Free Future

"Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci (modified by Jay Stanley)

A Tour of the TSA’s Testing Facility

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am
Last week I was given a tour of the “TSA Systems Integration Facility” (TSIF), the agency’s testing facility located at Reagan National Airport here in Washington, in some outlying buildings that used to house the airport’s post office facility. The tour included the opportunity to talk to some of the specialists who work there. We were shown technologies that are already familiar; there was nothing on some of the more ridiculous screening programs such as SPOT or FAST, nor anything futuristic. But I did pick up some items of possible interest to those curious about the functioning of our airport security technology—including passengers with disabilities or who face special scrutiny, such as Sikhs, who are nearly always forced to undergo extra screening because of the turbans that Sikh men wear. (The tour was arranged by TSA’s office of Civil Rights and Liberties.)
J. Edgar Hoover, 1961, photo by Marion S. Trikosko from LOC/wikipedia

How State Secrecy Protects Government Agencies From Embarrassment, Then And Now

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 10:12am

Often when the government wants to keep something secret, it claims that transparency would endanger national security. We’ve been hearing a lot of this lately with regards to Edward Snowden. The leaks have caused “grave harm” to national security…

Photo of aircraft

ACLU Seeks Information About Airborne Cell Phone Snooping

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 7:59am

The ACLU is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today for information about a newly revealed Marshals Service program that uses aircraft to suck up location data from tens of thousands of people’s cell phones at a time.

The…

Photo of ACLU v. Clapper argument in Second Circuit

Nude Celebs and the NSA

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:49pm

Writing in the New Republic, Yishai Schwartz notes the confluence of two privacy stories yesterday: the theft of celebrities’ private nude photos stored in Apple’s iCloud, and my colleague Alexander Abdo’s argument before the Second Circuit Court…

Crop of image by luc legay via Flickr

An Important Review of Big Data

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:41am

Yesterday John Podesta, the president’s senior adviser, released a highly anticipated report addressing how the administration should tackle the challenges of big data in coming years. So how’d he do? Pretty well, actually. The report recognizes…

Still from the movie Matrix Revolutions

The Surveillance Machine Moves to Defend Itself

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:28am

In a pair of stories this past weekend, the Washington Post and the AP reported on the construction of an ambitious surveillance system by which the government aims to carry out detailed surveillance of its own employees.

Great, you say, our…

Image by Joe_A via Flickr

Federal Court Rules DOJ’s Location Tracking Memos Can Stay Secret

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:00pm

Yesterday, a federal district court ruled that the Justice Department does not need to disclose two secret memos providing guidance to federal prosecutors and investigators regarding the use of GPS devices and other location tracking technologies.…

Photo of cell phone tower disguised as a palm tree.

ACLU-Obtained Documents Reveal Breadth of Secretive Stingray Use in Florida

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:30pm

The ACLU is releasing records today obtained from law enforcement agencies across Florida about their acquisition and use of sophisticated cell phone location tracking devices known as “Stingrays.” These records provide the most detailed account…

Painting of family riding in 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

License Plate Scanners Also Taking Photos of Drivers and Passengers

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:01am

The Drug Enforcement Administration is using its license plate reader program not only to track drivers’ locations, but also to photograph these drivers and their passengers, according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom…

Photo of toll booth at night

Christie Use of Tollbooth Data and Why Location Privacy Must Be Protected

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:26am

David Sirota of the International Business Times reported last week that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and his appointee, the deputy governor of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had released a political opponent's private tollbooth…