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Civil Liberties

Open Technology Initiative Welcomes Sarah Morris as Policy Analyst

March 15, 2011

The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative today welcomed Sarah Morris as the program’s newest Policy Analyst. Morris previously served as a Google Policy Fellow with the Media Access Project, where she assisted with research and drafting of FCC comments on issues including media ownership, the open Internet and broadcast licensing. She earned a B.A. in Poltical Science and English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a J.D. and LL.M.

The Burned Generation

  • By
  • Afshin Molavi,
  • New America Foundation
January 21, 2011 |

Mohammed Bouazizi was the young man who set himself alight in protest against the lack of economic opportunities available in Tunisia. This young man’s act of desperation may have sparked a revolution in his own country, but what of the millions of unemployed youth in the Arab world? Already others have copied his act in protest. What must be done to prevent a whole generation from becoming burned?

Smuggler, Forger, Writer, Spy

  • By
  • Nicholas Schmidle,
  • New America Foundation
October 19, 2010 |

The Accra Psychiatric Hospital occupies a sprawling block in the heart of Ghana’s capital. Walls the color of aged parchment rim the compound, with coils of concertina wire balanced on top, making the hospital within appear more labor camp than home for the sick. Anas Aremeyaw Anas spent seven months last year casing it, posing first as a taxi driver and then as a baker. On the morning of November 20, 2009, Anas adopted yet another disguise, matting his hair into dreadlocks and pulling on a black button-up top. Three of his shirt buttons, along with his watch, contained hidden cameras.

The Right to Bear Cameras

July 29, 2010
Photo Credit: Jennifer Boyer

Since freedom of the press is the foundation that American news outlets are built on, we all know that the First Amendment is sacrosanct to this country’s journalists. However, there are a few situations that test the limits of this freedom, and one of these situations has been in the news recently. Though it traditionally falls under the protections of the First Amendment, photography occupies that ambivalent space where cameras can be wielded by both journalists and private citizens with potentially harmful intent. It’s the latter group that leads to conflict between law enforcement officials and camera-toting individuals and frames the debate over security and freedom of the press in the incongruous terms of the Second Amendment.

But in the modern information society, the camera is not a weapon; on the contrary, it’s increasingly the main tool of citizen journalists in their effort to spread information. The easiest way that an average person can contribute to the news ecosystem—one of the prime opportunities for civic engagement—might be to take just one picture. As we pointed out earlier this month, this is how citizen journalism first took off.

But not everyone is happy to let your average American snap photos in public areas, even if it is for the good of the community.

Our Unlimited Government

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
April 13, 2010 |

As John Paul Stevens retires from the Supreme Court after a long and distinguished career, it's worth remembering that he was a complicated and, in many respects, very admirable figure, and not just because of his legendary personal charm. Though considered the Court's leading liberal jurist, Stevens embraced a number of libertarian ideas.

Eric Holder's War

  • By
  • Dayo Olopade,
  • New America Foundation
February 8, 2010 |

Hours before dawn on one of the last days of October 2009, the deadliest month for American troops in Afghanistan since 2001, Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, strode out of a C-17 cargo plane parked at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. President Barack Obama, having reversed the ban on media coverage of the arrival of war dead at Dover, trailed just behind. During the official military ceremony, the two friends stood in dark suits, silently saluting 18 servicemen, including three Drug Enforcement Agency officials claimed by the Afghan War days prior.

Christina Larson on China and Google

January 26, 2010

Google has threatened to pull out of China, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was surprisingly blunt in her criticisms of that nation's online censorship. China, meanwhile, denies any involvement in the recent hack attempts, and said that any such accusation is “groundless and aims to denigrate China.”

Guantanamo: Who Really 'Returned to the Battlefield'? (2009)

  • By
  • Peter Bergen,
  • Katherine Tiedemann,
  • New America Foundation
July 20, 2009

As President Obama receives formal recommendations in the coming months on issues surrounding the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it is crucial that policymakers and the public have an accurate picture of the threat to the United States posed by those detainees already released.

Wiki White House

Friday, January 9, 2009 - 12:00pm

Technology evangelists believe that Barack Obama has the potential to fundamentally alter communication between the presidency and the people. Wikis in the White House? Online public comments on legislation? A real-time two-way conversation between citizens and their elected officials?

For better or worse, however, nothing is as easy as it might seem. Federal regulations, First Amendment issues, and just plain common sense are going to slow -- and potentially stagnate -- technological innovation in Washington.

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