Free Future

New Documents Suggest IRS Reads Emails Without a Warrant

New Documents Suggest IRS Reads Emails Without a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:00am
Everyone knows the IRS is our nation’s tax collector, but it is also a law enforcement organization tasked with investigating criminal violations of the tax laws. New documents released to the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the IRS Criminal Tax Division has long taken the position that the IRS can read your emails without a warrant—a practice that one appeals court has said violates the Fourth Amendment (and we think most Americans would agree).
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Why Has the ACLU Hired an Internet Infrastructure Technologist?

By Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Technology Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:54am

Last March, I started working as a technologist for the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology project. Part of the job is helping the ACLU’s lawyers to better understand the technical details of their legal work. But I'm also taking the fight for…

The FCC's DIY Net Neutrality Fix

The FCC's DIY Net Neutrality Fix

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:24pm

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a long-awaited decision in a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” or “open internet” regulations. As expected, the court invalidated two of these rules.

One…

Privacy, Computers, and Consequences (Computers vs. Humans Part 2)

Privacy, Computers, and Consequences (Computers vs. Humans Part 2)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:09pm

In a post yesterday I discussed the belief that as long as our behavior and communications are only scrutinized by a computer, our privacy has not been invaded. Many people have that sense because computers are so much dumber than human beings.

But…

Florida "Surveillance State" license plate

Local Police in Florida Acting Like They’re the CIA (But They’re Not)

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:00am

The City of Sunrise, Florida, tried to take a page from the CIA’s anti-transparency playbook last week when it responded to an ACLU public records request about its use of powerful cell phone location tracking gear by refusing to confirm or deny…

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Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:01am

It appears that at least one police department in Florida has failed to tell judges about its use of a cell phone tracking device because the department got the device on loan and promised the manufacturer to keep it all under wraps. But when police…

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 4:37pm

There has been a lot of press coverage in the past couple of weeks about the Department of Homeland Security posting a solicitation for contract proposals regarding access to a national license plate reader database—and DHS’s decision, once mainstream…

The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system

The NSA is turning the internet into a total surveillance system

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:13am

Now we know all Americans' international email is searched and saved, we can see how far the 'collect it all' mission has gone...

Use of Automated License Plate Readers Expanding in Northern California, and Data is Shared With Feds

Use of Automated License Plate Readers Expanding in Northern California, and Data is Shared With Feds

By Matthew Cagle, Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Fellow, ACLU of Northern California at 10:51am

The feeling of freedom that comes from driving down California’s sunny open roads is at risk—and rising gas prices are not to blame. Our investigations show that at least twenty Northern California law enforcement entities as well as the California…

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…