Archive for the ‘lobbies’ Category

Appeals Court Backs EFF Push for Telecom Lobbying Documents Disclosure

c/o EFF

Panel Rules Law Does Not Protect Identities of Lobbyists
San Francisco – Today a federal appeals court rejected a government claim of “lobbyist privacy” to hide the identities of individuals who pressured Congress to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.
As the court observed, “There is a clear public interest in public knowledge of the methods through which well-connected corporate lobbyists wield their influence.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been seeking records detailing the telecoms’ campaign for retroactive legal immunity under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Telecom immunity was enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

“Today’s ruling is an important one for government and corporate accountability,” said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. “The court recognized that paid lobbyists trying to influence the government to advance their clients’ interests can’t hide behind privacy claims to keep their efforts secret.”

This decision is the latest setback for the government in its long-running attempt to delay disclosure of the documents EFF seeks. So far, EFF has obtained thousands of pages of records through this litigation.

“AT&T, Verizon and Sprint expended millions of dollars to lobby the government and get an unconstitutional grant of retroactive immunity for their illegal spying on American citizens,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “The public deserves to know how our rights were sold out by and for telecom lobbyists.”

The appeals court sent part of the case back down to the district court for further consideration, including whether disclosure of the lobbyists’ identities would reveal intelligence sources and methods and whether communications between the agencies and the White House can be withheld under the presidential communications privilege or other grounds.

WHAT IS HR 140?

To withhold certain highway funds if a State does not comply with certain requirements in issuing a driver’s license or identification card, and for other purposes.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-140&tab=related

BTC Exclusive

In my work approaching State legislators, some of them are cowing down due to threats of losing federal funding for their Highways by hitching them to Real ID regulatory conditions (Yes, the exact ones you hate). Otherwise this is still a voluntary unfunded mandate; the same as it was when it was passed on May 11th, 2005. There is a federal bill out there, HR 140, very similar to the one which died last session without even entering committee, that dearly craves the public-private bankrolling from your identity traffic.  I assure you, that is what is driving it.

I find it highly ironic that 4 Republicans from the destitute state of California stepped up to try to move this forward. California is suffering immensely due to lack of State funds. Cali also had a garden variety of pan-partisan effort to drown HB 60, CA’s Real ID bill, when it came up for air last session -R.I.P.

So I take delicious glee in naming names of the federal traitors trying to bully a broke state into a place of reckless endangerment. The technologies are neither secure or affordable. Many needs go ahead of Real ID compliant licenses. Especially when most states have insituted secure license measures before the passage of the Real ID Act.

SHAME ON YOU!!!

Rep. Elton Gallegly [R-CA]introduced
Cosponsors [as of 2009-01-14]
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R-MD]
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [R-CA]
Rep. Brian Bilbray [R-CA]
Rep. John Campbell [R-CA]

I think we can live without our nationalized ID with surveillance capacity. However, they are going to try to starve states into making it happen.

There are a couple of ways to tell them your State will not suffer from this coercion:

1)Contact your State’s federal legislators and tell them as a constituent that you cannot afford the comprehensive damages to your identity in this time of economic crisis and that you feel secure license technologies are available without volunteering for the Real ID license regulations. Ask them to oppose HB140.

2) Contact & fiscally support grassroots lobbies who understand what is happening, and will send someone to fight for you in Washington.

Wherever you are in the political strata there are those who will support your position. Here are a few who are working to curb Federal coercion on Real ID:

Center for Democracy & Technology
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
The American Civil Liberties Union
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The Stop Real ID Coalition