Online Privacy

Reading of Emails Without Warrant Likely Extends Beyond IRS

Reading of Emails Without Warrant Likely Extends Beyond IRS

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:23am
The ACLU released documents last week indicating that the criminal investigative arm of the IRS doesn’t think it always needs a warrant to read people’s email when investigating them for tax crimes. The revelation garnered widespread media attention (see examples here, here, and here). We called on the IRS to clarify its policy but, unfortunately, the agency issued only a brief, confusing statement that failed to explain its actual policy and practices. As we said last week, because our emails, text messages, and other electronic communications contain some of our most sensitive and private information, it is crucial that federal law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant from a neutral judge before accessing them.
Help Preserve the Legacy of Aaron Swartz

Help Preserve the Legacy of Aaron Swartz

By Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, Political Activist at 10:15am

On January 11, 2013, facing decades in prison on trumped up charges, my partner, Aaron Swartz, made the tragic choice to take his own life. He was only 26.

Aaron's supposed crime? He was accused of checking out too many articles (4.8 million),…

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…

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…

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/5/12)

Civil Liberties in the Digital Age: Weekly Highlights (10/5/12)

By Anna Salem, ACLU of Northern California at 3:50pm

In the digital age that we live in today, we are constantly exposing our personal information online. From using cell phones and GPS devices to online shopping and sending e-mail, the things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of…

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:59am

Back in the waning years of the Clinton administration, Congress quietly enacted an important internet privacy bill (the passage of which was overshadowed by other, more salacious developments). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”)…

Is the ACLU Inconsistent on Regulation of Speech and Privacy?

Is the ACLU Inconsistent on Regulation of Speech and Privacy?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:02pm

Adam Thierer of the libertarian Mercatus Center posted a thoughtful critique of my recent piece on online tracking and consumer “choice.” I wrote about a new paper on behavioral advertising and how it “demonstrates the absurdity of…

Monitoring Internet Usage Patterns Has Privacy Implications Too

Monitoring Internet Usage Patterns Has Privacy Implications Too

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 4:34pm

The New York Times Sunday Review included a striking op ed suggesting that universities could one day deploy software to analyze students’ internet usage for the purpose of assessing their mental health. The writers, Sriram Chellappan and Raghavendra…

Privacy Will Not Ruin the Free Internet

Privacy Will Not Ruin the Free Internet

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:28am

Tuesday I posted about the controversy over Do Not Track and the advertising industry’s objections to pro-privacy default settings. One thing I didn’t comment on was that the Interactive Advertising Bureau trotted out the usual argument…

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