Police Surveillance

Blurred lights from cars on street at night

Company Asks Cops to Keep Use of License Plate Trackers Secret

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 5:28pm
The NYPD may soon become the latest police department to begin paying private license plate tracking corporation Vigilant Solutions for access to the company’s nationwide location database, according to a report in the New York Daily News and documents unearthed by Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar. By contracting to access Vigilant's rapidly growing National Vehicle Location Service (NVLS), where police will find over two billion records of ordinary Americans’ movements, the NYPD may also sign on to some very questionable secrecy provisions found in the company’s terms of service agreement.
How Does the Federal Government Handle Prosecutions of Police Officers?

How Does the Federal Government Handle Prosecutions of Police Officers?

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 2:26pm

Should we take the Department of Justice's word on how federal prosecutions of police officers are being conducted and resolved, or do we need to see the data?

After a police officer is accused of a crime and the Department of Justice decides…

Photo of police standing with batons

Police Need to Make Body-Camera Policies Transparent

By Sonia Roubini, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 3:00pm

Body cameras are a hot topic these days in the wake of the Ferguson and Eric Garner controversies, as well as President Obama’s announcement that he will seek $75 million in funding for police body cameras and training. Body cameras are an important…

The Police's Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

The Police's Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:07pm

This piece originally appeared at Slate's Jurisprudence, under the title, "Search Party."

It used to be that when police violated a suspect's Fourth Amendment rights through an unconstitutional search, evidence derived from the search would…

iPhone by Karlis Dambrans

Securing Our Data Should Come First

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 9:08am

This post was first published as part of the New York Times Room for Debate feature "Apple vs. the Law," which asked: How much should tech companies cooperate with the government on data access?

Apple's new encryption policy…

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:11pm

This piece was originally published on The Crime Report.

The militarized law enforcement response to peaceful protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. last month, has prompted several federal officials to question…

closeup of camera lens

Body-Worn Cameras Should Not Expand Beyond Law Enforcement

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:34pm

The Guardian reported last week that Miami Beach is planning on expanding the use of body cameras beyond the police to include “meter maids,” code enforcement officers, and building and fire inspectors. This use of the technology does not make…

Trickle Down Surveillance

Trickle Down Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:22am

Cell site simulators, also known as "stingrays," are devices that trick cellphones into reporting their locations and identifying information. They do so by mimicking cellphone towers and sending out electronic cues that allow the police to enlist…

filing cabinet

U.S. Marshals Seize Local Cops’ Cell Phone Tracking Files in Extraordinary Attempt to Keep Information From Public

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:13pm

A run-of-the-mill public records request about cell phone surveillance submitted to a local police department in Florida has unearthed blatant violations of open government laws, including an incredible seizure of state records by the U.S. Marshals…

Crop of photo by Paul Weiskel used by permission

Law Enforcement’s Lobbying Priority In States Is Fighting Transparency

By Allie Bohm, Advocacy & Policy Strategist, ACLU at 9:38am

The ACLU has been working in states across the country on a variety of laws pertaining to law enforcement agencies and their power to gather and access information about us—including location tracking, drones, automatic license plate readers, and…

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