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.

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 by taxpayers. The lawsuit charges that they were ejected because they arrived in a car with a bumper sticker that said, “no more blood for oil.”

Take Three: Appellate Court Hears Challenge to Internet Censorship . . . Again

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:14am

A sense of déjà vu pervaded the courtroom in Philadelphia yesterday as the ACLU presented its challenge to the Child Online Protection Act . . . again. This is not the first or the second, but the third time the ACLU has been before…

Better Than a Tinfoil Hat

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:06pm

Wired’s ThreatLevel blog published a list of “9 Reasons Wired Readers Should Wear Tinfoil Hats.” Well, that’s one option. But if you’re concerned about Big Brother tracking Americans’ movements or rifling through…

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…

Surveillance Programs Must Not Be Kept Secret

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:07pm

Technology moves so fast today that surveillance programs can now become routine before the public even learns of them. That is a problem because new surveillance programs can involve difficult value judgments and tradeoffs. How valuable are those…

ACLU Files Brief Arguing Warrantless GPS Tracking Is Unconstitutional

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:57pm

On Friday, the ACLU of Delaware filed a brief with the Delaware Supreme Court arguing that law enforcement agents should not be permitted to attach a GPS device to a car without getting a search warrant. The brief explains that because GPS tracking…

What’s the Difference Between Facebook and a Stranger on the Street?

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:55am

“Can you guys give us a list of every friend you’ve ever had? In alphabetical order, please.” This question, posed by a pair of geeky guys to two blondes, is part of a great satire of Facebook put together by the Australian…

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…

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.

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