Blog of Rights

I Was Arrested for Learning a Foreign Language. Today, I Have Some Closure.

I Was Arrested for Learning a Foreign Language. Today, I Have Some Closure.

By Nick George at 11:14am
Five years ago, the Philadelphia police thought that carrying Arabic-language flashcards was enough to warrant the arrest of an innocent traveler. A settlement reached today in a lawsuit I brought against the police department makes it clear that it is not.
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…

Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata

Graphs by MIT Students Show the Enormously Intrusive Nature of Metadata

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 11:47am

You've probably heard politicians or pundits say that “metadata doesn't matter.” They argue that police and intelligence agencies shouldn't need probable cause warrants to collect information about our communications. Metadata isn’t all that…

Painting of family riding in 1962 Chevrolet Corvair Monza

License Plate Scanners Also Taking Photos of Drivers and Passengers

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:01am

The Drug Enforcement Administration is using its license plate reader program not only to track drivers’ locations, but also to photograph these drivers and their passengers, according to newly disclosed records obtained by the ACLU via a Freedom…

ACLU to UN: Encryption is Not A Problem to be Solved, But a Crucial Tool For Freedom and Security

ACLU to UN: Encryption is Not A Problem to be Solved, But a Crucial Tool For Freedom and Security

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:56am

A few weeks ago, a U.N. Special Rapporteur solicited comments for a report on the relationship between free expression and the use of encryption and anonymity online. The report that he is writing will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June…

Annotated: Obama’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against ISIS

Annotated: Obama’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against ISIS

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:05pm

President Obama just sent Congress his proposed legislation to authorize his use of military force against ISIS. An Authorization for the Use of Military Force against the group is long overdue given that the president has been conducting airstrikes…

Who Did the NSA's Illegal Spying Put in Jail?

Who Did the NSA's Illegal Spying Put in Jail?

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:53am

Last week, the ACLU joined a constitutional challenge to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA), the statute that allows the NSA to engage in dragnet surveillance of Americans' international phone calls and emails. With the Federal Defenders Office,…

Will White House Violent Extremism Summit Address Pressing Civil Rights Concerns?

Will White House Violent Extremism Summit Address Pressing Civil Rights Concerns?

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 4:51pm

Should the federal government task teachers, religious leaders, and mental health professionals with rating and reporting to law enforcement about the strength of a family's parent-child bond? A child's involvement in religious activities or his connection…

Photo of a police traffic stop

Police Officer Discretion in the Use of Body Worn Cameras

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:30pm

In our October 2013 policy white paper on police body cameras, we struggled with how to ensure that the cameras would serve as an effective oversight mechanism for police while not unduly invading privacy. We pointed out that purely from an oversight…

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…