ACLU’s Laura Murphy on Criminal Justice Reform, Libertarian Movement, and the Surveillance State

This week, Laura Murphy, Director of the Washington Legislative Office for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Photo Credit - ACLU

Photo Credit – ACLU

Ms. Murphy grew up in a politically active family that advocated citizen action.  After campaigning, working on Capitol Hill, lending her talents to several elected officials, working for several different ACLU offices, she was offered the position of Director of the Washington Legislative office in 1993 and was the first woman, African America, and has been the longest serving Director of the DC Legislative Office.

Almost 46,000 individuals are behind bars for non-violent drug offenses and can now apply for clemency.  While there is a strong libertarian movement questioning the war on drugs, many state legislatures grapple with the budgetary implications of an expanding prison population.  Furthermore, many religious movements are advocating redemption.  There are also those who express concern that that the application of justice with respect to the war on drugs comes down with disparate representation regarding minority groups.

Ms. Murhpy’s observed major changes in the Republican Party since 2008.  Whereas the the party once ostracized members who challenged party orthodoxy, it now seemingly welcomes more dissent under the big tent.  The Democrats, Ms. Murphy observers, have some serious hawkish elements.

Lately, the ACLU has been at the forefront of the battle against the unprecedented surveillance by government agencies like the NSA, the use of torture by the CIA, and overreach by law enforcement agencies.

Individuals concerned with government overreach and encroachment can sign up for action alerts from the ACLU and like organizations.

Should you worry about Real ID?

“I have nothing to hide so I’m not concerned about federal and international efforts to catalog my personal information.” Many shrug off Real ID laws using such rational, but in this podcast, Mark Lerner of, debunks this reasoning and explains why law abiding citizens must work to stop these attacks on personal liberty and privacy. Lerner, an expert in constitutional law, also gives an update on the current status of laws mandating biometric data collection, sharing, and mining.

2nd International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy

Deborah Peel, MD, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, is back with Michael in today’s podcast to preview the 2nd International Summit on the Future of Health Privacy. This conference on the urgent privacy issues raised by emerging health technologies will be held June 6 & 7 at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. For free registration and to learn about how to watch the conference proceedings live online go to

Health Privacy Summit – June 13, 2011

In this podcast, Deborah Peel, MD of the Patient Privacy Rights foundation joins Michael Ostolenk to preview an upcoming conference addressing the increasing inappropriate access government, corporations, and other third parties  have to confidential medical records.  “Getting IT Right: Protecting Patient Privacy Rights in a Wired World” is the nation’s first open and inclusive public forum to discuss the future of health privacy in the digital age. The conference will be held June 13, 2011 at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. and is the result of a partnership between the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, the premier health privacy advocacy organization in the United States.  A complete agenda and registration information is available at

Survey of American Medical Privacy Concerns

Are American’s concerned that the widespread push for implementation of electronic medical records will affect the privacy of their medical history? Insurance companies and the government often tout claims that patients welcome the convenience of EHRs but brush aside questions about privacy.

 In this interview with Michael Ostrolenk, Deborah Peel, MD of discusses a recent Zogby poll that queried 2,000 patients about their attitudes about how their personal information is handled. The results suggest that insurance companies, bureaucrats, and legislators need to reexamine their assumptions and take a more serious approach to protecting patient privacy.

As well as discussing the survey, Dr. Peel also debunks other common EHR myths including “deidentified” medical data mining and the “cost savings” of EHR implementation.

Is a free society reconcilable with a surveillance society?

This question is one that many across party lines are thinking about and one that Mark Lerner of the Constitutional Alliance and author of Your Body is Your ID discusses with Michael Ostrolenk in this edition of the Take Back Medicine podcast. Are concerns about the implementation of REAL ID fictional Orwellian fears or legitimate current threats to our liberties? Are there consequences in REAL ID for physicians and patients? What are free market alternatives for protecting our country from true foreign or domestic terrorist dangers? Listen to the podcast and learn about Mr. Lerner’s efforts to find soultions to protect our valued rights.

Deborah Peel, MD tells patients and doctors how they can protect medical privacy

In her interview with Michael Ostrolenk, Dr. Peel of also discusses  HIPAA, the Patient Privacy Consumer Toolkit, privacy provisions in the Stimulus Bill, and more!