Civil Liberties in the Digital Age

In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. The ACLU believes that Americans shouldn’t have to choose between using new technology and keeping control of your private information. Each week, we feature some of the most interesting news related to technology and civil liberties that we’ve spotted from the previous week.
Enterprise Omniscience

Enterprise Omniscience

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:35pm
NBC’s Bob Sullivan published a very nice piece of reporting Wednesday on an Equifax company called The Work Number, which collects detailed information about the paychecks of 30 percent of the U.S. workforce and then uses it for various purposes, including selling it to debt collectors and financial services firms wanting to do “risk management” of their customers.
US Government Busy in Europe Defending Interests of Advertisers, Security Agencies, But Not Americans' Privacy

US Government Busy in Europe Defending Interests of Advertisers, Security Agencies, But Not Americans' Privacy

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

My colleague Ben Wizner and I are in Brussels this week, partly to meet with European lawmakers and others about the new privacy regime that the EU is in the process of putting into place. Unlike the United States, Europe has a set of basic rules and…

Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:02pm

I recently came across this piece by the author William Deresiewicz (from his consistently insightful “All Points” blog), in which he comments on the observation that privacy and solitude are privileges of the modern era that are “rare…

Vermont Supreme Court Agrees with the ACLU on Electronic Search Limits

Vermont Supreme Court Agrees with the ACLU on Electronic Search Limits

By Dan Barrett, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Vermont, ACLU of Vermont at 12:20pm

The Vermont Supreme Court gave electronic privacy a big boost this morning when it approved restrictions placed upon police when conducting searches of electronic devices.

The case originated when police in Burlington, Vermont were investigating…

A Look at the Issues Raised by 'Black Boxes' in Cars

A Look at the Issues Raised by 'Black Boxes' in Cars

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:20pm

On Friday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) formally proposed regulations requiring the placement of “black boxes” in cars. More properly known as “Event Data Recorders,” or EDRs, these are similar to…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/30/2012)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/30/2012)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 3:21pm

Senate panel strengthens e-mail, cloud privacy law [CNET – Declan McCullagh] "A U.S. Senate panel this morning approved a landmark privacy bill that would curb law enforcement's warrantless access to the contents of e-mail, private…

ACLU Lens: Get Off My Cloud! Senate Bill Requires Warrants for Government to Spy on Email, Digital Communications

ACLU Lens: Get Off My Cloud! Senate Bill Requires Warrants for Government to Spy on Email, Digital Communications

By Steve Gosset, ACLU at 5:00pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Among its provisions, is a requirement that law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant before they can take a peek at your email, private social…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/16/2012)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/16/2012)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 2:47pm

Petraeus Case Raises Fears About Privacy in Digital Era [New York Times – Scott Shane] "The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan…

Data Breach Raises Questions About NASA Policy At Issue in Recent Supreme Court Case

Data Breach Raises Questions About NASA Policy At Issue in Recent Supreme Court Case

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:35pm

We hate to say “I told you so.”

In 2010, the Supreme Court heard a case called NASA v. Nelson, which involved the government’s right to carry out highly intrusive background checks. NASA decided to require its employees—many…

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:52am

The Petraeus Affair Affair is salacious stuff. It also, naturally, raises a lot of questions about privacy. But there’s also an interesting First Amendment angle underneath the sensation: why did the FBI investigate Paula Broadwell—the…

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