Blog of Rights

"Vitruvian Man" by Leonardo da Vinci (modified by Jay Stanley)

A Tour of the TSA’s Testing Facility

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am
Last week I was given a tour of the “TSA Systems Integration Facility” (TSIF), the agency’s testing facility located at Reagan National Airport here in Washington, in some outlying buildings that used to house the airport’s post office facility. The tour included the opportunity to talk to some of the specialists who work there. We were shown technologies that are already familiar; there was nothing on some of the more ridiculous screening programs such as SPOT or FAST, nor anything futuristic. But I did pick up some items of possible interest to those curious about the functioning of our airport security technology—including passengers with disabilities or who face special scrutiny, such as Sikhs, who are nearly always forced to undergo extra screening because of the turbans that Sikh men wear. (The tour was arranged by TSA’s office of Civil Rights and Liberties.)
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…

Hillary Clinton testifying

Politics Swirling Around Clinton Email Scandal Obscure Real Problems

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:30am

Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while secretary of state has inevitably become a fully inflated political football in these early days of the 2016 presidential race—with the right somehow linking the emails to the late Vince Foster,…

Ignore the Drumbeat of Doom, the NSA’s Call Records Program Didn’t Stop a Single Terrorist Attack

Ignore the Drumbeat of Doom, the NSA’s Call Records Program Didn’t Stop a Single Terrorist Attack

By Rachel Nusbaum, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:00am

Do you hear that? It's starting.

The predictable drumbeat of dire warnings about what will happen if portions of the Patriot Act – the post-9/11 law being used to conduct controversial NSA dragnet surveillance – are allowed to expire on…

Government Attempt to Speed Up Guantánamo Trials (Rightfully) Backfires

Government Attempt to Speed Up Guantánamo Trials (Rightfully) Backfires

By Alex Sinha, Aryeh Neier Fellow, Human Rights Watch & ACLU at 4:15pm

Government meddling has long been a problem at the Guantánamo Bay military commissions, with the hearings of the last few days offering another crystal-clear example. The government's latest incursion into the commissions' proceedings further tarnishes…

The Obama Administration's 2 Faces on Releasing Evidence of U.S. Prisoner Abuse

The Obama Administration's 2 Faces on Releasing Evidence of U.S. Prisoner Abuse

By Josh Bell, Media Strategist, ACLU at 10:00am

There is too often a gap between the Obama administration's words and deeds when it comes to transparency on national security issues. Take, for example, whether the government should release information about the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody.

In…

Guantánamo Diary: An Epic for Our Times

Guantánamo Diary: An Epic for Our Times

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 1:33pm

Literary history was made today with the publication of the first-ever book by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo detainee. Mohamedou Ould Slahi's "Guantánamo Diary" was finally published with some redactions after years of litigation to declassify it.

Slahi–…

Growing Chorus Demands Criminal Investigation into Torture Program

Growing Chorus Demands Criminal Investigation into Torture Program

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 1:17pm

Calls for a criminal investigation into the Bush-era torture program described in the Senate report released earlier this month are beginning to mount.

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch (HRW) sent a letter today to the Justice Department, calling…

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

The U.N. Acts to Protect the Human Right to Privacy

By Steven M. Watt, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 1:18pm

The U.S. Senate failed last week to act to protect the privacy rights of Americans when the USA Freedom Act was rejected, but today, the United Nations took another step towards recognizing privacy rights for everyone.

This afternoon, a committee…

Photo of aircraft

ACLU Seeks Information About Airborne Cell Phone Snooping

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 7:59am

The ACLU is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request today for information about a newly revealed Marshals Service program that uses aircraft to suck up location data from tens of thousands of people’s cell phones at a time.

The…