Blog of Rights

Vote for the ACLU’s SXSW Panels!

By Ateqah Khaki at 1:18pm

The South by SouthWest Panel Picker has launched for the 2013 festival, and we need your help!

The ACLU has submitted two panel pitches (one and two) for SXSW Interactive, which will take place March 8-12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. (Wondering why the ACLU is going to SXSW? We work with policymakers, business and community members every day on issues related to privacy, free speech and emerging technology. And as we’ve done for the past several years, we’ll be at SXSW this year to make sure that privacy is on the agenda!)

Here’s an overview of the panels we pitched!

Can I Record? The Fight Over Photographers’ Rights

For the first time most people now carry a camera with them at all times – in their smartphones. This has sparked a battle: more people are recording police encounters and infrastructure such as buildings, bridges, and trains. In response, law enforcement and security are routinely pushing back: ordering people to stop recording in public places, sometimes harassing and arresting those who fail to comply. The ACLU has filed lawsuits over this issue all around the country. 

In this talk, ACLU Senior Policy Analyst Jay Stanley will examine some of the dramatic incidents that have taken place, explain the state of the law – when you clearly have the right to take photographs or video, when you do not, and where the law is not yet clear – and, demonstrate two new ACLU smartphone apps that make it easier to record police encounters and hold officers accountable for any unprofessional behavior.

Vote for this panel now!

Unblinking Eyes: License Plate Readers and Privacy 

You may not have seen them, but they have seen you. And they have not forgotten. Automatic License Plate Readers began as a limited technology to collect unpaid parking tickets and locate stolen vehicles. But today they are rapidly becoming one of the most pervasive surveillance tools in the US, monitoring and storing information not just on all of us. The police argue that they can collect, store, share and analyze this information for any reason—or for no reason at all. In July 2012, ACLU affiliates around the country filed hundreds of public records requests to uncover how ALPRs are being used. 

ACLU attorney Catherine Crump will host a briefing on how the technology works, what the ACLU has uncovered about how the police are using it to monitor and record our movements, and what it means for our civil liberties.

Vote for this panel now! 

We’ll keep you posted on our SXSW goings-on; stay tuned! And if you aren't already, subscribe to the ACLU’s Free Future blog and follow our Demand Your dotRights digital privacy campaign on Twitter and Facebook to stay informed on our work to protect civil liberties in the digital age. 

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