Blog of Rights

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 that this year, he wanted to give law enforcement officers an opportunity to have a positive interaction with members of the community they serve. In the video, officers record the encounters in which they seek out people in run-down cars, homeless people, and other folks who look down on their luck. Instead of giving them a ticket, they give them a thousand dollars!
Photo of police standing with batons

Police Need to Make Body-Camera Policies Transparent

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:00pm

Body cameras are a hot topic these days in the wake of the Ferguson and Eric Garner controversies, as well as President Obama’s announcement that he will seek $75 million in funding for police body cameras and training. Body cameras are an important…

Supply-demand graphic by MIT OpenCourseWare

A Supply-Demand Curve for Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:15am

I recently wrote about some polling that Pew did on privacy, and its finding that Americans have very low confidence in the privacy and security of electronic communications channels. People feel more or less communicating on landline telephones, for…

Crop of painting 'An Old Scholar' by Salomon Koninck

Academic Freedom and the Right to Remain Anonymous Online

By Anonymous at 2:58pm

We are the founders of PubPeer.com, an online forum for scientific discussion of research scholarship. We and many of the users of our website are anonymous. That anonymity is important for free speech, for academic freedom, and for scientific inquiry.…

photo of drone flying

A Look at the Privacy Policies For the FAA's Six Drone Test Sites

By Nathaniel J. Turner, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:24pm

Last month, an Australian woman sunbathing topless in her back yard was accidentally captured in a photograph by a drone snapping pictures for a real estate listing. The picture was placed in online ads and billboards before the mistake was caught.…

Image of Lady Justice on camcorder screen

The System, Caught On Tape

By Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of Southern California at 12:15pm

Yesterday’s decision by a Staten Island grand jury not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for having killed Eric Garner using a chokehold during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes has sparked enormous outcry and frustration. Garner’s…

An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:41pm

This August, Americans watched in horror as the police descended on peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, as though they were going into battle. In May, a toddler named Bou Bou Phonesavanh had his chest ripped open and his face torn off by a flashbang…

Chris Rock on stage

Chris Rock Explains Why Privacy Matters

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:01pm

In an interview published in New York Magazine, Chris Rock and Frank Rich have a very interesting discussion about the effect of ubiquitous cell phones on the creative process for stand-up comics. Although as Rock says standup comedy is in some ways…

Image of radio signal in sky

ACLU Fights for Limits on Secret Phone Tracking

By Samia Hossain, William J. Brennan Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy, & Technology Project at 11:08am

In March of this year, Robert Harrison had a cell phone with him while he was inside his home. Though he has kept and used a cell phone as long as any of us, this time, things were different.

Unbeknownst to Harrison, Baltimore police officers…

Image of car with lights at night

Lessons of the Uber Privacy Scandal

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:12pm

Taxi-on-demand service Uber ran into hot water last week over reports that company executives have played fast and loose with some of the location data that the service records about its customers. A couple of thoughts about the scandal:

First,…