Spying

Is the Government Reading Our Email, Texts and IMs Without a Warrant? You Bet.

Is the Government Reading Our Email, Texts and IMs Without a Warrant? You Bet.

By Catherine Crump, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at 3:36pm
Today the ACLU filed a batch of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to learn more about the government's practice of reading people's email, text messages and other private electronic communications without a warrant.
Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:12am

This week is “Cybersecurity Week” in the House of Representatives, and members will vote on a handful of bills intended to protect cybersecurity — the ability to prevent and respond to threats from foreign governments, terrorists…

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:47am

Sometimes when I hear public officials speaking out in defense of NSA spying, I can’t help thinking, even if just for a moment, “what if the NSA has something on that person and that’s why he or she is saying this?”

Of course it’s…

The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11

The Ten Most Disturbing Things You Should Know About the FBI Since 9/11

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:24pm

Next Tuesday, James Comey will have his first job interview for succeeding Robert Mueller as director of the FBI.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will not only have the chance to determine whether Comey is qualified for the job—and…

Open Source Intelligence and Crime Prevention

Open Source Intelligence and Crime Prevention

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:00pm

Buried on page A25 of Thursday’s New York Times is a tiny story on what’s likely to become a big problem after the recent horrific mass shooting. According to the report, top intelligence officials in the New York City Police Department…

Is the FBI’s Community Outreach Program a Trojan Horse?

Is the FBI’s Community Outreach Program a Trojan Horse?

By Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:33pm

In December 2011, the ACLU released FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which showed that San Francisco FBI agents were exploiting community outreach programs for intelligence-gathering purposes. Now it appears FBI…

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:59pm

The government has just officially confirmed what we've long suspected: there are secret Justice Department opinions about the Patriot Act's Section 215, which allows the government to get secret orders from a special surveillance court (the FISA…

No NSA Poster Child: The Real Story of 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar

No NSA Poster Child: The Real Story of 9/11 Hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar

By Mike German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:05am

This story originally appeared at Defense One.

Since whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed the incredible scope of the government’s domestic spying programs, two different narratives are moving forward in Congress.

One, expressed…

AP Phone Records Scandal Highlights a Broader Problem: Lack of Checks and Balances on Government Access to Records

AP Phone Records Scandal Highlights a Broader Problem: Lack of Checks and Balances on Government Access to Records

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 11:36am

Last week we learned that the Department of Justice, in an unprecedented intrusion on the work of journalists, had obtained records for twenty telephone numbers belonging to the Associated Press or its reporters, spanning April and May 2012. The telephone records obtained do not include the content of phone calls, but they likely reveal the phone number of each and every caller on those lines for a period of weeks and, therefore, the identity of scores of confidential media sources.

The seizure of these records came to light only because the government has a special set of guidelines that require it to notify any media organization of a subpoena for its records within (at most) 90 days. The AP appears to have learned of the seizure of its phone records, albeit after the fact, only because of this special policy.

The notice given to the AP has generated a healthy debate over the limits on the government’s authority to acquire our telephone and internet records. But what if you aren’t a media organization and, therefore, do not benefit from the special government policy entitling you to notice when the government obtains your telephone or internet records? What information can the government get about you, and is it even required to tell you when it does so?

Boston Police Store License Plate Data For “Intelligence” Purposes

Boston Police Store License Plate Data For “Intelligence” Purposes

By Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project at 2:29pm

This summer ACLU affiliates all around the country filed open-records requests seeking information about how government agencies are using automated license plate readers. One set of records, released this week to the ACLU of Massachusetts by the police…

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