Blog of Rights

Private Cameras Will Hurt Privacy - But is There a Solution?

Private Cameras Will Hurt Privacy - But is There a Solution?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:09am
The ACLU has long opposed the spread of government video surveillance in American public life. We published this piece, The Four Problems With Public Video Surveillance, way back in February 2002 for example, and we had been saying similar things long before that. When I wrote that piece, the United States was undergoing a rapid expansion of private video surveillance cameras, and there was a lot of talk about surveillance in the wake of 9/11, but surveillance cameras were still largely privately owned and decentralized. Cell phones with still cameras were just going mainstream, and video smartphones wouldn't become common until 5 years or so later.
An Attack on the Press, on Both Sides of the Pond

An Attack on the Press, on Both Sides of the Pond

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

The First Amendment may be on shaky ground here in the United States, but at least most folks, on both the left and right, agree that freedom of the press is a good thing – or, at least, a necessary evil.

Not so much across the pond. This…

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

Army Right to Halt 'Extremism' Training, Protect First Amendment Rights

By Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am

This piece originally appeared at Defense One.

Over the past couple of months, conservative commentators and some Republican members of Congress have been making a lot of hay over reports that Army diversity trainings have labeled various religious…

The Global Suppression of Protest

The Global Suppression of Protest

This week the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations released a report about the crackdown on peaceful protests in democracies around the world – the tactics include excessive (sometimes deadly) police force and the criminalization…

Burying the Needle

Burying the Needle

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 2:54pm

Back in 2007, Reps. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress's watchdog over the federal government. As the two top members of the Subcommittee on Investigations and…

Court Rules That Facebook ‘Likes’ Are Free Speech

Court Rules That Facebook ‘Likes’ Are Free Speech

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:53pm

A federal appeals court today issued an important decision that reaffirms everyone’s right to speak freely on the Internet. The three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found unanimously that, as we argued in our friend-of-the-court-brief…

The Business of Financing Hate Groups: Legal to Censor, but Unwise

The Business of Financing Hate Groups: Legal to Censor, but Unwise

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:23am

It's so tempting to go for the easy answer. Credit card companies are private businesses. They generally have the right...

A Victory for Free Speech from the Supreme Court

A Victory for Free Speech from the Supreme Court

By Lenora M. Lapidus, Women's Rights Project & Tara Norris, Women's Rights Project, ACLU at 11:56am

Yesterday, in an important First Amendment decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the government may not require federal grant recipients to endorse the government's policy positions. The decision in Agency for International Development v. Alliance…

VIDEO: 'We Steal Secrets' Director Discusses WikiLeaks, Manning, and More With the ACLU

VIDEO: 'We Steal Secrets' Director Discusses WikiLeaks, Manning, and More With the ACLU

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 10:13am

Alex Gibney, the Oscar-winning director of the new documentary “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” joined the ACLU’s Ben Wizner to talk whistleblowers, accountability, and government efforts to plug leaks.

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The start of the Bradley Manning trial this week comes against the backdrop of a broader crackdown on journalists and their sources, who play a critical role in exposing the government’s growing arsenal of secrets. Gibney and Wizner discuss the charges against Manning, and whether recent investigations—including both those against Fox News reporter James Rosen and WikiLeaks—indicate a creeping criminalization of the journalistic activity that is critical for a healthy democracy.

The result, as “We Steal Secrets” demonstrates—as does “Taxi to the Dark Side,” Gibney’s Oscar-winning documentary exploring the Bush administration’s torture regime—is an erosion of the mechanisms designed to make government both transparent and accountable for its mistakes and even crimes. Gibney asks, “Within the context of a government that’s making everything secret, there comes a point where, if there aren’t leaks, then how are we to hold the government ever to account?”

(WikiLeaks, for its part, took issue with its portrayal in “We Steal Secrets”—read some of the organization’s objections here.)

Standing Up for the Rights of Students to Free Expression

Standing Up for the Rights of Students to Free Expression

By Mary Beth Tinker at 11:39am

I have zero tolerance for schools that punish students for exercising their First Amendment rights. Students like Wesley Teague, who joked about his school's athletic department and Kyron Birdine, who was suspended for mocking standardized tests, did…