What makes a community safe?
Is it police officers decked out in military gear patrolling the streets, watching over peaceful protests, or raiding homes of people suspected of low level crimes?
Is it expanding the federal death penalty?
Is it local police being able to instantly harvest, test, and catalog the DNA of people arrested (but not tried and convicted?)
None of those proposals will enhance community safety, but they will invade our privacy, restrict our liberty, and further the deterioration of the “rule of law” into “rule of fear” in our neighborhoods.
These are just some of the “solutions” being proposed in Congress this year.
HR 426 makes it easier for local police to obtain surplus military equipment; HR 510 promotes the use of portable DNA machines by local police; and HR 115 expands the federal death penalty. Read more and take action here.
April was a busy month at Defending Rights & Dissent, check out what we were up to below, and as always,
Stay Loud, Stay Strong,
For the third time in four years, grassroots activists in Maryland have defeated an anti-boycott bill. It’s a testament to the organizing skills of the Freedom2Boycott coalition that although the bill had the support of the Governor, State Comptroller, and former diplomat Dennis Ross, the bill died unceremoniously in committee without so much as a vote.
The NYPD’s newly released body camera policy fails New Yorkers and police transparency – it won’t help address police brutality, abuses and unjust killings of New Yorkers.
Experts address institutional and cultural Islamophobia and chart a course for challenging Islamophobia nationally, and in Maryland and Montgomery County. Watch the videos of each speaker.
Undercover officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) not only infiltrated Black Lives Matter protesters, they become so embedded within the group as to have access to text communications available only to a limited number of organizers. And, they continued their undercover operations despite a lack of any evidence of criminal wrongdoing
In Spite of Local Law Limiting Investigations of First Amendment Assemblies, DC Police Infiltrated Organizing Group for Inauguration Protests
Before the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had arrested a single protester at Trump’s inauguration, undercover agents had infiltrated one of the main groups organizing protests according to court documents.
Digital Security for Life and Activism. Free Workshop in Silver Spring Will Arm You With Tools & Techniques to Protect Yourself
This hands-on Digital Security Workshop explains the electronic policies that threaten your online privacy and activism, and will walk you through some simple tools and techniques to help protect yourself.
Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, is a sweeping piece of intelligence legislation, that is up for reauthorization later this year and, in our view, permits significant offenses against Americans’ civil liberties. Section 702 authorizes two truly alarming efforts that must be reformed or ended.
702 Briefing: The Mass Surveillance Law is Up for Renewal at the End of 2017. Are You Ready to Fight It?
Please join us for a teleconference briefing to understand the law, the political dynamics, and how Rights & Dissent and our allies on the left and right plan to force Congress to adopt radical reforms or let the law sunset.
If passed, the ‘Protecting Data at the Border Act’ would require border agents to have a warrant or probable cause before searching a US person’s electronic device or data–the same standard the Constitution requires for government agents anywhere else in the country.
A Customs and Border Patrol proposal to collect social media identifiers of Chinese visa holders is racist and undermines internet freedom and privacy. Take action to oppose the proposal.
On April 23, 2017, Defending Rights & Dissent’s Policy & Legislative Counsel, Chip Gibbons, addressed 110 people at the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy.
Confidential informants are the unseen foot soldiers in the government’s war on drugs. By some estimates, up to eighty per cent of all drug cases in the country involve them.
Does the First Amendment protect your right to tweet anonymously or “pseudonymously” (as the case is when one uses a twitter handle, but not their real name)? Even when you criticize the President?
REAL ID threatens privacy, creates bureaucratic chaos, costs a fortune, and doesn’t do what it purports to do. More than nine states haven’t embraced REAL ID yet, and we can see why.