Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet"

I truly did not intend for my last post to relate to today's, but I'm afraid that they necessarily do. Yesterday, the administration sought legislation that will enable the government's intelligence gathering services to tap internet communications the same way that they are able to tap phone conversations--by warrant, a protection for innocent Americans. What is your opinion about this? It seems perfectly reasonable, as the government argues, that new abilities to communicate require new extensions of warrantable wiretapping. On the other hand, the FBI has not always to conducted itself according to its mandates and regulations. Your thoughts?
For more, see yesterday's New York Times article:

U.S. Tries to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

Monday, September 27, 2010

Report Shows FBI Sometimes Slips Back Into J Edgar Hoover Style of Investigation

A new report shows that the FBI has illegally surveilled peaceful, non-terrorist protest in violation of its orders. It should only surveil legal First Amendment activity, like peaceful demonstrations, if it suspects criminal or terrorist activity, but the report shows some slip-ups. This serves as a good example of why governmental agencies need oversight for our protections. Here's the New York Times editorial that brought the report to my attention:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Obama and Jimmy Carter: is there a parallel?

Walter Mondale, Carter's vp from 1977 to 1980 and presidential candidate in 1980, sees a distinct parallel between the hellish difficulties faced by the Carter administration in the late '70s and the seemingly equally hellish difficulties facing the Obama administration today.

Here's a very short article from The New Yorker magazine:

Friday, September 10, 2010

"CENSORED" Label Removed by Craigslist

In yet another twist to the Craigslist "censorship" story, the site has removed the Censored label that it had slapped on its shut-down "Adult Services" section.
See today's NY Times.

Still no word from Craigslist officials about why they responded to the state attorneys general by taking the list down, why they slapped the label on a few days ago, or why they have now taken it down. Stay tuned: this surely is not the end of this story!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Craigslist Censorship?

The latest "censorship" flap concerns Craigslist's adult services category. Recently, apparently in response to some state attorneys general who were concerned that the service was promoting prostitution and child abuse, Craigslist took down its adult services section, slapping a Censored label where it used to be.
 Craigslist executives refuse to discuss this situation but lots of other people are:
The Wall Street Journal
The Huffington Post
The New York Times
The Electronic Frontier Foundation

Many of the reporters and commentators seem to be focused on why Craigslist has taken this action and whether it will continue, but no one seems to be questioning the use of the term "censorship" to describe Craigslist. Just because their management chose to put the word "Censored" above, does that necessarily make it so? Is this really censorship? What does that word mean, anyway? I have written two books arguing that the word is overused and has come to be almost meaningless.

So, is this censorship or is it state legal authorities trying to influence a private business (which could be called many things, not necessarily censorship)?