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.
Surveillance and Security Lessons From the Petraeus Scandal

Surveillance and Security Lessons From the Petraeus Scandal

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:24pm
When the CIA director cannot hide his activities online, what hope is there for the rest of us? In the unfolding sex scandal that has led to the resignation of David Petraeus, the FBI’s electronic surveillance and tracking of Petraeus and his mistress Paula Broadwell is more than a side show—it's a key component of the story. More importantly, there are enough interesting tidbits (some of which change by the hour, as new details are leaked), to make this story an excellent lesson on the government’s surveillance powers—as well as a reminder of the need to reform those powers.
Data Brokers Release Information About Their Operations In Response to Congressional Inquiry

Data Brokers Release Information About Their Operations In Response to Congressional Inquiry

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:18pm

Yesterday Reps. Ed Markey (D, Mass.) and Joe Barton (R, Texas) released a batch of important details about the operation of the nation’s largest data broker companies. The information came in responses from nine data broker companies to a list of questions posed by a group of Members led by Markey and Barton seeking details of their operation in light of the privacy sensitivity of what they do. The responses released yesterday provide a good snapshot and reminder of what it is these companies are doing.

Will Increasing Surveillance Change Fiction?

Will Increasing Surveillance Change Fiction?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:36pm

The end of the Cold War created a problem for espionage thriller writers and moviemakers. They faced loss of a built-in backstory needing no explanation, a whole set of strong but realistic motivations for extreme behavior, a pre-fab cast of bad guys,…

Unsettling Questions About Voting Machines In Ohio

Unsettling Questions About Voting Machines In Ohio

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:46pm

As America heads to the polls to elect the next president, stories are circulating about, and a lawsuit has been filed over, a last-minute software patch apparently being installed on voting tabulation machines in Ohio, as described in a secret contract…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/2/2012)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (11/2/2012)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 12:41pm

More Than 25% Of Android Apps Know Too Much About You [Dark Reading – Kelly Jackson Higgins]

“Some 26 percent of Android apps in Google Play can access personal data, such as contacts and email, and 42 percent, GPS location data…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/26/2012)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/26/2012)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 3:04pm

In Court: Uncovering Stingrays, A Troubling New Location Tracking Device [ACLU of Northern CA – Linda Lye]

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed an amicus brief in what will be the first case in the country to address…

Commercial Data Scores For Police, Auto Security, and Online Bots (Friday Links Roundup)

Commercial Data Scores For Police, Auto Security, and Online Bots (Friday Links Roundup)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:17pm

One of the problems we have long had with some cities’ red light camera systems is the role of the private sector, which sometimes assumes inherently governmental functions such as deciding who gets a traffic ticket—as well as collecting…

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:16pm

During the Cold War, as I argued last week, the totalitarian governments of the Soviet bloc functioned as a standing warning to Americans of the dangers of unchecked surveillance—lessons that we would do well to remember despite the fall of the…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/5/12)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/5/12)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 3:50pm

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…

Would it be Easier to Fight Surveillance if the Soviets Were Still Around?

Would it be Easier to Fight Surveillance if the Soviets Were Still Around?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:05am

Sometimes the constant news on the surveillance front makes me wonder: would it be easier to fight new surveillance programs if the Soviet Union were still around?

On the one hand the Cold War was a bonanza for the military and for our three-letter…

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