Blog of Rights

Catherine
Crump

Catherine Crump (@CatherineNCrumpclerked for the Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, a judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, prior to joining the ACLU. Crump graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School. She is a non-residential fellow with the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

Everywhere You Want to Be, and Everywhere You Once Were

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:45pm

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

We recently submitted a brief (PDF) to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in a case about the legal limits of the government using people's cell phones to monitor their whereabouts, a.k.a. "cell phone tracking." The case is about what requirements must be met in order for the governmentto obtain a record of someone's past movements from the telephone company. The government argues (PDF) that it is entitled to this information whenever it shows the information is "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation." The ACLU and our coalition partners the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy & Technology and the ACLU of Pennsylvania argue that judges should be free to require the government to show probable cause, which we believe is required by the Fourth Amendment.

If you're like most people, you're probably not aware that your cell phone can be used to track your movements. It can. If your phone is fairly new, the odds are it has a GPS chip inside. The same technology that allows car navigation systems to know where your car is can be used to track your movements through your cell phone. But even if your phone doesn't have a GPS chip, it still has to connect to the cell phone network somehow. It transmits to the nearest cell network tower and, because the location of those towers is known, it's possible to approximate the location of you and your phone.

Don't Restrict Adults to Protect Kids

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:43pm

(Originally posted on The Agonist.)

There are few cases addressing whether libraries may block patrons’ access to portions of the Internet. An ACLU of Washington case that will be before the Washington State Supreme Court this spring raises this issue, and is a case to watch. We recently filed our brief in the case, and just received word that the Court will hear argument on June 23.

At stake is whether libraries are free to use Internet filtering software to block adults’ access to constitutionally protected speech. The defendant, a consortium of 23 public libraries, has a policy of blocking access to all speech it considers inappropriate for children. One of our clients, the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation, joined the lawsuit because the libraries went so far as to block all websites about firearms, including one of the advocacy organization’s own websites.

In the name of protecting kids, the library has blocked access to a great deal of speech that is indisputably protected by both the Washington and federal constitutions. Other clients in the case are adult patrons of the libraries whose efforts to do research online have been frustrated by the libraries’ filter. For example, Sarah Bradburn was prevented from accessing websites about youth tobacco usage that she needed to complete a school assignment.

Court Silences Political Speech…For Now

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:53pm

We just lost — for the moment, at least — an important court case about the right to protest. In 2005, Leslie Weise and Alex Young were removed from one of President Bush’s speeches. The speech was open to the public and funded…

In Congress Today: Testifying in Support of Geo-Privacy

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:23pm

Today I testified before the House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee in support of the Geolocational Privacy Surveillance Act, a law that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant based upon probable cause before…

Need For a Warrant For GPS Tracking Still Not Settled

Need For a Warrant For GPS Tracking Still Not Settled

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 8:40am

Last night we filed an amicus brief in United States v. Pineda-Moreno, a Ninth Circuit case that could play a significant role in determining how broadly the Supreme Court’s recent GPS tracking decision, United States v. Jones, is applied to…

Justices Press Government on Limits of Warrantless Location Tracking

Justices Press Government on Limits of Warrantless Location Tracking

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 9:48am

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard argument in an important case that confronts how to apply Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures to new technologies.

Standing Up to Internet Censorship

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:01pm

In two different cases this week, the ACLU will be in court arguing that the government has unconstitutionally censored the Internet. Ever since the Supreme Court issued a fractured opinion on Internet filtering in 2003, when nine justices wrote…

Privacy Rights Must Keep Pace with Technology

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:02pm

In November, a federal court in Texas found that the Constitution requires the government to get a warrant and show probable cause before getting access to someone’s historical location data from their mobile carrier. We applauded this decision…

Schools Can Teach Tolerance and Honor Free Speech

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:53am

Yesterday, the Knoxville News Sentinel ran our editorial explaining why a federal appeals court should reconsider a recent decision that sharply limits the free speech rights of public school students.  The ACLU has asked the court to consider…

ACLU Files Brief Against Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:27pm

Today the ACLU, the ACLU of Connecticut and the Electronic Frontier Foundation once again took a stand against warrantless cell phone tracking, in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to a federal judge in Connecticut. Cell phones are not just…

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