Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Congressional Research Report on Government Cell Phone Tracking

A recent  Congressional Research Report Governmental Tracking of Cell Phones and Vehicles: The Confluence of Privacy, Technology and the Law has just been released.

This report will briefly survey Fourth Amendment law as it pertains to the government's tracking programs. It will then summarize federal electronic surveillance statutes and the case law surrounding cell phone location tracking. Next, the report will describe the GPS-vehicle tracking cases and review the pending Supreme Court GPS tracking case, United States v. Jones. Finally, the report will summarize the geolocation and electronic surveillance legislation introduced in the 112th Congress.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

December CommQuote

British author, journalist, intellectual Christopher Hitchens frequently placed himself in military hotspots, up close and personal with despots; he wa an astute observer. 

Well, as Hannah Arendt famously said, there can be a banal aspect to evil. In other words, it doesn't present always. I mean, often what you're meeting is a very mediocre person. But nonetheless, you can get a sort of frisson of wickedness from them. And the best combination of those, I think, I describe him in the book, is/was General Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina, who I met in the late 1970s when the death squad war was at its height, and his fellow citizens were disappearing off the street all the time. And he was, in some ways, extremely banal. I describe him as looking like a human toothbrush. He was a sort of starch, lean officer with a silly mustache, and a very stupid look to him, but a very fanatical glint as well. And, if I'd tell you why he's now under house arrest in Argentina, you might get a sense of the horror I felt as I was asking him questions about all this. He's in prison in Argentina for selling the children of the rape victims among the private prisoners, who he kept in a personal jail. And I don't know if I've ever met anyone who's done anything as sort of condensedly horrible as that.”
Christopher Hitchens (A Conversation with Christopher Hitchens, posted by Hugh Hewitt, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Introducing EUscreen

EUscreen, is an ambitious audiovisual, mostly television, archive project whose aim is to bring together in one digital space millions of items from libraries, archives and museums from all over Europe (20 countries). The selection policy is currently three-pronged.  Items are selected either to inform 14 historical topics, as part of a virtual exhibition on themes that content providers select themselves, or as part of exhibitions on comparative themes across the region. Topics are broad: Arts and culture, Being European, Disasters, Education, Environment and Nature, Health, History of  Euroropean Television, Lifestyle and Consumerism, National holidays, festivals..., Politics and Economics, Religion and Belief, Society and Social Issues, Special Collections, The Media, Transportation, Science and Technology, War and Conflict, and Work and Production.  Genres are: Advertisements, Drama/Fictions, Entertainment and Performing Arts, Factual, Interstitials and Trailers, News, and Sport. 15 languages are represented. These video, audio, image and text materials range from the early 1900s to the present day.

In early 2012 EUscreen will launch an eJournal dedicated to the history of European television.  The journal will live on the EUscreen site.  Besides the searchable database of materials, the site will showcase curated exhibitions from member archives.  

EUscreen is currently in beta but it is up and available.  Keep an eye on it in the coming year as it goes into full breakout mode.

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