Blog of Rights

Ben
Wizner

Ben Wizner (@BenWizner) is director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project, which is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology. He has litigated numerous cases involving post-9/11 civil liberties abuses, including challenges to airport security policies, government watchlists, extraordinary rendition, and torture. He has appeared regularly in the media, testified before Congress, and traveled several times to Guantánamo Bay to monitor military commission proceedings. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law and was a law clerk to the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Checks, Balances, and the National Security Agency

Checks, Balances, and the National Security Agency

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy & Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am

Over the course of three days, the usually invisible National Security Agency has become ostentatiously visible and many Americans...

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:44am

UPDATE (8/21/13): Bradley Manning was sentenced by a military judge today to 35 years in prison. In response, the ACLU’s Ben Wizner said:

When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than…

Chelsea Manning and the Government's Draconian Approach to Whistleblowers

Chelsea Manning and the Government's Draconian Approach to Whistleblowers

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:02pm

Many Americans have been perplexed about how to view the prosecution of Chelsea Manning, who was sentenced this week under the name Bradley Manning.

On the one hand, they're not comfortable with the notion that any Army private should be able…

Ninth Circuit Presses Government Lawyer on Watch Lists: “What Would You Do?”

Ninth Circuit Presses Government Lawyer on Watch Lists: “What Would You Do?”

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:53pm

A few weeks ago, Jay Stanley posted here about some of the dangers of “Big Data,” a sanitized term for data mining. When it’s employed by government security agencies in the search for terrorists, Jay wrote, there’s a substantial…

A Question for America About Torture

A Question for America About Torture

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:58am

Today the Supreme Court was asked if federal officials responsible for the torture of an American citizen on American soil may be sued for damages under the Constitution.

The Government’s Overreach on Bradley Manning

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am
Today a military judge overseeing the court martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning will rule on the motion to dismiss the charge of "Aiding the Enemy."
The Accountability Shell Game

The Accountability Shell Game

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:48pm

There are many awful legacies of the Bush administration's criminal embrace of torture in the months and years following the 9/11 attacks. Among the most agonizing — for the torture victims themselves, and for the lawyers who have represented them…

The End of the Beginning? Or the Beginning of the End?

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:04pm

Nearly four years have passed since I first traveled to Guantánamo to observe proceedings in the military commission prosecution of Canadian Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when seized in Afghanistan and has now spent fully a third of his life…

Frying the Small Fish

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:43pm

(Originally posted on DailyKos.)

There’s a telling scene near the beginning of The Dark Side, Jane Mayer’s indispensable chronicle of the Bush Administration’s descent into torture and criminality. Shortly after the September 11 attacks,…

The Looking-Glass Sentence

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:24pm
It was a day of competing narratives. Who was the real David Hicks? In a jarringly strident sentencing argument in which he advocated the maximum sentence – by agreement, seven years – the military prosecutor intoned that the members of the Military…
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