The instances of the Justice Department monitoring electronic communications such as phone calls, emails and even social network updates without a warrant has increased by as much as 60 percent in recent years, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
The surveillance tools – known as either a “pen register” or a “trap and trace” – record such information as phone numbers and the time and length of calls, but not the content.
Orders to track phone calls increased 60 percent — from 23,535 in 2009 to 37,616 in 2011 — according to Justice Department documents, including ones recently acquired by the ACLU. Continue reading
A federal court today rejected a Texas law that would require voters to present photo IDs to election officials before being allowed to cast ballots in November.
A three-judge panel in Washington unanimously ruled that the law imposes “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” and noted that racial minorities in Texas are more likely to live in poverty.
The decision involves an increasingly contentious political issue: a push, largely by Republican-controlled legislatures and governors’ offices, to impose strict identification requirements on voters. Texas’ voter ID rules, approved in 2011, had been widely cheered by conservatives statewide.