Morning Links: Spying blimps, involuntary commitments, and shaken babies.

•  A new report from the Civil Liberties Oversight Board find that bulk data collection from cell phones is illegal and at best contributes minimally to counterterrorism investigations.

• If you work in retail, you had better learn how to read your customers’ minds. Failure to do so could land you in federal court to face felony charges. And it isn’t the first time this has happened.

• A woman whose estranged husband killed her son, and then himself, was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for five weeks. She was then sent a bill for her stay. And if the details in the article are correct, she got off easy—the man apparently spent 40 years in an institution after he was caught stealing a $20 necklace.

• Edward Snowden will do a live Q&A tomorrow at 3pm ET.

• Evidence casting doubt on the “shaken baby syndrome” diagnosis continues to mount. I’ve written previously about the Jeffrey Havard case here. He faces execution in Mississippi due in part to an SBS diagnosis. See also Emily Bazelon’s thorough treatment of the issue.

• Federal judge refuses to throw out lawsuit from a man who has been put on the no-fly list.

• Surveillance state watch: The Army will deploy massive hovering blimps capable of “spotting individual people and vehicles from a distance of many miles.” Fear not, though. The Army says “it has ‘no current plans’ to mount such cameras or infrared sensors on the aerostats or to share information with federal, state or local law enforcement, but it declined to rule out either possibility.”

Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."
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Tom Toles · January 23