Corporate assaults on freedom

When we think of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other civil liberties, we usually think of the way the government has violated or could potentially violate them.  The Bill of Rights limits what the government can do and thus is an important safe guard of its citizens’ freedom.  And yet, the government is not the only institution that can quench civil liberties, as we see in the Duck Dynasty controversy.  Phil Robertson’s freedom of speech and his freedom of religion were punished not by the government but by the Arts & Entertainment Network, along with the corporations that sponsor his show.

Corporations are not restricted by the Bill of Rights.   Nor is the more generalized “social pressure” that comes from cultural disapproval. But individuals who are silenced by corporations–which in some ways have more power than the government–are not free.  Individuals whose religion is persecuted by the society–whether from mobs or cultural sanctions–are not free. [Read more…]

How the FBI uses hackers and malware

The FBI has some new crime-fighting technology in its collective utility belt.  FBI-employed hackers can now infect suspects’ computers with malware that will allow investigators to download whatever they might find.

This process, which still requires a court order, takes wiretapping to a new level. [Read more…]

NSA is monitoring online games

Apparently terrorists, military operatives, and spies in real life also like to pretend that they are terrorists, military operatives, and spies.  So the National Security Administration (NSA) and the British equivalent (GCHQ) have been monitoring online games and spying on gamers. [Read more…]

NSA tracking porn visits to discredit enemies

According to a document leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA has been tracking visits to porn sites and other questionable activities as a way to discredit or perhaps blackmail suspected Muslim terrorists.  Read about it after the jump.  Is this a brilliant tactic that should be expanded to combat the pornography plague or a dangerous precedent-setting invasion of privacy?  Or what? [Read more…]

The shift from freedom to tolerance

Liberals used to champion individual freedom, including religious liberty.  But, argues Family Policy Institute scholar Joseph Backholm, that concern has shifted to a new set of values centered around tolerance, the need to prevent anyone from being discriminated against.  To the point that some Democratic lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union are now opposing religious liberty laws they themselves wrote!  After the jump, read Backholm’s essay Why the Left Abandoned Religious Freedom. [Read more…]

Is religious liberty for individuals or just churches?

Mollie Hemingway has written a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the impact of gay marriage on religious liberty, which is being construed as applying only to religious institutions and not to individuals. [Read more…]