Constitution in Crisis :: September 2016

four surveillance camera to see all main points of the great metropolis
One American City Took on the Surveillance Society – and Won.
September 1, 2016
Video surveillance cameras for monitoring on streets
Will Manhattan Beach Welcome Visitors with Surveillance Cameras and Automatic License Plate Readers? How Unneighborly is That?
September 2, 2016


Dear Troublemakers,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer under starry skies (and the watchful eyes of our government). It seems like every week a new story of outrageous surveillance hits the papers. Of course, we’ve been hard at work trying to rein in the surveillance state, focused primarily on passing local ordinances and demanding Congressional action. But today, I want to share a new approach, and ask you to take action.

We’ve teamed up with Color of Change and a number of other advocacy groups to ask the Federal Communications Commission (which oversees cell phone services) to put a halt to the widespread police use of Stingray devices. Stingrays mimic cellphone towers to trick your cell phone into connecting with it, rather than a legitimate tower, which allows police to track your location and potentially to listen into your calls. You can read more about it and take action here.

Enjoy our newsletter, and you’ll see we’ve had anything but a sleepy August!

Stay loud, stay strong

Sue Udry, Executive Director, BORDC/DDF

P.S.
Can you pitch in to support our campaigns to fulfillthe promise of the Bill of Rights for everyone?

Grassroots Updates

BORDC/DDF supports grassroots activism to protect and advance Constitutional rights. Join the movement! Please reach us at organizing@bordc.org. Here are some organizing highlights from around the country:

Boston to Host Countering Islamophobia Workshop
Last year, activists in North Carolina piloted an innovative training program to counter Islamophobia. In July, BORDC/DDF brought the training to Chicago. Boston is the next stop.Read More…

One American City Took on the Surveillance Society – and Won.
Our friends across the pond have taken notice of the success of Oakland Privacy Working Group proclaiming that “Oakland is an inspiring story of what people can achieve when they demand to have control of the technology being used to gather data about them.” Read More…

Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk in California Chills Speech
We’ve reported on many bills across the country aimed at deterring individuals from engaging in Constitutionally protected political speech about Israel’s human rights policies. Now: the long and windy saga of California’s own such bill, which is on its way to the Governor’s desk and could become law at any minute. Read More…

NYPD Broke the Rules Over and Over Again, Investigation Finds
The Inspector General found that the NYPD broke the rules on surveillance of political activity, doing it for too long without a reason. Also, 95% of those spied on were “individuals associated with Islam.” Read More…

Seattle AntiWar Activists Say New Defense Department Policy Bans Same Spying Practices Army Used on Them for Years
New rules for Army Intelligence agents prohibit surveillance “for the purpose of collecting information on the domestic activities of U.S. persons” or “anonymous spying on email listservs.” Read More…

Advocacy and Agitation

BORDC/DDF is your voice in the Nation’s Capitol. We advocate and agitate in Congress and with the Executive branch. Here are just a few of the issues we raised last month:

Over 115,00 People Tell the Army to Drop New Charges Against Chelsea Manning
Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dan Ellsberg declares that “Chelsea Manning is a hero of mine” and labels the new charges “sadistic”. Read More…

Tell the FCC to Rein in Police Abuse of Stingray Technology
A new strategy to fight the surveillance state. Stingrays disrupt cell service as they track our location and listen in on calls. Demand that the FCC prevent the police abuse of Stingray tecnology. Read More…

67 Organizations Urge Justice Dept. to Improve Data Collection Mandate on Deaths in Police Custody
A Justice Department proposal would step back from requiring states to report deaths in custody, and instead would rely on media reports of police shootings and violence. Read More…

Why BORDC/DDF is Joining the Campaign to Exonerate Ethel Rosenberg: The evidence just didn’t add up.
As an organization that calls for government accountability for deprivations of civil liberties, we can take no other position than to join the call for President Barack Obama to exonerate Ethel Rosenberg. Her initial indictment was the result of grotesque government abuses of power; her conviction rested on what it is most likely perjured testimony. Read More…

Unlike This: Social Media Companies Bow to Government Censorship Requests
Social media companies are under a lot of pressure from the government to censor their users. And those companies are bowing to the pressure. Earlier this month, Twitter announced that it had shut down 235,000 accounts since February for “violating its policy on violent extremism.”  But on August 1, Facebook took the censorship in a dramatically different direction. Read More…

News and Analysis

TSA PreCheck: The Risk of the Reward
TSA PreCheck: The Risk of the RewardPreCheck lanes operate in more than 180 airports across the country. They permit members who provide DHS with detailed personal data, a photograph, and fingerprints to pass through the airport security with their shoes on and laptops stored in their carry-on bags. “With a 5 year, $85 membership, you can speed through security,” beams the TSA website. Read More…

“First as Tragedy, Then As Farce” Donald Trump’s Plan to Police Political Views of Immigrants Hardly Original
Trump’s vitriolic anti-immigrant, anti-civil libertarian, and openly racist policies have elicited a wave of condemnations. However, as many have pointed out, some of those most quickly running to condemn him are themselves the architects of policies that have been largely racist and anti-civil libertarian. Read More…

Civil Rights Leaders Express Outrage over FBI Student Profiling Program
On August 10, the American Federation of Teachers, civil and human rights organizations, faith leaders and community groups came together to issue a letter to the FBI condemning its Don’t Be a Puppet program. Read More…

Did federal agents spy on offshore oil lease protesters in New Orleans?
Back in March, hundreds of protesters descended on the Superdome in New Orleans to disrupt a federal auction for new Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leases. Now an advocacy group wants to know if federal officials worked with local law enforcement and oil and gas industry insiders to spy on environmentalists involved in that and other protests held as part of the campaign. Read More…

Retweet This: CBP’s Plan to Ask Visitors to the US Their Social Media Identifiers Is a Bad Idea
Over 22 million people visit the US on the Visa Waiver Program. So when the US Customs and Border Patrol announced that the agency was seeking a rule change to be able to ask each and every one of them for their social media identifiers, a few eyebrows were raised.Read More…

Surveillance Isn’t Colorblind
Rapidly developing technology exposes communities of color to near-constant surveillance and over-policing. Read More…



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