Blog of Rights

AT&T Wants Us to Pay Them With Our Money And Our Privacy – How to Opt Out

AT&T Wants Us to Pay Them With Our Money And Our Privacy – How to Opt Out

By Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 5:43pm
I received an email from AT&T today. Did you? It turns out that AT&T is revising its privacy policy to make it “easier to understand” and by the way, also to let us know that they want us to pay them with our money and our privacy, too. Unless we opt out, the company is going to start selling information about where we go, what we search for, what apps we use, and what we watch, to other businesses. On top of that, they want to send us advertisements based on our location, too.
What Are the Memphis Police Hiding?

What Are the Memphis Police Hiding?

By Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 11:42am

It is every citizen's right to videotape police activity in public spaces so long as they do not interfere with law enforcement. When the police act unlawfully, one might even say capturing that behavior on film is every citizen's duty. Apparently…

The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities

The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities

By Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:15am

This was originally posted by the ACLU of Northern California.

For years, we at the ACLU have been warning that the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative – a vast information sharing program that encourages the collection and…

Blog author, Clarisa Christiansen

Why is the U.S. Border Patrol Terrorizing Innocent Families?

By Clarisa Christiansen at 11:11am

Imagine you had just picked up your kids from school. You're driving home on a secluded country road when your car is pulled over by armed US law enforcement agents who threaten you with a knife and taser. That's what happened to me last May and my…

Larry Kirschenman

As a Soldier I Defended Our Rights, Now Who Will Defend Mine?

By Larry Kirschenman at 5:10pm

For a year now, I've been asking how a 75-year-old Vietnam Vet and retired prison guard like me could wind up in the hospital after being brutally mistreated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.

I live in a quiet retirement community,…

VICTORY! Supreme Court Decides: Our Genes Belong to Us, Not Companies

VICTORY! Supreme Court Decides: Our Genes Belong to Us, Not Companies

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 11:35am

Should companies be able to patent human genes? Today, the Supreme Court answered that profound question with a resounding NO.

Seems like common sense, right? But over the last 30 years, the U.S. Patent Office has issued patents on thousands…

"Drones" vs "UAVs" -- What's Behind A Name?

"Drones" vs "UAVs" -- What's Behind A Name?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:00am

Representatives of the drone industry and other drone boosters often make a point of saying they don’t like to use the word “drones.” When my colleague Catherine Crump and I were writing our drones report in 2011, we talked over what terminology we should use, and decided that since our job was to communicate, we should use the term that people would most clearly and directly understand. That word is “drones.”

Drone proponents would prefer that everyone use the term “UAV,” for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or “UAS,” for Unmanned Aerial System (“system” in order to encompass the entirety of the vehicle that flies, the ground-based controller, and the communications connection that connects the two). These acronyms are technical, bland, and bureaucratic. That’s probably their principal advantage from the point of view of those who want to separate them from the ugly, bloody, and controversial uses to which they’ve been put by the CIA and U.S. military overseas.

I suppose there is a case to be made that domestic drones are a different thing from overseas combat drones. Certainly, there’s a wide gulf separating a $17 million Reaper drone armed with Hellfire missiles and a hand-launched hobbyist craft buzzing around somebody’s back yard. But drone proponents themselves would be the first to say that drones are a tool—one that can be used for many different purposes. They can be used for fun, photography, science, surveillance, and yes, raining death upon people with the touch of a button from across the world. Even the overseas military uses of drones vary, including not just targeted killing but also surveillance and logistics.

Putting aside well-founded fears that even domestically we may someday see the deployment of weaponized drones, in the end, the difference between overseas and domestic drones is a difference in how the same tool is used. Regardless of whether you’ve got a Predator, a Reaper, a police craft, or a $150 backyard hobby rotorcraft, that tool is what it is. What it is is a drone.

I can’t touch on this subject without quoting from George Orwell’s famous essay “Politics and the English Language,” in which Orwell argued that bland and needlessly complicated language was a political act—a symptom of attempts to cover up

Edward Snowden to Talk Privacy With the Tech Community at SXSW

Edward Snowden to Talk Privacy With the Tech Community at SXSW

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 9:49am

In his first conversation in front of an audience since his disclosures began making global headlines last year, Edward Snowden will appear via live video next Monday at SXSW Interactive, the festival that brings together tens of thousands of technology…

ACLU Seeks Information About Pentagon Infiltration of “World of Warcraft”

ACLU Seeks Information About Pentagon Infiltration of “World of Warcraft”

By Rita Cant, Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:44pm

Picture it. You’re online, ensconced in a muscled avatar, hacking your way through a World of Warcraft quest. A burly blacksmith appears on screen, and instead of brandishing a blunderbuss, turns to you and whispers: “Nothing is better than joining…

Game Theory and Privacy

Game Theory and Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:27am

Earlier this week in “The Flawed Logic of Secret Mass Surveillance” I presented some thinking about the dynamics of mass surveillance and what that suggests about how things are likely to play out in the future with regards to the NSA’s spying.…