Blog of Rights

Decades Later, No Justice for Kent State Killings

Decades Later, No Justice for Kent State Killings

By Laurel Krause, Co-founder and Director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal at 10:31am
On May 4, 1970, members of the Ohio National Guard fired between 61 and 67 shots into a crowd of unarmed anti-war protestors at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students and wounding nine others. My 19-year-old sister, Allison Krause, was one of four students shot to death by the Ohio National Guard in the parking lot of her university campus as she protested the Vietnam War. I was 15 years old at the time.
The FCC's DIY Net Neutrality Fix

The FCC's DIY Net Neutrality Fix

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:24pm

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a long-awaited decision in a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s “net neutrality” or “open internet” regulations. As expected, the court invalidated two of these rules.

One…

Cop Assaults Elementary School Student

Cop Assaults Elementary School Student

By Seema Sadanandan, Organizer, ACLU of the Nation's Capital at 1:43pm

When Officer David Bailey grabbed a 10-year-old student by the back of his head and slammed it into the school cafeteria table, it is safe to say that student was not free to leave. On that afternoon, Bailey decided that his routine beat on the streets…

Chelsea Manning, Islan Nettles and the Struggle for Trans Survival

Chelsea Manning, Islan Nettles and the Struggle for Trans Survival

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 10:58am

While Chelsea Manning's announcement of her gender identity confounded the press, the transgender community in New York was reeling over the loss of yet another young transgender woman of color to violence. It is impossible to separate the bias and…

Honoring Chelsea Manning on Her 27th Birthday

Honoring Chelsea Manning on Her 27th Birthday

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 12:18pm

From the United States Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year prison sentence for convictions related to leaking classified information to Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning continues to speak out against the injustices…

Anastasio Hernández Rojas

Justice for Anastasio

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:52pm

When faced with government brutality and, in its aftermath, a total lack of justice for victims we have two choices: we can despair, or we can fight back.

On May 28, 2010, a 42-year-old undocumented immigrant,…

Some Thoughts on DMV Image Databases and the Police

Some Thoughts on DMV Image Databases and the Police

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:28pm

The Washington Post has an excellent, in-depth article today on the growing use of driver’s license photo databases combined with face recognition analytics by police.

There are two ways to think about this. First, it is yet another long…

Why Gene Patents Are Unlawful

By Selene Kaye, ACLU at 11:46am

(Originally posted on ACSBlog.)

Last week the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's practice of granting patents on human genes - specifically, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which are associated with breast and ovarian cancer. In the last 20 or so years the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has issued patents on thousands of human genes — the segments of DNA that we all have in our cells — giving private corporations, individuals, and universities the exclusive rights to those genetic sequences and their usage.

The patents on the BRCA genes are particularly broad and offensive. The PTO has granted Myriad Genetics, a private biotechnology company based in Utah, patents on both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic sequences, on any mutations along those genes, on any methods for locating mutations on the genes, without further specification on the type of methods, and on correlations between genetic mutations and susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer.

The lawsuit charges, as critics of gene patents have argued for years, that gene patents stifle biomedical research and interfere with patients' access to genetic testing. The lawsuit argues that the patents on the BRCA genes are unconstitutional and invalid given the long-standing legal precedent that "products of nature" and "laws of nature" are not patentable. The suit also makes the novel argument that the practice of patenting genes, their correlations with disease, and the thought of comparing two genes violates the First Amendment and interferes with scientific freedom.

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door.

When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, "Chico Police Department."

"I…

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

Persistent Aerial Surveillance: Do We Want To Go There, America?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:32am

The Washington Post ran a story Thursday on a technology that I've been very concerned about for a while: persistent aerial surveillance. Specifically, it profiled a company, Persistent Surveillance Solutions, that has been deploying this panoptic…