Blog of Rights

This Week in Civil Liberties (10/26/2012)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 6:24pm

What new location tracking device could be used for invasive government surveillance?

The ACLU is seeking information from the federal government on its use of what kind of surveillance technology?

In which state did Marty Atencio die after being beaten by guards in one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County jails?

The ACLU will be at the Supreme Court on Monday for our case against which law that authorized the NSA warrantless wiretapping program?

Voters in which state have the opportunity to approve Referendum 74, which secures the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples?

In Court: Uncovering Stingrays, A Troubling New Location Tracking Device

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed an amicus brief in what will be the first case to address the constitutional implications of a so-called “stingray,” a little- known device that can be used to track a suspect’s location and engage in other types of surveillance. We argue that if the government wants to use invasive surveillance technology like this, it must explain the technology to the courts so they can perform their judicial oversight function as required by the Constitution.

ACLU Asking the Federal Government How It’s Using Drones Inside the U.S.

This week the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act requests seeking records related to the federal government’s domestic use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) – better known as drones – as well as plans for the future rollout of drones in the U. S. Drone technology is largely a product of our war efforts abroad, but the federal government is repurposing these machines for surveillance purposes at home.

Marty Atencio (1967-2011): Another Victim of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Jails

Earnest “Marty” Atencio, 44 years old, died on December 20, 2011.  His dead body was covered with bruises, lacerations and puncture marks – wounds that made him look like the victim of a vicious attack by criminals.  But Atencio wasn’t attacked on the street; the attack that cost him his life took place at the Maricopa County jails (MCJ) in Phoenix, run by the self-styled “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio, and the assailants wore badges and uniforms.

Next Monday at the Supreme Court: Trying to Stop the NSA’s Unconstitutional Overreach

The next time you send an email or make a phone call to a friend outside the country, consider this: the National Security Agency could be making a copy of your communication and storing it. What about the Fourth Amendment? According to the government, not only is this practice constitutional, but ordinary federal courts should not even be allowed to rule on it.

On Monday, the ACLU will be at the Supreme Court to argue this issue in our lawsuit challenging the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program, which Congress authorized in the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

Washington State Votes by Mail to Approve Referendum 74

Voters in three states – Maine, Maryland, and Washington – have the opportunity to be the first to grant same-sex couples the freedom to marry, and voters in Minnesota can be the first to defeat a hurtful constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples. Washingtonians can start sending in their ballots to approve Referendum 74 and secure the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you'd like to see changes. Share your thoughts: ideas@aclu.org.

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