Blog of Rights

VICTORY! Supreme Court Decides: Our Genes Belong to Us, Not Companies

VICTORY! Supreme Court Decides: Our Genes Belong to Us, Not Companies

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 11:35am
Should companies be able to patent human genes? Today, the Supreme Court answered that profound question with a resounding NO.
Father of Mike Brown: "If I Could Have Stood Between Officer Wilson’s Gun and My Son, I Would Have."

Father of Mike Brown: "If I Could Have Stood Between Officer Wilson’s Gun and My Son, I Would Have."

The parents of Michael Brown – the black teenager killed by a police officer while walking, unarmed, in Ferguson, Missouri this summer – are in Geneva this week, as a United Nations committee reviews the United States' compliance with the Convention…

Do We Really Still Need Free Speech Week?

Do We Really Still Need Free Speech Week?

By Tony Rothert, Legal Director, ACLU of Missouri at 1:43pm

You bet. More than two centuries since the Bill of Rights was drafted, we continue to see a fundamental lack of understanding on government's part of just what freedom of speech means. Nowhere was that more apparent recently than in a Missouri suburb…

Anal Probe for a Traffic Stop?

Anal Probe for a Traffic Stop?

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 3:08pm

David Eckert was pulling out of a Wal-Mart parking lot when police officers pulled him over for failing to stop at a parking lot stop sign. Police ordered Eckert to step out of his vehicle, and that's when he committed the highly suspicious act of…

Photo of ACLU v. Clapper argument in Second Circuit

Nude Celebs and the NSA

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:49pm

Writing in the New Republic, Yishai Schwartz notes the confluence of two privacy stories yesterday: the theft of celebrities’ private nude photos stored in Apple’s iCloud, and my colleague Alexander Abdo’s argument before the Second Circuit Court…

The Real Reason Ferguson Has Military Weapons

The Real Reason Ferguson Has Military Weapons

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 11:34am

This piece was originally published on CNN.com.

It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades. The weaponry has changed, but the target is still the same.

If…

Photographers' Rights At Issue As Arizona Community Rises Up Against "Occupying Army" of Border Patrol Agents

Photographers' Rights At Issue As Arizona Community Rises Up Against "Occupying Army" of Border Patrol Agents

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:10pm

The ACLU of Arizona today sent a letter to the U.S. Border Patrol demanding that the agency immediately stop interfering with the First Amendment rights of the residents of Arivaca, Arizona, to protest and to photograph government activities that are…

In Disturbing Trend, Kansas School the Latest to Punish Student for Harmless Tweet

In Disturbing Trend, Kansas School the Latest to Punish Student for Harmless Tweet

By Greger Calhan, Legal Fellow, ACLU, Racial Justice Program & Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:46pm

Update: An earlier version of this post did not cite Heights High School's letter to Wesley and his parents, which was originally published on KWCH.com.

In Kansas, joking about sports can be hazardous to your high school graduation. Wesley…

Drone ‘Nightmare Scenario’ Now Has A Name: ARGUS

Drone ‘Nightmare Scenario’ Now Has A Name: ARGUS

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:06am

The PBS series NOVA, “Rise of the Drones,” recently aired a segment detailing the capabilities of a powerful aerial surveillance system known as ARGUS-IS, which is basically a super-high, 1.8 gigapixel resolution camera that can be mounted on a drone. As demonstrated in this clip, the system is capable of high-resolution monitoring and recording of an entire city. (The clip was written about in DefenseTech and in Slate.)

In the clip, the developer explains how the technology (which he also refers to with the apt name “Wide Area Persistent Stare”) is “equivalent to having up to a hundred Predators look at an area the size of a medium-sized city at once.”

English as a First Language

English as a First Language

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:40pm

Sigh. As if we don’t have enough divisiveness in this country, a familiar subset of Congressional Republicans are trotting out yet another discriminatory bill papered over with hollow rhetoric about “unity,” “commonality”…