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  • The New National Identification System Is Coming

    February 1, 2013
    “Maybe we should just brand all the babies.” With this joke, Ronald Reagan swatted down a national identification card -- or an enhanced Social Security card -- proposed by his attorney general in 1981. For more than three decades since, attempts to implement the proposal have all met with failure, but now national ID is back, and it’s worse than ever. As in 1981, immigration restrictions have provided the justification. In the name of stopping illegal employment, proposals floated by a bipartisan group of senators would create both a physical national ID -- an “enhanced” Social Security card -- and even more menacingly an Internet-based, electronic ID that could be accessed anywhere to confirm identity. After the election, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is leading the Democrats immigration push, told NBC News that one of his top priorities was to “make sure that there is a non-...
  • TSA's Body Scanner Shuffle Continues, Agency Still Flouts The Law On Body Scanners

    January 18, 2013
    A great deal of news coverage today has been given to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) decision to remove backscatter X-ray strip-search machines from U.S. airports and to replace them with millimeter wave full-body scanners, with many outlets implying that this is somehow a major win for travelers and those concerned about effective air security and privacy rights. This analysis, however, ignores the bigger underlying issues, as well as recent TSA policy. This shuffle actually began in October of last year, when the TSA announced it would begin replacing...
  • In Rejecting EPIC's Petition On TSA's Strip-Search Machines, Court Effectively Orders Rulemaking Timetable

    September 25, 2012
    This afternoon, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Electronic Privacy Information Center's (EPIC) petition for writ of mandamus, which called on the court to enforce its own order that the Department of Homeland Security (the Transportation Security Administration's parent department) begin a legally required notice-and-comment rulemaking regarding the TSA's use of advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanners in airports. CEI earlier submitted an amicus brief supporting EPIC's petition on behalf of Robert L. Crandall, former chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines, and a coalition of organizations. Background on this case can be found here in op-ed form and...
  • Science And Technology Policy And The Democratic Convention

    September 4, 2012
    Now it's the Democrats' turn to gather for their convention in Charlotte and one element of the platform in common with basic Republican philosophy is the case for government funding of basic science. The Democrats are much more ambitious, however, in calls for the funding of "investment" beyond basic science. The word "investment," in fact, appears 40 times in the just-released 2012 Democratic National Platform. Indeed most agree with the notion that such a basic science policy is "unimpeachable," as Fareed Zakaria's, "How Government Funding of Science Rewards U.S. Taxpayers," put it in the The Washington Post. But needless problems arise when an institution with the power to tax and compel gets overly involved in the very production of knowledge itself. Problems include seducing industry...
  • CEI Podcast For August 9, 2012: Getting TSA To Follow The Law

    August 9, 2012
    When the TSA installed full-body scanners in airports across the country, they did so illegally. Land-use and Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner explains how a related lawsuit could force TSA to follow the law, and calls for de-nationalizing airport security.
  • When Violations Of The Law Have No Remedy: The Case Of Warrantless Wiretapping

    August 8, 2012
    Yesterday, in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc. v. Obama, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government did not unequivocally waive its sovereign immunity when it comes to violations of federal wiretapping law, thus leaving violations without a civil remedy. In effect, this leaves the plaintiffs with no ability to hold the government accountable for breaking its own laws. As the opinion itself stated: "This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the Executive Branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization."

    The dangers of broad immunity are real in both the public and private contexts. Previously, Ryan Radia of CEI and Berin Szoka of TechFreedom have...

  • Update On TSA's Lawlessness Over Body Scanners

    August 3, 2012
    As I noted previously, the Transportation Security Administration has failed to comply with a court order demanding that they initiate a notice-and-comment rulemaking regarding the use of Advanced Imaging Technology body scanners in airports, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act. This Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered TSA to respond to the Electronic Privacy Information Center's petition for writ of mandamus. The Court also ordered that an amicus brief submitted by CEI be accepted. Today, McClatchy ...
  • CEI Podcast For August 2, 2012: Cybersecurity Bill Fails

    August 3, 2012
    Today the Senate shot down a controversial cybersecurity bill that Associate Director of Technology Policy Studies Ryan Radia believes would have been a disaster.
  • Amendment to Cybersecurity Act Would Deter Federal Government Privacy Abuses

    July 29, 2012
    [caption id="attachment_58589" align="alignright" width="150"] Lord Acton's beard absolutely knows that power corrupts[/caption] In the ongoing debate over the Senate’s Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414), one major point of contention is whether the bill adequately safeguards individuals’ private data from governmental abuses. While CEI praised recent changes to the bill’s information sharing provisions,...
  • CEI Files Amicus Brief In Support Of EPIC's Petition To Force A TSA Rulemaking On Strip-Search Machines

    July 19, 2012
    Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) filed a brief of amici curiae in support of the Electronic Privacy Information Center's (EPIC) petition for writ of mandamus asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to force the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to begin a mandated rulemaking on the use of "Advanced Imaging Technology" (AIT) screening machines (aka, full-body scanners or strip-search machines). In addition to CEI, nine others signed on. They are:
    • Robert L. Crandall, former Chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines;
    • National Association of Airline Passengers;
    • Digital Liberty, a project of Americans for Tax Reform;
    • Electronic Frontier Foundation;
    • The Rutherford Institute;
    • Center for Individual Freedom...

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