The First Amendment protects Americans’ freedom of speech and assembly. Unfortunately, at various times in US history, our law enforcement and intelligence agencies have disregarded these protections, targeting people or groups based on political viewpoint, religious affiliation, or participation in lawful protests. The advent of the internet as the new “town square,” has opened a new front in the battle to protect free speech and assembly, and new technologies make it easier for the government to track our communications and movements both on and offline, inhibiting our willingness to dissent.
Undercover agents have infiltrated law-abiding activist groups, police have beaten and tear-gassed protesters at peaceful protests, and people are considered suspect merely because of their real or perceived Islamic faith. On the internet, police and intelligence agencies monitor social media and speech that should be protected by the First Amendment is considered evidence of “material support for terrorism.”
Dissent is being criminalized by DHS Terror Threat Assessments that name environmentalists, practicing Muslims or people with Ron Paul bumper stickers as potential terrorists, by legislation that conflates activism with terrorism (as in the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act), and by over-policing at protests and restrictive “free speech zones.”
BORDC/DDF Joins Coalition of Over 75 Organizations Demanding More Transparent Censorship Policies From Facebook
What is Facebook’s censorship policy, and why were activists’ facebook accounts censored while covering the civilian uprisings in Charlotte, NC, and live footage from anti Dakota Access Pipeline protests removed? And has Facebook sent data to help police track and surveil protesters in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD?
Chelsea Manning is going to come home. And we could not be more happy
Last week it was leaked that Chelsea Manning is on President Obama’s shortlist for commutations. There are less than three days left until Obama leaves office. Time could not be more of the essence for Chelsea Manning.
Leaders of every social and political movement of consequence in the United States have been spied on by the FBI, simply because they sought to change the status quo.
As a domestic civil liberties organization, we don’t take a position on the Middle East conflict, but when we see a systematic effort to crack down on a social movement, we fight back. As such, we have long been involved in opposing attempts to shut down Palestinian human rights advocacy. In 2016, we saw a record number of threats to Palestinian human rights advocacy domestically in the United States and a record level of involvement on our part.