Blog of Rights

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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 homeless shelters (acquired from New York’s Department of Homeless Services). Using a process its CEO compares to a “highly targeted marketing campaign trying to sell something,” the company then analyzes that data to come up with a list of the 30 to 50 people to be targeted for special attention.
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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…

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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…

Telephone by Vincent AF via Flickr

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…

iPhone by Karlis Dambrans

Securing Our Data Should Come First

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 9:08am

This post was first published as part of the New York Times Room for Debate feature "Apple vs. the Law," which asked: How much should tech companies cooperate with the government on data access?

Apple's new encryption policy…

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.

The militarized law enforcement response to peaceful protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. last month, has prompted several federal officials to question…

Don't Make the Internet Angry...

Don't Make the Internet Angry...

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm

...You wouldn't like it when it's angry. And it's kinda angry.

On September 10, the ACLU will join an array of Internet companies and advocates in an "Internet Slowdown." Organizers plan to pepper sites with the "spinning wheel of death" to…

painting of crowd of workers leaving factory

New Technology Renews Old Fears of Manipulation and Control

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:18pm

In the first half of the 20th century, Americans gained a new awareness of the malleability and manipulability of the human mind, and the result was a wave of concern over “propaganda” and other techniques of influence. Today we may be seeing a…

Blurred car lights at night

Location Apps Sharing Data With Governments

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:00pm

(Update: correction below)

Forbes reported last week that the crowdsourced mapping location service Waze is beginning to share bulk location data with government bodies—with Rio de Janeiro since 2013, and soon with the state of Florida. The…

Blurred photo of Supreme Court building

How the Supreme Court Could Have Ruled in Riley

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:17am

Privacy advocates are celebrating the Supreme Court’s recognition in yesterday’s Riley v. California ruling that, as some have succinctly put it, “digital is different.” Chief Justice Roberts’s 9-0 opinion in the case is straightforward and…