Category: Ethics

Donald Kaufman: Do the FBI and Department of Justice Want a Photo of Every American? – Truthdig

A recent hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform revealed some troubling news concerning privacy rights: Using facial recognition technology, the FBI has captured images of more than half of all adult Americans and is storing them in perpetuity in databases for law enforcement agencies to access. The technology is part of a 2010 FBI program called Next Generation Identification. The program uses facial recognition, finger and palm prints, and iris scans to track people and put their information in repository systems for law enforcement use. No warrant is required, and everyone, including people with no criminal record, can be recorded.

Arkansas Bill Would Let Businesses Sue Whistleblowers – Motherboard

Arkansas senators are considering a bill that would allow private businesses to sue whistleblowers that expose abuse or wrongdoing. The bill has already passed the house, but not without receiving plenty of dissent from Republican lawmakers, free speech proponents, and animal rights groups.

The law would make it legal for businesses to sue anybody who goes onto a business’s private property and, among other acts, “records images or sound occurring within an employer’s commercial property and uses the recording in a manner that damages the employer.” This include undercover investigators, but also employees: unless an employee is just doing his or her job, any recordings or information that exposes wrongdoing could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Senate Judiciary chairman: No deputy AG vote until we get an FBI briefing on Russia – The Washington Post

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley said Tuesday he will hold up the deputy attorney general’s confirmation vote as collateral until FBI Director James B. Comey briefs his panel about investigations into alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russian officials.

“I’m not going to schedule a hearing on the deputy attorney general until we get a briefing from Comey,” Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday, even though, as he noted, “the Justice Department would like to get their deputy out of committee just as soon as they can.”

Legal watchdog American Oversight launched to hound Trump agencies

“Concerned by the shortage of government experience and early missteps by Trump administration officials —including President Trump — a group of lawyers is launching a watchdog organization that will seek to track the administration’s ethics and expose potential conflicts, fraud or other wrongdoing.

The organization, “American Oversight,” which says it is nonpartisan despite some of its founders having deep ties to Democrats, will focus on prying loose documents through public records requests and lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act. Regardless of what they uncover, such efforts could haunt the administration much the way similar actions by conservative group Judicial Watch produced emails from the State Department that dogged Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

There’s nothing outrageous about stamping out bigoted speech.

“But this moment in American politics and American life proves that the victory of reason cannot always be assured. The purveyors of logic, of facts dutifully checked and delivered to the public, lost big league in November. The cost has been an erosion of our national character that we will be powerless to stop unless we fight prejudice wherever it lies. The critics of political correctness have argued that shutting down certain conversations may bear political costs and alienate potential allies. This is a certainty. Morality is alienating. But the costs of being moral have been borne successfully by innumerable movements for social change. This is, to borrow a phrase, a time for choosing. In the Trump era, should we side with those who insist that the bigoted must traipse unhindered through our halls of learning? Or should we dare to disagree?”

Trump adviser admits to contact with DNC hacker | TheHill

Roger Stone, President Trump’s former campaign advisor, on Friday admitted to having private conversations with a hacker who helped leak information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during last year’s campaign.

Stone insisted to The Washington Times that the conversations were “completely innocuous.”

“It was so perfunctory, brief and banal I had forgotten it,” Stone told The Times of a private Twitter conversation he had with a hacker known as “Guccifer 2.0.”

The Editors: Why Believe the President? | Commonweal Magazine

A man who routinely lies when nothing is at stake can be counted on to lie when everything is. If Trump’s campaign did collaborate with Russia’s interference in the presidential election, that would be an impeachable offense, as well as a criminal one. In that case, Trump would be in no hurry to come clean. The only way to find out what really happened is to let our intelligence agencies continue their investigations without interference from the White House. Once they’ve finished their work, they should report their findings not only to the House and Senate intelligence committees—whose Republican chairmen have already been enlisted by the Trump administration to do damage control—but also to an independent commission made up of nonpartisan experts rather than elected officials.