Government Surveillance

NSA Reform Takes Its First Steps

NSA Reform Takes Its First Steps

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:52pm
Congress finally had enough.
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An Important Review of Big Data

By Chris Calabrese, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:41am

Yesterday John Podesta, the president’s senior adviser, released a highly anticipated report addressing how the administration should tackle the challenges of big data in coming years. So how’d he do? Pretty well, actually. The report recognizes…

Everybody Wants to Reform ECPA - So Where's the White House?

Everybody Wants to Reform ECPA - So Where's the White House?

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:01am

A coalition of over 70 organizations sent a letter yesterday to President Obama, urging him to support a clean update to our online privacy laws and warning him about the dangers of carving out any exceptions that would give some government agencies…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

What Captain America Has to Say About the NSA

By Josh Bell, Media Strategist, ACLU at 10:41am

SPOILER WARNING: This post discusses major plot points of the new Captain America movie.

What is patriotism? Is it doing what the government says, or is it doing what you believe is true to the Constitution and American values? "Captain America:…

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

NSA Surveillance Unravels International Law

By Zak Newman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:29pm

It wasn't long ago that President Obama announced on Reddit, "We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody - from those who are expressing an idea to those who want to start a business."

The NSA's surveillance…

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

The FBI Derails the 9/11 Hearings at Guantánamo

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 5:20pm

The oft-delayed, secrecy-plagued 9/11 military commission hearings came to an abrupt halt today before the scheduled arguments surrounding the competency of defendant Ramzi bin al Shibh even began. Just minutes after Army Col. James Pohl called the…

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Curious Cop Downloaded Hundreds of Private Prescription Records Because He Could

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:40pm

Today, the ACLU and ACLU of Utah filed an amicus brief in support of a Utah paramedic whose Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police swept up his confidential prescription records in a dragnet search. Law enforcement’s disregard for…

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SEC Blocking Update to Electronic Privacy Laws

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

During the long, hard fight to bring the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) into the 21st century, advocates have run into the most unlikely of opponents: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Yes, the SEC—the agency charged…

Status of Location Privacy Legislation in the States

Status of Location Privacy Legislation in the States

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 12:00am

In the wake of the NSA revelations, there has been an avalanche of state bills requiring law enforcement to obtain a probable cause warrant before tracking an individual’s location in an investigation. Most state legislators know they can’t control the NSA—but they can control their state and local law enforcement, which are engaging in some of the same invasive practices. The trend actually started in the wake of the ACLU’s nationwide public records requests on location tracking and the 2012 U.S. v. Jones decision, when Montana and Maine enacted the first two location tracking laws in the country—the recent revelations have simply increased the momentum.

Working closely with our lobbyists in state capitols around the country, we’ve been tracking this activity and working hard to make sure these privacy-protective bills become law. The chart below shows the current status of state legislation as we understand it. We will keep this chart up-to-date as we receive new information.

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Have We Become a “Surveillance State”? A Five-Part Test

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am

At a panel in Toronto recently I was asked whether I thought the United States had become a “surveillance state.” How to answer that question? At first glance it’s an impossibly fuzzy question, the answer to which is relative depending on whether…

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