Blog of Rights

The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

The Government is Silencing Twitter and Yahoo, and It Won't Tell Us Why

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:07am
The government is using shaky legal arguments to silence major Internet companies without giving them – or the public – the opportunity to respond. In three separate recent cases, the government has sent a grand jury subpoena to Yahoo or Twitter and requested a gag order from a magistrate judge, attempting to bar these tech companies from informing the customers in question. To make matters worse, the government won't disclose its reasoning for requesting the gag, effectively shutting the public out of the courthouse without any explanation.
Crop of image by David Goehring via Flickr

Curious Cop Downloaded Hundreds of Private Prescription Records Because He Could

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:40pm

Today, the ACLU and ACLU of Utah filed an amicus brief in support of a Utah paramedic whose Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police swept up his confidential prescription records in a dragnet search. Law enforcement’s disregard for…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

What Captain America Has to Say About the NSA

By Josh Bell, Media Strategist, ACLU at 10:41am

SPOILER WARNING: This post discusses major plot points of the new Captain America movie.

What is patriotism? Is it doing what the government says, or is it doing what you believe is true to the Constitution and American values? "Captain America:…

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 5:20pm

The oft-delayed, secrecy-plagued 9/11 military commission hearings came to an abrupt halt today before the scheduled arguments surrounding the competency of defendant Ramzi bin al Shibh even began. Just minutes after Army Col. James Pohl called the…

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:29pm

It wasn't long ago that President Obama announced on Reddit, "We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those who want to start a business."

The NSA's surveillance…

#DearMrPresident: Stop Profiling Us

The Perversity of Profiling

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project at 2:19pm

The Justice Department is considering revised racial profiling guidance that, if issued, could set back race relations and basic fairness in this country. We hope that it does not make that mistake.

The New York Times on Thursday reported that…

NYPD Shutters Muslim Mapping Unit – But What About Other Tactics?

NYPD Shutters Muslim Mapping Unit – But What About Other Tactics?

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 7:01pm

The New York Police Department is disbanding the unit that mapped New York’s Muslim communities, their places of worship, and businesses they frequent – based on nothing but their religious beliefs and associations. To this we say: Good Riddance.

But…

Privacy & Security

Introducing the ACLU's NSA Documents Database

By Emily Weinrebe, ACLU National Security Project at 9:55am

The public debate over our government's surveillance programs has reached remarkable heights since the first set of NSA disclosures in June 2013 based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Since then, additional disclosures by both the press and government…

Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:04am

A very important government report on privacy and cybersecurity programs flew under the radar last week.

Produced following President Obama's executive order from last February, agencies were directed to explain how they share our private information,…

Crop of image by Surian Soosay via Flickr

SEC Blocking Update to Electronic Privacy Laws

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

During the long, hard fight to bring the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) into the 21st century, advocates have run into the most unlikely of opponents: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Yes, the SEC—the agency charged…