Archive for the ‘William Barr’ Category

AG Barr: COVID lockdowns are worst threat to civil liberties since slavery

September 17th, 2020
Attorney General William Barr walking down a hallway while wearing a mask.

Enlarge / William Barr, US attorney general, center, arrives for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

US Attorney General William Barr yesterday compared lockdown orders to slavery, saying that measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the biggest violations of civil liberties in US history.

"Putting a national lockdown, stay-at-home orders, is like house arrest. Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history," Barr said in a Q&A session after delivering a speech at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

Based on that comment, Barr apparently thinks stay-at-home orders designed to reduce the spread of a deadly virus are a greater violation of civil liberties than Jim Crow laws, oppression of Native Americans, and Japanese internment camps run by the US during World War II. Besides that, there was never actually a national lockdown, largely due to the actions of Trump himself. States imposed varying levels of movement restrictions and stay-at-home orders while the Trump administration refused to implement a coherent national strategy and while Trump repeatedly undermined governors by claiming he has "total" authority to override their stay-at-home orders. As Trump downplayed the virus's severity and made calls to "liberate" residents of states with aggressive pandemic responses, Barr threatened to have the US government sue states that don't lift stay-at-home and business-shutdown orders.

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Posted in COVID-19, lockdowns, pandemic, Policy, stay-at-home orders, William Barr | Comments (0)

DOJ lawyers face pressure to file Google antitrust case this month

September 3rd, 2020
A serious man in a suit sits in front of a US flag.

Enlarge / Attorney General William Barr . (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Attorney General William Barr is pressuring the career lawyers at the Department of Justice to complete work on a potential antitrust case against Google by the end of September, The New York Times reports. It's the latest sign of a long-simmering dispute within the government about the timing and scope of the government's attack on the Silicon Valley behemoth.

Antitrust enforcement against Google has become a rare issue of broad bipartisan agreement. Fifty states and territories have joined a coalition preparing to bring its own antitrust lawsuit against Google. That means that most Republican-controlled states are participating in the effort, as are most Democratic-controlled states.

Liberals have traditionally favored vigorous enforcement of antitrust law across the economy. Conservatives have traditionally favored more restraint, but they seem particularly keen to enforce antitrust law against technology platforms they view as biased against conservatives.

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Posted in Antitrust law, google, Policy, William Barr | Comments (0)

Trump admin threatens to sue states that don’t lift pandemic orders

April 28th, 2020
Attorney General William Barr speaking at a podium while President Trump looks on.

Enlarge / Attorney General William Barr speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during a Coronavirus Task Force news conference on Monday, March 23, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The Trump administration is threatening to sue states and municipalities whose pandemic orders infringe on people's rights or cause "undue interference with the national economy."

"I am directing each of our United States Attorneys to also be on the lookout for state and local directives that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens," US Attorney General William Barr wrote yesterday in a memo to all 94 US attorneys' offices. The Barr memo said that "even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers." The memo is available at The Washington Post website.

Barr's memo is not just aimed at protecting members of religious groups. He continued:

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Posted in constitution, COVID-19, pandemic, Policy, Trump, William Barr | Comments (0)

Barr says the US needs encryption backdoors to prevent “going dark.” Um, what?

August 4th, 2019
US Attorney General William Barr speaks at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University School of Law on July 23, 2019 in New York City. In his remarks, Barr stated that increased encryption of data on phones and encrypted messaging apps puts American security at risk. Barr encouraged technology companies to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted data during certain criminal investigations.

Enlarge / US Attorney General William Barr speaks at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University School of Law on July 23, 2019 in New York City. In his remarks, Barr stated that increased encryption of data on phones and encrypted messaging apps puts American security at risk. Barr encouraged technology companies to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted data during certain criminal investigations. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On July 23, in a keynote address at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University, US Attorney General William Barr took up a banner that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been waving for over a decade: the call for what former FBI director James Comey had referred to as a "golden key."

Citing the threat posed by violent criminals using encryption to hide their activities from law enforcement, Barr said that information security "should not come at the expense of making us more vulnerable in the real world." He claimed that this is what is happening today.

"Service providers, device manufacturers, and application developers are developing and deploying encryption that can only be decrypted by the end user or customer, and they are refusing to provide technology that allows for lawful access by law enforcement agencies in appropriate circumstances," Barr proclaimed.

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Posted in apple v fbi, Biz & IT, Clipper Chip, Edward Snowden, encryption backdoors, Features, golden key, Justice Department, Policy, William Barr | Comments (0)