Free Future

Photo of blue pipes

We Want Internet Providers to Respond to Internet Demand, Not Shape It

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:38am
The debate over network neutrality is misguided, Robert McMillan argues in Wired, because amid dismay over the FCC’s proposal to allow ISPs to sell “fast lanes” to companies, people don’t understand that giant internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix already enjoy preferential delivery of their bits to end-users. This takes place, he points out, through “peering connections,” in which giant web companies pipe data directly to ISPs on their own private connections rather than through the internet backbone, and through “content delivery networks,” or CDNs, which are servers run by web companies deep inside the bowels of the ISPs.
Silhouette of face

Biometrics Industry: Anonymity is Forfeit

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:46am

The Department of Commerce has convened a “multistakeholder process” between civil society groups (like the ACLU) and industry groups, with the aim of limiting face recognition as a tool of surveillance in our society by establishing common ground…

stingray device

Internal Police Emails Show Efforts to Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracking

By Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director, ACLU of Florida at 9:01pm

As we suspected, local law enforcement officials are borrowing cell phone tracking devices known as “stingrays” from the U.S. Marshals Service—and police are deliberately concealing the use of stingrays in court documents submitted to judges…

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:38pm

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, a case in which the ACLU filed an amicus brief alongside other organizations urging the Sixth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision holding a…

18th Century political cartoon

Parody Doesn't Play in Peoria

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:46pm

In March of this year, Peoria resident Jon Daniel set up a satire Twitter account using the name of the town’s elected mayor, Jim Ardis. Using slang and swearwords, Daniel then tweeted a series of jokes. No one in their right mind would have thought…

Trickle Down Surveillance

Trickle Down Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:22am

Cell site simulators, also known as "stingrays," are devices that trick cellphones into reporting their locations and identifying information. They do so by mimicking cellphone towers and sending out electronic cues that allow the police to enlist…

Car in blurry lights

Federal Court Rules on One of the Major Outstanding Constitutional Privacy Questions of Our Time

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:13am

In a tremendous step forward for our right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held in United States v. Quartavious Davis that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from…

photograph of cancer cells under microscope

Secrecy is a Cancer on Our Democracy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:25am

In our 2011 ACLU report on secrecy "Drastic Measures Required," my co-author Mike German and I wrote that "American democracy has a disease, and it's called secrecy." Government secrecy, we wrote, "is growing like a cancer in our democracy."

Events…

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…

filing cabinet

U.S. Marshals Seize Local Cops’ Cell Phone Tracking Files in Extraordinary Attempt to Keep Information From Public

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

A run-of-the-mill public records request about cell phone surveillance submitted to a local police department in Florida has unearthed blatant violations of open government laws, including an incredible seizure of state records by the U.S. Marshals…