The present report analyses the implications of States’ surveillance of communications for the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression. While considering the impact of significant technological advances in communications, the report underlines the urgent need to further study new modalities of surveillance and to revise national laws regulating these practices in line with human rights standards.
A flyer from a series created by the FBI and Department of Justice to promote suspicious activity reporting states that espousing conspiracy theories or anti-US rhetoric should be considered a potential indicator of terrorist activity. The document, part of a collection published yesterday by Public Intelligence, indicates that individuals who discuss “conspiracy theories about Westerners” or display “fury at the West for reasons ranging from personal problems to global policies of the U.S.” are to be considered as potentially engaging in terrorist activity. For an example of the kinds of conspiracy theories that are to be considered suspicious, the flyer specifically lists the belief that the “CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”
An email contained in the latest AntiSec release indicates that law enforcement agencies in New York have been circulating an out-of-date manual that was previously criticized by the ACLU to instruct officers about issues related to Occupy protests. The brief email from December 5, 2011 was circulated to a number of law enforcement agencies affiliated with the Mid Hudson Chiefs of Police Association and contains several document attachments that describe tactics used by protesters, including basic guides on how to conduct your own “Occupy” protest. One of the documents is a police manual titled “Civil Disturbance and Criminal Tactics of Protest Extremists” that describes “illegal” tactics used by protesters and so-called “protest extremists”. The document, which was last revised in 2003, does not list its originating agency or author and is marked with a number of unusual protective markings indicating that it is not intended for public release.
As articulated in the United States Constitution, one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment is the right of persons and groups to assemble peacefully. Whether demonstrating, counterprotesting, or showing support for a cause, individuals and groups have the right to peacefully gather. Law enforcement, in turn, has the responsibility to ensure public safety while protecting the privacy and associated rights of individuals. To support agencies as they fulfill their public safety responsibilities, the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC) developed this paper to provide guidance and recommendations to law enforcement officers in understanding their role in First Amendment-protected events. This paper is divided into three areas, designed to provide in-depth guidance for law enforcement.
While the Google incident and Secretary Clinton’s speech spurred online discussion on the subject of “Internet freedom” in China, reaction differed on two observed popular sites. Public comments in response to Secretary Clinton’s speech on a popular news website subject to state censorship were consistent with official media reaction, emphasizing nationalistic resistance to alleged US “Internet hegemony.” In contrast, discussion on a popular social networking site noted the irony in China’s official response to Clinton’s speech, questioning Beijing’s claims to have an “open” Internet.
For almost a decade, the Iranian regime and netizen activists have been engaged in a veritable war of attrition over freedom of information on the Internet. With at least tacit support from information technology businesses — whose interests are adversely affected by government controls and restrictions — activists have sought to exploit the Internet in order to share information and voice dissent. In turn, the authorities have been implementing plans to manage cyber activity by taking ownership of Internet infrastructure and by promoting the presence of their supporters and messages in cyberspace, while justifying their efforts on the grounds of morality and national security. Neither netizen activists nor the government are likely to win the battle over information flows in the near term, in part because of financial considerations and evolving technologies.