Blog of Rights

There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:53am

Tear gas, rubber bullets, and assault weapons; free speech zones, gags, and press pens: This is the arsenal of the police state. Some of these tactics are physical. The other ones—all the more pernicious for their quiet coercion—impose a veil of silence over the actions of law enforcement. And each of these weapons has been unleashed on the people of Ferguson, Missouri, since the killing of Michael Brown.

Still from Rodney King beating video

The Video Revolution in Policing

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:39pm

We may have reached the point where video technology is producing a full-fledged revolution in policing. That revolution has been crystalized, or at least revealed by, the events in Ferguson.

The first element of that revolution is a growing…

Brady Kissel

Book ‘em Danno

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:14pm

I hereby nominate, consider, and elect Idaho student Brady Kissel as the Constitutional Hero of the Week.   

Brady is a junior at Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho. Meridian, sadly, made recent headlines for celebrating…

"Snowden Was Justified." Get the Facts and You’ll Likely Agree.

"Snowden Was Justified." Get the Facts and You’ll Likely Agree.

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 5:09pm

A New York audience devoted nearly two hours yesterday evening to a riveting Intelligence Squared debate about Edward Snowden and the surveillance regime that his disclosures revealed.

The motion up for debate was "Snowden Was Justified." Arguing…

New Expansion of Stalking Law Poses First Amendment Concerns

New Expansion of Stalking Law Poses First Amendment Concerns

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:55pm

Nestled away in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), which was signed last week by President Obama and is otherwise a very good law, exists a provision that may significantly broaden the already overly expansive federal…

We Must Combat Child Pornography Without Abandoning Online Privacy

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:56pm

Sexual abuse of children is deeply evil, not to mention criminal. It harms children to an almost unfathomable degree. Child pornography commercially exploits that harm, exacerbating the initial crime. Unfortunately, terrible crimes can sometimes…

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…

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:38pm

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, a case in which the ACLU filed an amicus brief alongside other organizations urging the Sixth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision holding a…

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

Hidden Third Cameraman Proves Crucial in Nebraska Photographer-Abuse Case

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:36am

Take a look at the photograph above. It shows a former police officer in an orange jumpsuit making a court appearance to face a felony charge of evidence tampering, as well as misdemeanor obstruction and theft. I hope that police around the nation…

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…