Government Surveillance

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies just issued a report that unequivocally rejected the notion that privacy and civil liberties must be sacrificed in order to achieve a balance with national security. Liberty and Security in a Changing World includes 46 recommendations for how to reform Intelligence Community programs and practices, several of which would go a long way toward protecting Americans' rights. Here are the nine most important things you need to know about those recommendations.

Tech Giants Join the Fight for Our Constitutional Rights

Tech Giants Join the Fight for Our Constitutional Rights

By Gaurav Laroia, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:31pm

For years now, the ACLU and a coalition of other civil rights and civil liberties organizations have been working to roll back the NSA’s unconstitutional warrantless surveillance regime. This past summer’s revelations made the extent of this surveillance…

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

FBI Documents Suggest Feds Read Emails Without a Warrant

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:31am

New documents from the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ offices paint a troubling picture of the government’s email surveillance practices. Not only does the FBI claim it can read emails and other electronic communications without a warrant—even after a federal appeals court ruled that doing so violates the Fourth Amendment—but the documents strongly suggest that different U.S. Attorneys’ offices around the country are applying conflicting standards to access communications content (you can see the documents here).

Last month, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU received IRS documents indicating that the agency’s criminal investigative arm doesn’t always get a warrant to read Americans’ emails. Today we are releasing these additional documents from other federal law enforcement agencies, reinforcing the urgent need for Congress to protect our privacy by updating the laws that cover electronic communications.

The FBI and Electronic Communications: Where’s the Warrant?

The documents we received from the FBI don’t flat out tell us whether FBI agents always get warrants, but they strongly suggest that they don’t.

In 2010, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in United States v. Warshak that the government must obtain a probable cause warrant before compelling email providers to turn over messages to law enforcement. But that decision only applies in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit, so we filed our FOIA request to find out whether the FBI

Republican Party Platform Advocates Regulation of Drone Surveillance

Republican Party Platform Advocates Regulation of Drone Surveillance

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:03pm

The Republican Party’s 2012 platform, unveiled at the RNC Tuesday, includes this reference to domestic drone surveillance:

Affirming ‘the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable…

The USA FREEDOM Act Answers Judge Leon's Constitutional Concerns

The USA FREEDOM Act Answers Judge Leon's Constitutional Concerns

By Gaurav Laroia, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:34pm

The D.C. District Court decision this week in Klayman v. Obama, holding that the NSA's bulk telephone metadata program likely violates the Fourth Amendment, dealt a major blow to those seeking to codify the program into law. (The ACLU's challenge to…

"Limited Only by the Imagination": The Need for Legal Limits on License Plate Reader Use

"Limited Only by the Imagination": The Need for Legal Limits on License Plate Reader Use

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 10:13am

If you've been following our work on license plate readers, by now you know that if you're driving, your license plate is likely being photographed...

Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

Is Privacy a Modern Phenomenon?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:02pm

I recently came across this piece by the author William Deresiewicz (from his consistently insightful “All Points” blog), in which he comments on the observation that privacy and solitude are privileges of the modern era that are “rare…

Today at the Supreme Court: The Right to Challenge Warrantless Wiretapping

Today at the Supreme Court: The Right to Challenge Warrantless Wiretapping

By Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Staff Attorney, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties at 6:26pm

The ACLU appeared before the Supreme Court to argue for the right of Americans to challenge a law that instituted a far-reaching and unconstitutional surveillance regime. 

The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The Biggest New Spying Program You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:18pm

Update: Since this piece was posted, the ACLU has filed FOIA requests seeking more information on data-mining by the NCTC. Read more »

What if a government spy agency had power to copy and data mine information about ordinary Americans…

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