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Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (5/4/2012)

Anna Salem,
ACLU of Northern California
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May 4, 2012

Wireless Carriers Who Aid Police Are Asked for Data [New York Times – Eric Lichtblau]
“Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the co-chairman of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, said in a letter sent Wednesday to eight major wireless carriers that he was ‘deeply concerned’ that routine tracking of cellphone use by law enforcement officials in many departments ‘may violate the privacy rights of Americans.’”

Shutting Down Cell Service During Protests: The Constitutional Dimension [ACLU – Gabe Rottman]
Under orders from BART police, the system shut down underground wireless service for three hours… While the BART system issued a formal policy—after consultation with the ACLU’s Northern California affiliate—that would limit shutdowns to true public safety emergencies, the issue remains a hot topic on the national stage. In March 2012, the Federal Communications Commission requested formal comment from the public on, among other things, the constitutionality and legality of service interruptions. We at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office and the ACLU of Northern California were happy to oblige with comments submitted late yesterday.
See ACLU Comments to FCC: Comments on Certain Wireless Service Interruptions

Bill banning employer Facebook snooping introduced in Congress [ars technica – Sean Gallagher]
“Two members of Congress have introduced a bill that would ban the practice of requiring job applicants, employees or students to provide their social networking information. “
See Also Job Front: Social media privacy bills advance in Sacramento [Modesto Bee – Darrell Smith]

Data Harvesting at Google Not a Rogue Act, Report Finds [New York Times – David Streitfeld]
Google‘s harvesting of e-mails, passwords and other sensitive personal information from unsuspecting households in the United States and around the world was neither a mistake nor the work of a rogue engineer, as the company long maintained, but a program that supervisors knew about, according to new details from the full text of a regulatory report.”
See Also Exclusive: Google releases FCC report on Street View probe [Los Angeles Times – Jessica Guynn]

How the Newest Cybersecurity Bill Makes It Easier for the NSA to Spy On Your Online Activities [Reason – Peter Suderman]
“The problem with CISPA, as with so many tech-sector laws, is that the legislative language is vague enough that it creates a big potential loophole — in this case for domestic spies to track individual activity.”
See Also Mozilla Slams CISPA, Breaking Silicon Valley’s Silence On Cybersecurity Bill [Forbes – Andy Greenberg]
See Also Thoughts on CISPA as we move to the Senate [PogoWasRight – Dissent]

California Location Privacy bill moves to full Senate vote [Los Angeles Times – Michelle Maltais]
“Most of the California Location Privacy Bill to require a warrant to access location information from cellphones is moving on for consideration by the full Senate. What isn’t moving forward is the section requiring wireless providers to produce a detailed report on the information they provide to government agencies.”

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