U.S. v. Warshak: Court protects email privacy under the 4th Amendment

By Thomas Yohannan


The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an important decision that affords emails protection under the Fourth Amendment.  The amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.  In U.S. v Warshak, the court ruled that although an internet service provider (ISP) has access to private emails, the government must obtain a search warrant before it may seize and search such emails.  

Whistleblower legislation supported by New Media Rights passes in the Senate

New Media Rights joined the call for stronger whistleblower protection by supporting S. 372 over the last few months with our friends from the Government Accountability Project and numerous other public interest organizations.  Last Friday, the Senate unanimously approved the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372), bringing us closer to achieving enhanced whistleblower protections than ever before. The House could vote on the bill as early as tomorrow. The letter included here encourages the House of Representatives to protect Whistleblowers and Taxpayers by passing this legislation.

To Help Pass Whistleblower Protections in the House of Representatives sign this petition.

Watching the Watchers: Is Recording Airport Security Illegal?

TSA recording laws

By now, it seems like everyone on the Internet has weighed-in on the TSA body scanners and pat downs. It hasn't taken long for videos and audio recordings of inappropriate TSA procedures secretly taken in security lines to begin leaking onto the internet. A big unanswered question for travelers right now is, "Can get in trouble for recording how the TSA is treating (or mistreating) me?"

As recently as November 20th, a San Diego man was arrested when he who consented to a strip search but didn't submit to the subsequent pat down. When security found out he had recorded his encounter with TSA with his iPhone, he was also charged with "illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority" an alleged violation of of San Diego Airport Authority rule 7.14 (a). In addition to the charge, security confiscated his iPhone.

So the question seems more important than ever: can California travellers legally record how airport security treats them? (more after the jump)

Photo Credit: Notice of TSA Baggage Inspection by JohnRiv

Mozilla Drumbeat Festival - Learning, Freedom, and the Open Web has a posse

Johannes of the Hackbus

The Drumbeat festival was an intense but enjoyable 3 days.

The sheer amount of interesting people and projects that were available to immerse yourself in was a bit overwhelming at times. That said, the structure of the event made you a participant, not just an attendee, and kept you engaged from start to finish. Mozilla’s Mark Surman laid out a call to action for the event, which really involved applying a hacking, innovative, disruptive mentality to an educational and learning system in need of just that.

The most important take away for me will be the amount of meaningful connections that were made. Meaningful connections happen when people engage in building something together, whether its a tool for automatically attributing Creative Commons licensed material, or building a “sculpture” from a pile of “junk” in front of the hackbus.

Each individual’s Drumbeat experience will be unique, here’s how mine went.

Critics of Comcast-NBC merger expect widespread consumer frustration if merger is approved

Cablevision subscribers have been put through the ringer as FOX and Cablevision had a drawn out their most recent dispute. Many subscribers could not watch FOX sports and entertainment programming which led to a lot of frustration. Mera Szendro Bok explains why all Americans who watch TV as well as independent creators will share their frustration, if the Comcast-NBC merger passes.

10 Tactics film screening inspires ideas for Drumbeat San Diego

In an effort to inspire widespread local collaboration and new Drumbeat San Diego projects New Media Rights has hosted the screening of the globally viewed film, 10 Tactics. This film was created by the Tactical Tech Initiative. The film was created during an info-activism camp and shows 35 various projects where advocates around the world used online tools to create social change.