Monday, July 7, 2008

FISA action alert, news on privacy, voting rights

Viacom goes after illegal posts to YouTube, but judge orders Google/YouTube to turn over ALL user IDs and IP addresses. If a judge demanded all of the names of people who had checked out any video in our public library, citizens would be mad as hell. Google acquired YouTube at the end of 2006.

Voting Rights
Curious about how redistricting impacts voters decisions? Not a fancy Sociologist? Population numbers give you a headache? Don't fear! Our friends at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign passed along a link to the new Brennan Center's Citizen's Guide to Redistricting. You can download the PDF for the primer on how lines are drawn, how they impact an election and suggestions for reform that emphasize equality and transparency. You can also check out what the ACLU has done on this issue and more on voting rights in an episode of the first season of the Freedom Files.

Another article about the myth of voter fraud. This one points out the idea that "fighting voter fraud" is code for "not letting black people vote." While I agree that the perpetuation of myths around so-called voter fraud has consequences in our continued discussion about politics and race, it is always a shame when the simple, Constitutionally-granted right to vote is made into a partisan issue. All citizens have the right to vote. Period.

Domestic Spying
Here is an article from the Denver Post on a trend of local eyes doing federal domestic spying work. Wisconsin has also deployed "Terrorism Liaison Officers" to be trained to spot suspicious behavior. Civil liberties and privacy concerns are obvious - legal behavior of citizens could be misinterpreted as criminal or pre-criminal acts and ensnare innocent people in this domestic spy game.

And a word from the national ACLU on FISA:
On Tuesday, July 8th, the Senate will consider an unconstitutional FISA bill that lets lawbreaking phone companies off the hook.

It is vital you contact your senators today and ask them to vote against this bill. Demand they protect your privacy and the rule of law.

This July 8, senators will make a crucial decision: whether or not to eviscerate our treasured right to privacy in our own homes and let lawbreaking telecom companies off the hook for handing over private information without a warrant.

The bottom line is that no president should have the power to monitor the phones and emails of Americans without getting a warrant. And no president should be given the power to pardon companies that broke the law.

Contact your senators today. Tell them what the 4th of July means to you and ask them to defend your freedom by opposing the unconstitutional FISA bill.

Caroline Fredrickson, Director
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
P.S. Some senators, like Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, are trying to improve this horrible legislation. And while we greatly appreciate these valiant efforts, these efforts should not -- and will not -- provide political cover for any senator who votes ‘yes’ on a final bill with warrantless wiretapping or immunity for telecommunications companies that broke the law. Let your senators know the bottom line: no bill with warrantless wiretapping or telecom immunity.

Check out a commentary from Amy Goodman on what Dodd and Feingold are doing and how other Senators' distancing themselves from controversial issues won't work in the long run.

As always, to get the scoop on national issues like restoring real FISA protections and Habeus Corpus, closing Guantanamo and stopping rendition and torture, visit the national ACLU website.