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Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Major Privacy Case on Cellphone Data and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 6.5.17

Here are a few other stories Countable is watching today:

1. Supreme Court agrees to decide major privacy case on cellphone data

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a major case on privacy rights in the digital age that will determine whether police officers need warrants to access past cellphone location information kept by wireless carriers.

The justices agreed to hear an appeal brought by a man who was arrested in 2011 as part of an investigation into a string of armed robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in the Detroit area over the preceding months. Police helped establish that the man, Timothy Carpenter, was near the scene of the crimes by securing cell site location information from his cellphone carrier.

At issue is whether failing to obtain a warrant violates a defendant's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment.

Read more at Reuters.

2. White House formally backs plan to transfer air traffic control system to private corporation

The White House on Monday formally endorsed a plan to spin off more than 30,000 federal workers into a private nonprofit corporation, separating the nation’s air traffic controllers and those who work on a $36 billion modernization program from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Trump administration proposal essentially is an endorsement of a plan that failed to gain sufficient traction in Congress last year. The plan is in keeping with the stated desire of the administration and congressional Republicans to streamline government and transfer some functions into private hands.

Read more about the pro’s and con’s of the issue at Countable.

Read more at the Washington Post.

3. Grand Canyon at risk as Arizona officials ask Trump to end uranium mining ban

A coalition of influential officials in Arizona and Utah is urging the Trump administration to consider rolling back Obama-era environmental protections that ban new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

They argue that the 20-year ban that came into effect in 2012 is unlawful and stifles economic opportunity in the mining industry. But supporters of the ban say new mining activity could increase the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the canyon. Past mining in the region has left hundreds of polluted sites among Arizona’s Navajo population, leading to serious health consequences, including cancer and kidney failure.

Read more at the Guardian.

4. U.S. Supreme Court Affirms North Carolina Districts Rely Too Much on Race

For the third time in recent weeks, the Supreme Court on Monday took action on a voting rights dispute in North Carolina, affirming a decision striking down many General Assembly districts in the state for relying too heavily on race.

The court’s summary order gave no reasons, but the question in the case was similar to one the justices addressed last month. In that case, the court struck down two of the state’s congressional districts as racial gerrymanders.

The new cases presented the same basic question in the context of the state’s General Assembly.

Read more at the New York Times.

5. Most top Pentagon jobs still empty as Trump insists on loyalty

Four months into his presidency, Donald Trump has filled only five of the 53 top jobs at the Pentagon – the slowest pace for nominations and confirmations in over half a century.

Several of his high-profile picks, including Navy and Army secretary nominees, have had to withdraw because of their business entanglements. In other cases, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has clashed with the White House, which has blacklisted national security and defense leaders who publicly disagreed with Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to several current and former defense officials.

The problem isn’t that the Senate isn’t confirming Trump’s picks, but that dozens of national security posts still don’t have nominees. In the meantime, a skeleton crew of holdovers from the Obama administration and career civil servants are doing the day-to-day work at the Defense Department.

Read more at McClatchy DC.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Creative Commons )

Countable

Written by Countable

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(18)
  • JaredThePoet
    06/06/2017
    ···

    You already allow advertising companies access to our location services on our phone. I suggest you vote to force police to obtain a warrant for looking at our location on our phones, and while your at it, ban ads from being able to access it too. Stop allowing phone companies to sell our information to the highest bidder, and step off Big Brother.

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  • VSB
    06/06/2017
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    Regarding issue 3: please oppose uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of our national treasures. Please tell your peers not to sell out to Uranium mining companies.

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  • Matthew
    06/06/2017
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    Thank God. When Congress voted to approve of service providers selling our search history, I was mad. But when Trump signed it into law, I was furious. Godspeed, SC

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  • Scotty
    06/06/2017
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    The police MUST obtain warrants! Most cell phone are more private than household items.

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  • Isabel
    06/06/2017
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    You already allow advertising companies access to our location services on our phone. I suggest you vote to force police to obtain a warrant for looking at our location on our phones, and while your at it, ban ads from being able to access it too. Stop allowing phone companies to sell our information to the highest bidder, and step off Big Brother. Also, let's not mine in the Grand Canyon as there seems to be proof that people become ill

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  • AlexRoseSc
    06/06/2017
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    For the love of GOD please do NOT vote to privatize air traffic control; this is such an alarming proposal and ESPECIALLY now!

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  • Annie
    06/06/2017
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    Please protect our environment and national treasures. Please prevent any roll back of environmental protections that ban new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

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  • Diggingdi
    06/06/2017
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    1. Protect our privacy, SC!! I cannot believe that our president signed this into law for our phones. 2. Protect our national treasures from businesses that want to rape the land. We do not need to mine the Grand Canyon.

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  • Patty
    06/06/2017
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    Keep the uranium mining ban on land near he Grand Canyon.

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  • Alexis
    06/06/2017
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    The grand canyon debate is the dakota pipeline debate all over again, but this time with a national wonder. When will be situation be too awful for Trump to refuse mining/drilling?

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  • Langho
    06/06/2017
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    I am tired of my privacy being violated. The police officers and the government do not own me!!!!!!!

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  • Carl
    06/06/2017
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    Why is the Supreme Court not deciding on the Presidents executive order on stopping illegal immigrants from terrorists countries! This is a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE and should be decided before a Cell Phone Usage bill...?

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  • Dave
    06/06/2017
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    To give up your freedom for security you end up with neither! The freedom of speech requires you to listen, be open minded, walk a mile in someone else's shoes and debate the pros and cons! It is information, education and facts that changes the hearts and minds of people, not force or personal abuse. In saying this it requires individuals to search for truth and not follow the crowd of opinions. People will give up information to corporations and not government, at a drop of a hat and that is used against you. This is in view of a crime. If no crimes, don't go fishing.

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  • Kodiwodi
    06/06/2017
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    Take whatever action necessary to stop the continued rollback of environmental protections at public or national parks or monuments. With all the damage already done by Keystone and the very leaky Dakota Access Pipeline, the rollback on clean air and water standards, the wholesale slaughter of bears and wolves aerially and during hibernation, cut backs in all the agencies that protect and monitor the environment and the pull out from the Paris Accord, now you want to mine the Grand Canyon? Hell no. How long do you think we will put up with your get rich quick schemes while you destroy our most spiritual sites? What's next? Fracking in Chaco Canyon or Valley of the Ancients? Oh I forgot. They and Bears Ears are next on the list.

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  • Kodiwodi
    06/06/2017
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    Do not allow the privatization of the air traffic controllers. This is not an area where a company can have a profit and loss motive. Should you do what couldn't be done last year, I and many others will refuse to fly and demand bullet trains and other high speed transportation. But hey at least we will get our infrastructure and jobs taken care of finally.

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  • Shirley
    06/06/2017
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    They should to have a warrant to get digital information. And on the other things I'm against mining in the first place. It does nothing for the economy!!

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  • Annie
    06/06/2017
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    The Supremes agreed to hear a case that will determine whether police officers need warrants to access past cellphone location information kept by wireless carriers. If they decide "no", I implore you to pass legislation to require it.

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  • Gregory
    06/06/2017
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    👏👏👏👏

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