Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Cory @ Boing Boing
ACLU and EFF strike down part of PATRIOT Act

EFF has helped the ACLU overturn one of the worst elements of the USA PATRIOT Act, the "National Security Letters," which were secret warrants that the Justice Department could write for itself without judicial oversight and then bind the recipients to indefinite silence. That's right: secret, no-oversight warrants with perpetual gag-orders. The ACLU brought suit against the DoJ on this one, and we filed briefs on their side, and today, a federal court struck down this part of PATRIOT as unconstitutional. BooYAH.

"Today's ruling is an important victory for the Bill of Rights, and a critical step toward reigning in the unconstitutional reach of the Patriot Act," said Kurt
Opsahl, EFF staff attorney. "The Court recognized that judicial oversight and the freedom to discuss our government's activities both online and offline are fundamental safeguards to civil liberties, and should not be thrown aside."
Once again I wish we had the EFF and the ACLU in Japan. Or rather, the kind of people and government that would encourage the creation such organizations. The US government is capable of insanity like the US PATRIOT Act, but it also has corrective mechanisms which work. Anyway, good going folks!


How long such a great government, including the Bill of Rights, remains intact depends more on national security than it does on the ACLU, which would deem the very Consitution unconstitutional if it could.

come on: things are not that bad in Japan? People protest and are proactive with changing bad laws. I am curious, do the bloggers from japan act together politically for specific issues; ie racism, enviromentalism, privacy rights? It could be the alot of what the ACLU and EFF do, may be inherent to persons collectively working towards a goal. It may be defined very differently, but very present though a variation that stems from historical and cultural background.


"People protest and are proactive with changing bad laws."

What part of Japan did you say you lived in?

stef: I am VERY active in protesting in a variety of forms, stupidity in lawmaking in Japan. There are groups, but most of us are either completely for very unsuccessful. There are a few groups, but none with the track record of the ACLU or EFF.

Joi: maybe you should find a specific law you feel needs public attension, and use the blog, and flashmobbing to organize. for the event, you find the persons who would support hardest for the project, and connect the persons with funding.

You need lots of people to make this happen: I was impressed with how John Barlow did things: i guess he and Mitch Kapor are key members of the EFF. You may be able to get some professors at this new school that you are at to sponser the ideas and built the foundation under the schools umbrella. it could be part of you overall program.

The business persons you know would then need to donate to the cause...

it could be done: you need someone who is charismatic to put the whole thing together.

maybe someone who is a former business person who is retired and has great people skills.

You then connect the person with your extensive network of concerned citizens and then it can be converted to a political action group that is very Japanese for what is needed in Japan.

So... when were trying to a get the national ID bill pushed back 2 years to discuss the privacy issues, we had marched, called the minister a liar on national TV, lobbied, and did just about anything a normal activist group would do. We had the support of 3 out of the 4 factions of the ruling party, most of the opposition parties, 85% support in public polls, most of the media support and just about EVERYTHING any activist movement could expect to have. We didn't even have any vocal opposition from anyone in the Diet. But the bill went through and they ignored us. Later, when we interviewed people in the "know" they said our proposal would have caused too much "confusion". CONFUSION? The price of democracy is too high for the Japanese government.

one of the things John Barlow mentioned was the importance of transforming consciousncess:

As Jazz influenced Rock and Roll, the sharing of a common culture allowed for the civil rights movement.

Now with cellphone jamming, and digital photography, a new age of cultural transformation is begining.

The question is, how will todays Japanese youth evolve into tommorrows leaders?