Google has privacy clay feet. The NSA and Big Data may also, since they are relying on many of the same outdated legal assumptions as Google. In the last few months, both the U.S. Supreme Court and European authorities have made new baseline privacy decisions that have greatly strengthened individuals’ right to privacy. As a result, they’ve also exposed and heightened Google’s massive privacy liabilities.
Tagged: Supreme Court
In a recent appearance before a congressional committee, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told them that the agency’s proposed sweeping carbon-regulation plan was “really an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.” If the plan isn’t about pollution, the primary reason for the EPA’s existence, why bother with yet more regulation of something that is not a pollutant—carbon dioxide—despite the Supreme Court’s idiotic decision that it is. Yes, even the Court gets things wrong.
When a friend of mine was young, his family kept their dog close to home with one of those invisible fences. It delivered a mild shock to the dog’s collar when he crossed its line. One day, the fence posts shorted out. But the dog still refused to cross the shock-less border. There was nothing keeping him fenced in but his mind.
Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s 2014 session, we can look at the decisions and conclude that the Administration received a serious smack down. Two big cases got most of the news coverage: Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recess appointments. In both cases, the Administration lost. At the core of both, is the issue of the Administration’s overreach.
Yesterday’s narrow Hobby Lobby decision shows why the culture war isn’t over – it’s just getting started. The reality is that in the absence of the ability to compel employers to pay for things over their religious objections, and at a time when covering 16 forms of birth control out of 20 is culturally insufficient, the Obama administration will be more than happy to turn to the traditional method of the left: skipping the middle man of the employer and just handing people other people’s money.
Following oral arguments, I was not optimistic about this ruling. The Court could have bought into the argument that Hobby Lobby can’t really complain about this requirement when they have the capability to not offer coverage at all, instead shifting people under their employ to the taxpayer via Medicaid or the exchanges. The penalty for offering coverage which fails to meet essential benefits is clearly absurd and sizable, but the penalty for not offering coverage at all would actually cost them less than offering coverage in the first place (around $26 million per year). The “gun to your head” penalty was the one which moved the court on the Medicaid/federalism question before, in a ruling that unexpectedly led to half the states declining to expand Medicaid. Justices Kagan and Sotomayor stressed this in oral argument and the Court could have found that this factor removes the pressure of an actual requirement. You can understand the reasoning: Just like the requirement to purchase insurance, it’s not illegal, it’s just a tax!
While our attention is focused on events in the Middle East, a domestic enemy of the nation is doing everything in its power to kill the provision of electricity to the nation and, at the same time, to control every drop of water in the United States, an attack on its agricultural sector. That enemy is the Environmental Protection Agency.
Reverence and veneration of our national flag has long been profound in the United States, far more so than in other countries. Veneration of the Stars and Stripes has evolved beyond mere respect for it as a symbol of national identity, but as an almost religious emblem of American values and the American way of life.
The issues surrounding the right to bear arms are many and varied. Most often the debate centers around the lethality of modern firearms, especially “assault weapons” that can fire rapidly with large magazines. Yet one element of the debate frequently referenced obliquely in the mainstream media concerns the actual intent and function of the Second Amendment. Some progressive groups have been endeavoring to turn the originalist position against itself, so to speak. Their arguments are often baffling to those unprepared for them, but they are easily beaten with a little preparation.
The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful and unreasonable search and seizure. Yet that protection is being slowly eroded away. Thanks to the “War of Drugs” and the “War on Terror” government, at the state and federal level, has worked alongside the courts to gradually diminish the range and force of the protections that were meant to be inviolable rights of all citizens.
I confess that I am more than a bit mystified at the way FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his Democrat colleagues, seemingly, are moving ever closer in the direction of embracing a Title II reclassification of Internet access services. No matter how loud the banging of pots and pans outside the FCC’s headquarters, it would be terribly unsound as a matter of policy to subject Internet services to the same Title II public utility regulatory regime that applied to last century’s POTS (“plain old telephone”) service.
The FCC seems bent on overreaching their legal authority – yet again.
At the NCTA convention, Chairman Wheeler said: “I believe the FCC has the power – and I intend to exercise that power – to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.” And in an FCC blog post, Chairman Wheeler also said this preemption of states on muni-broadband “is an issue that remains high on my agenda, and we will be announcing more on this topic shortly.”
April seems to be the month in which the Supreme Court devotes itself to decisions that have no basis in real science and can do maximum damage to the economy. Invariably, the cases are brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and are decided in its favor.
In its recent ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court struck down yet another provision of federal campaign finance law as a violation of the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee.
This time it was the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act’s limitation on the aggregate amount of contributions — presently $123,200 — that a donor may contribute to all candidates or party committees in one election cycle.
Seventy years ago this month, on March 10, 1944, “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich A. Hayek was first published in Great Britain. For seven decades it has continued to challenge and influence the political-economic landscape of the world. Hayek delivered an ominous warning that political trends in the Western democracies, including America, were all in the direction of a new form of servitude that threatened the personal and economic liberty of the citizens of these countries.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency. The case will determine how far EPA can extend its regulatory overreach, to control “climate changing” carbon dioxide from power plants and other facilities – by ignoring the Constitution’s “separation of powers” provisions, rewriting clear language in the Clean Air Act, and disregarding laws that require the agency to consider both the costs and benefits of its regulations and what it is regulating.
“If you like your health plan, you can keep it,” is the Lie of the Year, according to PolitiFact. But Barack Obama has been operating under an even more momentous lie for his entire presidency.
The Supreme Court has taken up another case based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s campaign of lies that carbon dioxide is the cause of “climate change” and claims about the quality of air in the United States. The Court is composed of lawyers, not scientists.