Freedom of Expression

ACLU to UN: Encryption is Not A Problem to be Solved, But a Crucial Tool For Freedom and Security

ACLU to UN: Encryption is Not A Problem to be Solved, But a Crucial Tool For Freedom and Security

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:56am
A few weeks ago, a U.N. Special Rapporteur solicited comments for a report on the relationship between free expression and the use of encryption and anonymity online. The report that he is writing will be submitted to the Human Rights Council in June and could help shape the international discussion surrounding the role of encryption and anonymity today.
This Man Faces Life in Prison for...Rapping

This Man Faces Life in Prison for...Rapping

By David Loy, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties at 12:58pm

I've heard free speech isn't free, and Brandon Duncan, who raps as Tiny Doo, has learned that the hard way.

Until recently, Mr. Duncan spent eight months in jail on "gang conspiracy" charges arising from several shootings in San Diego from…

Legislating Catcalling Comes With Real Risks

Legislating Catcalling Comes With Real Risks

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

The piece below was first published as part of the New York Times Room for Debate feature "Do We Need a Law Against Catcalling?" The debate used this conversation starter:

Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization, released…

Free Speech for Some Means Free Speech for None

Free Speech for Some Means Free Speech for None

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:44pm

In honor of Free Speech Week, let's take a moment to acknowledge the obvious. Free speech is incredibly, almost unbelievably important, especially in a democracy.

It can also be unpleasant, uncomfortable and even downright offensive. Which…

Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:39pm

Well, sort of.

First Amendment advocates have expressed escalating concern in recent days over a U.S. Forest Service rule requiring permits for photographers in national forests. In particular what is at issue is a new proposed Forest Service…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…
There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:53am

Tear gas, rubber bullets, and assault weapons; free speech zones, gags, and press pens: This is the arsenal of the police state. Some of these tactics are physical. The other ones—all the more pernicious for their quiet coercion—impose a veil of silence over the actions of law enforcement. And each of these weapons has been unleashed on the people of Ferguson, Missouri, since the killing of Michael Brown.

Photo of FCC meeting

Investigating the Imaginary Thought Police

By Sarah Harrison, Washington Legislative Office at 10:14am

Earlier this year, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, abruptly abandoned a survey of Americans’ media information needs, which, despite its modest scope, would have provided crucial data for the FCC in its efforts…

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

Appeals Court Overturns Decision on TheDirty.com in a Win For Free Speech

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:38pm

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, a case in which the ACLU filed an amicus brief alongside other organizations urging the Sixth Circuit to reverse a lower court’s decision holding a…

18th Century political cartoon

Parody Doesn't Play in Peoria

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:46pm

In March of this year, Peoria resident Jon Daniel set up a satire Twitter account using the name of the town’s elected mayor, Jim Ardis. Using slang and swearwords, Daniel then tweeted a series of jokes. No one in their right mind would have thought…

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