Government Surveillance

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 the law is pending in New York, and a decision is expected any day.) Judge Richard Leon's ruling demolishes the already shaky legal foundation for the NSA's mass surveillance program, and makes it clear that reform means ending the unconstitutional suspicionless surveillance programs.
ACLU Tells Parliamentarians That EU Faces a Choice on Surveillance

ACLU Tells Parliamentarians That EU Faces a Choice on Surveillance

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:38am

My colleague Christopher Soghoian testified today before the European Parliament at a hearing on the “Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens,” which is a response to widespread concern in Europe about the revelations of NSA spying. His brief…

Edward Snowden is a Patriot

Edward Snowden is a Patriot

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 5:44pm

Edward Snowden is a patriot.

As a whistleblower of illegal government activity that was sanctioned and kept secret by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government for years, he undertook great personal risk for the public…

The Flawed Logic of Secret Mass Surveillance

The Flawed Logic of Secret Mass Surveillance

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:50am

Privacy is a form of power. Humans are always highly aware who is observing them at any given time and place, and always tailor their behavior to that audience. And they generally work to make sure that their behavior does not reveal things that might…

The NSA's Winter of Discontent

The NSA's Winter of Discontent

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:01pm

Originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The summer of Snowden is fast becoming the NSA's winter of discontent.

This week, tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and others published an open letter to President Obama and Congress urging…

New Documents Show Lopsided Reliance on Secret Subpoenas

New Documents Show Lopsided Reliance on Secret Subpoenas

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 12:29pm

What happens when legislatures pass laws enabling law enforcement to obtain sensitive, private information about people without requiring any evidence of criminal activity, and without any outside oversight whatsoever?

Fishing expeditions.

Take…

Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

Mass Location Tracking: It’s Not Just For the NSA

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:12pm

Thanks to Edward Snowden we now understand that the NSA runs many dragnet surveillance programs, some of which target Americans. But a story yesterday from Washington, D.C. public radio station WAMU is a reminder that dragnet surveillance is not just…

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…

Cell Phone Companies Reveal How Much Cops Love Your Phone

Cell Phone Companies Reveal How Much Cops Love Your Phone

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 12:06pm

Cellphones are the spies in our pockets, gathering information about whom we befriend, what we say, where we go, and what we read. That’s why Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., recently asked the nation’s major cellphone companies to disclose how frequently they receive requests from law enforcement for customer call records—including the content of communications, numbers dialed, websites visited, and location data. Sometimes police have a warrant, sometimes they don’t.

Seven companies provided information in response to the inqury. The letters Markey received, which were covered today in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and New York Times, show that the quantity of requests for these records is staggering. T-Mobile and AT&T together received nearly 600,000 requests for customer information in 2012. AT&T has to employ more than 100 full-time workers to process them. And police demand for our call records is growing rapidly, with requests to Verizon doubling in the last five years.

This piece was originally published on Slate. Click here to read the full article.

Meet Jack: What The Government Could Do With All That Location Data

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 5:38pm

Wednesday we learned that the NSA is collecting location information en masse. As we’ve long said, location data is an extremely powerful set of information about people. To flesh out why that is true, here is the kind of future memo that we fear may someday soon be uncovered:

Dear commissioner: now that we have finalized our systems for the acquisition and processing of Americans’ location data (using data from cell phone and license plate readers as well as other sources), I wanted to give you a quick taste of our new system’s capabilities in the domestic policing context.

As you can see in this screen shot from our new application, an individual by the name of Jack R. Benjamin yesterday was flagged as a potential DUI risk:

The rest of this post has been placed on a separate page that can display high-resolution images. Click here to view.

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