Monday, April 28, 2008

Indiana ID at polls OK by SCOTUS, border searches of electronics OK, Day of Silence under fire and more

Madison's discussion on homelessness registers in the Chicago Trib radar screen. The article describes other civil liberties concerns such as the "banned from State Street" list enforced by local police and describes how cities nationwide have cracked down on visible homelessness via law enforcement measures.

Another citizen and Wisconsinite gets snagged in the flawed immigration/Homeland Security system.

At the border, agents can search laptops and electronics without cause. An appeals court ruling agreed that electronics weren't too personal to search. However it was left unclear how individuals would be required to help agents with their search by providing passwords to protected devices. How do I set a passcode lock on my iPhone again?

A vet group is making a fuss over a Spanish class recital of the flag pledge in espanol. Didn't Jon Secada sing the Star Spangled Banner in spanish at the white house for the inaugural back in 2001?

LGBT rights
Gay-Straight Alliance sponsored Day of Silence promotion is attacked at a Janesville school district board meeting. Anyone else fatigued by people who pit religion against gays and lesbians? U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin's office issues a statement in support of the Day of silence and how it recognizes LGBT rights, especially as anti-gay violence and school harassment is a lingering problem.

Some of the more conspiracy-minded might think that citizens should be leary of giving the government their private indentity data because of the risk of its misuse. Actually the biggest threat these days is simply a lack of oversight of keeping that data secure and private. After some data bungles earler this year, the Governor set out to increase data security. Here is some of the new news about a report that assessed the state's privacy regs, Doyle's reaction and the ACLU of Wisconsin's response.

The story didn't end in January though. Here is another story about gaps in security for database info on Wisconsin seniors.

Taped fight at Toki makes it to YouTube, but admins say that security cameras may be next. Example may introduce the need for communities to discuss how to handle new technologies and privacy protections.

Voting rights
There is bad news on the voting rights front. The US Supreme Court upheld the Indiana voter ID legislation. While this will be heralded as a victory for “election integrity,” it should be pointed out that Indiana had no cases of fraud via in-person voter misrepresentation. Indiana also does have free IDs, however the dissenting justices’ opinions clearly laid out reasons why obtaining an ID is a barrier to voting. The ACLU got involved in the case on behalf of Indiana voters.

The ACLU of Wisconsin will continue to fight efforts to require photo IDs at our polling places. This is especially important because currently WI state DMVs charge money for state-issued ID cards ($28 for an ID; $34 for a renewal – up ten dollars to pay for the Real ID program that hasn’t been implemented yet).

Read the full opinions from the Supreme Court.

Reproductive rights
The pharmacist who denied patient birth control will seek a State Supreme Court review. While forum posts on on-line articles tend toward the bizarre if not psychotic, trends in reader feedback tend to reflect an understanding of the importance of not allowing religious beliefs to impede a woman's access to birth control.

Heard of cybersquatting? A fake family planning site makes cybersquatting hit close to home (namely, Wausau).

Women's rights
What explains the difference in our paychecks? Wisconsin Women still make only 78 cents on a man's dollar.

Other news
Hey look! It's our board president! Guenther gets interviewed about his involvement in a project to teach Afghan lawyers about civil liberties and the rule of law.

Watch for ACLU Legal Observers at the May Day march. The rally starts at 11:30am at Brittingham Park on Thursday, May 1. For more information about how legal observers serve as volunteer witnesses at public protests, or to find out how to become a legal observer for the ACLU of Wisconsin, contact the Community Advocate, Stacy Harbaugh.