Location Tracking

Cops outraged about GPS tracking plans in Boston

Cops outraged about GPS tracking plans in Boston

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 2:42pm
Boston Police Department bosses want to install GPS monitoring devices in every patrol car, to enable dispatch to more efficiently process 911 calls. But police officers and their union are outraged, saying that the ubiquitous tracking is too invasive of their personal privacy. Tracking the location of officers as they go about their days would reveal incredibly detailed information about their lives, the officers say.
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.

Results of Nationwide Government Cell Phone Tracking Records Request Show Frequent Violations of Americans' Privacy Rights

Results of Nationwide Government Cell Phone Tracking Records Request Show Frequent Violations of Americans' Privacy Rights

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 1:17pm

The ACLU has released the results of our public records requests to hundreds of police departments asking about their cell phone tracking policies. What we have learned is disturbing.

Supreme Court GPS Ruling: Bringing the 4th Amendment Into the 21st Century

Supreme Court GPS Ruling: Bringing the 4th Amendment Into the 21st Century

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 2:05pm

On Monday the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision protecting privacy in the digital age. In U.S. v. Jones, a unanimous Supreme Court held that the police and FBI violated the Fourth Amendment when they attached a GPS device to Antoine Jones’s…

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Lessons of the Uber Privacy Scandal

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:12pm

Taxi-on-demand service Uber ran into hot water last week over reports that company executives have played fast and loose with some of the location data that the service records about its customers. A couple of thoughts about the scandal:

First,…

In Court: Uncovering Stingrays, A Troubling New Location Tracking Device

In Court: Uncovering Stingrays, A Troubling New Location Tracking Device

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 12:42pm

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed an amicus brief in what will be the first case in the country to address the constitutional implications of a so-called “stingray,” a little known device that can be used to track…

Appeals Court Rules Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Cell Phone Location Data

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 3:25pm

Yesterday the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unfortunate and legally incorrect decision holding that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection against warrantless cell phone tracking. Although couched in language stating narrowly that the…

Newest School RFID Scheme is Reminder of Technology’s Surveillance Potential

Newest School RFID Scheme is Reminder of Technology’s Surveillance Potential

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:42pm

It’s funny how unpredictable the course of technology is. A few weeks ago it was reported that a Texas school district plans to implant RFID chips in student IDs, and use them to track the whereabouts of students. RFID chips, of course, are what…

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

Federal Judge: Only Powered-Off Cell Phones Deserve Privacy Protections

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 11:27am

A federal magistrate judge in New York recently ruled that cell phone location data deserves no protection under the Fourth Amendment and that accordingly, the government can engage in real-time location surveillance without a search warrant. In an opinion straight from the Twilight Zone, magistrate judge Gary Brown ruled two weeks ago that “cell phone users who fail to turn off their cell phones do not exhibit an expectation of privacy.”

The case in question involved a physician who the DEA believed had issued thousands of prescriptions for pain killers in exchange for cash. In March of this year, the DEA had obtained a warrant for his arrest, and,

What We Know About License Plate Tracking, What We Don't, And Our Plan to Find Out More

What We Know About License Plate Tracking, What We Don't, And Our Plan to Find Out More

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 12:31pm

Today the ACLU is launching a nationwide effort to find out more about automatic license plate readers (ALPR). By snapping photographs of each license plate they encounter—up to three thousand per minute—and retaining records of who was…

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