Today's Headlines and Commentary

Clara Spera
Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 1:49 PM
A report surfaced yesterday which details accusations of horrendous and wide-sweeping torture tactics employed by the Syrian government.

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

A report surfaced yesterday which details accusations of horrendous and wide-sweeping torture tactics employed by the Syrian government. The report was authored by three international lawyers---former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone---who claim that the Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been systematically and brutally torturing members of the Syrian rebel opposition. The United States and the United Nations are understandably horrified. The report will surely be in the minds of all that attend the so-called "Geneva II" talks regarding Syria, which have just gotten off to an icy start. The New York Times has more up to the minute reporting on the conference. Meanwhile, the United States is being criticized in a different report, this one released by Human Rights Watch yesterday. From Syria to Russia to China, HRW is concerned about the protection of human rights worldwide.  But its annual report aims what is perhaps its strongest condemnation at the United States' NSA surveillance programs. According to The Telegraph, Edward Snowden has been nominated to serve as the rector of Glasgow University. Glasgow students reportedly nominated Snowden, in order to “send a message” that they do not agree with “intrusive practices of state security.” Google chief Eric Schmidt sat down with The Guardian earlier this week for an interview. Schmidt denied all knowledge of the NSA’s tapping of his company’s data before the Snowden leaks and is strong in his conviction to grant Snowden a pardon. Alex Fowler, the chief privacy officer of Mozilla, worries that the NSA’s revelations will have a negative impact on information sharing and a broad internet community across the globe. Fowler worries that countries will begin to “isolate” their internet capacity, in order to best protect their citizens’ personal data. Television advertisements urging Afghan President Karzai to approve a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. have been popping up across Afghanistan. President Karzai, who been reluctant to sign the deal, has ordered an investigation into the source of the ads. China’s pollution problems aren’t really China’s alone. A new study finds that air pollution from China is reaching the United States by way of the Pacific Ocean. But China shouldn’t bear the full brunt of the blame: according to a prominent scientific journal, it is the outsourcing of the production of goods to China from the United States that is a primary cause of the pollution surge in the world’s most populous country.  The New York Times reports. The invention of Google Glass poses a lot of legal questions, especially when it comes to privacy rights and intellectual property. Yesterday, a Google Glass “Explorer” was stopped and questioned by police in Ohio under suspicion of using the device to record a movie in theaters. Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Clara Spera is a 3L at Harvard Law School. She previously worked as a national security research intern at the Brookings Institution. She graduated with an M.Phil from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and with a B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2012.

Subscribe to Lawfare