FROM Declan McCullagh
Is the Government Reading Your Email? An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident is being cited as evidence that technology and laws passed since September 11 demonstrate how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies, turning the US into a "surveillance state." Why don't constitutional protections apply to e-mail? What's the role of Google, Facebook and the Cloud?
David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell… and You An FBI agent told superiors that his friend Jill Kelly was subjected to e-mail harassment. The subsequent investigation did not uncover a crime, but it ultimately forced David Petraeus to resign as Director of the CIA. The incident demonstrates how vulnerable innocent Americans are to invasions of privacy by government agencies. Under current law, there is no expectation of privacy for e-mail or other telecommunications, which go through third parties like Google or Facebook. The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search does not apply, creating the potential for abuse by government agents. Can the law catch up with technology, or has the US already become a "surveillance state?"
The State Budget: Balanced or Not? As a share of the state's economy, Governor Brown says, the $86 billion state budget he signed today is lower than any since 1973. There are massive cuts in core services. But Republicans refused to extend tax increases, and the deficit still required $12 billion in new revenues to be "balanced," as the constitution requires. Four billion of that is based on projections that wealthy taxpayers are doing better than anybody expected. Still more comes from so-called "use" taxes the state hopes to collect on Internet sales from companies like Amazon. Currently, those taxes depend on consumers, few of whom ever report online purchases. Another device is dismantling local redevelopment agencies and taking their money, but those agencies claim that's illegal because of Proposition 22 , approved by the voters last November. Will any of that money really materialize?
Trump, Russia and rabbit holes Conservatives are now joining liberal critics of President Trump by demanding to know about his administration’s ties to Russia. We hear about Washington latest political flap and possible unintended consequence.
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."