The U.S. Supreme Court has put an end to lawsuits against telecommunications companies for helping the Bush administration spy on American phone calls and emails.
During the height of Bush’s war-on-terror, the National Security Agency (NSA) gained access to the electronic systems of AT&T and other telecoms. The illegal surveillance outraged civil libertarians who filed more than 30 lawsuits, which prompted Congress in 2008 to grant retroactive immunity to companies aiding the NSA.
The lawsuits were eventually consolidated into a single case. But because of the immunity law, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit. The plaintiffs appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which refused to overturn the decision.
As a last resort, lawyers for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union petitioned the Supreme Court, arguing the retroactive immunity was an “unprecedented violation of the separation of powers” because it shielded the executive branch from being held accountable in court.
In a single sentence, the high court rejected the request, ending the six-year legal battle. But critics of the government—who say its mass warrantless collection of emails, telephone calls and other records is unconstitutional and not protected by claims of state secrets—continue other court challenges.
EFF is pursuing a similar case against the government in federal court, Jewel v. NSA, that was filed when the suit against the telecoms hit its early roadbloacks. It is scheduled for a hearing in San Francisco next month.
Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory? 2015-04-17 23:33
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk.
An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated.
The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call.
The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens 2015-04-17 22:09
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime.
It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise.
"It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen.
Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money 2015-04-17 22:47
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance Oâ€™Sullivan, wants to punish people who donâ€™t get vaccinated.
The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports:
â€śA leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australiaâ€™s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away 2015-04-17 22:20
Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.
For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon Universityâ€™s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity 2015-04-17 22:29
One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies.
Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain ...