Blog of Rights

This Year in Civil Liberties: 2011

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 2:51pm

2011 was certainly a year in which a number of the issues the ACLU works on really disturbed our blog readers. To sum up the year, we present you with some of the top issues from the past 12 months by taking a look at our most popular blog posts.

National Defense Authorization Act
This past year, there was no topic hotter on the Blog of Rights than the National Defense Authorization Act. In May, we blogged about the vote in the House of Representatives on a troubling expansion of war authority. Though the House passed the NDAA with the provision to authorize worldwide war, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill without that provision. Unfortunately, this version did include provisions for indefinite detention.

Outraged by indefinite detention provisions that would allow this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world, blog readers took action to ask their Senators to vote against the provisions. Despite our efforts, both the House and Senate passed the NDAA with the indefinite detention provisions. As I write this, the NDAA is sitting on the President’s desk. According to reports, the President's advisors are recommending that he not veto this legislation despite earlier promises to do so. We need to tell the President to listen to the American people.

FBI: If We Told You, You Might Sue
In May we blogged about some documents released to us by the government as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. In the documents, the government explains that it doesn't want you to know whether your internet or phone company is cooperating with its dragnet surveillance program because you might get upset and file lawsuits asserting your constitutional rights.

Tennessee Principal's Reaction to GSA T-Shirt Raises the Question: Who's Really Causing the Disruption Here?
Blog of Rights readers were also heated about Tennessee Principal Maurice Moser, who threw a fit in school about student Chris Sigler’s Gay-Straight Alliance t-shirt. Opposed to allowing a GSA at the school, Moser charged into Chris's economics class, interrupted the students in the middle of taking a test and ordered everyone except Chris to leave.

License Plate Scanners Logging Our Every Move
Last month, we found out that the District of Columbia is engaging in widespread tracking of citizens’ movements using automated license plate readers (ALPRs). It has now become clear that this technology, if we do not limit its use, will represent a significant step toward the creation of a surveillance society in the United States.

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