Blog of Rights

This Week in Civil Liberties (9/30/2011)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 7:23pm

Which police department will stop wrongfully arresting people for misdemeanor marijuana possession charges after coercing or tricking them into revealing small amounts of pot they had concealed in their pockets or bags?

Where did a public school principal illegally try to convert students to Christianity during a mandatory assembly?

What is your mobile carrier’s data retention policy?

What is NYCLU doing at #OccupyWallStreet?

What freedom are we celebrating this week?

Big Step Forward: NYPD Orders Officers to Stop Unlawful Marijuana Arrests
In an exciting step forward for justice and common sense, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has issued a directive ordering officers to stop arresting people for misdemeanor marijuana possession when the pot only becomes "public" because an officer has searched a person or directed the person to empty his or her pockets.

A SHOC-king Disregard for the Constitution
A public school in South Carolina flagrantly violated the Constitution recently by holding a Christian rap concert for students on school property during school hours. While most people would go to great lengths to avoid being caught breaking the law, footage of the event, believed to be taken by the event's organizers, was posted online.

How Long is Your Cell Phone Company Hanging On to Your Data?
All of the nation's major mobile carriers are retaining their customers' location data for at least a year, according to a chart the Department of Justice (DOJ) developed in 2010 — and that the ACLU of North Carolina received in response to our public records request about local law enforcement's use of cell phone location information.

NYCLU on the Scene at Wall Street Protests
A group of a few hundred protesters have occupied a park right off of Wall Street for two weeks now, seeking attention for what they call a greedy and unjust financial system. The staff of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has been on the scene talking to protesters, learning about their experiences with police and passing out Know Your Rights guides on protesting in New York City and on surviving police encounters.

Defending Banned Books...Again
September 24 – October 1 is Banned Books Week, and new this year was Banned Sites Day on September 28. All week ACLU staff and volunteers are posting their thoughts about the freedom to read — both books and online content. Celebrate your First Amendment rights by attending one of the ACLU's Banned Books events or just by reading whatever you choose.

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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