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USA Today fights FBI on Subpoena targeting readers



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USA Today is battling the FBI’s effort to subpoena information on readers. According to reports, a senior FBI official from Maryland, is asking the news agency for information to determine who was accessing a specific story on the USA Today website about a deadly shooting that took place that day near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That shooting left two FBI agents dead and three wounded. The agents were attempting to arrest an alleged child pornographer David Huber, 55, when the suspect opened fire on the agents.

According to reports, the FBI is trying to determine who accessed  a specific online article during a 35-minute window starting just after 8 p.m. on the day of the shootings. The full scope of the subpoena is not clear and the FBI has not disclosed the reason as to why they are seeking personal data of so many USA Today readers but the news agency says it violates the privacy of its readers.

The subpoena doesn’t seek the names of individuals but it does seek internet addresses and mobile phone information. That information, of course, could lead to the identities of the readers and is the reason why the newspaper is fighting the FBI’s request.

Gannett’s lawyers say the subpoena violates the First Amendment and the publishers complained in a court filing that the bureau ignored the Justice Department’s policy for obtaining information from the media.

From Politico:

In a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, lawyers for Gannett said the demand violates the First Amendment. They also complained that the FBI appears to have ignored the Justice Department’s policy for seeking information from the media.

“A government demand for records that would identify specific individuals who read specific expressive materials, like the Subpoena at issue here, invades the First Amendment rights of both publisher and reader, and must be quashed accordingly,” attorneys Charles Tobin and Maxwell Mishkin wrote on behalf of Gannett.


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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’



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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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