Freedom of Expression

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

Petraeus and the Perils of Federal Cyber-Stalking Laws

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:52am
The Petraeus Affair Affair is salacious stuff. It also, naturally, raises a lot of questions about privacy. But there’s also an interesting First Amendment angle underneath the sensation: why did the FBI investigate Paula Broadwell—the Petraeus biographer and paramour who allegedly sent “harassing” emails to Tampa housewife Jill Kelley—in the first place? The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that none of the Broadwell emails contained “overt threats,” and really amounted to “cat-fight stuff” (a source’s words, not mine). Further, it appears the email that initially prompted Kelley to go to the FBI (titled “kelleypatrol”) was forwarded by General Allen, not sent directly. And, apparently, prosecutors expressed doubt that any of the emails constituted a threat.
You Can’t Hide Families Behind The Desk: How Utah School Officials Are Violating The First Amendment In Library Book Case

You Can’t Hide Families Behind The Desk: How Utah School Officials Are Violating The First Amendment In Library Book Case

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 1:09pm

The ACLU LGBT Project and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit earlier today challenging a decision by Davis School District in Davis County, Utah, to remove a children’s picture book about a family with two moms from all elementary school libraries…

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”)…

Menino v. Chick-fil-A

Menino v. Chick-fil-A

By Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts at 10:27am

You know we are in the silly season of summer when Boston Mayor Thomas Menino fires up the old bully pulpit to roast his political enemies and fire up his base.

New York Court Denies Twitter Motion to Quash Occupy Protester Subpoena

By Aden Fine, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:07pm

A New York criminal court judge has issued a decision denying Twitter’s motion to quash a court order requiring it to produce information about one of its users pursuant to a subpoena that the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan issued…

One Key to Campaign Finance Reform?

By Michael W. Macleod-Ball, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:38pm

I spoke on a panel yesterday sponsored by OpenSecrets.org on the future of campaign finance reform. In the course of the panel, an opinion piece by Fred Wertheimer, who was not at the event, but who is one of the most visible advocates for campaign…

Do Androids Dream of Electric Speech?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Speech?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:23am

Professor Tim Wu at Columbia had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday arguing against First Amendment protections for “automated” speech. Here’s the argument distilled:

As a matter of legal logic, there is some similarity…

BREAKING NEWS: Twitter Stands Up For One Of Its Users

BREAKING NEWS: Twitter Stands Up For One Of Its Users

By Aden Fine, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:59pm

Twitter has filed a motion in state court in New York seeking to quash a court order requiring it to turn over information about one of its users and his communications on Twitter. This particular case involves a Twitter user, Malcolm Harris,…

Police and Photography: Can’t Stop the Signal

Police and Photography: Can’t Stop the Signal

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:05pm

There’s been an uptick in protest activity this month around the country–May Day saw a resurgence in the Occupy movement, and further protests are expected around the NATO summit in Chicago, set for May 20th. It’s a safe bet that…

Send the ACLU to SXSW 2014!

Send the ACLU to SXSW 2014!

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 4:04pm

It's that time of year again. The annual SXSW PanelPicker is open for your votes! SXSW Interactive festival draws thousands of developers and entrepreneurs -- an audience that needs to hear how much you care about issues like online privacy and free…

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