Free Future

Photo of police officer holding nightstick

We Need to Move Beyond the Frame of the “Bad Apple Cop”

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:27am
I and others have argued that video has “killed trust in police officers.” Police have been able to get away with a lot of abuse because judges, juries, and the public have usually deemed police officers more credible than abuse victims. But with a regular parade of videos being posted online, a certain naive faith in police officers held by many Americans may be eroding.
Photo of old gravestones

Facebook Legacy: A Matter of Life and Death

By Karen J. Kiley, Clinical Fellow, Speech, Privacy, & Technology Project, ACLU at 12:34pm

Modern technology makes our lives more convenient, and our deaths more complicated. Today when we die we leave behind not just physical belongings but also a vast amount of electronic “belongings.” Photos are no longer printed in an album on a…

Silhouette of Albuquerque police officer at night

Police Body Cameras: The Lessons of Albuquerque

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:25am

Police body-worn cameras are a subject about which many people have differing intuitions. Some activists tell us they worry we are mistaken in conditionally supporting the technology; that it will become a tool for increasingly police power, but not…

Five Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Right Now

Five Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Right Now

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:57pm

This post was first published on TED.com.

There seems to be a new data breach in the news every week – a major company hacked, millions of usernames, passwords or credit card numbers stolen. There isn’t much that you, as an individual,…

Dear TSA, My Football Preferences and Vacation Plans are None of your Business: A First-Hand Experience With the TSA’s “Chat-Downs”

Dear TSA, My Football Preferences and Vacation Plans are None of your Business: A First-Hand Experience With the TSA’s “Chat-Downs”

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:51pm

I was scheduled to return from my summer vacation at 6 a.m. Sunday morning flying out of Vermont’s Burlington International Airport in a state most often thought to be ahead of the civil liberties curve. If you’ve ever had a crack-of-dawn…

Photo of cell phone tower disguised as a palm tree.

ACLU-Obtained Documents Reveal Breadth of Secretive Stingray Use in Florida

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:30pm

The ACLU is releasing records today obtained from law enforcement agencies across Florida about their acquisition and use of sophisticated cell phone location tracking devices known as “Stingrays.” These records provide the most detailed account…

Modification of image by Joe King via Flickr

Status of 2014 Domestic Drone Legislation in the States

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:32am

Updated 6/30/14

Since last year, surveillance drones have been the subject of fierce debate both among legislators and the public, giving rise to an impressive amount of legislation—proposed and enacted—to protect individuals’ privacy.

Working…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

Photo of a police traffic stop

Police Officer Discretion in the Use of Body Worn Cameras

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:30pm

In our October 2013 policy white paper on police body cameras, we struggled with how to ensure that the cameras would serve as an effective oversight mechanism for police while not unduly invading privacy. We pointed out that purely from an oversight…

Hillary Clinton testifying

Politics Swirling Around Clinton Email Scandal Obscure Real Problems

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:30am

Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while secretary of state has inevitably become a fully inflated political football in these early days of the 2016 presidential race—with the right somehow linking the emails to the late Vince Foster,…