Politics Obama ‘Even Worse’ Than Bush On Secret Wiretapping Case, Says S.F. Lawyer By Peter Jamison, Thursday, Apr. 1 2010 @ 11:22AM Comments (19) Categories: Law & Order phonedial.jpg Is ‘Mr. Change’ listening? ?San Francisco attorney Jon Eisenberg thinks he’s learned a thing or two about Barack Obama over the past 15 months. Eisenberg, who won a landmark decision against the government in Northern California’s U.S. District Court Wednesday on a wiretapping case, says that when it comes to violating civil liberties in the name of national security, the present occupant of the White House is just as bad as — or “even worse” than — his predecessor. “The Obama Administration stepped right into the shoes of the Bush Administration, on national security generally and on this case in particular,” Eisenberg said, referring to the lawsuit brought by his clients, an Oregon branch of an Islamic charity and two American lawyers. The plaintiffs argued successfully before federal Judge Vaughn Walker that their conversations were illegally wiretapped under the Bush Administration’s secret surveillance program. Just as significant as the ruling, however, may be what the case demonstrates about the Obama Justice Department’s approach to surveillance of suspected terrorists. Eisenberg told SF Weekly that government lawyers working for Obama had been “more strident” than those working for Bush, refusing to let him see important federal documents related to the case even after he was approved for a top-secret security clearance. “Even though I have the security clearance, I don’t have the ‘need to know,’ so I can’t see anything,” Eisenberg said. “This is Obama. Obama! Mr. Transparency! Mr. Change! It’s exactly what Bush would have done.” The federal government has not announced whether it intends to appeal the decision in favor of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and lawyers Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor. It had argued that the “state secrets” privilege was more important than potential violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires that a judge issue warrants for wiretaps.
Cyberspace isn’t a place – Irish Judge * Alert * Print Creators’ rights are human rights, says Court By Andrew Orlowski ï¿½ Get more from this author Posted in Law, 19th April 2010 14:56 GMT Free whitepaper ï¿½ Taking control of your data demons: Dealing with unstructured content An Irish Judge has upheld the right of a creator to protect his creations as a fundamental human right. In a scathing and occasionally lyrical ruling, Judge Peter Charleton also pointed out the internet is merely one communication tool of many, and not “an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights”. It’s the strongest refutation of the idea most famously expressed at Davos by John Perry Barlow, in A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which warned: “You have no sovereignty where we gather.” Charleton said, “the right to be identified with and to reasonably exploit oneï¿½s own original creative endeavour I regard as a human right,” pointing out that this has existed in Irish Law since before even the days of The Grateful Dead – it’s credited to Saint Colmcille (521-597). The High Court in Dublin was reviewing the settlement in last year’s EMI vs Eircom case. The defendant had referred to Eircom as Eire’s Data Protection Commissioner. Charleton rejected the argument, ruling that: “Copyright is a universal entitlement to be identified with and to sell, and therefore to enjoy, the fruits of creative work… Were copyright not to exist, then the efforts of an artist could be both stolen and passed off as the talent of another.” After singing the praises of the internet Charleton notes that it is, “thickly populated by fraudsters, pornographers of the worst kind and cranks. “Among younger people, so much has the habit grown up of downloading copyright material from the internet that a claim of entitlement seems to have arisen to have what is not theirs for free.” Everyone won from this, he noted, “except for the creators of original copyright material who are utterly disregarded.” Interestingly, Charleton rejects the idea of copyright infringement as a ‘crime’ – it’s a mere civil offence, in this case a breach of contract. Copyright infringement doesn’t include a “mental element” involved in arson or murder, he notes. So the ruling rejects two key arguments made by critics of the UK’s Digital Economy Act – that internet access is a ‘fundamental human right’, and that copyright enforcement infringes privacy. The ruling gives the go ahead light for a ‘three strikes’ policy in Ireland – one rather speedier than anything discussed here, and which will be thrashed out in the months ahead (see A user’s timetable to the Digital Economy Act). After 28 days and two letters, the ISP may serve a 14-day disconnection notice during which time the user may appeal or promise to stop for good. You can read the ruling here. ï¿½