Blog of Rights

The National Security State: Why it’s Important to Understand the Nature of the Beast

The National Security State: Why it’s Important to Understand the Nature of the Beast

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:48pm
In two recent posts I argued that it is useful to think of the national security establishment as a thoughtless organism prone to certain predictable behaviors such as self-preservation, expansion, and secrecy. But what are the policy implications, exactly, of that way of conceptualizing things?
NYPD Patrol Car

Wrongly Legitimatizing NYPD Discrimination

By Ashley Gorski, Nadine Strossen Fellow, National Security Project, ACLU at 2:52pm

A federal judge in New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit last week brought by New Jersey Muslims who claim that the NYPD investigated and surveilled them based on little more than their Muslim faith. The plaintiffs in Hassan v. City of New York have good…

Drone Legislation: What’s Being Proposed in the States?

Drone Legislation: What’s Being Proposed in the States?

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:15pm

It's a race to see which state will be the first to pass legislation governing domestic drone use. Coming out of the gate first was Florida, which passed a bill through several committees in the Senate back in January. This is notable since the Florida…

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 3:30pm

In the wake of the past week's revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy.

This…

9/11's Legacy of Religious Discrimination

9/11's Legacy of Religious Discrimination

By Heather L. Weaver, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 4:23pm

It's no secret that, after 9/11, a wave of anti-Muslim bigotry washed over the country. The intensity of that prejudice has sustained it for a decade, and, in many ways, anti-Muslim sentiment and fear of Islam seem even stronger and more deeply…

New Information About CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program Highlights Need For Transparency, Accountability

New Information About CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program Highlights Need For Transparency, Accountability

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 2:39pm

We may be finally learning more about the CIA's involvement in the 2003 abduction and rendition to torture of a Muslim cleric, Hassan Mustafa Nasr (aka Abu Omar). This week, Sabrina De Sousa confirmed that she was a former CIA undercover officer, and…

What the FBI Needs to Tell Americans About Its Use of Drones

What the FBI Needs to Tell Americans About Its Use of Drones

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 3:17pm

You've got to hand it to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.): He has become one of the foremost members of Congress fighting for Americans' privacy rights, and has worked doggedly to shed light on how the government is using new technologies to monitor us without…

Debunked NYPD Radicalization Report Just Won't Die

Debunked NYPD Radicalization Report Just Won't Die

By Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:51pm

Like a villain in a horror movie, the widely debunked concept of terrorist "radicalization" is once again raised from the grave by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its 2013 report, "American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat." CRS is an influential legislative branch agency charged with providing objective policy analysis for members of Congress, which makes its continued reliance on the "radicalization" model promoted in a now-discredited 2007 New York Police Department report, "Radicalization in the West," particularly troublesome.

So you think you have nothing to hide...

So you think you have nothing to hide...

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 11:00pm

Governments at the local, state, and federal level increasingly collect troves of sensitive information about where we go, what we read, who we know, what we buy, and more. Some people say they don't care about this silent and ever present surveillance.…

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

Setting the record straight on DHS and license plate tracking

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 4:37pm

There has been a lot of press coverage in the past couple of weeks about the Department of Homeland Security posting a solicitation for contract proposals regarding access to a national license plate reader database—and DHS’s decision, once mainstream…