Government Surveillance

Trickle Down Surveillance

Trickle Down Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:22am
Cell site simulators, also known as "stingrays," are devices that trick cellphones into reporting their locations and identifying information. They do so by mimicking cellphone towers and sending out electronic cues that allow the police to enlist cellphones as tracking devices, thus revealing people's movements with great precision. The equipment also sends intrusive electronic signals through the walls of private homes and offices, learning information about the locations and identities of phones inside. Initially the domain of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies, the use of stingrays has trickled down to federal, state and local law enforcement. In one Florida case, a police officer explained in court that he "quite literally stood in front of every door and window" with his stingray to track the phones inside a large apartment complex.
Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

Uncle Sam's Databases of Suspicion

By Hina Shamsi, Director, ACLU National Security Project & Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

This piece originally ran at TomDispatch.com.

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door.

When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, "Chico Police Department."

"I…

Shouldn't You Be Able To See the Secret Surveillance Orders That Could Put You in Prison?

Shouldn't You Be Able To See the Secret Surveillance Orders That Could Put You in Prison?

By Ashley Gorski, Nadine Strossen Fellow, National Security Project, ACLU at 3:23pm

The Supreme Court is set to decide tomorrow whether it will hear a case concerning criminal defendants' right to see surveillance applications approved by the secret FISA court. The case, United States v. Daoud, has broad implications for the constitutional…

Old postcard of cars in parking lot

DEA Planned to Monitor Gun Show Attendees With License Plate Readers, New Emails Reveal

By Bennett Stein, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project & Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 6:40pm

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives collaborated on plans to monitor gun show attendees using automatic license plate readers, according to a newly disclosed DEA email obtained by the ACLU…

Is There a Software Solution to the Surveillance Debate?

Is There a Software Solution to the Surveillance Debate?

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 11:04am

Last year, the president asked the intelligence community a question: Is it possible to create software that would enable targeted surveillance to act as a substitute for dragnet surveillance? In response, the National Academies released a report which…

The NSA's Other Privacy Loophole

The NSA's Other Privacy Loophole

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 4:26pm

Earlier today, a former State Department civil servant named John Tye published an important op-ed in the Washington Post, explaining that the NSA has created a giant loophole in Americans' right to privacy. While we now know a good deal about the…

Car in blurry lights

Federal Court Rules on One of the Major Outstanding Constitutional Privacy Questions of Our Time

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:13am

In a tremendous step forward for our right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held in United States v. Quartavious Davis that police need a warrant to obtain historical cell phone location information from…

Modification of image by jpstanley with map by jepoirrier via Flickr

Cell Tower Dumps: Another Surveillance Technique, Another Set of Unanswered Questions

By Katie Haas, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:58am

Today, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, and several other agencies asking for information about a surveillance technique known as a “cell tower dump.” If you’re wondering what that…

NSA Headquarters

New Documents Shed Light on One of the NSA's Most Powerful Tools

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 10:00am

Today, we're releasing several key documents about Executive Order 12333 that we obtained from the government in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the ACLU filed (along with the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale…

Fact-checking Representative Pittenger on NSA Reform

Fact-checking Representative Pittenger on NSA Reform

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 11:13am

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-N.C.), criticizing a bipartisan amendment on NSA reform to the House Defense Appropriations bill. The amendment, which Pittenger called "a Congressional mistake," passed…

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