Civil Liberties

Cambridge Analytica used our secrets for profit – the same data could be used for public good

Ever since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had taken data from 87m users via a Facebook app that exploited the social media site’s privacy settings, it has been suggested that anything from Donald Trump’s election in the US to the European Union referendum result in the UK could have been the result of the persuasive power of… William David Watkin The Conversation But Aleksandr Kogan, the University of Cambridge researcher whose data-collecting app formed the basis for Cambridge Analytica’s ... Read More »

ABC ban: News Corp rejects media boycott of Nauru forum

Press gallery says it won’t cover Turnbull’s trip unless public broadcaster gets visa Amanda Meade The Guardian News Corp has rejected a boycott of the Pacific Islands Forum by the Australian federal press gallery, which was sparked by a Nauru government ban on the ABC for alleged “bias and false reporting”. The president of the press gallery, David Crowe, said on Wednesday that the small pool of journalists, including a reporter, a stills photographer and a TV camera operator, would ... Read More »

Active citizenship, a social contract, Islam and democracy in Egypt

The Arab Spring that swept across North Africa in 2011 brought the promise of democracy within reach of millions of Egyptians. Nuraan Davids The Conversation But seven years later this promise hasn’t been fulfilled. That fledgling democracy is now akin to a military dictatorship, where any form of protest or assertion of autonomous thought is constrained. Since the heady days of the Arab Spring, Egypt has been riddled by political protests, labour strikes, and unprecedented violence in its Sinai Peninsula. ... Read More »

First the presidency, now the judiciary

Concern is mounting in the US and throughout the industrialised world that hard-won liberties and rights would be eroded were President Donald Trump to capitalise on the sudden opportunity he has been handed to cement a conservative majority in the… Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald Potential targets of emboldened conservatives include women’s access to abortion, people’s right to seek asylum, some of the queer community’s manifold anti-discrimination rights, protections for minorities, and the… The retirement of… First the presidency… Read More »

How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment

WASHINGTON — On the final day of the Supreme Court term last week, Justice Elena Kagan sounded an alarm. Adam Liptak The New York Times The court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion. Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the ... Read More »

Rival parties clash over replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy

A political war over replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy roared to life on Thursday in Washington, the start of an election-season clash over a Supreme Court retirement that will reshape the country’s judicial… Michael D. Shear and Thomas Kaplan The Age Hours after Kennedy’s announcement that he will step down July 31, conservative organisations were mobilising to support the Republican-controlled Senate in a quick confirmation of a justice who would be expected to vote against the court’s liberal… One group, the ... Read More »

133 politicians murdered ahead of Mexico elections: study

A total of 133 politicians have been murdered in the run-up to Mexico’s elections on July 1, the consulting firm Etellekt said, as the violence gripping the country exploded into politics on a record scale. Mexico City Hurriyet The murders – mostly of local-level politicians, the most frequent targets for Mexico’s powerful drug cartels — were recorded between September, when candidate registration opened, and the close of campaigning on Wednesday, when an interim mayor was killed in the… The victims included 48 ... Read More »

‘Witness K’ and lawyer Bernard Collaery charged with breaching intelligence act over East Timor spying revelations

A Canberra lawyer whose client exposed a secret Australian spying operation in East Timor has described the prosecution against them both as an attack on freedom of… By defence reporter Andrew Greene and Lucy Sweeney ABC On Thursday, using parliamentary privilege, independent MP Andrew Wilkie revealed the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions recently filed criminal charges against Bernard Collaery and… Witness K had raised concerns about a covert Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) operation he ran to bug East Timor’s cabinet in 2004 ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the political giant with a cane

On June 24, Turkish citizens voted in presidential and parliamentary snap elections, with a huge turnout. Authors: The Conversation As expected, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president while his Islamo-nationalist bloc allies – the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – obtained a parliamentary majority. While both victories were won by narrow margins, Erdoğan took 52.5% of the vote, coming out well ahead of his opponents. The main opposition candidate, Muharrem İnce, obtained 31%, followed by the ... Read More »

Turkey’s future just got a whole lot scarier

In a region where democracy is scarce, it just got scarcer — with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming victory in last weekend’s presidential election and vowing to “rapidly” usher in a new era of presidential authoritarian rule. By Post Editorial Board New York Post Turks will suffer. Since a 2016 coup attempt, Erdogan has operated under a state of emergency, jailing journalists, political foes and members of the military. One of his foes, Selahattin Demirtas, of the pro-Kurdish People’s ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: Trial runs for fascism are in full bloe

Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test-marketing for barbarism To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia’s $121 billion reason to allow women to drive

Allowing Saudi women to drive could help the kingdom reap as much income as selling shares in Saudi Aramco. Bloomberg The Sydney Morning Herald The move, which went into effect on Sunday, could add as much as $US90 billion ($121 billion) to economic output by 2030, with the benefits extending beyond that date, according to Bloomberg Economics. Selling as much as 5 percent stake in Saudi Arabian Oil Co. — at the most optimistic valuation — could generate about $US100 ... Read More »

The Fate of Turkey’s Democracy Lies With the Kurds

Ahead of tomorrow’s elections, Ankara is expected to tamper with the vote and make life difficult for members of the embattled minority group. Diego Cupolo The Atlantic DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—This past Sunday, four Kurdish candidates running for office in Turkey’s June 24 elections rolled into the rural town of Hani to rally their supporters. The candidates, along with their campaign team, had been speaking from atop their bus to a crowd of some 150 people for about 10 minutes before a ... Read More »

Indonesia’s slow and circuitous road to democracy

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the resignation of Indonesia’s authoritarian president, Suharto, who led Indonesia from 1966 until 1998. Olivia Nicole Tasevski ABC Suharto’s resignation, which was motivated by a faltering Indonesian economy and widespread anti-Suharto demonstrations, marked the beginning of Indonesia’s transition to democracy. Significant progress has been made in relation to Indonesia’s democratisation over the past 20 years. Nonetheless, a culture of impunity regarding historical human rights abuses persists in Indonesia and human rights violations continue ... Read More »

The real reason Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving: economic necessity

After years of campaigning by women activists, on June 24 the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia will be lifted. Martin Hvidt The Conversation It is the most visible of a bundle of recent initiatives taken by the Saudi king and the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, to strengthen the role of women in Saudi society. These include more public sector job openings for women, an apparent relaxation of women’s strict dress code, the extension of suffrage to women ... Read More »

The entire justice system here is run by black women. It’s not a diversity experiment. They do things differently.

South Fulton, Georgia (CNN) – When LaDawn “LBJ” Jones walked into a meeting at work a couple of months ago, she was hit with a serious case of “black girl magic.” Doug Criss Jones, the city solicitor in South Fulton, Georgia, was meeting for the first time with the city’s municipal court staff. As she entered the room, she realized she was looking at something she’d never before seen in her legal career. Everyone in the room looked like her. “I ... Read More »