Blog of Rights

Bennett
Stein

Bennett Stein (@bbbennettt) is a Legal Assistant with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.  Prior to joining SPT, Bennett served on the executive board of the ACLU’s University of Michigan Undergraduate Chapter for four years.  He also co-founded the University of Michigan student organization Students Against Surveillance which continues to advocate for an ordinance in Ann Arbor regulating the use of government surveillance cameras.  Bennett previously worked as a summer intern with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project.  While in school, Bennett worked at Durham’s Tracklements and Smokery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Bennett is a 2012 graduate of the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy.

The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:07am
The government is using shaky legal arguments to silence major Internet companies without giving them – or the public – the opportunity to respond. In three separate recent cases, the government has sent a grand jury subpoena to Yahoo or Twitter and requested a gag order from a magistrate judge, attempting to bar these tech companies from informing the customers in question. To make matters worse, the government won't disclose its reasoning for requesting the gag, effectively shutting the public out of the courthouse without any explanation.
In Court Today: Challenging DOJ Secrecy on Use of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

In Court Today: Challenging DOJ Secrecy on Use of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:47am

Way back in 2007, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information about how and when the government obtains cell phone location data without a warrant. Since then, we have learned that the practice of using cell phones as tracking…

Here’s Who Thinks Snowden Should Be Allowed Home – What About You?

Here’s Who Thinks Snowden Should Be Allowed Home – What About You?

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:54pm

It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower,…

Court Rules That Facebook ‘Likes’ Are Free Speech

Court Rules That Facebook ‘Likes’ Are Free Speech

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:53pm

A federal appeals court today issued an important decision that reaffirms everyone’s right to speak freely on the Internet. The three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found unanimously that, as we argued in our friend-of-the-court-brief…

The Chilling Effects of License-Plate Location Tracking

The Chilling Effects of License-Plate Location Tracking

By Mica Moore, ACLU & Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:12pm

Location tracking has far-reaching implications for the way we live, even if we don't think we've done anything wrong. Our recent report, "You Are Being Tracked," shows that automatic license plate readers allow law enforcement to track every car on…

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:16pm

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering a case that could be pivotal in determining whether the government needs a warrant to track your cell phone. Today the ACLU, together with the ACLU of Maryland, Center for Democracy &…

Barbara Brenner, 1951-2013

Barbara Brenner, 1951-2013

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:00am

The ACLU mourns the loss of a great leader, tenacious activist, and close friend of the organization. Barbara Brenner, the longtime director of Breast Cancer Action ("BCA"), was a frequent and trusted ACLU collaborator – as an employee at the ACLU…

What the Government Says When It Says Nothing

What the Government Says When It Says Nothing

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:36pm

On May 8, the ACLU released a slew of government documents obtained from the FBI, U.S. Attorneys' offices around the country, and the Justice Department's Criminal Division concerning the government's access to the contents of private electronic communications.…

Voices on Human Gene Patents: 7 Days Until the Supreme Court

Voices on Human Gene Patents: 7 Days Until the Supreme Court

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:37am

On April 15, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on a deceptively short question: Are human genes patentable? While the question's phrasing may be succinct and simple, the implications of the Court's answer are vast and critical. On behalf of researchers,…

Big Data: NSA, Facebook—and My University?

Big Data: NSA, Facebook—and My University?

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:51pm

On Sunday, the New York Times published an extensive piece surveying the ways American universities are using their access to students’ information to tailor their college experiences. Universities collect a huge amount of data on their students—course…

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