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Google’s Report on NSLs: What we still don’t know

Google’s Report on NSLs: What we still don’t know

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:44am
Every year, the FBI issues tens of thousands of “national security letters”—or NSLs—demanding that internet service providers, telephone companies, credit card companies, and others hand over information about their customers if it is “relevant” to a counterterrorism or counter-intelligence investigation. That information could include the web sites we visit, the email addresses of our contacts, or even information linking us to our anonymous political speech online. This practice has been shrouded in secrecy, though, because the FBI gags recipients of NSLs—preventing companies from telling their customers that the government has asked for records about them.
Hurray for Google Transparency, Now Where is Everyone Else?

Hurray for Google Transparency, Now Where is Everyone Else?

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:16pm

Google released its latest transparency report today. They’ve made some interesting additions and the overall number of government requests is on the rise. But before we get to that, there is one major overriding point: good for Google and where…

Thoughts on British Airways and Enterprise Amnesia

Thoughts on British Airways and Enterprise Amnesia

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:18pm

British Airways made headlines in Britain last week with reports that it is planning to do internet searches on customers in order to provide them with a “personal touch.” As a BA spokesperson explained,

We’re essentially…

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…

More Transparency Needed For Government's Use of National Security Powers For Data Requests From Companies

More Transparency Needed For Government's Use of National Security Powers For Data Requests From Companies

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 2:27pm

Google's transparency report reveals that the U.S. government asked Google for data on its users 6,321 times during the second half of 2011—a 75% increase from two years ago.

The Government, Privacy, and Companies (The Ones We Pay and the Ones We Don’t)

The Government, Privacy, and Companies (The Ones We Pay and the Ones We Don’t)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:18pm

Privacy researcher Chris Soghoian gave a very nice talk at TEDx recently on “Why Google Won’t Protect You From Big Brother.” He provides a cogent overview and some useful perspective on the relationship between companies and the government,…

FTC Report: A Roadmap for Future Success?

FTC Report: A Roadmap for Future Success?

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:21pm

The FTC's newly released privacy report is a roadmap to success on consumer privacy — now it's up to Congress to follow the directions

Google Turns on Encrypted Search by Default for Users

Google Turns on Encrypted Search by Default for Users

By Chris Conley, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California Technology and Civil Liberties Project at 5:57pm

This week, our federal online privacy law turns 25. The ACLU is hosting a blog series that will address some of the many reasons why the "Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986" (ECPA) is in need of an upgrade! Spread the word…

Google's Transparency Tool Exposes Government Demands for Personal Information

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:38pm

Google released its new transparency report this week, revealing that U.S. government demands for the personal information of Google's users, like chat records or emails, continue to rise. The report serves to emphasize the heightened importance…

Google: Don't Close the Book on Reader Privacy

The ACLU of Northern California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Berkeley Law School sent a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (PDF) today. It was about books. Why books?

Google is planning to dramatically expand its book service, Google Book Search. The good news is that millions of books will be available for browsing, reading, and purchasing online. But the bad news is that Google is leaving reader privacy behind.

What you choose to read says a lot about who you are, what you value, and what you believe. You should be able to read about politics, health, or anything else without worrying that someone is looking over your shoulder. That’s why the ACLU has fought alongside libraries and bookstores time and again to defend the privacy of readers. Now we need your help to protect reader privacy into the digital era.

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