Blog of Rights

Trickle Down Surveillance

Trickle Down Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:22am
Cell site simulators, also known as "stingrays," are devices that trick cellphones into reporting their locations and identifying information. They do so by mimicking cellphone towers and sending out electronic cues that allow the police to enlist cellphones as tracking devices, thus revealing people's movements with great precision. The equipment also sends intrusive electronic signals through the walls of private homes and offices, learning information about the locations and identities of phones inside. Initially the domain of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies, the use of stingrays has trickled down to federal, state and local law enforcement. In one Florida case, a police officer explained in court that he "quite literally stood in front of every door and window" with his stingray to track the phones inside a large apartment complex.
The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:07am

The government is using shaky legal arguments to silence major Internet companies without giving them – or the public – the opportunity to respond. In three separate recent cases, the government has sent a grand jury subpoena to Yahoo or Twitter…

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…

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door.

When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, "Chico Police Department."

"I…

Beware the Dangers of Congress’ Latest Cybersecurity Bill

Beware the Dangers of Congress’ Latest Cybersecurity Bill

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:52pm

A new cybersecurity bill poses serious threats to our privacy, gives the government extraordinary powers to silence potential whistleblowers, and exempts these dangerous new powers from transparency laws.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing…

"Guantánamo North" – NDAA Indefinite Detention Coming Soon to a Town Near You?

"Guantánamo North" – NDAA Indefinite Detention Coming Soon to a Town Near You?

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:00am

Top senators thought you wouldn't notice. Behind closed doors, they wrote up new indefinite detention and Guantánamo provisions in the annual defense policy bill, and then waited 11 days to quietly file the bill.

But we now have the bill,…

Guantánamo Dispatch: A Hard-Earned Trust in Peril

Guantánamo Dispatch: A Hard-Earned Trust in Peril

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:25pm

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — What would it take for you to trust a stranger with your life?

For most of us, this question is merely rhetorical, but for criminal defendants facing the death penalty, it could not be more concrete. To be effective…

Shouldn't You Be Able To See the Secret Surveillance Orders That Could Put You in Prison?

Shouldn't You Be Able To See the Secret Surveillance Orders That Could Put You in Prison?

By Ashley Gorski, Nadine Strossen Fellow, National Security Project, ACLU at 3:23pm

The Supreme Court is set to decide tomorrow whether it will hear a case concerning criminal defendants' right to see surveillance applications approved by the secret FISA court. The case, United States v. Daoud, has broad implications for the constitutional…

A Free, Federal College Education - But Mostly For Men

A Free, Federal College Education - But Mostly For Men

By Ariela Migdal, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 1:30pm

West Point, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs are all top-tier educational institutions owned and operated at taxpayer expense by the United States government. They provide an elite education and leadership…

Old postcard of cars in parking lot

DEA Planned to Monitor Gun Show Attendees With License Plate Readers, New Emails Reveal

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:40pm

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives collaborated on plans to monitor gun show attendees using automatic license plate readers, according to a newly disclosed DEA email obtained by the ACLU…