Blog of Rights

Car in blurry lights

Federal Court Rules on One of the Major Outstanding Constitutional Privacy Questions of Our Time

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:13am
In a tremendous step forward for our right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held in United States v. Quartavious Davis that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from a cell service provider. The ACLU filed an amicus brief in the case, along with the ACLU of Florida, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology, and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In April, I argued the cell phone tracking issue before a three-judge panel of the court.
photograph of cancer cells under microscope

Secrecy is a Cancer on Our Democracy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:25am

In our 2011 ACLU report on secrecy "Drastic Measures Required," my co-author Mike German and I wrote that "American democracy has a disease, and it's called secrecy." Government secrecy, we wrote, "is growing like a cancer in our democracy."

Events…

Photo of stingray at bottom of ocean

VICTORY: Judge Releases Information about Police Use of Stingray Cell Phone Trackers

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:12pm

A Florida judge has sided with the ACLU to order release of information about police use of “stingrays,” which are invasive surveillance devices that send out powerful signals to trick cell phones into transmitting their locations and identifying…

filing cabinet

U.S. Marshals Seize Local Cops’ Cell Phone Tracking Files in Extraordinary Attempt to Keep Information From Public

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

A run-of-the-mill public records request about cell phone surveillance submitted to a local police department in Florida has unearthed blatant violations of open government laws, including an incredible seizure of state records by the U.S. Marshals…

Cell phone tower

New York Court Recognizes Privacy-Invasive Nature of Cell Tower Dumps But Stops Short of Requiring a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:49pm

A magistrate judge in New York has become only the second federal judge to issue a public ruling addressing the lawfulness of so-called “tower dumps”—the intrusive practice by which the government acquires location information for hundreds or…

Federal Trade Commission Needs to Move Beyond Reports When It Comes to Data Brokers

Federal Trade Commission Needs to Move Beyond Reports When It Comes to Data Brokers

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:10pm

“In the nearly two decades since the Commission first began to examine data brokers, little progress has been made to improve transparency and choice.”      - Conclusion, Federal Trade Commission Report, A Call for Transparency…

Net Neutrality Rally Rocks the FCC

Net Neutrality Rally Rocks the FCC

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:34pm

Last week I spoke at a rally at the Federal Communications Commission as its commissioners considered new rules regarding net neutrality – the premise that internet providers shouldn’t get to decide what you can see or say online.

And the…

Privacy Please laptop

How to Protect the Most Privacy with the Least Effort: Change Search Engines

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:15am

If you use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other service that tracks your search terms, there is no reason not to change search engines today.

When you do a search with these companies, they log your IP address and search terms, and store that…

Judge with gavel

A Partial Victory For Judicial Transparency

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:55pm

In a partial victory for the public’s right to access and scrutinize court proceedings, a federal judge recently made public most of two previously sealed opinions authorizing gag orders on Twitter and Yahoo to prevent the companies from disclosing…

Modification of photo by John Taylor via Flickr

Network Neutrality: Where Things Stand

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:44pm

If there's one thing public officials have learned from activists over the past few years it's this: Do Not Anger the Internet. Online organizing has taken down multibillion dollar campaigns such as SOPA and PIPA, brought a national spotlight to injustices…