Consumer Online Privacy

Not Just the NSA: Data Brokers Amass Detailed Profiles on Everyone Online

Not Just the NSA: Data Brokers Amass Detailed Profiles on Everyone Online

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:11pm
This month, a strongly worded Washington Post op-ed by Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill calling for transparency in the business practices of the online data broker industry provoked a heated response. While the ACLU and other privacy advocates have long had their suspicions about how and why data brokers were tracking individuals, as the commissioner stated in her op-ed:
The NSA Surveillance Order, Explained by the ACLU

The NSA Surveillance Order, Explained by the ACLU

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:58pm

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order released yesterday by The Guardian reveals that the U.S. government is regularly tracking the phone calls of potentially millions of Americans.

ACLU attorneys have been monitoring the U.S. government’s…

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too

Note to Self: Siri Not Just Working for Me, Working Full-Time for Apple, Too

By Nicole Ozer, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Director, ACLU of Northern California at 6:33pm

The Siri “personal assistant” is sending lots of our personal voice and user info to Apple to stockpile in its databases.

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.

Twitter Forced to Hand Over Occupy Wall Street Protester Info

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 5:28pm

This morning, faced with the threat of criminal and civil contempt, Twitter turned over information about Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris to a New York criminal court judge. This development follows Twitter’s months-long effort to…

Why Government Access to Metadata is More Than a 'Modest Encroachment' on Privacy

Why Government Access to Metadata is More Than a 'Modest Encroachment' on Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:56pm

Metadata is back in the news, following The Guardian's extraordinary revelation on Wednesday revealing that the National Security Agency...

Why Won’t the IRS Deploy Basic Web Security?

Why Won’t the IRS Deploy Basic Web Security?

By Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:45am

This tax season, when you visit the IRS’s website seeking tax information, can you be certain that no one else is monitoring which pages you browse?

Unfortunately, right now the answer to that question is “no.” Unlike Facebook, Twitter,…

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:59am

Back in the waning years of the Clinton administration, Congress quietly enacted an important internet privacy bill (the passage of which was overshadowed by other, more salacious developments). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”)…

The Hazards of Uncontrolled Data Collection

The Hazards of Uncontrolled Data Collection

By Joe Silver, Washington Legislative Office, ACLU at 3:32pm

Leaks of classified and highly secretive information from U.S. government databases by the likes of Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have naturally garnered massive press attention, exposing some deeply problematic U.S. military and national security…

The Potential Chilling Effects of Big Data

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:46am

Last week I posted about “Big Data” and how it is being used to discover new facts about people, to sift and sort them based on subtle patterns, to flag them as “risks” in this field or that, to predict their behavior, and to manipulate them…

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