Government Surveillance

NSA Congress

Getting the Innocent out of the NSA’s Shadow Database

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 3:20pm
There’s a lot the Senate can and should do to improve upon the version of the USA Freedom Act passed by the House of Representatives last week. (My colleague Gabe Rottman outlines some of the most necessary changes here.) That includes one of the most troubling aspects of the agency’s phone-records program: the shadow database of Americans’ phone records, otherwise known as the “corporate store.” Trouble is, the bill’s language, as passed out of the House, makes it impossible to know whether the provision would actually add urgently needed privacy protections.
A Platform to Build Real NSA Reform

A Platform to Build Real NSA Reform

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:57pm

The piece below was first published as part of the New York Times Room for Debate feature "Reining in the N.S.A.," which used this conversation starter:

Last week the House voted to limit the National Security Agency's sweeping collection…

Calling Abroad? Then Your Privacy Rights May Be "Eliminated"

Calling Abroad? Then Your Privacy Rights May Be "Eliminated"

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 10:14am

Modern American privacy law begins with Charles Katz, an accused gambler, making a call from a Los Angeles phone booth. In a now-famous opinion, Justice John Marshall Harlan concluded that the US Constitution protected Katz's "expectation of privacy"…

DOJ Proposal on Law Enforcement Hacking Would Undermine Longstanding Check on Government Power

DOJ Proposal on Law Enforcement Hacking Would Undermine Longstanding Check on Government Power

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:18pm

At the urging of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Courts’ Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is considering whether to bless procedures that would allow law enforcement to hack into computers, including by the use of controversial “zero-day…

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.

Almost one year after the first disclosure about the NSA's abusive surveillance programs, the House Judiciary Committee made history on Wednesday when it voted unanimously to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. Much to our…

Crop of image by luc legay via Flickr

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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