Free Future

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:52am
The Petraeus Affair Affair is salacious stuff. It also, naturally, raises a lot of questions about privacy. But there’s also an interesting First Amendment angle underneath the sensation: why did the FBI investigate Paula Broadwell—the Petraeus biographer and paramour who allegedly sent “harassing” emails to Tampa housewife Jill Kelley—in the first place? The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that none of the Broadwell emails contained “overt threats,” and really amounted to “cat-fight stuff” (a source’s words, not mine). Further, it appears the email that initially prompted Kelley to go to the FBI (titled “kelleypatrol”) was forwarded by General Allen, not sent directly. And, apparently, prosecutors expressed doubt that any of the emails constituted a threat.
In Court Today: Fighting Judicial Secrecy in the WikiLeaks Investigation

In Court Today: Fighting Judicial Secrecy in the WikiLeaks Investigation

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 9:30am

(Updated below)

In another round of the legal battle over the records of Twitter users sought by the government in connection with its WikiLeaks investigation, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are appearing before a federal…

ACLU Sues Over Abuse Of Photographers By Border Patrol Agents

ACLU Sues Over Abuse Of Photographers By Border Patrol Agents

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:42pm

The ACLU of San Diego filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) for violating the constitutional rights of two photographers, and for maintaining an official policy prohibiting the use of cameras and video recorders…

FTC Weighs In On Face Recognition Technology

FTC Weighs In On Face Recognition Technology

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:46pm

The FTC on Monday released a staff report on Face Recognition, offering “best practices for common uses of facial recognition technologies.” The report resulted from a workshop the agency held on the issue last year. Face recognition is…

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…

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…

Boston Police Store License Plate Data For “Intelligence” Purposes

Boston Police Store License Plate Data For “Intelligence” Purposes

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 2:29pm

This summer ACLU affiliates all around the country filed open-records requests seeking information about how government agencies are using automated license plate readers. One set of records, released this week to the ACLU of Massachusetts by the police…

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:59am

Back in the waning years of the Clinton administration, Congress quietly enacted an important internet privacy bill (the passage of which was overshadowed by other, more salacious developments). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”)…

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…

Keeping the Government Out of Your Smartphone

Keeping the Government Out of Your Smartphone

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:48am

Smartphones can be a cop's best friend. They are packed with private information like emails, text messages, photos, and calling history. Unsurprisingly, law enforcement agencies now routinely seize and search phones. This occurs at traffic stops,…