Free Future

Report Details Government’s Ability to Analyze Massive Aerial Surveillance Video Streams

Report Details Government’s Ability to Analyze Massive Aerial Surveillance Video Streams

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:15am
Yesterday I wrote about Dayton Ohio’s plan for an aerial surveillance system similar to the “nightmare scenario” ARGUS wide-area surveillance technology. Actually, ARGUS is just the most advanced of a number of such “persistent wide-area surveillance” systems in existence and development. They include Constant Hawk, Angel Fire, Kestrel (used on blimps in Afghanistan), and Gorgon Stare.
SimCity and the Digital Divide

SimCity and the Digital Divide

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:14pm

I grew up in a non-Nintendo household, and so was weaned on PC games. One of my favorites was the mayor-simulator SimCity. Launched in 1989, the addictive and soon-to-be venerable title became the first name in sleepless nights for kids with limited…

Drone ‘Nightmare Scenario’ Now Has A Name: ARGUS

Drone ‘Nightmare Scenario’ Now Has A Name: ARGUS

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:06am

The PBS series NOVA, “Rise of the Drones,” recently aired a segment detailing the capabilities of a powerful aerial surveillance system known as ARGUS-IS, which is basically a super-high, 1.8 gigapixel resolution camera that can be mounted on a drone. As demonstrated in this clip, the system is capable of high-resolution monitoring and recording of an entire city. (The clip was written about in DefenseTech and in Slate.)

In the clip, the developer explains how the technology (which he also refers to with the apt name “Wide Area Persistent Stare”) is “equivalent to having up to a hundred Predators look at an area the size of a medium-sized city at once.”

Twitter Subpoenas Chill Free Speech; Latest Example is in San Francisco

Twitter Subpoenas Chill Free Speech; Latest Example is in San Francisco

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:52pm

In a disturbing trend that can have a chilling effect on free speech, law enforcement agencies around the country are seeking wide-ranging information about the social networking activity of political activists. The San Francisco District Attorney…

Open Source Intelligence and Crime Prevention

Open Source Intelligence and Crime Prevention

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:00pm

Buried on page A25 of Thursday’s New York Times is a tiny story on what’s likely to become a big problem after the recent horrific mass shooting. According to the report, top intelligence officials in the New York City Police Department…

Worst Facts Make Worst Law with Violent Video Games

Worst Facts Make Worst Law with Violent Video Games

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:43pm

It’s perfectly understandable that after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., everyone is casting about for an answer to a singular question: why?

As past is prologue, we shouldn’t be surprised that several members of Congress have settled…

Adding Audio Recording to Surveillance Cameras Threatens A Whole New Level of Monitoring in American Life

Adding Audio Recording to Surveillance Cameras Threatens A Whole New Level of Monitoring in American Life

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:06am

There has been a lot of attention recently to the issue of audio recording being added to surveillance cameras on public buses. This issue first came onto our radar in 2009, but resurfaced again in Maryland in October (see this October Baltimore Sun…

Hamas, Twitter and the First Amendment

Hamas, Twitter and the First Amendment

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:25pm

With one major exception, the Roberts Court has been quite protective of unpopular (and even revolting) speech under the First Amendment. That exception, however, is a doozy. It involves a statute criminalizing “material support” for terrorism,…

Police Install Camera Focused on Back Yard of Woman's Home

Police Install Camera Focused on Back Yard of Woman's Home

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:42am

Recently I wrote about an ACLU of Michigan report that highlighted the problem of police cameras being installed outside of people’s private homes. Last week I learned from my colleague Doug Bonney of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri about…

School Principals: Students Have Privacy and Free Speech Rights Too!

School Principals: Students Have Privacy and Free Speech Rights Too!

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

One of the technology-related civil liberties battles that ACLU affiliates around the country have been fighting in recent years involves defending students’ rights to privacy and free expression in the new electronic media that are becoming…