Blog of Rights

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking

Police Documents on License Plate Scanners Reveal Mass Tracking

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:01am
Automatic license plate readers are the most widespread location tracking technology you’ve probably never heard of. Mounted on patrol cars or stationary objects like bridges, they snap photos of every passing car, recording their plate numbers, times, and locations. At first the captured plate data was used just to check against lists of cars law enforcement hoped to locate for various reasons (to act on arrest warrants, find stolen cars, etc.). But increasingly, all of this data is being fed into massive databases that contain the location information of many millions of innocent Americans stretching back for months or even years.
Edward Snowden is a Patriot

Edward Snowden is a Patriot

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 5:44pm

Edward Snowden is a patriot.

As a whistleblower of illegal government activity that was sanctioned and kept secret by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government for years, he undertook great personal risk for the public…

You May Have 'Nothing to Hide' But You Still Have Something to Fear

You May Have 'Nothing to Hide' But You Still Have Something to Fear

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:17am

In the wake of recent news that the NSA is spying on Americans, I have been particularly struck by the argument...

"Snowden's disclosures have improved the security of the Internet."

"Snowden's disclosures have improved the security of the Internet."

Watch a video recording of Edward Snowden's conversation with the ACLU's Ben Wizner and Chris Soghoian from today's panel at South by Southwest.

A Message From Edward Snowden, One Year Later

A Message From Edward Snowden, One Year Later

By Edward Snowden at 5:25pm

Below is an email ACLU supporters received from Edward Snowden this morning, one year to the day since The Guardian broke the first in a series of revelations exposing the breathtaking scope of U.S. government surveillance. Click here for a new…

Crop of image by David D/C via Flickr

Have We Become a “Surveillance State”? A Five-Part Test

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am

At a panel in Toronto recently I was asked whether I thought the United States had become a “surveillance state.” How to answer that question? At first glance it’s an impossibly fuzzy question, the answer to which is relative depending on whether…

Photo of stingray at bottom of ocean

VICTORY: Judge Releases Information about Police Use of Stingray Cell Phone Trackers

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:12pm

A Florida judge has sided with the ACLU to order release of information about police use of “stingrays,” which are invasive surveillance devices that send out powerful signals to trick cell phones into transmitting their locations and identifying…

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:44am

UPDATE (8/21/13): Bradley Manning was sentenced by a military judge today to 35 years in prison. In response, the ACLU’s Ben Wizner said:

When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than…

Modification of image by rachaelvoorhees via Flickr

Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:01am

It appears that at least one police department in Florida has failed to tell judges about its use of a cell phone tracking device because the department got the device on loan and promised the manufacturer to keep it all under wraps. But when police…

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:11am

Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced…