Freedom of Expression

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.

The $338,000 Internet Comment

The $338,000 Internet Comment

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:00am

(Updated below)

We’ve written before about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 — a federal law that protects the robust diversity of free speech we’ve come to know and love (and hate) on the Internet. Last night, the…

Anti-Backpage.com Bill Will Shut Down Free Speech

Anti-Backpage.com Bill Will Shut Down Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:17pm

The House of Representatives is set to take up a bill this morning that would result in severe unintended consequences for free speech online. We are understandably concerned. The measure aims to target the deliberate commercial promotion of either…

Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 1:54pm

2013 has been a landmark year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. In June the Supreme Court struck down...

"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…

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

New Government “Propaganda” Bill a Positive Step for First Amendment

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:58am
Throughout the country, many of us have rightly been long concerned about the danger of the government using taxpayer funds to covertly influence public opinion.  This issue came up again recently as part of this year’s defense authorization bill, which passed the House of Representatives on Friday.  Reps.
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…

FCC Should Resist Calls to Enhance Broadcast Censorship

FCC Should Resist Calls to Enhance Broadcast Censorship

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:51pm

In response to a call for comments regarding the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) enforcement of its broadcast indecency policies, the ACLU submitted comments last month arguing that the FCC's regulations have devolved into vague, overbroad,…

Photographing Police: What Happens When the Police Think Your Phone Holds Evidence of a Crime?

Photographing Police: What Happens When the Police Think Your Phone Holds Evidence of a Crime?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:27am

The Washington, DC chief of police on Friday issued a new “General Order” to members of the police department on “Video Recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public.”…

NYPD's Backwards Policy on Photography at Occupy Wall Street

NYPD's Backwards Policy on Photography at Occupy Wall Street

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:32pm

Police are busting people for taking pictures while cops themselves improperly monitor protestors.

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