Blog of Rights

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:36am
In criminal cases, defendants have a right to know what evidence the government plans to use against them and how the government gathered that evidence. This basic due process principle is essential: it allows defendants to test in court whether law enforcement officers obtained evidence in violation of the Fourth Amendment. But in a new legal brief, the government has refused to confirm or deny whether it relied on constitutionally questionable mass surveillance programs to gather evidence for a criminal prosecution.
The Hazards of Uncontrolled Data Collection

The Hazards of Uncontrolled Data Collection

By Joe Silver, Washington Legislative Office, ACLU at 3:32pm

Leaks of classified and highly secretive information from U.S. government databases by the likes of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have naturally garnered massive press attention, exposing some deeply problematic U.S. military and national security…

Why You Should be 203 Percent Behind ECPA Reform

Why You Should be 203 Percent Behind ECPA Reform

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:46am

There's a wave of transparency reports sweeping the nation. In recent months a plethora of companies – including Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Twitter – have released these detailed documents, which describe the number of requests they get from…

The Three Dimensions of the Privacy Apocalypse

The Three Dimensions of the Privacy Apocalypse

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:34am

Recent reports have revealed that several companies are currently pushing “intelligent street lights” that are capable of being loaded with various kinds of sensors including, as Reuters reported late last month,

sensors for moisture,…

California’s Landmark Commercial Transparency Law: a 10-Year Evaluation

California’s Landmark Commercial Transparency Law: a 10-Year Evaluation

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:39pm

In 2003, California passed a landmark piece of legislation called the Shine the Light law, which gave Californians the right to learn how companies share their personal information for “direct marketing purposes.” Now that ten years have passed…

How Private is Your Online Search History?

How Private is Your Online Search History?

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:04pm

The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of Justice to find out whether federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors think they need a warrant to obtain people’s search queries from online search engine operators,…

The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of State Legislation Passed This Year

The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of State Legislation Passed This Year

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 8:50am

2013 could easily be christened the year of the drone. It was the first full state legislative session after Congress passed a law requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open up domestic airspace much more widely to drones, and it brought…

What Powers Does the Civil Liberties Oversight Board Have?

What Powers Does the Civil Liberties Oversight Board Have?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:28am

At a time when the Snowden revelations have focused new attention on the question of oversight over our giant national security establishment, many are closely watching the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). The PCLOB is a brand new…

Capability is Driving Policy, Not Just at the NSA But Also in Police Departments

Capability is Driving Policy, Not Just at the NSA But Also in Police Departments

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:25am

If you’re concerned about the dragnet nature of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, then you should also pay attention to what your local police department is doing. You may find that the dragnet surveillance happening there has…

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…