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.
image of state privacy map

Interactive Map: Privacy in the States on Four Key Issues

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:50am

In the last few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented number of privacy battles being waged in state legislatures. Today we’re launching an interactive web map that shows the privacy laws in place across the country on four of those issues:

law…

Eight Problems With “Big Data”

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:06pm

The idea of “Big Data” is in the air. At the South by Southwest Interactive conference last month, it was probably the hot topic, dominating or surfacing in numerous panels, including one on which I spoke, on “Big…

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,…

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:32pm

Justice Department documents released today by the ACLU reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.

The…

Do Young People Care About Privacy?

Do Young People Care About Privacy?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:00am

Everywhere I go, I hear some variation of the claim that “young people today just don’t care about privacy.” This is something that people widely seem to believe is “just true.” The latest claim to this effect comes in the form of a new poll, the release of which was trumpeted with unfortunate headlines like “Millennials don’t worry about online privacy.”

In fact, the poll, which was conducted by the University of Southern California’s corporate-partnered Center for the Digital Future, showed no such thing. Although there were some differences between younger and older respondents,

Chris Rock on stage

Chris Rock Explains Why Privacy Matters

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:01pm

In an interview published in New York Magazine, Chris Rock and Frank Rich have a very interesting discussion about the effect of ubiquitous cell phones on the creative process for stand-up comics. Although as Rock says standup comedy is in some ways…

Telephone by Vincent AF via Flickr

Americans' Confidence in Privacy of Electronic Communications is Very Low

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:16pm

Pew has a new poll out on Americans’ attitudes toward privacy, and it is full of interesting findings. A New York Times blog piece on the poll focused on the so-called “privacy paradox”—people’s seeming willingness to share personal information…

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Why Has the ACLU Hired an Internet Infrastructure Technologist?

By Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Technology Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:54am

Last March, I started working as a technologist for the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology project. Part of the job is helping the ACLU’s lawyers to better understand the technical details of their legal work. But I'm also taking the fight for…

High-Tech “Mind Readers” Are Latest Effort to Detect Lies

High-Tech “Mind Readers” Are Latest Effort to Detect Lies

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:41am

I recently wrote about how difficult it is to know which technologies on the horizon will turn into genuine privacy nightmares and which remain menacing but distant threats. One group of technologies that we’ve had our eyes on for a while are…

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