Privacy Matters

Sex and abuse scandals in federal law enforcement revealed this week show importance of government transparency

It's been a very rough press week for federal entities tasked with keeping the American people safe. Here's what a little bit of sunshine on secretive government agencies revealed this week alone:

New Jersey becomes first state to require local approval for law enforcement acquisition of military equipment

Massachusetts should follow suit by passing bills allowing public input on transfers of military equipment to state and local police.

The brands and police are listening, and Twitter intends to help them

Soon you might find yourself shocked by how much companies and government agencies know about you, in close to real time.

FBI would rather shield its surveillance powers from judicial review than prosecute criminals

A non-disclosure agreement signed by the Erie County Sheriff's Office shows that the FBI would rather protect its power to use stingrays from public scrutiny and constitutional challenge than prosecute criminals.

The FBI is very good at stopping terror plots of its own design

The FBI is very good at stopping 'terrorist' plots of its own design. Trevor Aaronson reports for The Intercept:

Virginia passes law requiring a warrant for law enforcement use of controversial stingray technology

Kudos, Virginia, land of spies! The state has enacted a privacy law requiring a warrant for state and local law enforcement content surveillance and location tracking. The statute explicitly includes a warrant requirement for police use of controversial cell site simulator or stingray technology, which allows cops to bypass phone companies and track phones directly.

Snowden at SXSW: Be very concerned about the trickle down of NSA surveillance to local police

I just had the privilege of attending a small conversation session with Edward Snowden and a number of technology and policy leaders at SXSW. He spoke for about an hour on a range of subjects related to his disclosures, possible federal legislation—good and bad—coming down the pike, and specific issues at the intersection of technology and privacy.

al Qaeda didn't need Edward Snowden to tell them about NSA spying

Osama bin Laden knew full well the US government was spying on al Qaeda, long before Edward Snowden blew his whistle. In documents recently made public during a terrorism trial in the United States, bin Laden writes:

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