Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Utah Internet Firm Defies State's Warrantless Subpoena Law

Jul 10, 2013
Originally published on July 10, 2013 9:51 am

Utah's oldest Internet service provider, XMission, has refused to give up customer information to law enforcement, reports The Salt Lake Tribune. Specifically, the company says it won't comply with administrative subpoenas.

People tend to confuse these with warrants, but unlike warrants, administrative subpoenas don't require police officials to show they have "probable cause" of a crime. They also don't need approval from a judge — and that's the real problem, says company founder Pete Ashdown, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate and outspoken Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state. The Tribune reports:

"It's not that he wants to enable suspects of child pornography or exploitation, vowing he would gladly comply when presented with a warrant. But the president and founder of XMission calls the subpoenas 'unconstitutional' — an invasion of the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure — because they bypass the courts."

The courts tend to disagree. These administrative subpoenas are for connection data, not content. In other words, investigators are looking for evidence that person X connected to website Y at time Z. Courts have held that this kind of information is akin to the address written on the outside of an envelope; people don't have an expectation of privacy about connection data, and so it doesn't enjoy the protection of the Fourth Amendment.

But the courts may change their minds, especially now, as powerful analytics tools have made it possible to use connection data to draw a detailed portrait of a person's private life. That kind of analysis is the business model for much of Silicon Valley. Now police are getting into the act. The tech-savvy agencies have learned to use connection data earlier in their investigations — not just to prove the case against a suspect, but also to identify suspects to begin with.

A lot of privacy advocates want to see a good test case of whether a subpoena is really enough. Ashdown's company seems to be begging for a showdown, as it lists the subpoenas it has refused. But so far, Ashdown says, no dice.

"I've been kind of hoping that they would challenge [the policy], that we would go to court, and we could get a proper warrant for that information, or they would challenge my challenge and we could find out whether this law was constitutional at all," Ashdown told a legislative committee last month. "But it never happens."

There may be a tactical reason the subpoena-refuseniks haven't been dragged into court. Over the years, prosecutors have told me that they worry that a judge might rule against them and that the case could become precedent — which would deprive them of a powerful investigative tool. As long as the vast majority of ISPs continue to comply with the subpoenas for connection data, it may be smarter for law enforcement not to risk creating a case that could go up the ladder to the Supreme Court, which signaled in 2012 that it has serious reservations about warrantless electronic surveillance.

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