Free Future

Photo of stingray at bottom of ocean

VICTORY: Judge Releases Information about Police Use of Stingray Cell Phone Trackers

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:12pm
A Florida judge has sided with the ACLU to order release of information about police use of “stingrays,” which are invasive surveillance devices that send out powerful signals to trick cell phones into transmitting their locations and identifying information. The Tallahassee judge’s pro-transparency decision stands in contrast to extreme secrecy surrounding stingray records in another Florida court, which is at the center of an emergency motion filed by the ACLU today.
Crop of image by David D/C via Flickr

Have We Become a “Surveillance State”? A Five-Part Test

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

At a panel in Toronto recently I was asked whether I thought the United States had become a “surveillance state.” How to answer that question? At first glance it’s an impossibly fuzzy question, the answer to which is relative depending on whether…

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 7:15pm

(Updated below)

The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through…

Detail from painting "Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention"

Calls For a Constitutional Convention Heating Up in the States

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:47am

(Updated below)

We're hearing from our ACLU affiliates about a new trend in state legislatures: proposals to call for the convening of a constitutional convention. This would be a fairly radical step: although clearly provided for in the Constitution,…

closeup of camera lens

Body-Worn Cameras Should Not Expand Beyond Law Enforcement

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:34pm

The Guardian reported last week that Miami Beach is planning on expanding the use of body cameras beyond the police to include “meter maids,” code enforcement officers, and building and fire inspectors. This use of the technology does not make…

Modification of image by rachaelvoorhees via Flickr

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…

Crop of photo by Volker Neumann via Flickr

San Francisco Woman Pulled Out of Car at Gunpoint Because of License Plate Reader Error

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 5:13pm

A lawsuit pertaining to the use of license plate readers in San Francisco illustrates how dangerous it can be when police officers turn off their eyes, ears, and brains, and mistakenly rely on imperfect technologies to tell them who’s up to no good.

On…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…
Still from Rodney King beating video

The Video Revolution in Policing

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:39pm

We may have reached the point where video technology is producing a full-fledged revolution in policing. That revolution has been crystalized, or at least revealed by, the events in Ferguson.

The first element of that revolution is a growing…

Photo of Stingray from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Documents Reveal Unregulated Use of Stingrays in California

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:37pm

Local law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area have so-called stingray devices, a powerful cellphone surveillance tool, and more are planning to acquire the technology, according to public records recently obtained by Sacramento News10. The devices…