Department Of Justice

The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities

The Government is Spying on You: ACLU Releases New Evidence of Overly Broad Surveillance of Everyday Activities

By Julia Harumi Mass, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California & Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:15am
This was originally posted by the ACLU of Northern California.
FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:31am

New documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ offices paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices. Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant—even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment—but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content (you can see the documents here).

Last month, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU received IRS documents indicating that the agency’s criminal investigative arm doesn’t always get a warrant to read Americans’ emails. Today we are releasing these additional documents from other federal law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the urgent need for Congress to protect our privacy by updating the laws that cover electronic communications.

The FBI and Electronic Communications: Where’s the Warrant?

The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t.

In 2010, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in United States v. Warshak that the government must obtain a probable cause warrant before compelling email providers to turn over messages to law enforcement. But that decision only applies in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit, so we filed our FOIA request to find out whether the FBI

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

Justice Department's Overreaching on Leaks Threatens Freedom of the Press

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:54pm

A week after the Department of Justice notified the Associated Press that it had secretly seized records for more than 20 phone lines...

In Court Thursday: Demanding the Justice Department’s Secret Memos on GPS Location Tracking

In Court Thursday: Demanding the Justice Department’s Secret Memos on GPS Location Tracking

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:41am

I will be in court tomorrow to argue that the Justice Department must release two key memos...

In Court Today: Challenging DOJ Secrecy on Use of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

In Court Today: Challenging DOJ Secrecy on Use of Warrantless Cell Phone Location Tracking

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 10:47am

Way back in 2007, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information about how and when the government obtains cell phone location data without a warrant. Since then, we have learned that the practice of using cell phones as tracking…

Where's the Suspicion in Government's "Suspicious Activity" Reports?

Where's the Suspicion in Government's "Suspicious Activity" Reports?

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:00am

In 2008, the federal government launched programs to collect so-called "Suspicious Activity Reports" around the country. Government documents obtained by the ACLU show that these programs have operated without adequate privacy safeguards or guidance…

Members of Congress Ask AG Holder to Release Justice Department’s GPS Tracking Memos

Members of Congress Ask AG Holder to Release Justice Department’s GPS Tracking Memos

By Brian Hauss, Legal Fellow, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:02pm

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to release the two Department of Justice legal memos providing guidance to federal prosecutors and investigators…

The Darker Side of the DOJ Press Guidelines

The Darker Side of the DOJ Press Guidelines

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:26pm

In mid-July, the attorney general released guidelines about when and how the Justice Department can investigate journalists in the aftermath of the AP and James Rosen scandals. In my last post, I explained why the new limits on when the DOJ can delay…

A Year in Targeted Killing: Small Steps Forward on Transparency, Still No Accountability

A Year in Targeted Killing: Small Steps Forward on Transparency, Still No Accountability

By Noa Yachot, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 1:01pm

One year ago today, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the U.S. government's drone killings of three American citizens in Yemen in 2011. Tomorrow, we will appear in court to…

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