Blog of Rights

Florida "Surveillance State" license plate

Local Police in Florida Acting Like They’re the CIA (But They’re Not)

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:00am
The City of Sunrise, Florida, tried to take a page from the CIA’s anti-transparency playbook last week when it responded to an ACLU public records request about its use of powerful cell phone location tracking gear by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of any relevant documents. And the state police are trying to get in on the act as well. We have written about the federal government’s abuse of this tactic—called a “Glomar” response—before, but local law enforcement’s adoption of the ploy reaches a new level of absurdity. In this case, the response is not only a violation of Florida law, but is also fatally undermined by records the Sunrise Police Department has already posted online.
What's the Difference Between Force Feeding and Waterboarding?

What's the Difference Between Force Feeding and Waterboarding?

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:02am

The Department of Defense this month publicly released its newest rationalization for the abusive force-feeding program at Guantánamo Bay. In this latest memo on hunger strike policies, the abusive force-feeding program is referred to as "medical…

PCLOB to Examine Legal Underpinnings of NSA Surveillance

PCLOB to Examine Legal Underpinnings of NSA Surveillance

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 10:54am

Today, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer will appear before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as its members question government officials, privacy advocates, law professors, and policy experts about the government’s surveillance programs…

Smartphone with courthouse application selected.

Friends in High Places Support NSA Call-Tracking Lawsuit

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 1:26pm

One week after the ACLU filed the first appellate brief challenging the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, we’re getting a little help from our friends. Yesterday, seven prominent and…

Grounded: Life on the No Fly List

What You Should Know About America’s Secret Watchlists

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 10:01am

The U.S. government is blacklisting people as terrorism suspects based on secret standards and secret evidence. People on government watchlists are questioned, harassed, detained, and even barred indefinitely from flying — and the government denies…

Photo of Stingray from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Documents Reveal Unregulated Use of Stingrays in California

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:37pm

Local law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area have so-called stingray devices, a powerful cellphone surveillance tool, and more are planning to acquire the technology, according to public records recently obtained by Sacramento News10. The devices…

Privacy Rights are Human Rights

Privacy Rights are Human Rights

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 10:45am

Today and tomorrow the United Nations Human Rights Committee will review the United States’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To assist in the review of U.S. compliance with the covenant’s privacy protections,…

Still from the movie Matrix Revolutions

The Surveillance Machine Moves to Defend Itself

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:28am

In a pair of stories this past weekend, the Washington Post and the AP reported on the construction of an ambitious surveillance system by which the government aims to carry out detailed surveillance of its own employees.

Great, you say, our…

Image by Joe_A via Flickr

Federal Court Rules DOJ’s Location Tracking Memos Can Stay Secret

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:00pm

Yesterday, a federal district court ruled that the Justice Department does not need to disclose two secret memos providing guidance to federal prosecutors and investigators regarding the use of GPS devices and other location tracking technologies.…

Data Tunnel

Cyberalarmism's Threat to Privacy

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:26pm

This piece originally ran on Al Jazeera America.

When members of Congress talk cybersecurity, it doesn’t take long for the discussion to turn apocalyptic. The Feb. 27 meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee was no different when Lindsey…