Free Future

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Why Computers Will Get Less Logical, And What it Means For Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:39am
A conversation like this may well take place not far in the future:
Crop of image by Arlo Bates via Flickr

When Big Data Becomes a Civil Rights Problem

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:06am

My colleague Jay Stanley just wrote about an invasive new police tactic employed by the Chicago Police Department. Using software created by an engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the city developed a “’heat list’ — an index of…

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…

Court Rules Feds Need Warrant to Access Drug Prescriptions Database

Court Rules Feds Need Warrant to Access Drug Prescriptions Database

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:48pm

In a significant win for the privacy rights of anyone who has ever gotten a drug prescription, a federal judge in Oregon ruled yesterday that the DEA needs a warrant to search confidential prescription records.

Oregon, like 48 other states,…

Big Data, George Orwell, and Tanks

Big Data, George Orwell, and Tanks

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:33am

I recently came across an interesting passage by George Orwell. It made me think about Big Data.

It is a commonplace that the history of civilization is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery…

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:32am

The Washington Post ran a story Thursday on a technology that I've been very concerned about for a while: persistent aerial surveillance. Specifically, it profiled a company, Persistent Surveillance Solutions, that has been deploying this panoptic…

Data Suggests Boston Police Targeted Black & Working Class Areas For Surveillance

Data Suggests Boston Police Targeted Black & Working Class Areas For Surveillance

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 5:38pm

Earlier this week the ACLU of Massachusetts called for a statewide moratorium on the use of license plate readers. We did so because a MuckRock/Boston Globe investigation revealed serious abuses by the Boston Police Department in its use of the controversial…

Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:12pm

Thanks to Edward Snowden we now understand that the NSA runs many dragnet surveillance programs, some of which target Americans. But a story yesterday from Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU is a reminder that dragnet surveillance is not just…

Cell Phone Companies Reveal How Much Cops Love Your Phone

Cell Phone Companies Reveal How Much Cops Love Your Phone

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:06pm

Cellphones are the spies in our pockets, gathering information about whom we befriend, what we say, where we go, and what we read. That’s why Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., recently asked the nation’s major cellphone companies to disclose how frequently they receive requests from law enforcement for customer call records—including the content of communications, numbers dialed, websites visited, and location data. Sometimes police have a warrant, sometimes they don’t.

Seven companies provided information in response to the inqury. The letters Markey received, which were covered today in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and New York Times, show that the quantity of requests for these records is staggering. T-Mobile and AT&T together received nearly 600,000 requests for customer information in 2012. AT&T has to employ more than 100 full-time workers to process them. And police demand for our call records is growing rapidly, with requests to Verizon doubling in the last five years.

This piece was originally published on Slate. Click here to read the full article.

Amazon and Drones

Amazon and Drones

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:04am

Amazon attracted a lot of attention this weekend when, on “60 Minutes,” CEO Jeff Bezos announced a futuristic vision for the company: using drones to make deliveries within 30 minutes to homes in metropolitan areas.

The biggest import of…