Blog of Rights

Feds Settle Lawsuit by Bradley Manning Supporter Over Border Laptop Search

Feds Settle Lawsuit by Bradley Manning Supporter Over Border Laptop Search

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:24pm

We announced some excellent news last night: the U.S. has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by David House over the...

Should Facebook Censor Misogynistic Material?

Should Facebook Censor Misogynistic Material?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:57am

The New York Times ran an article yesterday about pressure that is mounting on Facebook to censor websites full of awful misogynistic material. The company said it was reviewing its processes for dealing with content under its hate speech policy.

As…

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…

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:54pm

A week after the Department of Justice notified the Associated Press that it had secretly seized records for more than 20 phone lines...

AP Phone Records Scandal Highlights a Broader Problem: Lack of Checks and Balances on Government Access to Records

AP Phone Records Scandal Highlights a Broader Problem: Lack of Checks and Balances on Government Access to Records

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 11:36am

Last week we learned that the Department of Justice, in an unprecedented intrusion on the work of journalists, had obtained records for twenty telephone numbers belonging to the Associated Press or its reporters, spanning April and May 2012. The telephone records obtained do not include the content of phone calls, but they likely reveal the phone number of each and every caller on those lines for a period of weeks and, therefore, the identity of scores of confidential media sources.

The seizure of these records came to light only because the government has a special set of guidelines that require it to notify any media organization of a subpoena for its records within (at most) 90 days. The AP appears to have learned of the seizure of its phone records, albeit after the fact, only because of this special policy.

The notice given to the AP has generated a healthy debate over the limits on the government’s authority to acquire our telephone and internet records. But what if you aren’t a media organization and, therefore, do not benefit from the special government policy entitling you to notice when the government obtains your telephone or internet records? What information can the government get about you, and is it even required to tell you when it does so?

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…

DOJ's AP Phone Logs Grab Highlights Renewed Need for Shield Law

DOJ's AP Phone Logs Grab Highlights Renewed Need for Shield Law

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:31pm

Update: The administration has asked Sen. Schumer to reintroduce the Free Flow of Information Act, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) just announced that he will do so in the House, and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced a similar bill today. The administration…

IRS Abuses Power in Targeting Tea Party

IRS Abuses Power in Targeting Tea Party

By Michael Macleod-Ball, Chief of Staff, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:58am

The extraordinary revelation this week that the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party groups for more aggressive enforcement highlights exactly why caution is needed in any response to the much-vilified Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

The Privacy-Invading Potential of Eye Tracking Technology

The Privacy-Invading Potential of Eye Tracking Technology

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:42am

Eye tracking technology received new attention recently due to its inclusion in the Samsung Galaxy IV phone, where it can (with mixed results, according to reviewers) let users scroll the screen with their eyes or dim the screen when they look away.…

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:54am

A story out of Utah this week neatly showcased the rising concerns among civil liberties and press freedom groups around so-called "ag-gag" laws, which, in various ways, make it illegal to document animal abuse on factory farms and other agricultural…