Sunday, 4 February 2007

Sunday morning blogging

From Capital Defense Weekly

Sunday morning blogging

ZDNet has a fairly scary report on internet privacy, especially when it comes to sending data over the internet and especially for counsel in criminal proceedings. The story begins:

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI’s Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what’s legally permissible.

Reuters is looking at recent developments in lethal injection & its intersection with the declining support of capital punishment:

The death penalty is under what may be an unprecedented review in the United States, mostly involving questions about lethal injection, by far the most common method of execution.

“Although many of the stays of executions are due to the lethal injection process, the openness of courts, of governors and legislators to reconsider issues that were thought to be settled is a sign of broad discomfort with the death penalty,” said Richard Dieter, head of the Death Penalty Information Center, which works against capital punishment.

About one-third of the 38 states that allow capital punishment have halted or delayed executions while legal and ethical challenges are resolved.

Amnesty’s blog notes, on the news of the lethal injection stays from Tennessee, two important points, the second being perhaps the most important analysis I have seen anywhere:

i think there are 2 notes of interest here…one is how much challenge has been wrung out of the discussion over the protocols of lethal poisoning which, i think, points to both the work ethic of death penalty opponents and the continuing surge of national uncertainty over this particular public policy tool…

the other is that ironically the names of the victims of murder continue to be in the background of public reporting and discussion while the names of the accused and convicted (wrongful or otherwise) remain the focus of ou discourse — this is and will always be (in a constitutional democracy) the case as long as we respond to murder with an inappropriate, reactionary, inaccurate, and unfair policy tool…

and one dour note from that blog:

and lest ye celebrate this gift horse too much philip workman’s may 9th execution date is unaffected by governor bredesen’s actions and his case is a prime example of someone whose case is riddled with error, manipulation, and unjustness… and yet he’s likely to be killed with a new and improved poisoning protocol…

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