Blog of Rights

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 are highly intrusive and completely unregulated. Although the Wall Street Journal reported in 2011 that they were being used by the federal government, the News10 records reveal for the first time that these devices are also in widespread use by local authorities stretching from San José to Sacramento. The revelations are troubling. Once again, we see the proliferation of powerful new surveillance tools, but without any rules to constrain their use. The acquisition of these devices is shrouded in secrecy and driven by federal grant money, which undermines local democratic oversight. Their actual use by local law enforcement reflects the all too common phenomenon of mission creep: Although the justification for acquiring these devices is “fighting terrorism,” agencies seem to be using them for ordinary criminal law enforcement.
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…

Edward Snowden

The Tech Community Can Put Out the Fire the NSA Started

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:23pm

This piece originally ran at the Guardian.

“You are the firefighters,” National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told a tech savvy audience here yesterday, during my conversation with him at the SXSW festival. “The…

"Snowden's disclosures have improved the security of the Internet."

"Snowden's disclosures have improved the security of the Internet."

Watch a video recording of Edward Snowden's conversation with the ACLU's Ben Wizner and Chris Soghoian from today's panel at South by Southwest.

Chris Soghoian TED talk

Surveillance For a Price

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 11:16pm

Most governments don’t have the resources to manufacture the surveillance technology that’s required to hack into the computers of unsuspecting citizens. In recent years, surveillance software firms have stepped in to fill that gap, proliferating…

Edward Snowden to Talk Privacy With the Tech Community at SXSW

Edward Snowden to Talk Privacy With the Tech Community at SXSW

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 9:49am

In his first conversation in front of an audience since his disclosures began making global headlines last year, Edward Snowden will appear via live video next Monday at SXSW Interactive, the festival that brings together tens of thousands of technology…

Death Without Due Process

Death Without Due Process

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 11:37am

This post was originally published by The Philadelphia Inquirer. On Wednesday, Hina Shamsi will take part in an Intelligence Squared debate on the question "Does the president have constitutional authority under the due process clause to kill U.S.…