Blog of Rights

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Americans' Confidence in Privacy of Electronic Communications is Very Low

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:16pm
Pew has a new poll out on Americans’ attitudes toward privacy, and it is full of interesting findings. A New York Times blog piece on the poll focused on the so-called “privacy paradox”—people’s seeming willingness to share personal information despite their professed concern over privacy (more on that below). But for me the most striking finding is that Americans’ confidence in the privacy and security of electronic communications is very low, with over half thinking that email, text messages, chat, and social media are “not at all” or “not very secure.” In too many ways, these beliefs are well-founded, and yet these are the mediums that Americans are using more and more to communicate in their everyday lives.
Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door.

When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, "Chico Police Department."

"I…

Photo of tangled map

Keep it Simple With Net Neutrality

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:58pm

Chairman Tom Wheeler at the Federal Communications Commission is moving in the right direction toward true net neutrality. He deserves some plaudits for abandoning the deeply flawed proposal put forward last May, which would have allowed broadband…

Yep, Uncle Sam Still Wants to Log Your Calls

Yep, Uncle Sam Still Wants to Log Your Calls

By Rachel Nusbaum, Media Strategist, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:59pm

Today, in a hushed courtroom in Washington, D.C., not far from the now-empty halls of Congress, a federal appeals court heard arguments in Klayman v. Obama, a challenge to the NSA's bulk collection of telephone metadata first revealed by Edward Snowden.…

Photo of New Orleans skyline

Louisiana Blocks Ebola Scientists From Meeting in New Orleans in Latest Counterproductive Over-Reaction

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:30am

The state of Louisiana has informed the organizers of a scientific conference that Ebola researchers who have recently returned from West Africa would not be permitted to travel to New Orleans for the conference—and would be quarantined if they showed…

The Police's Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

The Police's Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:07pm

This piece originally appeared at Slate's Jurisprudence, under the title, "Search Party."

It used to be that when police violated a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights through an unconstitutional search, evidence derived from the search would…

Jetliner landing

Ebola: Travel Bans, Quarantines, and Political Courage

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:05am

The political reaction to Ebola has been a study in contrasts. On the one hand, we see some leaders insecurely trying to prove their “Ebola-fighting bona fides” by racing to go beyond what public health experts recommend. Some are actually fanning…

FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

FTC Needs to Make Sure Companies Aren’t Using Big Data to Discriminate

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 2:45pm

The ACLU filed comments today with the FTC urging it and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate whether big data is being used in online marketing in ways that are racially discriminatory. If companies are in fact engaging in this…

When Smart Gets Scary: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

When Smart Gets Scary: Invasion of the Data Snatchers

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 4:54pm

Smartphones and smart refrigerators and smartwatches, oh my.

I know, I know, it doesn't sound scary, but more and more, the things we own are being hooked up to the Internet and quietly collecting data on us, which is then packaged and sold…

Odds Are, You Are Suspicious

Odds Are, You Are Suspicious

By Samia Hossain, William J. Brennan Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy, & Technology Project at 9:55am

When you get off a train, do you get off ahead of passengers? Or do you get off behind passengers? When you're going on a trip, do you come off as nervous? Or are you an unusually calm traveler? How about if you make a phone call at a station, do you…