Each week, we feature some of the most interesting news related to technology and civil liberties that we’ve spotted from the previous week.

An Alternative to SOPA: An Open Process Befitting an Open Internet [EFF]
“… So we were glad to learn that a bipartisan group of congressional represenatives has come together to formulate a real alternative, called the OPEN Act, as well as a real process for including the Internet users and innovators it may affect.”
See also: Censorship foes roll out antipiracy plan, say stop “butchering the Internet”

Content, Context, and Control: Facial Recognition and Privacy [ACLU-NC Bytes & Pieces Blog]
Photographs don’t just capture your laughter and tears. They can also reveal the details of your life: the people you know, the events you attend, and more. And facial recognition makes it easy to link any photo of you–even one you didn’t know you were in–to your name and identity.

Secrecy Without Sense: State Department Censors Cables Already Published by WikiLeaks [ACLU Blog of Rights]
The government’s latest response to the WikiLeaks saga reveals its penchant for excessive secrecy in defiance of all reason. Today the ACLU made public eleven documents released by the State Department in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit seeking twenty-three embassy cables that had been previously disclosed by WikiLeaks and widely distributed online and in the press.

Google and Verizon Battle Over Mobile Payments [Wired]
“Just days before Google’s next flagship smartphone launch, Google and Verizon are locked in a public battle over mobile payments, with both companies vying for a foothold in the fledgling mobile e-commerce arena.”

8 companies hit with lawsuit over Carrier IQ software [Info World]
“Apple is one of eight companies that have been named in another class-action lawsuit filed over the use of Carrier IQ software in mobile handsets.”
See also: How Carrier IQ Could Have Avoided Its Dumbest Move

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