Concerns Arise as ACLU shredding it's own Docs

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stubeeef

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No, not the medical kind! :p
Link (NYTimes, need to login)

Seems they have found it necessary, against many of their own proponents, to shred documents that have not been archieved. Against their own policy, and possibly not within the protections provided by law for these things.

The most interesting part of the article to me, that employees wanted to be nameless for fear of their jobs! working for the ACLU may not provide the benefits they seem to champion.

Oh well, not the end of the world, and I doubt it really means much, other than a fundemental change in their philosophy. Interesting read though.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been shredding some documents over the repeated objections of its records manager and in conflict with its longstanding policies on the preservation and disposal of records.

The matter has fueled a dispute at the organization over internal operations, one of several such debates over the last couple of years, and has reignited questions over whether the A.C.L.U.'s own practices are consistent with its public positions.

The organization has generally advocated for strong policies on record retention and benefited from them, most recently obtaining and publicizing documents from the government about prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The debate over the use of shredders is reminiscent of one late last year over the organization's efforts to collect a wide variety of data on its donors, even as it criticizes corporations and government agencies for accumulating personal data as a violation of privacy rights.

Janet Linde, who oversaw the A.C.L.U.'s archives for over a decade until she resigned last month, raised concerns in e-mail messages and memorandums for over two years that officials' use of shredders in their offices made a mockery of the organization's policy to supervise document destruction and created potential legal risks.

"It has been shown in many legal cases over the years, including the Enron case, that if a company has an established and documented shredding program they will not be liable if documents at issue in a lawsuit are found to have been destroyed," Ms. Linde wrote in a 2003 memo. "If, however, the means for unauthorized shredding is present in the office we cannot say that we have made a good faith effort to monitor and document our records disposal process."

Ms. Linde said she was disturbed that her correspondence had become public and declined to comment further. A spokeswoman for the organization, Emily Whitfield, declined to answer specific questions but made the following statement: "The A.C.L.U.'s records management policies have always been of the highest standards in keeping with, if not more stringent than, those of other nonprofits."

The organization refused to address which documents were being shredded, among other questions.
So when Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the organization, casually mentioned to a group of employees in 2002, about a year after his arrival, that he had a shredder in his office, they were shocked, said two former employees who did not want their names used because they feared it would interfere with future employment. Mr. Romero was told it was a violation of policy, the former employees said, but no one pushed the issue.
To make it clear, I don't believe they are trying to hide illegal activity or any of the sort. Just some good irony.
 

superbovine

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stubeeef said:
To make it clear, I don't believe they are trying to hide illegal activity or any of the sort. Just some good irony.
Well, there are several good reason for any organization to legal shred documents. considering identity theft as one of the biggest reason. although, it always good to probe into anything like this to make sure they aren't doing anything too shady.
 

rainman::|:|

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the concern isn't that the ACLU is doing something shady (really, what can they do? invade contributer's privacy? oops) but for the fact that they're going against their own practices lately. And while some data (HIPAA related mostly) must be shredded, a lot needs to be kept for SOX, the DOJ doesn't like it when companies can't produce paperwork later... and too many companies are lax about allowing data to go in the shredders. ACLU should be ashamed, i'm not giving them any of my money until there's an investigation of their recent practices.
 

wdlove

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The ACLU is a very scary organization. The shredding of documents is only a very minor thing.
 

Chip NoVaMac

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wdlove said:
The ACLU is a very scary organization. The shredding of documents is only a very minor thing.
Scary? I don't think so. Sure, protecting civil liberties leaves them open to supporting things that even us Liberals raise an eyebrow at. Someone has to protect us from politicians that don't even read the bills they are passing.
 

GeeYouEye

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Chip NoVaMac said:
Scary? I don't think so. Sure, protecting civil liberties leaves them open to supporting things that even us Liberals raise an eyebrow at. Someone has to protect us from politicians that don't even read the bills they are passing.
Yeah, but consider, do you really want the ACLU doing it? The other week, some columnist wrote a satire about a fictional school district in Arkansas which had banned The Iliad and The Oddessy on grounds of separation of church and state because they include Zeus and Apollo. The ACLU then publicly announced it's support for the school district and offered to defend them if sued. Bear in mind that said school district was entirely fictional. Do you really want people like that defending civil liberties?
 

absolut_mac

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Chip NoVaMac said:
Scary? I don't think so. Sure, protecting civil liberties leaves them open to supporting things that even us Liberals raise an eyebrow at. Someone has to protect us from politicians that don't even read the bills they are passing.
I agree with wdlove that the direction that the ACLU is going in right now is very scary.

I don't know about you, but I'm very nervous of large and powerful organizations in general (yes, the US government included) and the ACLU in particular due to their propensity to abuse their power.

I'm especially wary of any organization that labels themselves defenders of civil liberties, but believes that the rights of pedophiles to molest their victims takes precedence over the rights of parents and guardians to protect their children from these sick evil people. Ergo, the ACLU sued on behalf of the web site informing pedophiles how to seduce children, where to pick them up etc, on the grounds that their freedom of speech was being impinged upon by banning such sites. Of course the ACLU had no qualms about the rights of children and parents to be protected from such evil.

The bottom line for me is that if the ACLU had their way, everyone would have a right to shout *hijack* on a plane or *fire* in a crowded movie theater in order that that rights of the person doing such a stupid and insensitive thing should not be curtailed, even if it results in serious injury to innocent bystanders, as I have clearly pointed out in the case above.
 

zimv20

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now that the thread has been dumped into the political area, i shall remind everyone that the standards in here for assertions are high. please provide links for claims about what the ACLU does and does not do. thank you.
 

zimv20

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IJ Reilly said:
Spoilsport. Of course the ACLU is scary. You never know who's Constitutional rights they're going to defend next.
First they defended the disabled, and I did not speak out—
because I was not disabled;
Then they defended the immigrants, and I did not speak out—
because I was not an immigrant;
Then they defended the poor, and I did not speak out—
because I was not poor;
Then they defended the religious, and I did not speak out—
because I was not religious;
Then they called me— a straight, white male. And i made a donation.
 

skunk

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zimv20 said:
First they defended the disabled, and I did not speak out—
because I was not disabled;
Then they defended the immigrants, and I did not speak out—
because I was not an immigrant;
Then they defended the poor, and I did not speak out—
because I was not poor;
Then they defended the religious, and I did not speak out—
because I was not religious;
Then they called me— a straight, white male. And i made a donation.
Nice.
 

absolut_mac

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zimv20 said:
now that the thread has been dumped into the political area, i shall remind everyone that the standards in here for assertions are high. please provide links for claims about what the ACLU does and does not do. thank you.
You want proof of the ACLU defending the rights of pedophiles and their *free speech privilege* to put up a site showing other pedophiles how it's done?

In that case, here's a few....

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/LAW/01/08/nambla.suit.crim/

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=18029

http://www.family.org/cforum/citizenmag/departments/a0013409.cfm

Seems to me that speech is not *free* when the rights of others are trampled upon, especially when those others are innocent bystanders as in the aforementioned cases - travelers, movie theater audience and children!
 

Chip NoVaMac

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absolut_mac said:
You want proof of the ACLU defending the rights of pedophiles and their *free speech privilege* to put up a site showing other pedophiles how it's done?

In that case, here's a few....

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/LAW/01/08/nambla.suit.crim/

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=18029

http://www.family.org/cforum/citizenmag/departments/a0013409.cfm

Seems to me that speech is not *free* when the rights of others are trampled upon, especially when those others are innocent bystanders as in the aforementioned cases - travelers, movie theater audience and children!
Not quite accurate of you saying "how it's done"; bit of working with words to incite strong emotion. To quote from the World Net Daily:

According to Curley family attorney Larry Frisoli, Jaynes kept a diary in which he wrote that he turned to NAMBLA's website in order to gain psychological comfort for what he was about to do. The killer had been stalking Curley prior to the boy's murder and possessed various materials from the clandestine group.

The ACLU argues that the newsletters and other NAMBLA materials in Jaynes' possession, which contain ''photographs of boys of various ages and nude drawings of boys,'' are protected speech under the Constitution. The material does not ''urge, promote, advocate or even condone torture, mutilation or murder,'' ACLU attorneys wrote. ''Examination of the materials that have been identified by the plaintiffs will show that they simply do not advocate violation of the law,'' the dismissal motion states. ''But even if that were the case, speech is not deprived of the protection of the First Amendment simply because it advocates an unlawful act."
I am not supporting NAMBLA's activities. But under our constitution, they have the right to express their views. Just as some ultra conservative web sites express their views on homosexuality or other minority groups.
 

miloblithe

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Do you believe in the adversarial legal system? That people accused of crimes are entitled to a defense? Or do you just think that when someone does something that seems abhorent we should just string them up, no questions asked?
 

pseudobrit

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wdlove said:
The ACLU is a very scary organization. The shredding of documents is only a very minor thing.
There's no proof or even any specific allegation of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

I'm quite disappointed that the NYT found it such a slow news day that they feel compelled to run a nonstory like this.

I am a member of the ACLU because it is an organisation scary enough to not give a **** what ignorant Americans (like wdlove, who's been known to uncharacteristically drop one-liner thread turds such as the one above) think of it. It forges ahead, undisturbed, with as pure an agenda as one will see in today's political climate. Their lawyers will file a brief supporting an African American group's discrimination lawsuit the same day they file one supporting the KKK's right to march.

Funny enough that the other two right-wing trolls are on my ignore list. I can safely assume they have nothing substantial to add.
 

pseudobrit

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From the CNN link:

The Curleys' attorney, Lawrence Frisoli, disagrees.

"When it comes to the commission of a crime, which is the rape of children in this America, free speech doesn't protect you," Frisoli said.

Salvatore Sicari and Charles Jaynes are serving life sentences for kidnapping and killing Jeffrey. Massachustetts has no death penalty.
Free speech obviously didn't protect the criminals; they're serving life sentences.

NAMBLA didn't rape that child anymore than the NRA shot thousands of children last year.

If the artistic depiction of naked children is a crime, then someone needs to take a paintbrush to the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Porn in the Vatican!
 

skunk

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pseudobrit said:
Funny enough that the other two right-wing trolls are on my ignore list. I can safely assume they have nothing substantial to add.
What differentiates a troll from someone who holds opposing views to yours? Considering the topic, the distinction should be made pretty clear: can you elucidate? I'm genuinely puzzled.
 

iGary

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IJ Reilly said:
Spoilsport. Of course the ACLU is scary. You never know who's Constitutional rights they're going to defend next.
Exactly, like NAMBLA.

Glad they've got their priorities straight.

Ooops, somebody beat me to it. Sorry. :p
 

pseudobrit

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skunk said:
What differentiates a troll from someone who holds opposing views to yours? Considering the topic, the distinction should be made pretty clear: can you elucidate? I'm genuinely puzzled.
I cannot recall the particulars of why these two are on my ignore list, but I can tell you how one goes about getting there: they frustrate me.

They generally will post in a manner that seems to be picking a fight. They come in here with an attitude and an agenda. They stereotype. They stereotype this forum. I can live with these attributes, but this I cannot tolerate: They repeatedly drop unsubstantiated claims (often one-line little turd nuggets) on the board -- making a mess -- that many of us will waste time chasing down and refuting -- cleaning up.

They're not worth my time or the aggravation they (deliberately) cause. They are trolling.
 

pseudobrit

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iGary said:
Exactly, like NAMBLA.

Glad they've got their priorities straight.
They don't have priorities. They will defend anyone whose Constitutional rights are being threatened.

If they choose not to defend NAMBLA 'cause they've got an unpopular image, then anything they do to defend "nice" people is meaningless.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
 

skunk

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pseudobrit said:
They are trolling.
OK, I understand. I guess the phrase "right-wing trolls" worries me. It's not really a very useful linkage, and probably rather off-putting to any non-trolling "right-wingers". We need as many of those as will contribute, or else we finish up as an echo chamber.
 

pseudobrit

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skunk said:
OK, I understand. I guess the phrase "right-wing trolls" worries me. It's not really a very useful linkage, and probably rather off-putting to any non-trolling "right-wingers". We need as many of those as will contribute, or else we finish up as an echo chamber.
It was a poorly phrased aside.
 

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