since 2004

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Broad Coalition Offers Recommendations for Obama Administration & Congress

In elections, governance, information policy, prisons, privacy, racial justice on December 9, 2008 at 7:30 am

libsecA coalition of human rights, media reform, civil liberties and progressive policy groups put forward an agenda for the new administration that’s worth reading. It includes recommendations and resources for policy change around detention and interrogation, immigration, surveillance, and privacy.

From the introduction on Secrecy, Surveillance, and Privacy:
In the last months of the Bush Administration the Department of Justice rewrote the Attorney General Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for FBI investigations, removing important restrictions on the FBI’s investigative authorities and opening the door to racial profiling. The new Guidelines consolidated existing Guidelines governing FBI criminal investigations, national security investigations, and foreign intelligence collection operations, which the Bush Administration had already loosened considerably in 2002, 2003, and 2006, respectively. But the new Guidelines go much further by overturning longstanding limitations on FBI investigations of public demonstrations, and authorizing the FBI to conduct invasive “assessments” without having a factual predicate to justify an investigation of any kind.

Read the full document here.


Who Is Eric Holder?

In activism, elections, governance, information policy, library profession, social movements on December 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Eric Holder’s confirmation process for Attorney General should be rigorous. It’s on us to make it so. And by us I mean individual librarians, our associations, policy advocates, and U.S.-based social movements.

This week I spoke with Library Law‘s Mary Minow about the need for renewed advocacy around the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 215 governing FISA Warrants and Section 206 related to Roving Wiretaps both sunset in December 2009, while attempts are also being made to set a sunset on current NSL rules under Section 505). Mary contends, and I agree, “Our best use of focused efforts should be asking senators at Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings to ask the right questions about the expiration.”

I would add: these questions should not focus on patching over the act through more weak revisions. As John Nichols wrote in The Nation, we need “a very serious, very aggressive confirmation process that should not simply presume that Holder will ‘get it’ when questions about the Constitution arise.”

Before we get there, we should all know a bit more about Holder. He is, after all, one of the legal architects for the reauthorized PATRIOT Act (passed in 2006), and he’s had some pretty conflicting things to say surrounding human rights (re: Guantanamo detainees he said in 2002, “…they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention.” But last June, he called Guantanamo an “international embarrassment”). That’s some progress.

The standard we hold Holder to should be one of international concern, of human rights and global justice — not mere constitutionality.

So here are some places to start getting to know Holder:

See also Democracy Now:

Linda Darling-Hammond for Secretary of Education!

In community organizing, disability, education, elections, racial justice, youth on December 5, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Linda Darling-Hammond is a friend of libraries, an advocate for the equal education of children with disabilities, a respected teacher, and she’s being considered for Secretary of Education.

According to Californians for Justice, this “Stanford professor and a leader in education reform . . . is not only respected among academics, she also has broad support among grassroots community organizers and educators because of her dedication to progressive education reform, and her commitment to closing the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color.” Californians for Justice is calling on Obama to appoint Linda Darling-Hammond as Secretary of Education. Act Now to support her appointment.

Still not decided? Check out this week’s New York Times profile on her.

Then, email Obama. Joins the Creative Commons

In copyright, creative commons, elections, information access, open access on December 2, 2008 at 8:25 am

cclogoYesterday, announced its content will be copyrighted under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license — the most open of the CC licenses. This means content posted by the transition team, as well as any content submitted by visitors to the site is open for sharing, editing, mixing, and so on. Or as Ars Technica wrote: “Rip, Mix, and Govern.” This move for Obama keeps with his promise of “transparency.” Yet, it was a bit of an oxymoron for a government site geared toward public participation to fall within an “all rights reserved” copyright in the first place. Most .gov sites are in the public domain (the most open of open).

We can only hope (and continue pressing) that Obama remain accountable to this promise when it comes to critical public interest issues — not least of which include reversing the FISA Amendments Act (signed by Bush and supported by then-Senator Obama) and removing permanent mandatory gag orders under the PATRIOT Act. More than those topics later….

In the meantime, information advocates have posted a few principles toward an even more Open Government. See

Read also:’s Newsroom Blog on the new copyright

Overview of CC licenses

Net Neutrality? Yes, Please

In elections, media diversity, net neutrality, privacy, telecommunications reform on November 17, 2008 at 5:49 am

imagesNet Neutrality is back in the news after Barack Obama released his comprehensive technology plans last week. And yesterday, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) announced plans to bring net neutrality legislation before Congress. Finally. Media activists have kept this issue in the spotlight for years (see, and now is certainly not the time for advocates of an open Internet to stop advocating. While Obama’s statements on net neutrality have been heartening, let’s not forget his alarming change of heart around FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Let’s remind Obama that digital democracy, information privacy, and diversity in media ownership should all remain top priorities.

GetActive: Write Obama Now