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.

The Freedom to Read Online

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:32am
Together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, today we asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision (PDF) that the government does not need a warrant to monitor the Web sites people read. The brief, submitted in United States v. Forrester, points out that people reasonably expect to be able to read the Web without the fear that the government is looking over their shoulder. The issue of Web privacy is one small aspect of the larger, fascinating, and unresolved question of how to apply the protections of the Constitution to the Internet. Technological change often prompts a reevaluation of the Constitution's meaning. In 1877, the Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment protects postal mail. Ninety years later, in United States v. Katz, the Supreme Court considered the novel question whether the Fourth Amendment's protection extends beyond postal mail to telephone conversations. It held that it does, and set out the general principle that the Fourth Amendment protects individuals whenever they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Thirty years after that, in 1997, the Court first addressed the application of the Constitution to Internet communications. That year the Supreme Court extended full First Amendment protection to the Internet in ACLU v. Reno, recognizing that "the content on the Internet is as diverse as human thought." In Forrester, we are asking the Court to grant Internet speech full Fourth Amendment protection as well. One of the reasons the Internet is such a powerful means of communication is that individuals are free to explore their ideas and interests free from the fear of social stigma or government observation. Privacy and free speech go hand-in-hand.

COPA: We Won!

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:09pm
Today brings excellent news for free speech: A court declared the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a federal Internet censorship law, unconstitutional, and forbade the government from enforcing it. It has taken nearly a decade of litigation—we…

Payment Cards vs. Filtering Software

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:57am
Here is a look at what is coming up this week in the COPA trial. We're nearing the end of our case-in-chief. Our only witness left to testify is Professor Ronald Mann. Remember this? COPA provides an affirmative defense from prosecution for anyone who,…

Last Week in COPA Court

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:38am

Hello again from the COPA trial! Let me try to fill you in on what happened last week. First off, the Court heard from a trio of school librarians. They explained that in their experience, Internet filters keep kids safe from inappropriate content.…

Con Law 101: First Amendment Redux

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:55pm
A post for non-lawyers who'd like a more detailed understanding of the legal issues in COPA ... The Supreme Court has held that "the First Amendment generally prevents government from proscribing speech, or even expressive conduct because of disapproval…

Online Free Speech on Trial

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 9:55am
It is a big day at the ACLU. After bouncing around the court system for eight years, our challenge to the federal government's Internet censorship law is finally going to trial. The law we're challenging is called the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).…
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