Blog of Rights

Be Careful With Your Micro-Expressions at the Airport

Be Careful With Your Micro-Expressions at the Airport

By Hugh Handeyside, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 7:25am
You're late for your flight, sweaty from having dragged your luggage to the check-in counter, and stressed about making it through security before boarding begins. For some of us, this is the rule, not the exception. For most of us, it's a pretty unremarkable scenario.
The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back.

The NSA Has Taken Over the Internet Backbone. We're Suing to Get it Back.

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 8:07am

Every time you email someone overseas, the NSA copies and searches your message. It makes no difference if you or the person you're communicating with has done anything wrong. If the NSA believes your message could contain information relating…

Five Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Right Now

Five Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Right Now

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:57pm

This post was first published on TED.com.

There seems to be a new data breach in the news every week – a major company hacked, millions of usernames, passwords or credit card numbers stolen. There isn’t much that you, as an individual,…

Dear TSA, My Football Preferences and Vacation Plans are None of your Business: A First-Hand Experience With the TSA’s “Chat-Downs”

Dear TSA, My Football Preferences and Vacation Plans are None of your Business: A First-Hand Experience With the TSA’s “Chat-Downs”

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:51pm

I was scheduled to return from my summer vacation at 6 a.m. Sunday morning flying out of Vermont’s Burlington International Airport in a state most often thought to be ahead of the civil liberties curve. If you’ve ever had a crack-of-dawn…

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…

Mohamedou Ould Slahi Is the Best-Selling Prisoner of Guantánamo

Mohamedou Ould Slahi Is the Best-Selling Prisoner of Guantánamo

By Linda Moreno at 12:37pm

This piece originally appeared at Slate.

It has become a rite of passage for new authors in the digital age to obsessively check Amazon to track book sales and tweet positive reviews in the hopes of picking up new readers. But for one author,…

Photo of cell phone tower disguised as a palm tree.

ACLU-Obtained Documents Reveal Breadth of Secretive Stingray Use in Florida

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:30pm

The ACLU is releasing records today obtained from law enforcement agencies across Florida about their acquisition and use of sophisticated cell phone location tracking devices known as “Stingrays.” These records provide the most detailed account…

CISA Isn't About Cybersecurity, It's About Surveillance

CISA Isn't About Cybersecurity, It's About Surveillance

By Rachel Nusbaum, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:25am

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. But sometimes that's the easy part.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it seems everyone in Washington admits we have a problem. It's in the solutions phase where things really start to…

Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower

Edward Snowden is a Whistleblower

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

My American Civil Liberties Union colleagues and I have been extremely busy since the Guardian and the Washington Post published leaked classified documents exposing the scope of the...

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically