Blog of Rights

J. Edgar Hoover, 1961, photo by Marion S. Trikosko from LOC/wikipedia

How State Secrecy Protects Government Agencies From Embarrassment, Then And Now

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 10:12am
Often when the government wants to keep something secret, it claims that transparency would endanger national security. We’ve been hearing a lot of this lately with regards to Edward Snowden. The leaks have caused “grave harm” to national security and even US foreign policy, Snowden’s critics repeat over and over again.The trouble is, whenever these critics are pressed to explain how Snowden's disclosures have harmed the public interest, they usually do one of two tricky things:
Privacy keyboard Photo source: g4ll4is from Flickr

Let's Lock Down the NSA's Shadow Database

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:07am

This is the final blog of a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Photo source: Chelsea Gomez from Flickr

Are "Two Hops" Too Many?

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 12:07pm

This is the second blog in a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Modification of image by jpstanley with map by jepoirrier via Flickr

Cell Tower Dumps: Another Surveillance Technique, Another Set of Unanswered Questions

By Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:58am

Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, and several other agencies asking for information about a surveillance technique known as a “cell tower dump.” If you’re wondering what that…

Government surveillance oversight

Congress Shouldn't Settle for the President's Opening Offer on NSA Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:28pm

This is the first post in a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 2:41pm

This piece originally ran at the Guardian.

To anyone who criticized the National Security Agency's phone-records dragnet over the last nine months or so, the American intelligence community had this stock response: all three branches of government…

Invasion of the Data Snatchers: Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

Invasion of the Data Snatchers: Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 11:18am

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

Estimates vary, but by 2020 there could be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Once dumb, they will have smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in…

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…

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…