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In 'Chilling' Ruling, Chevron Granted Access to Activists' Private Internet Data

World  (tags: Ecuador, Chevron, court ruling, conflict, ethics, freedoms, humanrights, politics )

- 872 days ago -
"Sweeping" subpoena violates rights of those who spoke out against oil giant's devastating actions in Ecuador.

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Kit B. (276)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 7:42 pm
Photo Credit: Rainforest Action Network/ cc/ Flickr

The US government is not the only entity who, with judicial approval, is amassing massive amounts of personal information against their so-called enemies.

A federal judge has ruled to allow Chevron, through a subpoena to Microsoft, to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by over 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys.

The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest.

The "sweeping" subpoena was one of three issued to Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

"Environmental advocates have the right to speak anonymously and travel without their every move and association being exposed to Chevron," said Marcia Hofmann, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who—along with environmental rights group EarthRights International (ERI)—had filed a motion last fall to "quash" the subpoenas.

"These sweeping subpoenas create a chilling effect among those who have spoken out against the oil giant's activities in Ecuador," she added at the time.

According to ERI, the subpoena demands the personal information about each account holder as well as the IP addresses associated with every login to each account over a nine-year period. "This could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email," they write, "so as to 'infer the movements of the users over the relevant period and might permit Chevron to makes inferences about some of the user’s professional and personal relationships.'"

In their statement about the ruling, ERI notes that the argument given by presiding US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan—who was previously accused of prejudice against the Ecuadorians and their lawyers—was as "breathtaking as the subpoena itself." They continue:

According to Judge Kaplan, none of the account holders could benefit from First Amendment protections since the account holders had “not shown that they were U.S. citizens.”

Now, let’s break this down. The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders’ residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not US citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?

By: Lauren McCauley, staff writer | Common Dreams |


Past Member (0)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 7:54 pm
It would appear that no matter what branch of government in which an official serves, they are all for sale to the highest bidders.

JL A. (287)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 8:04 pm
Chilling is an understatement and apparently Judge Kaplan doesn't respect judicial precedent in this area--any grounds for an ethical complaint against him?

JL A. (287)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 8:07 pm
Lewis A. Kaplan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Assumed office
August 10, 1994
Nominated by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Gerard Louis Goettel
Personal details
Born December 23, 1944 (age 68)
Staten Island, New York
Alma mater University of Rochester
Harvard Law School
Profession Judge

Lewis A. Kaplan (born December 23, 1944)[1] is a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. He took senior status on February 1, 2011.

Born in Staten Island, New York, Kaplan received an A.B. from the University of Rochester in 1966 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1969. He served as a law clerk for Judge Edward McEntee, U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, from 1969 to 1970. Kaplan was in private practice in New York City from 1970 to 1994 and was a Special Master, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1982 to 1983.

On May 5, 1994, Kaplan was nominated by President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by Gerard Louis Goettel. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 9, 1994, and received his commission on August 10, 1994.

Kaplan presided over the first case where charges against a Guantanamo captives were laid in a civilian court. On February 9, 2010, Kaplan ordered Ahmed Ghailani's Prosecution to review the record of Ghailani's detention in the CIA's network of black sites.[2] According to the New York Times any materials that show the decisions “were for a purpose other than national security,” must be turned over to Ghailani's lawyers.

Kaplan denied a motion to dismiss the charges on the grounds that due to Ghailani's long extrajudicial detention he was denied the constitutional right to a speedy trial, ruling that his extended incarceration had no adverse impact on Mr. Ghailani’s ability to defend himself. This cleared the way for federal prosecutors to try him for his suspected role in Al Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.[2]

The New York Times reported that Kaplan's ruling could set a precedent for the cases of other Guantanamo captives, who, like Ghailani, are transferred to the civilian justice system. On January 25, 2011, Kaplan sentenced Ghailani to life, and called the attacks "horrific" and saying the deaths and damage they caused far outweighs "any and all considerations that have been advanced on behalf of the defendant." He also ordered Ghailani to pay $33 million as restitution.[3]

Working in New York City, Kaplan had been the judge in a number of federal racketeering cases involving Mafia members. In April 2010, Judge Kaplan was assigned to preside over the cases of 14 Gambino crime family members arrested on charges, among others, of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering (in the 1992 trial of John Gotti), and sex trafficking of a minor.

Kaplan has presided over a number of notorious cases at the district level, including Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., Universal v. Reimerdes, Five Borough Bicycle Club v. The City of New York, and The People v. Ahmed Ghailani.

pam w. (138)
Friday July 12, 2013, 9:48 am
"Conspiracy?" Well, if speaking out against the Ecuadoran mess is ''conspiring,''.....I guess we'll all finally the slammer!

Terrie Williams (789)
Friday July 12, 2013, 10:43 am
Are we liking our Fascism yet?


Mike M. (49)
Friday July 12, 2013, 11:33 am
Many have and will die or forever have their lives changed by the elitist terrorists and those in the world government will allow such crimes so they may be granted power, money and immunity

Past Member (0)
Friday July 12, 2013, 11:40 am
This is nothing new, they even know what you but at the grocery store. There is no privacy has not been for years, no big deal

Malgorzata Zmuda (185)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:12 pm
Wygląda na to, że wszędzie wszyscy są inwigilowani.

Yvonne White (233)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:31 pm
I'm studying CONTINUUM on SyFy channel - it's all about the future where Corporations Openly Own the Governments..very life-like & we seem to be right on track!;)

GGmaSheila D. (180)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:34 pm
Not just scary...Really, really scary.

Esther Z. (96)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:39 pm
So all the data collected from all the tech giants will be used to makes us buy things we don't really need, and at the same time strip our democracy to a pile of bones. We're in big doo doo.....

Birgit W. (155)
Friday July 12, 2013, 1:42 pm
Our corporations give all their money to our government so they can have their say. Scary.

S J. (128)
Friday July 12, 2013, 2:51 pm
Access to my data?, get my information? Spy me? Just so annoying, you know? want to stop me by doing all this? Forget it and go to hell, I won't give a damn, sorry.

Thanks Kit.

Robert K. (31)
Friday July 12, 2013, 4:53 pm
I believe it's time to require all energy companies to be non profit for the good of the world. And to put a limit of $100,00 a year on executive salaries in all corporations which provide vital services. Only those who are in the manufactured in America business should be allowed to acquire great wealth. If you aren't making the country better you shouldn't be allowed to get wealthy.

And, no, I'm not a "commie," just someone who believes in fairness.

Robert K. (31)
Friday July 12, 2013, 4:54 pm
Yvonne, I love Continuum, scary, isn't it? The funny thing is the thugs are the good guys and the heroine is the bad guy. It all depends on your understanding of reality.

Janet R. (37)
Friday July 12, 2013, 5:49 pm
Corporations are already calling the shots, we're screwed. It is unbelievable that Chevron was able to get information on the environmentalists. The only way to get any info about Chevron is a whisleblower. Today, I read that Citizens United is thinking about suing the government over Obamacare. And, another article noted that Citizens United thinks the IRS should be abolished. This is like a bad science fiction novel except that it's not fiction.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Friday July 12, 2013, 6:17 pm

Well, I'm with SJ on this. They can go to hell.

Do they WANT a violent bloody revolution?!

Iona Kentwell (134)
Friday July 12, 2013, 8:02 pm
It just continues to get more and more insane.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Friday July 12, 2013, 9:25 pm
Good heavens! This news is bone chilling! I won't be deterred even if this happens here though because I am determined to do what little I am capable of by signing as many petitions as I can each and every day. Thank you for the dreadful news.

MmAWAY M. (483)
Friday July 12, 2013, 10:01 pm
Couldn't have said anything better than SJ J did~ PERFECT!!! TU Kit! Happy Weekend! Gotta sign off, enough 007 poop~xx

june t. (66)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 12:27 am
thanks for the article

Frances Darcy (228)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 1:52 am
ta for the article

Kim Ireland (23)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 3:42 am
Its happening all over the world and who the hell pays their wages - the Tax payer so as their employer sack the Bstrds

Lona Goudswaard (82)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 5:12 am
Excuse me? Please tell me that you're kidding!

Winn Adams (218)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 7:38 am
Very bad news for us all . . .

PrimaAWAY B. (1278)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 9:15 am
We all are aware about our privacy. We do not have any privacy.....!!! I have worried about this since i was 20 years old and always did my best to stay as private as possible but over the years that's absolutely impossible. NOW the government, world, companies, you name it are trying hard to scare all of us. It is scary and it is wrong. We keep up the fight as much as possible to stop it or do what ever we can.
Sickening !!! At least I personally have nothing to hide but I don't want my information open to anyone!! I am angry as many of us are. I hate this...

Michael M. (61)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 10:04 am
It is certainly right to recognise Corporate corruption and control of all aspects of our govenrment and its policies, utterly unconstitutional as they might be.

However, I would like you to direct your attention to JL A's comment above on just WHO ruled in favor of Chevron AGAINST all people everywhere.

You should ask, loudly, vociferously, WHY Kaplan remains a Judge in the United States District Court (Northern District of New York)

If removing individual corrupt persons from positions of power is the only recourse that US citizens have, then it is certainly time to get to it.

Kit B. (276)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 10:10 am

Yvonne ya make me crazy, now I have to watch another TV show to understand what you are taking about. (*chuckles*)

Betty Kelly (4)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 1:27 pm
We need to remove people from power before we have No power.

Madhu Pillai (22)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 1:46 pm
Shocking! It's the corporations that have power, mowing down people ruthlessly, buying politicians. Democracy? What democracy, it's the will of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations!

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 2:00 pm
Thanks Kit--1984 was ahead of its time eh!

Eternal Gardener (750)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 2:59 pm
CRIMINAL, nothing less. Revolt against corporate power!!!

Gloria picchetti (305)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 6:21 pm
It's the Dark Ages all over again!

Jim Phillips (3200)
Saturday July 13, 2013, 9:27 pm
A reversal needs to be done here.

We need to get the same judge to allow the 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys, through a subpoena to Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Bing, Apple to collect the IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by Chevron.

Chevron simply does not want to pay for the damages their company caused in Ecuador and to Ecuadorians. Chevron lost the case, were found guilty and must pay for damages.

Ty, Kit.

Hartson Doak (36)
Sunday July 14, 2013, 11:41 am
WHAT!!!?????? Who bought this judge?

Kathleen R. (138)
Monday July 15, 2013, 10:39 am
noted & read

Kathleen R. (138)
Monday July 15, 2013, 10:43 am
noted & read
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