Blog of Rights

Jay
Stanley
Jay Stanley (@JayCStanley) is Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, where he researches, writes and speaks about technology-related privacy and civil liberties issues and their future.  He is the Editor of the ACLU's "Free Future" blog and has authored and co-authored a variety of influential ACLU reports on privacy and technology topics. Before joining the ACLU, he was an analyst at the technology research firm Forrester, served as American politics editor of Facts on File’s World News Digest, and as national newswire editor at Medialink. He is a graduate of Williams College and holds an M.A. in American History from the University of Virginia.
Commercial Data Scores For Police, Auto Security, and Online Bots (Friday Links Roundup)

Commercial Data Scores For Police, Auto Security, and Online Bots (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:17pm
One of the problems we have long had with some cities’ red light camera systems is the role of the private sector, which sometimes assumes inherently governmental functions such as deciding who gets a traffic ticket—as well as collecting a slice of the revenue. The Birmingham News recently posted a series on the issue of private companies assuming traditionally governmental functions. In Alabama, private companies have been involved not only with traffic enforcement but also such things as tax collection and auditing and probation administration. In one town this led to what a judge condemned as a “debtor’s prison” and a “judicially sanctioned extortion racket.” As Jim Williams, executive director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, put it, “We expect the private sector to be aggressive. The responsibility to set limits and make rules lies with the government.” Unfortunately, all too often when government makes use of the private sector, it does not structure the deals carefully enough to ensure that the profit motive does not trample rights. And (as I am quoted as saying in the piece) private companies are not subject to checks and balances such as open-records laws that have evolved over time for government. With privatization a continuing craze—and local hunger for revenue at an historic high—we can unfortunately expect to see more of such misguided efforts, especially in the technology area where innovation comes from the private sector.
Protections Against Commercial Internet Spying: Why Delay is Deadly

Protections Against Commercial Internet Spying: Why Delay is Deadly

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

I wrote last week about how the ad industry is going on the attack against Do Not Track. Then yesterday, as the New York Times reported, the Direct Marketing Association kicked off a $1 million public relations campaign to try to persuade policymakers…

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:16pm

During the Cold War, as I argued last week, the totalitarian governments of the Soviet bloc functioned as a standing warning to Americans of the dangers of unchecked surveillance—lessons that we would do well to remember despite the fall of the…

Doesn’t the Ad Industry Trust the Free Market?

Doesn’t the Ad Industry Trust the Free Market?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:33pm

The advertising industry continues to mount a strong attack on the Do Not Track concept for protecting online privacy. As my colleague Chris Calabrese described last week, the industry threw an “epic hissy fit” (in the words of Ed Bott…

Newest Video Analytics Technique “Product Recognition” Aims to Judge You By What You Wear

Newest Video Analytics Technique “Product Recognition” Aims to Judge You By What You Wear

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:56pm

I blogged recently about video analytics, the attempt to build intelligence into video surveillance so that cameras can not only record our every move in public, but also in some respects understand what they are seeing. Now comes word of the latest…

Would it be Easier to Fight Surveillance if the Soviets Were Still Around?

Would it be Easier to Fight Surveillance if the Soviets Were Still Around?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:05am

Sometimes the constant news on the surveillance front makes me wonder: would it be easier to fight new surveillance programs if the Soviet Union were still around?

On the one hand the Cold War was a bonanza for the military and for our three-letter…

Police Cameras Outside Your Door

Police Cameras Outside Your Door

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:56am

The ACLU of Michigan recently put out an interesting report on surveillance cameras. Like other ACLU reports on cameras (such as those by our affiliates in Illinois and Northern California, and the materials on our national site) it summarizes the…

Breaking the Law, Videotaping Suspicious Characters, and Seeing Through Walls (Friday Links Roundup)

Breaking the Law, Videotaping Suspicious Characters, and Seeing Through Walls (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:28pm

Reports circulated this week that Facebook’s new Timeline was placing private messages into people’s public Timeline displays. Facebook said it was certain that was not happening. According to a statement from Facebook:

Our engineers…

Heritage Foundation Weighs in On Domestic-Drone Policy Issues

Heritage Foundation Weighs in On Domestic-Drone Policy Issues

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

The conservative Heritage Foundation has issued a report on “Drones in U.S. Airspace: Principles for Governance” with proposals for how domestic drones ought to be regulated. The authors agree with much of what my co-author Catherine Crump…

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

Lie Detection, Special Treatment at the Airport, and Recursive Cameras (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:26pm

Salon has a nice piece on how research shows the difficulty of detecting lies—the impossibility, really—and how people consistently overestimate their ability to do so. And, how people consistently misidentify signs of stress (from a variety…

Statistics image