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?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?