Free Future

Meet Jack: What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:38pm

Wednesday we learned that the NSA is collecting location information en masse. As we’ve long said, location data is an extremely powerful set of information about people. To flesh out why that is true, here is the kind of future memo that we fear may someday soon be uncovered:

Dear commissioner: now that we have finalized our systems for the acquisition and processing of Americans’ location data (using data from cell phone and license plate readers as well as other sources), I wanted to give you a quick taste of our new system’s capabilities in the domestic policing context.

As you can see in this screen shot from our new application, an individual by the name of Jack R. Benjamin yesterday was flagged as a potential DUI risk:

The rest of this post has been placed on a separate page that can display high-resolution images. Click here to view.

DOJ asks court to give police the benefit of the doubt on murky surveillance law

DOJ asks court to give police the benefit of the doubt on murky surveillance law

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 3:18pm

Live in Delaware, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania? You can rest a little bit easier today, knowing that police need a warrant before putting a GPS tracker on your car to monitor your movements. The Department of Justice has declined to appeal a Third Circuit…

The FISA Court’s Problems Run Deep, and More Than Tinkering is Required

The FISA Court’s Problems Run Deep, and More Than Tinkering is Required

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am

With the latest release of documents about the NSA and the FISA Court (this one in response to an ACLU/EFF Freedom of Information Act request) we now have yet more evidence that the NSA’s compliance with the court’s orders has been poor. We learn,…

How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project & Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:55pm

This was originally posted at The Guardian.

After yet another avalanche of documents showing how the NSA has spied on our communications for years, Americans should be asking, how did we get here?

The answer is simple: secrecy poisoned…

ACLU of Northern California files shareholder proposal with AT&T and Verizon on NSA Data Sharing

ACLU of Northern California files shareholder proposal with AT&T and Verizon on NSA Data Sharing

By Abdi Soltani, Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California at 1:53pm

When I found out that AT&T and Verizon have been handing over information about millions of customers’ calls to the National Security Agency (NSA) I was outraged. Secret, unchecked surveillance is antithetical to democracy, and the…

The $338,000 Internet Comment

The $338,000 Internet Comment

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:00am

(Updated below)

We’ve written before about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — a federal law that protects the robust diversity of free speech we’ve come to know and love (and hate) on the Internet. Last night, the…

Is Law Enforcement Getting Wiser About Its Use of New Technologies?

Is Law Enforcement Getting Wiser About Its Use of New Technologies?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:14am

Some leading police officials around the nation seem to be realizing that high-technology surveillance systems need to be deployed with great care, lest they prompt a public backlash. As the Atlantic Cities pointed out in a piece Friday, the Seattle…

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:36am

In criminal cases, defendants have a right to know what evidence the government plans to use against them and how the government gathered that evidence. This basic due process principle is essential: it allows defendants to test in court whether law…

The Three Dimensions of the Privacy Apocalypse

The Three Dimensions of the Privacy Apocalypse

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:34am

Recent reports have revealed that several companies are currently pushing “intelligent street lights” that are capable of being loaded with various kinds of sensors including, as Reuters reported late last month,

sensors for moisture,…

How Private is Your Online Search History?

How Private is Your Online Search History?

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:04pm

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice to find out whether federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors think they need a warrant to obtain people’s search queries from online search engine operators,…