Hackers and Journalists Unite!

At the 10th biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference, one of the premiere get-togethers of the digital world, it was clear that the nefarious forces the cyberworld is now most concerned with are lodged within our own government.

The 'War' Against Whistleblowers

Under the current presidential administration, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has brought espionage prosecutions against more people for alleged mishandling of classified information than all previous administrations combined, a New York conference was told Friday. “I think this war on whistleblowers, this war on journalists, and this war on hacktivists is really a war for [control of] information,” human rights attorney Jesselyn Redack said at the 10th biennial Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE X) conference. Redack, a former whistleblower herself, who now represents many of the country's most infamous spillers of government secrets, cited the dogged pursuit by the DOJ of intelligence and military whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, hackers like Barrett Brown, and journalists like James Risen. Such efforts are emblematic of the determined efforts of President Barack Obama's administration to make examples of those who reveal uncomfortable government secrets, she said. So far, she noted, the government has launched eight prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act since Obama took office in 2008. Prior to Obama's presidency, there had been just three Espionage Act cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media.

Boston Marathon Bombing: TCR's Top News Story of 2013

We're still asking why. Eight months after one of the worst domestic terrorism incidents since 9/11, its impact continues to be felt on the nation's first-responder infrastructure and anti-terrorism efforts—as well as by the victims and their families. On April 15, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded at the crowded finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183 others. For a nation that was beginning to relax its guard with the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it seemed an ominous portent of new terrors to come. But the alleged culprits, as far as we know today, were not trained jihadist warriors from Al Qaeda; but two brothers—one an aspiring Olympic boxer and the other a popular college sophomore, whose parents had brought them to safety in the U.S. from the violence-torn Russian province of Chechnya and who, until recently, had been deeply integrated into American life.

Can the Fourth Amendment Protect You From NSA Snooping?

Is it really constitutional for the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect “metadata” on Americans' phone usage? You've probably seen talking heads shouting back and forth about it, and wondered whether someone could just please give you a straightforward, accurate, thousand-word primer on the underlying constitutional doctrine. Well, here's your primer. I hope it's helpful, at least as a starter for cocktail party conversations. The Fourth Amendment forbids “unreasonable searches.”