Human Rights Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:03:06 +0000 en-gb Economists criticize UK for ‘unacceptable’ refugee policy‘unacceptable’-refugee-policy‘unacceptable’-refugee-policy

Over 120 economists have criticized the British government's policy toward the recent refugee crisis in Europe, describing it as "seriously inadequate, morally unacceptable and economically wrong."


In an open letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, published on Monday, the economists, including former United Nations and World Bank officials, said the UK government "can do far more" to settle the refugee crisis.

"The costs in human well-being of the refugee crisis, however calculated, are so extremely high that it is morally unacceptable for the UK not to play a fuller part in taking in refugees," the letter said.

The signatories also urged London to take a "fair and appropriate" share of refugees, saying the country's current offer to receive asylum seekers is not enough. "The UK's current offer of 20,000 resettlement places spread over five years, only open to those still outside the EU, and to Syrians, is too low, too slow and too narrow."

The figure is extremely lower than the number of asylum seekers received by Germany last year, which surpassed one million.

The economists further said the UK should take in asylum seekers on moral and legal grounds, adding, however, that formerly-accepted refugees have also contributed to the country's economic prosperity.

"Refugees should be taken in because they are morally and legally entitled to international protection, not because of the economic advantages they may bring. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the economic contribution of refugees and their descendants to the UK has been high."

Last month, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report saying that the recent influx of refugees into Europe could deliver a long-term economic boost to the continent if refugees are well integrated into the job market.


Human Rights Mon, 01 Feb 2016 09:49:35 +0000
ACLU: Black people in Florida ticketed twice as often as Whites for seat belt violations

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for an investigation by the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights and County Commissions into racial disparities in the enforcement of seat belt laws.


This comes after a recent ACLU report entitled Racial Disparities in Florida Safety Belt Law Enforcement revealed a wide gap between the number of motorists ticketed in Florida depending on their race, RT reported.

Black people made up only 13.5 percent of drivers in Florida in 2014 but received nearly 22 percent of seat belt citations reported to state authorities. Statewide, black motorists were stopped and ticketed for seatbelt violations nearly twice as often as white motorists.

“The numbers are shocking. These racial disparities raise serious concerns that officers are engaging in racial profiling when enforcing the state’s safety belt law,” said Nusrat Choudhury, an attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program and co-author of the report.

In Orange County, Palm Beach County, and Escambia County, the disparities were even greater. Black motorists were stopped and ticketed 2.8 times more often than white motorists by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in 2014, and three times more by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office the same year.

The last available data for Escambia County is from 2011, when black people were pulled over and cited four times more than white people.

The ACLU pointed out “the differences in seatbelt-wearing behavior between Black and white people, as documented by statewide and national studies, do not explain the racial disparities in seatbelt citation rates identified in this report.”

The analysis in the report is based on publicly available data reported by law enforcement agencies across Florida.

Since 2005, a law has required each agency to annually report the race and ethnicity of anyone ticketed for failure to wear a seatbelt to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Nonetheless, the number of agencies actually reporting this hit a nine-year low in 2014, when only 147 agencies complied, according to the ACLU.

“We cannot have a law that requires the reporting of the race of ticket recipients and has no consequences for the agencies that fail to comply,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, in a statement.

Information from the Miami and Tampa police departments is among that missing from annual reports from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Tampa Police Department data appears only in the state’s 2005 report, while the Miami Police Department failed to report data to the state in 2005, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The ACLU is calling for legislation that would, in the future, penalize law enforcement agencies that fail to comply with the statute’s reporting requirement. The organization is also insisting that any agency whose enforcement of the seatbelt law has met or exceeded the statewide racial disparity be investigated by the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights and local commissions.

Additionally, the ACLU wants law enforcement to collect and analyze data for all traffic and pedestrian stops, provide testing on implicit bias and training on bias-free policing to all officers, and retrain officers whose stop-and-summons practices result in large racial disparities.

Human Rights Fri, 29 Jan 2016 15:45:04 +0000
Hate crimes in UK railway networks rising

A new report has revealed that race hate crimes on Britain's railway networks have risen by 37% in the past five years. This means an average of more than five reported incidents of abuse or harassment a day.


According to the report by the British transport police (BTP), covering railway services in England, Scotland and Wales, including London underground, recorded 1,993 hate crimes in 2015, an average of 5.5 per day. The crimes have been racially or religiously motivated.

The report also noted that excluding incidents where the race of the victim was not stated, more than three-quarters of incidents recorded in 2015 involved non-white victims: 36% were perpetrated against black victims, 33% against those of Asian origin, 3% involved mixed-race victims and 3.5% were against those of another race.

BTP went on saying that the number of race hate crimes resulting in a prosecution fell between 2011 and 2015, from 704 to 663.

Meanwhile, most of the hate crimes last year were carried out by white people, who accounted for 73% of suspects. In 2015, black suspects accounted for 17% of incidents where the race of the suspect was stated, compared with 14% in 2011.

The most common type of hate crimes recorded in 2015 involved racially or religiously motivated harassment, alarm or distress.

Muslims have always been among the main victims of hate crimes across the UK.

According to statistics by Metropolitan Police, Muslims in London faced a 70% increase in Islamophobic attacks in 2014-15.


Human Rights Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:48:22 +0000
Police violence: US cops killed more people this year than in 2014

At least 1,160 people have been killed by US police in 2015, according to an online aggregator of police killings, exceeding last year’s figure of 1,108.

The statistics, compiled by “”, show that the wave of police violence has only intensified despite nationwide mass protests by tens of thousands this year against police brutality.

A more detailed database of killings by US police beginning in January 2015 compiled by the Guardian newspaper, which broadly corresponds with figures from, demonstrates that the epidemic of police violence affects broad layers of the American population from all ethnic backgrounds. While African-Americans were killed at nearly 2.5 times the rate of whites, the total number of white victims of police killings, 537 by the Guardian’s figures, was larger than the total number of either black or Hispanic victims.

Eighteen people in the Guardian’s database were minors. Two hundred-twelve people, or around one-fifth of all people killed by police in 2015, were unarmed, and 40 were killed while in custody.

According to statistics kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, widely acknowledged to radically undercount the real number of police killings, “justifiable homicides” by police officers have reached record highs in recent years, while the number of police officers killed in the line of duty has reached their lowest levels in decades. Thus, while it is impossible to be certain due to the government’s refusal to compile accurate data, it is highly likely that police killings for 2015 have been at or above record levels.

Just recently, police in Los Angeles beat and tasered 26-year-old Ruben Herrera to death. Herrera had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Elsewhere, an off-duty cop in Baltimore shot and killed Edel Cato Moreland for wielding a toy gun. In Amarillo, Texas, police shot and killed Mark Ramirez, a 31-year-old suicidal man, in his own home, in what appears to be yet another police killing during a routine “welfare check.”

Also over the weekend, Andrew Thomas, who was shot in the neck last month by a police officer in Paradise, California after wrecking his car, died in a California hospital. Citing the officer’s claim that the shooting was “accidental,” the district attorney in that case declined to press charges, declaring the shooting “not justified, but also not criminal.”

The Guardian newspaper released surveillance footage and an eyewitness account of the fatal shooting in Chicago last June of 23-year-old Alfontish “Nunu” Cockerham, who police claimed brandished a weapon at them. Video from a private security camera shows Cockerham was unarmed at the time he was shot, and a pistol allegedly belonging to him suddenly appearing on the ground several feet from where he was shot as police closed in.

Meantime, a grand jury in Texas decided not to return any indictments in the death of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old black woman and police violence protester found dead in her cell in Waller County, Texas, after being detained for three days following a routine traffic stop. While police claimed that Bland had hanged herself with a plastic trash bag, numerous holes in the police version of events suggest that Bland was the victim of a police lynching, possibly due to her political views.

The ruling in Texas continues the nationwide trend of grand juries refusing to indict police officers in murder cases, which have often been deliberately manipulated by prosecutors in order to let police off the hook.

Only in rare instances, such as when overwhelming video evidence becomes public, have police officers been charged with any crime. No officer in the most high-profile police killings that occurred in 2015, including those of Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Zachary Hammond, and Sandra Bland, has been convicted.

Officers who were charged and later acquitted this year include Chicago police officer Dante Servin, charged over the 2012 shooting death of Rekia Boyd; Cleveland officer Michael Brelo, who used his “Marine training” in 2012 to unload dozens of rounds at two unarmed motorists at point-blank range; and Chicago police commander Glenn Evans, acquitted for an incident in which he jammed a gun down a suspect’s throat. With the mistrial declared last week in the case of William Porter, charged for his role in the Freddie Gray murder, the odds that some or all of the six officers in that case will be acquitted are significantly raised.

The Obama administration has led the drive by the political establishment to shield killer cops from prosecution. The White House has sided with the police in every use of force case to appear before the Supreme Court, and the Justice Department has not brought any charges against officers in numerous civil rights investigations, notably in the killing of Michael Brown last August in Ferguson.

In the case of Laquan McDonald, the Justice Department carried out a sham “investigation” for more than a year while sitting on the incontrovertible proof of police misconduct contained in the police dash-cam video. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former Obama White House chief of staff, fought for months against the video’s release on the grounds that it would disrupt this “investigation.”

Meanwhile the White House worked behind the scenes to coordinate the military-style crackdowns on protesters in Ferguson and Baltimore, while Obama took to the mass media to denounce protesters as “thugs.” The flow of military-grade hardware from the federal government to local police departments, including assault rifles and armored vehicles, has expanded considerably under Obama and has continued after the program sparked popular outrage during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri last year.

The ongoing wave of police violence in the United States and the defense of killer cops are the outcome of the continuous strengthening of the repressive apparatus of the state under conditions of ever-growing inequality and continued mass poverty. Having no solutions to any of the mounting social problems facing the country, the US, now under Barack Obama, turns ever more to the defense of arbitrary state violence as the means to bolster its continued domination over American masses, without a glimpse of hope for any changes or reforms.

Human Rights Sun, 27 Dec 2015 12:49:32 +0000
Trump: The ugly reality of American politics

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, either as immigrants or visitors, has ignited a political firestorm.

Trump’s open appeal to the most reactionary, racist and fascistic sentiments has created a political crisis for the American ruling system. His crude rhetoric shatters the official pretense that America is the defender of “freedom” and “democracy,” which has been used by Democratic and Republican administrations alike to justify imperialist wars and interventions throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. Trump rips off this democratic mask. He stands openly for the violent suppression of anyone who might dare to oppose the demands of corporate America, either abroad or at home. A Canadian journalist and bureau chief for The Globe and Mail newspaper, Patrick Martin, has more disclosures.

This accounts for the volley of denunciations of Trump from a wide array of spokesmen for the US political establishment. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Trump’s proposal “disqualifies him from serving as president.” Earnest called his rhetoric “harmful to the country,” saying it made it harder to “work in partnership” with American Muslim leaders to identify potential threats.

The official spokesman for the Pentagon, Peter Cook, who normally refuses to comment on domestic political matters, declared, “Anything that tries to bolster the ISIL narrative that the United States is somehow at war with Islam is contrary to our values and contrary to our national security.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top congressional Republican, told reporters, “Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle.” At the same time, however, he declared that if Trump were the Republican nominee for president, he would support him.

The American media issued a series of denunciations of Trump in editorials, cartoons and columns, many of which compared Trump to Hitler or Mussolini. CNN posted a column by its national security editor, Peter Bergen, posing the question, “Is Trump a fascist?”

The Detroit Free Press, the largest newspaper in southeast Michigan, home to more than 100,000 Muslim-Americans, published a front-page editorial under the banner headline “We Stand Together.” The statement denounced Trump’s views as “nothing more than rank bigotry and racism, a reach back to the darkest chapters of America’s history.”

The official statements of shock over Trump’s fascistic views, together with hand-wringing claims that “this is not who we are,” are as cynical as they are dishonest. The ruling class does not like the reactionary, brutal and anti-democratic essence of its policies to be so bluntly stated.
The billionaire’s ranting is not in contradiction to the actual practice of American imperialism, but a direct expression of it. Trump’s statements dovetail entirely with the policies that produced Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, CIA secret prisons and Guantanamo Bay.

The American system is what it does, not what it proclaims in holiday speeches celebrating the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or, as in Obama’s recent remarks, the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. The time is long gone when the American government fought a war to free the slaves. It now wages wars to enslave the world in one way or another.

For 30 years, the United States has waged one war after another to maintain its domination of the Middle East and Central Asia, the location of the largest oil and gas reserves on the planet. These wars have not only brutalized the soldiers who took part in them, they have further brutalized the commanders in the military-intelligence apparatus and their political and media frontmen.

Along with rampant militarism, a parallel process has seen the criminalization of the financial aristocracy as a whole, with great fortunes increasingly made from the type of financial swindling that produced the 2008 Wall Street crash. With the growth of social inequality to staggering levels, the system requires ever greater levels of violence against the most oppressed sections of the society. This society has become so brutalized that some 200,000 Americans have been murdered in the last 15 years alone. The United States is a country at war, not just with the Middle East, but with itself.

Trump’s rise has a definite political logic. He represents the intersection of the media and the emergence of this criminal element within the bourgeoisie. His personal fortune is the product of real estate speculation in Manhattan and Atlantic City casinos, followed by his crossover into media celebrity as the host of a series of programs in which he was portrayed as the avatar of the system, ruthless and decisive.

The rise of such a figure to a leading position in the Republican presidential campaign demonstrates that a fascist tendency is emerging within the official US two-party political structure. It is notable that while half the Republican presidential field condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims, half did not, and several openly solidarized themselves with the billionaire.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, now leading in the polls in Iowa, where votes will be counted in caucuses less than eight weeks away, declared, “I like Donald Trump.” He went on to say, “I commend Donald Trump for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders.”

Overnight polls showed that among likely Republican caucus and primary voters, 65 percent favored Trump’s ban on Muslims. This alone demonstrates how Trump’s candidacy has been used to shift the US official political spectrum even further to the right.

The Democratic Party shares responsibility for the emergence of Trump, since, like the Republicans, it has pursued policies of imperialist war abroad and attacks on the jobs, living standards and democratic rights of the masses at home. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton is a leading advocate of escalating the US military intervention in the Syrian civil war. As for her chief rival for the nomination, the so-called “socialist” Bernie Sanders, he seeks to avoid any discussion of foreign policy because he is a longstanding supporter of imperialist war in the Middle East. 

Whatever the immediate outcome of the 2016 campaign, which is still in its early stages, there are powerful objective forces, above all the expanding war drive of US imperialism, not only in the Middle East, but against China and Russia, which feed the type of ultra-reactionary, racist and chauvinist politics articulated by Trump.


Human Rights Wed, 23 Dec 2015 11:05:45 +0000
US police totally out of control: Journalist

The latest police killing of an African-American man in St. Louis, Missouri illustrates that the United States remains a racist society where white police officers continue to kill blacks with impunity, a journalist in Detroit says.


“Most of the police who have been involved in these incidents have not been fired, they have not been prosecuted, they still remain at large, many of them still carry guns, they carry badges and they’re patrolling in African-American communities,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

“These problems are going to continue in the United States until the system is changed fundamentally,” Azikiwe told Press TV on Thursday.

On Wednesday, white police officers fatally shot a black man they say pointed a gun at them in St. Louis, Missouri.

The shooting drew angry crowds and recalled the racial tensions sparked by the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teen, in nearby Ferguson just over a year ago.

Brown's death sparked months of violent protests across the United States and spurred a nationwide movement to confront police violence against minorities.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Wednesday's shooting took place as police were conducting a search warrant and two young African-American men ran out the back door of the targeted home.
Officers ordered the two men to stop in the alley behind the house. One suspect pointed a gun at officers who then fired four times, killing him, Dotson said.

Some activists and residents are skeptical about the police chief's account that the suspect pointed a gun at police before being killed.

“The police inside the United States are totally out of control,” said Azikiwe.

“The local governments, the state governments, the prosecutor’s officers, the federal government, the US Congress, the White House are doing absolutely nothing to curb these kinds of killings and they’re going to continue because America is still a racist society,” he added.

“Fundamentally, it has nothing to offer to the oppressed people in this country, the African-Americans and other people of color and so therefore they have to utilize the prison system, they have to utilize the police and they have to utilize the courts in an effort to contain, repress and exploit the African-American people.”

Human Rights Thu, 20 Aug 2015 12:25:50 +0000
Kids count report: 22 percent of US children live in poverty

According to a report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, twenty-two percent of all children in the United States live below the federal poverty line, significantly higher than during the height of the 2008-2009 economic crisis.

The Global Research Online has published an informative article on the deteriorating situation of children in the United States, which always likes to raise hollow hue and cry in defense of human rights beyond its territorial borders, turning a blind eye on inside issues.

The latest edition of the Kids Count Data Book found that the number of children living in poverty rose by almost 3 million between 2008 and 2013, the latest year included in the data: from 13.2 million to 16.1 million. The US child poverty rate remains four percentage points higher than it was in 2008, when it stood at 18 percent.

“Especially worrying” to the authors is the fact that the percentage of children in high poverty neighborhoods has risen from 11 percent in 2006-2010 to 14 percent in 2013, the highest level since 1990. The report notes that children living in high-poverty areas are more likely to drop out of school or develop behavioral or emotional problems.The percentage of children in high-poverty neighborhoods is significantly higher in former industrial centers such as Detroit, where 81 percent of children live in poor neighborhoods. This figure is also higher for African-American, Native American and Latino children, at 32, 30 and 24 percent respectively.
The report, issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reflects the fact that Obama’s economic “recovery,” which has seen a massive increase in stock values and profits of major corporations, has been a catastrophe for the American working class, who have seen their living standards and those of their children decline precipitously during this period.
President and CEO of the Casey Foundation, Patrick McCarthy, said “Although we are several years past the end of the recession, millions of families still have not benefited from the economic recovery.”

Only the most highly educated and highly paid workers have seen their wages grow in the United States, while inflation-adjusted wages for the lowest-income workers have slowly but gradually fallen. This shift toward unskilled, low-paid professions since the “recovery” has led to an additional 1.7 million children living in “low-income working families” between 2008 and 2013. It is widely acknowledged among researchers that “at a minimum, families need an income of at least twice the federal poverty level to cover basic expenses. A total of 45 percent of all US children lived beneath this threshold in 2013.

The bleak job situation facing the US population “remains one of the primary obstacles to further reducing economic hardship among children and families. In addition to low wages, the number of jobs created after the 2008 financial crisis has not been sufficient to keep pace with the natural growth of the labor force. Thirty-one percent of children in 2013 had parents that lacked access to secure employment, defined as having a full time, year-round job. This is an increase from 27 percent in 2008, or 2.7 million additional children.
According to figures from the Federal Reserve Income levels for US workers remain far below what they were prior to the recession and median household income fell by 8 percent between 2007 and 2013.
Even industries which were once associated with a decent standard of living, especially those in manufacturing, have now been opened up as low-wage platforms. In a move spearheaded by the Obama administration’s auto restructuring, auto makers have institutionalized a “second tier” of employees who now make less, in real terms, than autoworkers a century ago. Wages have been lowered to the point where manufacturers are now “insourcing” some production back into the United States, eager to exploit the emerging and highly profitable low-wage economy.
The difficult economic conditions faced by American children are among the worst of any country in the industrialized world. A report by UNICEF last year found that the United States has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world, as measured by the percentage of children beneath the median national income. The United States has the sixth-highest child poverty rate out of the 41 countries in the study, lower only than countries such as Mexico and Greece.
The social crisis has hit major urban centers particularly hard. An earlier report also released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that child poverty had risen in 35 of the 50 largest cities in the United States since 2005. In six American cities: Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, Milwaukee, Fresno and Memphis, the child poverty rate was higher than UNICEF’s figures for Greece, with Detroit and Cleveland topping 50 percent.

Even as the incomes of US workers have plunged, the profits of major corporations and the value of the stock market have soared. Major US stock indices have tripled since 2009, despite the fact that the real economy is still mired in slump, with the US economy barely growing over the first half of the year. The wealth of the super-rich, meanwhile, continues to grow. A recent Forbes report found that the wealth of the world’s billionaires, 536 of whom live in the United States, surged past $7 trillion earlier this year for the first time.

Even as millions of people have slid into poverty, the White House and Congress have slashed funding for social programs year after year. Total cuts to food stamps implemented over the past two years alone have added up to $13.7 billion. Meanwhile, federal extended unemployment benefits have been continually slashed, resulting in a smaller share of the unemployed receiving jobless benefits that at any point in the history of the program.

Human Rights Thu, 23 Jul 2015 09:50:34 +0000
African-Americans main victims of racism in United States: Activist

The South Carolina church shooting that killed nine people was a result of the large-scale bigotry that exists against the African-American community in the United States, says an activist in New York.


Aldo Perez, a US community advocate, made the remarks when Press TV asked him for his take on the Wednesday night shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina church filled with African-American citizens.

“What we are seeing now in the United States is a rash axis of bigotry mainly between law enforcement agencies which is a condition that is actually affecting a lot of inner communities,” Perez said, adding that “right now within the communities, we see  a very large capacity of bigotry mainly against African-American males.”

He went on to say that the United States is a country which “is founded on bigotry.”

The shooting that took place inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church is believed to be a hate crime against black minorities. The suspect, described as a young white man, is still on the loose.

The activist also added that the actions of this nature, when repeated, will curb the efforts made by those who are trying to find a cure for the deep-seeded bigotry.

“Unfortunately, there are foundations that have been built to come against such actions but when a repetitious cause of this bigotry occurs, they just clog the mind and hearts of the people who really try to build a foundation for this country against such an idealism of racism,” he concluded.

Human Rights Thu, 18 Jun 2015 10:20:28 +0000
Baltimore prosecutor to block release of Freddie Gray autopsy

Baltimore's top prosecutor plans to seek a protective order that would block the release of Freddie Gray's autopsy report and other documents, a report said.


State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby told the Baltimore Sun on Thursday that prosecutors "have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved" and "will not be baited into litigating this case through the media."

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died on April 19 from a spinal injury suffered in police custody. His death triggered protests and a day of rioting in the largely black city, and came amid a national debate on police brutality.

Mosby has charged six officers with violations ranging from misconduct in office to, in one case, second-degree murder. All the officers have been released on bail.

She outlined her intention to seek the protective order in a filing on Monday in Baltimore City Circuit Court. She also asked for more time to respond to defense motions that she and her office be removed from the case and that the case be tried outside Baltimore.

The move is the latest effort by Mosby's office to restrict information in the high-profile case. Prosecutors have sought a gag order to prevent participants from discussing the case in public, and have broken with a long-standing practice by not giving a copy of the autopsy report to Baltimore police.

Ivan Bates, who represents one of the accused officers, Sergeant Alicia White, criticized Mosby's request, saying she had made a nationally televised speech about the evidence.

"Now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous," the Sun quoted him as saying.

Bates said the protective order would allow only prosecutors and defense attorneys to see the documents, and could require the court to seal all new filings that make reference to information in the documents.

Baltimore had counted 43 killings in May, the highest monthly total since 1972.

Human Rights Fri, 05 Jun 2015 13:04:23 +0000
Senator: US citizens' privacy at greater risk under new NSA reform law

US Senator Dan Coates said that the US citizens face greater threats to their privacy under the USA Freedom Act because it authorizes private companies to collect the citizens’ telephone records.


“We run the real risk of abuses of privacy,” Coates told Sputnik on Tuesday, with respect to the private telecommunications companies pooling of personal data.

On Tuesday evening, US President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act into law putting it into effect. Under the new law, the US National Security Agency (NSA) must transfer its telephone metadata collection program into the hands of private telecommunications companies over the next six months.

Coats noted the 1,400 telephone companies also run the risk of being hacked. “The NSA has the ability to stop being hacked, a lot of these phone companies do not.”

In 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the US government’s vast domestic spying infrastructure. According to documents leaked by Snowden, the NSA enlisted private telecom providers to hand over vast amounts of their customers’ data under the Stellar Wind program.

Human Rights Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:58:46 +0000