Cell Phones & Smartphones

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA's Patriot Act Phone Surveillance

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 3:30pm
In the wake of the past week's revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy.
Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 11:27am

A federal magistrate judge in New York recently ruled that cell phone location data deserves no protection under the Fourth Amendment and that accordingly, the government can engage in real-time location surveillance without a search warrant. In an opinion straight from the Twilight Zone, magistrate judge Gary Brown ruled two weeks ago that “cell phone users who fail to turn off their cell phones do not exhibit an expectation of privacy.”

The case in question involved a physician who the DEA believed had issued thousands of prescriptions for pain killers in exchange for cash. In March of this year, the DEA had obtained a warrant for his arrest, and,

The House Hearing on Location Tracking Law (or the Lack Thereof)

The House Hearing on Location Tracking Law (or the Lack Thereof)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:44pm

My colleague Catherine Crump testified before Congress today on location tracking and privacy, and the GPS Act that would increase legal protections for our location data. The hearing was before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and you can read her written testimony submitted here.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (D-Wis.), is a strong supporter of updating the law. He opened the hearing by acknowledging that the law has not kept pace with new technology—certainly a truism, and certainly true with regards to location tracking in particular, but one that is good to hear accepted as fact by powerful lawmakers.

Sensenbrenner also slammed the Justice Department for not sending a witness to the hearing. The reason, he reported, is that “it lacks a clear policy position on ECPA,” referring to the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act. When Sensenbrenner was reading Catherine’s bio, which included mention of her efforts to find out how the DOJ is interpreting

ACLU Tells Parliamentarians That EU Faces a Choice on Surveillance

ACLU Tells Parliamentarians That EU Faces a Choice on Surveillance

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:38am

My colleague Christopher Soghoian testified today before the European Parliament at a hearing on the “Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens,” which is a response to widespread concern in Europe about the revelations of NSA spying. His brief…

New Documents Show Lopsided Reliance on Secret Subpoenas

New Documents Show Lopsided Reliance on Secret Subpoenas

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 12:29pm

What happens when legislatures pass laws enabling law enforcement to obtain sensitive, private information about people without requiring any evidence of criminal activity, and without any outside oversight whatsoever?

Fishing expeditions.

Take…

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…

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…

The Vast, Troubling Call Database Drug Agents Use to Identify Burner Phones

The Vast, Troubling Call Database Drug Agents Use to Identify Burner Phones

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:43pm

This week the New York Times revealed the Hemisphere Project, in which the government is paying AT&T for access to an enormous phone records database. While some aspects of the program are unclear, we now know that the government has long collaborated with AT&T to conduct sophisticated data-mining of sensitive telephone records, primarily to identify “burner” phones.

ACLU Challenges 67 Days of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

ACLU Challenges 67 Days of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:55am

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals may soon decide whether police need a warrant to track the location of your cell phone over the course of days or weeks. The case, United States v. Davis, involves a warrantless police request for four people's…

ACLU Seeks Secret Court Opinions Authorizing NSA's Mass Acquisition of Americans' Phone Records

ACLU Seeks Secret Court Opinions Authorizing NSA's Mass Acquisition of Americans' Phone Records

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 1:30pm

The ACLU and Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Clinic filed a motion today with the Foreign Intelligence...

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