First Amendment

Should Facebook Censor Misogynistic Material?

Should Facebook Censor Misogynistic Material?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:57am
The New York Times ran an article yesterday about pressure that is mounting on Facebook to censor websites full of awful misogynistic material. The company said it was reviewing its processes for dealing with content under its hate speech policy.
"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

"Ag-Gag" Not Just About Animal Welfare

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:54am

A story out of Utah this week neatly showcased the rising concerns among civil liberties and press freedom groups around so-called "ag-gag" laws, which, in various ways, make it illegal to document animal abuse on factory farms and other agricultural…

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:48am

A set of bronze boobs has sent a group of citizens in Kansas into a tizzy. Offended by a statue depicting a woman's breasts, they are now stepping up their fight against a statue in the Overland Park Arboretum, just south of Kansas City.

"Accept…

Nothing to See Here! Censoring 'The Innocence of Muslims'

Nothing to See Here! Censoring 'The Innocence of Muslims'

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:32pm

It's likely you haven't escaped the roiling controversy generated by the film The Innocence of Muslims. This "film" has alternately been described as: a deliberate provocation of Muslims, a launching point for a conversation about free speech, a trigger…

Redskins Wrong, But Legal

Redskins Wrong, But Legal

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:41am

An earlier blog on this site argued, rightly, that Dan Snyder, owner of a certain Washington football club, should voluntarily change the name of his team. He should. It's demeaning and wrong, full stop.

The ACLU, one of the oldest racial justice…

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:10pm

The Internet has evolved into a true marketplace for every idea – if you can think of it, you can find it on the web. That the online world has blossomed into this virtual town square teeming with diverse content is no accident. It is largely a creation…

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...

Image Control at Its Worst: The White House Immigration Chat

Image Control at Its Worst: The White House Immigration Chat

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 3:56pm

About midway through yesterday's immigration chat with Vice President Biden and Domestic Policy Advisor Cecilia Muñoz, I started to get the sneaking suspicion that the conversation was a tightly controlled event, with the questioners chosen beforehand,…

Unfrackingbelievable

Unfrackingbelievable

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:40pm

Earlier this month, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette managed to unseal an extraordinary court transcript. In it, a local court approved an unusual settlement agreement between the Hallowich family and several natural gas companies, including Texas-based…

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

Police Harassment of Photographers Remains a Problem

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:31pm

It’s been almost two years since we posted our ”Know Your Rights” Guide for Photographers, began calling attention to the problem of police harassment of photographers (including through this video), and began blogging about the issue. And several years before that, our affiliates around the country had already begun filing what have become numerous lawsuits on the issue.

It’s also been nearly two years since the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that the right to film police officers is protected by the First Amendment and that, moreover, that principle is so “fundamental and virtually self-evident” that it should have been known to the police even before the court’s ruling. That ruling was only the most prominent—courts around the country have been pretty much unanimous in finding such a right.

Yet the problem persists.

As Carlos Miller documents on his invaluable site Photography is Not a Crime, incidents of police harassment of photographers (and worse) continue to take place around the country on a daily or near-daily basis.

Why is it so hard for police officers to learn the law? We have seen settlements in some cities in which police department management has sent clear messages to their officers instructing them on the law, but in many cities, not enough has been done to train officers and/or enforce requirements that they abide by the Constitution.

As citizens prepare to gather this Fourth of July for rallies to restore the Fourth Amendment, let’s hope that this First Amendment right is respected as well.

Statistics image