Free Future

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

Fighting a Striking Case of Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:16pm
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering a case that could be pivotal in determining whether the government needs a warrant to track your cell phone. Today the ACLU, together with the ACLU of Maryland, Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, filed an amicus brief arguing that the Fourth Amendment requires the government get a warrant to find out everywhere a person has been for the past seven months. In the case, United States v. Graham, the government obtained a staggering 221 days of historical cell site location information for two suspects. For one suspect, Aaron Graham, this timespan allowed the government to sweep up his location at 29,659 specific points. (You can see our brief here, and see here a document we filed that shows all of Sprint's cell sites in the Baltimore area.)
Activists Leverage Stronger EU Privacy Laws to Seek More Information on PRISM

Activists Leverage Stronger EU Privacy Laws to Seek More Information on PRISM

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:03pm

A group of European activists yesterday filed complaints with European data protection authorities against Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Skype, and Yahoo alleging that the companies are violating EU privacy law by cooperating with the NSA's PRISM…

Ignorant Armies Eavesdropping By Night?

Ignorant Armies Eavesdropping By Night?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:11am

As revelations continue to pour forth about how the talents of thousands of brilliant math and computer experts are being utilized by the National Security Agency, we also saw last week the release of a report to Congress that attempts to defend the…

How the NSA's Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans' Privacy

How the NSA's Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans' Privacy

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy & Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 2:33pm

Documents obtained by the journalist Glenn Greenwald and released yesterday by The Guardian show how the National Security Agency...

First in the Nation: Montana Requires a Warrant for Location Tracking

First in the Nation: Montana Requires a Warrant for Location Tracking

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:15am

Montana just made history. It recently enacted the first state law in the nation (sponsored by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov (R-Billings)) requiring...

Call Logs? Try Kilowatts: Reports Reveal Demands for California Energy Data

Call Logs? Try Kilowatts: Reports Reveal Demands for California Energy Data

By Matthew Cagle, Volunteer Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:34pm

Amid recent revelations that the NSA has been secretly spying on phone records and the Internet activity of people in the United States, transparency reports filed by the California utilities companies and obtained by the ACLU of California show that…

A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Plum Job in Opposition to General Warrants (in 1760)

A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Plum Job in Opposition to General Warrants (in 1760)

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 4:14pm

A new poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire for the Boston Globe reveals that 40 percent of Massachusetts...

Some Thoughts on DMV Image Databases and the Police

Some Thoughts on DMV Image Databases and the Police

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:28pm

The Washington Post has an excellent, in-depth article today on the growing use of driver’s license photo databases combined with face recognition analytics by police.

There are two ways to think about this. First, it is yet another long…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

Flashback: Biden Agrees Access to Metadata Is 'Very, Very Intrusive' (VIDEO)

Flashback: Biden Agrees Access to Metadata Is 'Very, Very Intrusive' (VIDEO)

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 9:50am

In the wake of revelations that the Obama administration is tracking virtually every single phone call of every single American, the administration...