Blog of Rights

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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 standpoint, putting aside all other considerations, the ideal policy would be for officers’ cameras to run throughout their entire shift, which would guarantee that an officer could not evade detection while engaging in abuse. But as we discussed, it’s not possible to put aside all other considerations, including the privacy of the public and of officers.
photo of eviction notice

What Should We Think About Big Data That Aims to Help People?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:36pm

A data analytics company collects a variety of information about individuals in New York City, including demographic data, court records, employment status, education level, age, and any history of interaction with the foster care system or use of…

Old postcard of cars in parking lot

DEA Planned to Monitor Gun Show Attendees With License Plate Readers, New Emails Reveal

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:40pm

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives collaborated on plans to monitor gun show attendees using automatic license plate readers, according to a newly disclosed DEA email obtained by the ACLU…

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers

FOIA Documents Reveal Massive DEA Program to Record American’s Whereabouts With License Plate Readers

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 7:15pm

(Updated below)

The Drug Enforcement Administration has initiated a massive national license plate reader program with major civil liberties concerns but disclosed very few details, according to new DEA documents obtained by the ACLU through…

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…

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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…

Cybersecurity Doesn’t Have to Mean Sacrificing Privacy

Cybersecurity Doesn’t Have to Mean Sacrificing Privacy

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:20pm

Are our work emails, our medical records, and our financial information safe online? Or have we been leaving our digital doors unlocked?

Given the high-profile cybersecurity failures in recent weeks, from the Sony hacks to the brief takeover…

Photo of police officer speaking to civilian

Should Officers Be Permitted to View Body Camera Footage Before Writing Their Reports?

By Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of Southern California & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:14pm

Update below

A police officer wearing a body camera shoots a civilian. Afterwards, the officer has to write up a report about the incident. Should the officer be able to view the footage captured by his body camera (or other cameras) before…

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Why Has the ACLU Hired an Internet Infrastructure Technologist?

By Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Technology Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:54am

Last March, I started working as a technologist for the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology project. Part of the job is helping the ACLU’s lawyers to better understand the technical details of their legal work. But I'm also taking the fight for…

Police Shouldn't Just Film Themselves Being Santa's Helpers

Police Shouldn't Just Film Themselves Being Santa's Helpers

By Micah McCoy, ACLU of New Mexico at 4:47pm

You may have seen the viral video making the rounds on social media: a millionaire "Secret Santa" donated $100,000 to the sheriff's department in Jackson County, Missouri, to hand out to the less fortunate in the community. The generous donor said…