Patriot Act

The government claims sweeping authority under the Patriot Act to collect a record of every single phone call made by every single American "on an ongoing daily basis." This program not only exceeds the authority given to the government by Congress, but it violates the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment, and the rights of free speech and association protected by the First Amendment. Click here to read more about the ACLU's work to reform the Patriot Act. 

DEA Discloses Bulk Surveillance of Americans’ International Phone Calls

DEA Discloses Bulk Surveillance of Americans’ International Phone Calls

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 4:37pm
Update (1/212014): The ACLU has filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the DEA and other federal agencies release further information to the public about this database. The recent revelation of the DEA’s bulk phone records program is a crucial part of an ongoing debate regarding the government's collection of Americans' private information in massive government databases. Yet the public has little information about the program beyond the spare details contained in the recently filed declaration. This request seeks to fill those gaps in knowledge.
VIDEO: Yes, Mass Collection of U.S. Phone Records Violates the Constitution

VIDEO: Yes, Mass Collection of U.S. Phone Records Violates the Constitution

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 4:05pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: A resounding win! A Philadelphia audience sided squarely with team civil liberties in a debate hosted yesterday by Intelligence Squared. Arguing for the motion, "Mass Collection of U.S. Phone Records Violates the Constitution," were…

Challenge to NSA’s Mass Surveillance Inches Way Up Court System

Challenge to NSA’s Mass Surveillance Inches Way Up Court System

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:00am

This morning, we're heading back to court to challenge the NSA's phone-records program, this time in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

Several district courts have already ruled on the program, with one calling it "almost Orwellian."…

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…

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…

Photo source: Chelsea Gomez from Flickr

Are "Two Hops" Too Many?

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:07pm

This is the second blog in a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Government surveillance oversight

Congress Shouldn't Settle for the President's Opening Offer on NSA Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:28pm

This is the first post in a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

Obama's NSA Proposal Reveals a Broken Oversight System

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 2:41pm

This piece originally ran at the Guardian.

To anyone who criticized the National Security Agency's phone-records dragnet over the last nine months or so, the American intelligence community had this stock response: all three branches of government…

Smartphone with courthouse application selected.

Friends in High Places Support NSA Call-Tracking Lawsuit

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 1:26pm

One week after the ACLU filed the first appellate brief challenging the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, we’re getting a little help from our friends. Yesterday, seven prominent and…

How the Phone Dragnet Slipped Through Cracks in Oversight

How the Phone Dragnet Slipped Through Cracks in Oversight

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 4:34pm

Last week, the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) issued a scathing report about the government's use of Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of every American for the last seven years. While much attention…

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