Online Privacy

Instagram, Jetliners, and Human Computation Engines (Friday links)

Instagram, Jetliners, and Human Computation Engines (Friday links)

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 4:20pm
Instagram has lost half its daily users in just one month as a result of all the bad publicity over its new terms of service, according to a story in the International Business Times. That is a stunning report—perhaps the most surprising indication of mass rebellion over an online policy issue since the defeat of SOPA. Perhaps I am overly conditioned to thinking that these kinds of seemingly obscure issues about the distribution of power on the internet—privacy, openness, intellectual property, etc.—are the provenance of geeks and policy nerds and reporters looking for stories. But losing half their daily users in one month? I think that’s a reminder that for all the assaults on our privacy by internet advertisers and others, people do still want and demand a sense of control when it comes to their online lives. Especially when it comes to services that people have made a part of their daily existence—which they feel they have a relationship with. Many privacy and other internet issues seem abstract and removed, and may not trigger a passionate backlash, but sometimes (as with this story, SOPA, and Facebook Beacon) they do.
The Kids Are Alright, but What About the Rest of Us?

The Kids Are Alright, but What About the Rest of Us?

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:39pm

Yesterday the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took an important step towards protecting children’s privacy online when it formally published new rules interpreting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The FTC updated existing…

US Surveillance Law May Poorly Protect New Text Message Services

US Surveillance Law May Poorly Protect New Text Message Services

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 9:44am

Internet-based text message apps are one of the most common means of communicating today. But when it comes to this relatively new technology, surveillance law is behind the times in important ways, and as is so often the case when the law lags technology,…

Twitter Subpoenas Chill Free Speech; Latest Example is in San Francisco

Twitter Subpoenas Chill Free Speech; Latest Example is in San Francisco

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:52pm

In a disturbing trend that can have a chilling effect on free speech, law enforcement agencies around the country are seeking wide-ranging information about the social networking activity of political activists. The San Francisco District Attorney…

Congressmen Question DOJ Following Release of Surveillance Documents on National Counterterrorism Center

Congressmen Question DOJ Following Release of Surveillance Documents on National Counterterrorism Center

By Naomi Gilens, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:06pm

As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, a new program run by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is collecting and analyzing all manner of government data on American citizens, even those not suspected of any crime. This sweeping surveillance…

Who’s a Radical Now?

Who’s a Radical Now?

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:10am

The Bipartisan Policy Center published a report last week called, “Countering Online Radicalization in America,” which strongly endorsed First Amendment principles in rejecting censorship as an appropriate tactic for addressing violent…

FTC Busts Advertisers In Browser Snooping Scandal, But Web Sites Shouldn't be Off the Hook

FTC Busts Advertisers In Browser Snooping Scandal, But Web Sites Shouldn't be Off the Hook

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 7:16pm

Today, the FTC announced a settlement with Epic Marketplace, an online advertising company that had abused a security flaw in popular web browsers in order to covertly “sniff” other websites visited by consumers.

According to the…

A Bot of One’s Own

A Bot of One’s Own

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 1:13pm

Yesterday I wrote about receiving a robo-call that was so slickly done I didn’t even realize I was talking to a computer for several minutes. I mulled over whether the use of such technology raises any serious privacy or other ethical issues.…

ACLU Lens: Get Off My Cloud! Senate Bill Requires Warrants for Government to Spy on Email, Digital Communications

ACLU Lens: Get Off My Cloud! Senate Bill Requires Warrants for Government to Spy on Email, Digital Communications

By Steve Gosset, ACLU at 5:00pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee today passed an amendment to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Among its provisions, is a requirement that law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant before they can take a peek at your email, private social…

Does Using Certain Privacy Tools Expose You to Warrantless NSA Surveillance? ACLU Files FOIA to Find Out

Does Using Certain Privacy Tools Expose You to Warrantless NSA Surveillance? ACLU Files FOIA to Find Out

By Chris Soghoian, Principal Technologist and Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 1:04pm

Can using privacy-enhancing tools (such as Tor or a Virtual Private Network) actually expose you to warrantless surveillance by the National Security Agency? This week, the ACLU sent off four FOIA requests to federal agencies in order to try and answer…

Statistics image