Blog of Rights

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 is or why we’re worried about it, a story from a few years back might help to illustrate.
Profiling Muslims at the Airport

Profiling Muslims at the Airport

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:20pm

I finally had a chance to read this extended debate between the security-ologist Bruce Schneier and critic-of-religion Sam Harris (yes that Sam Harris) over whether we should profile Muslims in airport security.

First of all, Sam Harris performs…

Photo of toll booth at night

Christie Use of Tollbooth Data and Why Location Privacy Must Be Protected

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:26am

David Sirota of the International Business Times reported last week that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and his appointee, the deputy governor of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had released a political opponent's private tollbooth…

The Government is in Pursuit of a Less Secure Internet

The Government is in Pursuit of a Less Secure Internet

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:49pm

A government proposal to change the rules for obtaining search warrants risks making all of us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The FBI wants to be able to infect computers with malware when it doesn't know where exactly they're located. The…

Documents Suggest Maker of Controversial Surveillance Tool Misled the FCC

Documents Suggest Maker of Controversial Surveillance Tool Misled the FCC

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 10:10am

New documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California appear to show the Florida-based Harris Corporation misleading the Federal Communications Commission while seeking authorization to sell its line of Stingray cell phone surveillance gear to…

America, NSA Surveillance is Bad for Business

America, NSA Surveillance is Bad for Business

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:50am

The New York Times last week provided new information that clarified how a key, yet unnamed, National Security Agency surveillance program designed to "target" foreigners' Internet communications actually worked, namely by secretly snatching and sifting…

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:31am

New documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ offices paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices. Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant—even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment—but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content (you can see the documents here).

Last month, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU received IRS documents indicating that the agency’s criminal investigative arm doesn’t always get a warrant to read Americans’ emails. Today we are releasing these additional documents from other federal law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the urgent need for Congress to protect our privacy by updating the laws that cover electronic communications.

The FBI and Electronic Communications: Where’s the Warrant?

The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t.

In 2010, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in United States v. Warshak that the government must obtain a probable cause warrant before compelling email providers to turn over messages to law enforcement. But that decision only applies in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit, so we filed our FOIA request to find out whether the FBI

The First State Laws on Drones

The First State Laws on Drones

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 3:13pm

On Thursday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law the first bill in the nation protecting individuals from unfettered surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles.

Virginia enacted the very first drones bill nationwide on April 3. Their bill…

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…