Blog of Rights

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:11pm
This piece was originally published on The Crime Report.
Gunshot Detectors: the ACLU’s View

Gunshot Detectors: the ACLU’s View

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:37pm

The New York Times has a story today about gunshot location systems, which use microphones installed around a city to detect, and triangulate the location of, gunshots, so that police can be sent to the scene. We have been asked what we…

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…

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…

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:16pm

During the Cold War, as I argued last week, the totalitarian governments of the Soviet bloc functioned as a standing warning to Americans of the dangers of unchecked surveillance—lessons that we would do well to remember despite the fall of the…

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…

Crop of photo by Volker Neumann via Flickr

San Francisco Woman Pulled Out of Car at Gunpoint Because of License Plate Reader Error

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 5:13pm

A lawsuit pertaining to the use of license plate readers in San Francisco illustrates how dangerous it can be when police officers turn off their eyes, ears, and brains, and mistakenly rely on imperfect technologies to tell them who’s up to no good.

On…

The Lone-Wolf Terror Trap: Why the Cure Will Be Worse Than the Disease

The Lone-Wolf Terror Trap: Why the Cure Will Be Worse Than the Disease

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 11:24am

This piece originally appeared at TomDispatch.

The shadow of a new threat seems to be darkening the national security landscape: the lone-wolf terrorist.

"The lone wolf is the new nightmare," wrote Washington Post columnist Charles…

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…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…