• Oklahoma Bill Puts Limits on Police Drones


    Earlier this month the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed HB 2337, a bill strictly limiting under what circumstances police can use drones. It now awaits a vote in the Senate. Privacy advocates should welcome the kind of restrictions outlined in HB 2337, especially given that the legislation goes beyond what the United States Supreme Court has determined is necessary for constitutional aerial surveillance and that drone and surveillance technology will only become more intrusive.

    Until the Supreme Court reconsiders current precedent it behooves privacy-oriented lawmakers concerned about police drones to impose strict protections such as warrant requirements. READ MORE...

  • Apple, the FBI and the Future


    The epic showdown between the FBI and Apple has ended with a fizzle for now. With help from a mysterious “outside party” — which many believe to be the Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite — the Bureau has been able to unlock the work iPhone of deceased San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

    That means the government is dropping its legal fight to force the tech titan to write it a hacking tool that bypasses the phone’s security features — though at least a dozen other similar cases remain open at the federal level alone, and the technique used to access Farook’s phone may not work on newer models. READ MORE...

  • Joe Alterman's Timeless Jazz


    Although I have been writing about jazz for over 70 years, I don’t like to think of myself as a jazz historian. Being described as a “historian” implies that what you are writing about is dead and in the past. When it comes to writing about jazz, nothing can ever be further from the truth.

    I first came to New York City in 1953 as a civil war was raging among the so-called jazz critics. The traditionalists, known then as “moldy figs,” thought that jazz had died if not with Louis Armstrong, then not too long after. The music of Parker, Dizzy and the young Miles Davis was not even considered jazz at all by many of the writers. READ MORE...

  • Currency Wars, the Devaluation Delusion


    In 2010, Brazil’s Finance Minister, Guido Mantega, coined the phrase “currency war” when he complained about the “cheap” Chinese renminbi (RMB). Mantega claimed this gave China an unfair trade advantage. As he put it to the Financial Times, “we’re in the midst of an international currency war, a general weakening of currency. This threatens us because it takes away our competitiveness.”

    That was then. Now the Brazilians are conspicuously silent, because the shoe is on the other foot. The Brazilian real has lost a whopping 25% against the RMB since January 2015. The currency wars continue and are every bit as intense as they were back in 2010, when Mantega coined the phrase. READ MORE...

  • Currency Wars, the Devaluation Delusion


    In 2010, Brazil’s Finance Minister, Guido Mantega, coined the phrase “currency war” when he complained about the “cheap” Chinese renminbi (RMB). Mantega claimed this gave China an unfair trade advantage. As he put it to the Financial Times, “we’re in the midst of an international currency war, a general weakening of currency. This threatens us because it takes away our competitiveness.”

    That was then. Now the Brazilians are conspicuously silent, because the shoe is on the other foot. The Brazilian real has lost a whopping 25% against the RMB since January 2015. The currency wars continue and are every bit as intense as they were back in 2010, when Mantega coined the phrase. READ MORE...

  • Conservatives Yearning for the 1950s


    It is an article of faith in the Trump campaign that he will “bring our jobs back from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places.” (To be sure, at the cost of raising prices on American consumers — but his campaign doesn’t mention that part.) And The Donald is hardly alone in making this promise. While visiting a factory in Ohio last month, Hillary Clinton assured the audience that she had “always been committed to bringing back manufacturing.” Similar promises can regularly be heard from Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, and even Ted Cruz. There’s hardly a politician out there who doesn’t want to “bring back American jobs.” READ MORE...

  • The Unpredictable Trump Doctrine


    Donald Trump has finally given us greater insight into his approach to foreign policy. Last week, he not only conducted interviews with the Washington Post and New York Times, but revealed his long-promised list of foreign policy advisers, and addressed the annual AIPAC conference. His remarks led some to note that a restrained or realist worldview was implicit in Trump’s statements.

    Unfortunately, for those who seek a more restrained foreign policy, there is little reason to celebrate. Even a stopped clock may be right twice a day. And as the man’s own remarks show, the Trump Doctrine isn’t actually about restraint, it’s about unpredictability. And there’s every reason to believe that is exactly what the man would deliver as president. READ MORE...