Free Future

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

Hindu Man Describes Mistreatment After False-Positive Hand Swab

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:40pm
When the TSA in 2010 introduced the swabbing of some passengers’ hands to detect for explosive residue, we got a call from CNN asking if we’d tell them on camera what we thought of it from a privacy standpoint. It seemed to us that particle sniffers particularly tuned to detect explosives were not a significant invasion of privacy, and that the intrusion of having a government agent swab one’s hand was not significant. Especially in comparison to many of the other airline security measures then (and still) being pushed by the TSA, this was a measure that seemed to represent a good balance between effectiveness and intrusiveness.
How NSA Overreach May Backfire Even On Agency’s Own Terms

How NSA Overreach May Backfire Even On Agency’s Own Terms

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:42am

Will the NSA’s sweeping surveillance programs ironically erode the agency’s ability to achieve the mission that it touts as its primary justification for those programs: stopping terrorist attacks? That’s the implication of a piece by the Washington…

Aerospace Group Issues Recommendations for State Drone Legislation

Aerospace Group Issues Recommendations for State Drone Legislation

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 12:49pm

Bills aimed at regulating domestic surveillance drones are sweeping the nation. We've been working on domestic drones since before the issue crossed legislators' radars, so, knowing their reach, we were hopeful when several leading state government…

In Court Thursday: Demanding the Justice Department’s Secret Memos on GPS Location Tracking

In Court Thursday: Demanding the Justice Department’s Secret Memos on GPS Location Tracking

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:41am

I will be in court tomorrow to argue that the Justice Department must release two key memos...

"Let's Put The Whole Elephant Out There": President Obama's Speech and Bulk Searches of Americans’ Emails

"Let's Put The Whole Elephant Out There": President Obama's Speech and Bulk Searches of Americans’ Emails

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 6:21pm

In his news conference last Friday, President Obama acknowledged the need for critical reforms to the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. Yet despite his nod toward greater transparency — what he called an effort to "put the whole elephant…

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 National Security 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...

A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications

A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 10:39am

Charlie Savage of The New York Times confirmed this week what we have been warning about for years...

My Life in Circles: Why Metadata is Incredibly Intimate

My Life in Circles: Why Metadata is Incredibly Intimate

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 3:19pm

One of the most disingenuous arguments in the aftermath of the NSA spying revelations is that the American people shouldn't be concerned about the government hoovering up its sensitive information because it's only metadata--or a fancy way of saying…

What the FBI Needs to Tell Americans About Its Use of Drones

What the FBI Needs to Tell Americans About Its Use of Drones

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 3:17pm

You've got to hand it to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): He has become one of the foremost members of Congress fighting for Americans' privacy rights, and has worked doggedly to shed light on how the government is using new technologies to monitor us without…

From the NSA to License Plate Readers: Are We to Have a “Collect it All” Society?

From the NSA to License Plate Readers: Are We to Have a “Collect it All” Society?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:44am

If the NSA needs a slogan, it should probably be “collect it all.” As phrased by an anonymous intel official recently quoted by the Washington Post, that has apparently been the approach of agency leadership in recent years. But the fight over whether that’s an appropriate strategy for keeping order in a democratic society is one that stretches far beyond the NSA programs now being debated.

For example, look at automatic license plate recognition systems, which are now sprouting up around the country. As we detailed in our recent report on the technology, many police departments are collecting and storing not only information about vehicles that are wanted by the police, but also location information about everybody who drives a car. Some police have defended this practice by arguing, essentially, that “you never know when or what we might need to solve a crime.”

In other words, nobody who accepts the NSA’s argument that universal collection is the right answer ought to be surprised when