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I live my life in the open: I'm easily googleable, emailable, and you can figure out from my Twitter and Instagram accounts what I've been doing. For a while my phone number was posted publicly on my Facebook profile.

I'm aware that these sites and services are tracking me. I know they're collecting my data, crunching it and selling it to advertisers, who in turn try to sell me things, and I am OK with this.

It's the cost of admission. These services help me stay connected with my friends and interact with strangers, and in turn I grant them permission to analyze my tweets and profile my Facebook interests for profit.…  Seguir leyendo »

In recent months, the issue of privacy has come to the forefront in a number of cases, including the latest revelation that the U.S. government has been secretly collecting Verizon customers' phone records. Here's a selection of CNN.com op-eds on related issues.

We're losing control of our digital privacy

The erosion of privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment, written to protect us against unreasonable search and seizure, began in earnest under President George W. Bush. The Patriot Act, passed overwhelmingly but hastily after 9/11, allows the FBI to obtain telecommunication, financial, and credit records without a court order. Moreover, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's 2008 amendment act grants U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

It's one of the most contentious but least understood issues now before Congress. It's one that does not align neatly along party lines and has split the business community.

The issue is online piracy - the illegal sale of copyrighted and trademarked products on rogue pirate websites. Proposals aimed at putting these rogue websites out of business, now pending in the House and Senate, would strengthen restrictions on foreign-based rogue websites, while imposing new obligations on U.S.-based firms that facilitate their operation.

These proposals address a legitimate problem. But they may have unintended negative consequences on the operation of the Internet and on free speech.…  Seguir leyendo »

In a 6-to-5 vote last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against a company accused of helping the CIA carry out the "extraordinary rendition" of terrorist suspects, transporting them to other countries for interrogation and, the lawsuit alleged, torture.

The five men who sued Jeppesen DataPlan, a Boeing subsidiary that reportedly provided flight planning and logistical support, could not use even public records to make their case that the company played a key role in the rendition program. The reason? The federal government intervened and invoked the "state secrets" doctrine to assert that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would endanger national security.…  Seguir leyendo »

The mercenary firm Blackwater has become a symbol of the utter lawlessness and criminality that permeates the privatised wing of the US war machine. The company's operatives have shot dead scores of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, while former employees allege in sworn statements that Blackwater's owner Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe", and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life". Five Blackwater employees will stand trial in federal court in the US on charges that they slaughtered 14 innocent Iraqis, while a sixth Blackwater operative has already pleaded guilty.…  Seguir leyendo »

A month after voters last year gave Democrats the control that would elevate Nancy Pelosi to speaker of the House, Pelosi received a letter from a trial lawyer in Santa Ana, Calif., named Daniel J. Callahan. "We look forward," he wrote, "to the New Direction of America, and to your dedication to putting an end to the fleecing of the American taxpayers and death to its citizens in the name of war profiteers such as Blackwater." That plea was answered last week with House hearings.

Callahan did not disguise his political orientation, requesting a full-scale investigation of an "extremely Republican" company: Blackwater Security Consulting, which provides security guards in Iraq.…  Seguir leyendo »