PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

Hurricane Katrina and Credit Scores

Bob Sullivan at MSNBC writes: A second storm surge may soon start slamming into Gulf coast residents hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Mounting unpaid bills will lead to a surge of black marks on victims’ credit reports, say consumer advocates, sinking their credit scores. And now, they say, efforts to convince the nation’s credit bureaus to […]

The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun!

After blogging a few weeks ago about the airline screening playset, I went ahead and ordered one. Each day, I would check my mailbox, eager with excitement about its arrival. Today, it finally arrived. I rushed to open it and began what would be hours of exciting play. Here’s what came in the playset: I […]

A Victory for Anonymous Blogging

Anonymous bloggers received a great victory this week in a case decided by the Delaware Supreme Court — Doe v. Cahill (Oct. 5, 2005). The case involved John Doe, who anonymously posted on a blog statements about Patrick Cahill, a City Councilman of Smyrna, Delaware. Doe, in criticizing Cahill’s job performance, noted that Cahill had “obvious mental […]

Snooping Landlords and the War on Terrorism

In this interesting AP article [link no longer available], a man won an invasion of privacy lawsuit when his property manager searched his home and reported to the FBI that there were terrorist materials in the apartment. FBI officials detained, fingerprinted, and handcuffed the man, but eventually determined that the man wasn’t a terrorist:

Why Volokh Is Wrong on Public Records and the First Amendment

In an interesting and thoughtful post, Eugene Volokh (law, UCLA) takes issue with California’s Megan’s Law, Cal. Penal Code § 290.46(j), which places personal data about sex offenders on the Internet yet restricts the uses of this data. The law allows people to use the information “only to protect a person at risk.” It prohibits the […]

The Pathology of Picking Supreme Court Justices

The Supreme Court appointment process has become almost pathological . . . ironically, for rational reasons. The incentive is for presidents to select people who are: (1) young, so they have a reign on the Court that rivals Fidel Castro’s in length; and (2) obscure, so they have rarely taken any positions on any major […]

California’s Tougher Anti-Paparazzi Law and the First Amendment

Recently, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that toughened California’s Anti-Paparazzi Act, Cal. Civ. Code §1708.8. The original act was passed in 1998 in response to Princess Diana’s death, which was caused when her car was fleeing aggressive paparazzi.

When Clacks Squawk: The New Keystroke Surveillance

You thought keyboard clacking was just annoying noise. Little did you know your clacking is broadcasting what you’re typing! Berkeley researchers have developed a way to monitor your keystrokes without installing a device into your computer. Thus, far, keystrokes can be monitored via special software or other devices installed into people’s computers (either directly or […]

The Grand Jury: Forcing People to Help Prosecutors and to Pay for It Too

  Should private citizens be forced, against their will, to subsidize and assist the state in its prosecutorial function?  This is basically what happens when people are summoned to testify before grand juries or are picked for grand jury duty.  I’ve previously written an extensive critique of the grand jury, with a focus on its subpoena […]